Mary and Rich Templeton are the type of folks who people claim “got here as fast as they could,” despite not being born in Texas. And in their cases, it was following graduation from Union College that Rich joined Texas Instruments, while Mary went to work at GE in the early 1980s.
As a result of their planting roots and raising a family in North Texas more than 40 years ago, the area has benefited from the Templetons’ investing their time, talent and generosity.
As United Way of Metropolitan Dallas President/CEO Jennifer Sampson said, “From the day the Templetons arrived in Metropolitan Dallas, they have been integral to significant work in the area, both through Texas Instruments and otherwise.”
That “otherwise” is their support of SMU. In the past they have provided $12M to the university’s advancement focusing on SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering.
That surely would have been mind-boggling in itself.
But today the Templetons’ commitment for SMU’s future has risen to new heights of philanthropy with the announcement that they have gifted an additional $20M to the Lyle School of Engineering.
In commenting about their ongoing involvement with SMU, Rich said, “SMU provides the kind of robust education and research opportunities that are vital to the success and growth of Dallas. Mary and I are proud to be a part of SMU’s mission to inspire greatness in its students, its faculty and its Mustang community members around the world.”
Of the total amount, they’ve “earmarked $15 million to support engineering education and research, providing endowment and operational support for strategic initiatives such as postdoctoral fellowships and research, financial assistance for doctoral students and undergraduate scholarships for women and students from underrepresented populations. An additional $5 million will endow and name the school’s dean position.”
Joining SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering on Wednesday, March 1, as the inaugural Mary and Richard Templeton Dean will be Nader Jalili, who is currently serving as professor and head of mechanical engineering at the University of Alabama.
The gift also supports the SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow’s $1.5 billion multi-year campaign for impact.
As Mary explained their commitment to SMU, “Giving back to the community has always been a priority for our family. The Lyle School has a proven reputation for building future leaders who are unafraid to ask big questions. Rich and I are eager to see how our gift will support that kind of innovative thinking.”
This $20M gift along with the previous $12M will result in the creation of the new Mary and Richard Templeton Engineering Excellence Program that supports the following:
- Postdoctoral fellowships to increase the school’s research capacity and output, supporting the University’s rise into the category of universities with the highest research activity.
- Scholarships for doctoral candidates, who boost research and become the next generation of engineering leaders and problem solvers.
- Undergraduate scholarships that enable SMU to attract the brightest engineering students and meeting more of their financial need so students graduate in a timely fashion. The program includes opportunities especially for women and students from underrepresented populations, building on the Lyle School’s longstanding commitment to gender and ethnic diversity.
- Research support to meet the essential needs of initiatives that show substantial promise to become sponsored projects.
- Mary and Richard Templeton Centennial Chair in Electrical Engineering, which supports an outstanding teacher and researcher who designs sophisticated technology.
As SMU President R. Gerald Turner pointed out, “Through their enduring commitment to the Lyle School of Engineering and its mission, Mary and Rich Templeton are helping our faculty and students build a brighter tomorrow.”
What a lovely way to end the week knowing that the Templetons have fueled the shaping of tomorrow.
* Photo credit: Kevin Gaddis