While Gerald Turner may be only the 10th president of SMU, he may well one day see the university renamed Gerald Turner University.
After learning of the history, present lay of the land and the future plans for the “Harvard of the South,” guests at the Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society would probably vote for the name change.
With wife Gail Turner at the front row table along with Honorary Co-Chairs Marla and Mike Boone and Luncheon Chair Lucinda Buford, Gerald admitted that there were time when he tried to “channel” the university’s first president Dr. Robert Stewart Hyer.
Before a group that included Brice Beaird, Lindalyn Adams and Taylor Armstrong, Gerald recalled the history of SMU’s hood. He told how parts of the campus originally were provided by the Caruth and Francis Sims Daniels family and Alice Armstrong.
In fact he pointed out that when the Methodist church approached area leaders about establishing a campus in North Texas, Fort Worth had the lead. Dallas leaders approached Will Caruth Sr., who provided the acreage with the caveat that if they sold any part of it, he would get a percentage. During the Depression, when SMU sold lots to provide funding for the school, Caruth’s smart deal-making proved to be very wise and profitable.
Now reflecting on the historical and present day wheeling and dealing, Turner laughed, “We sold by the acre and find ourselves buying it back by the square foot.”
The realtors in the audience like Robbie Briggs, Allie Beth and Pierce Allman and Cynthia Beaird got a chuckle out of that comment.