Despite all the gloom of COVID-19, there are still reasons for celebration. A perfect example took place this morning at SMU with the dedication of the magnificent, 50,000-square-foot Gerald J. Ford Hall for Research and Innovation on the university’s main campus.
Serving as an interdisciplinary research hub for faculty, students and industry partners with tools and resources for collaboration, complex problem solving and powering new enterprises in the digital world, the Hall will enable SMU to “attract greater levels of external research funding.”
The Hall was made possible thanks to a lead gift in 2013 by Gerald J. (Jerry) Ford ’66, ’69; Kelli O. Ford and The Gerald J. Ford Family Foundation.
According to Jerry, “The University is creating an exciting space for bold doers and collaborators. It’s the next step in SMU’s ascendancy as a premier research and teaching university, and my family and I are honored to play a role in this process.”
As SMU President R. Gerald Turner told guests at the post-dedication luncheon, “Ford Hall for Research and Innovation is a reality because of Jerry’s desire to help SMU make a difference in Dallas and Texas and to continue enhancing our academic distinction. If the need is real, and it’s something that will make SMU better, I know Jerry will always be there.”
Located at the corner of McFarlin Boulevard and Airline Road, the Hall includes the AT&T Center for Virtualization, the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute, high-performance computing and data science and the Visualization Lab.
Other highlights of Ford Hall include shared collaboration studios on the second floor, a two-story atrium and the Hillcrest Foundation Cafe.
Still, the Hall’s real highlight is the brainpower that will be energized thanks to the resources and collaboration located within its walls.
* Photo courtesy of SMU, Hillsman S. Jackson