President, Southern Methodist University
As the president of Southern Methodist University since 1995, R. Gerald Turner is leading an era of unprecedented progress as the University approaches the centennial of its founding in 2011 and of its opening in 2015.
Under his leadership, The Second Century Campaign, launched in September 2008, seeks resources for a dramatic increase in academic quality and impact. To date, it has raised $420 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) raised more than $540 million for academic programs, scholarships, professorships and student life programs.
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 and 26 new or renovated facilities.
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 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 husband Michael Wilson are the parents of Luke and Wyatt and live in Dallas; Jessica, an SMU alumna and professional actress, and husband Jeff Waugh are the parents of Abigail. 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; and the performing, visual, and communication arts, as well as 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.