2012 DCLPB Keynote Speaker

Dr. Gerald Turner

President of Southern Methodist University since 1995, R. Gerald Turner, is leading an era of unprecedented progress as the University celebrates the centennial of its founding in 2011 and opening in 2015.

Under his leadership, The Second Century Campaign, launched in 2008, seeks resources for a dramatic increase in academic quality and impact. To date, it has raised more than $574 million toward a goal of $750 million in additional endowment for student scholarships, academic positions and programs, and the campus experience. The previous Campaign for SMU: A Time to Lead (1997-2002) surpassed its $400 million goal by raising $542 million. The two campaigns have provided 402 new scholarships, 38 new endowed academic positions, 95 academic program endowments, and 30 new or renovated facilities.

SMU’s progress in recent years includes a near tripling of applications; a rise in student quality as measured by a 125-point increase in SAT scores; an increase in minority enrollment, totaling 22.6 percent in 2011; and a more than doubling of the University endowment in the past 15 years, reaching $1.2 billion in 2011. SMU ranks in the top one-fourth of the best national universities in U.S. News & World Report rankings for 2012.

A new strategic plan is guiding the University’s advancement, and a master plan is reshaping the physical profile of the campus, including property acquisition east of North Central Expressway. The main campus has grown to include 90 buildings on 230 acres, and a 25-acre campus is in Plano, Texas.

Working with the SMU Board of Trustees, President Turner led the University’s efforts to attract the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which is scheduled to open on the SMU campus in 2013.

Beyond the campus, Gerald Turner is a member of the board of the American Council on Education and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and he co-chairs the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. In Texas, he serves on the boards of the Methodist Hospital Foundation, the Salvation Army of Dallas, and two publicly traded companies.

Before joining SMU, President Turner was the chancellor of the University of Mississippi. A native of New Boston, Texas, he earned a B.S. degree in psychology from Abilene Christian University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in psychology from The University of Texas at Austin. He and his wife, Gail, a native of Graham, Texas, have two married daughters. Angela, a professional opera singer, and her husband, Michael Wilson, are the parents of Luke and Wyatt and live in Dallas; Jessica, an SMU alumna and professional actress; and her husband, Jeff Waugh, are the parents of Abigail and Lexi. They live in Boston, Massachusetts.

Southern Methodist University is a private, comprehensive university of 11,000 students enrolled in seven degree-granting schools. SMU offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the humanities and sciences; business; engineering; education; the performing, visual, and communication arts; and professional degree programs in law and theology. Founded in 1911 by what is now The United Methodist Church, SMU is nonsectarian in its teaching and committed to the values of academic freedom and open inquiry.