Mustang man-letter foundation Garry Weber donates $50 million to SMU for Ford Stadium end zone complex
Dallas, Texas (EMS)?? Underscoring SMU’s commitment to the highest levels of athletic excellence, the Garry Weber Foundation, established by 58-year-old former student-athlete and longtime college supporter Garry Weber, engages 50 million dollars for the construction of a three-level end zone complex at Gerald J. Ford Stadium to increase Mustang Football’s functionality, efficiency and overall experience.
The foundation’s donation is the largest in Athletic Department history and kicks off a global $100 million campaign to fund the project. Part of the University recently announced a $1.5 billion campaign for impact, SMU Ignited: Boldly shaping the future, the Weber Foundation’s gift helps continue SMU’s momentum, bringing the total invested in SMU athletics facilities to a quarter of a billion dollars since 2013. The Garry Weber End Zone complex, as well as the new center Indoor Performance Building/Armstrong Fieldhouse, accounts for more than $125 million in football construction projects over the past three years alone.
“Garry Weber has been integral to the growth and success of SMU for many years, ? said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. ?? From outstanding student-athlete to distinguished alumnus and donor, his dedication to SMU cannot be overstated. We are incredibly honored by the donation from the Garry Weber Foundation and thrilled with the impact this gift will have on all of SMU Athletics. Since its inception, SMU has always focused on excellence in everything we do. Having great athletes increases the visibility of the University.??
The new 192,500 square foot Garry Weber End Zone complex will be Ford Stadium’s southern anchor, connecting its existing east and west entrances. The team-focused spaces will include new locker rooms, a weight room, position-specific meeting rooms, an auditorium for the entire team, and a full kitchen and workout table to support all 484 students- EMS athletes. The new facility will also house football coaches, support staff, and video and recruiting services.
The newly constructed concourse will provide more premium experiences for fans, expand guest facilities, improve pedestrian accessibility and add a covered walkway that connects the stadium entrances to the indoor pitch.
“The donation from the Garry Weber Foundation exemplifies the kind of spirit we hope to instill in our student-athletes, ? said Rick Hart, SMU athletic director. ?? As a former Mustang football player and community leader, it’s only fitting that his name adorns the new End Zone complex. This donation will continue our momentum towards a bright future that would not be possible without Garry’s generosity. His belief in the SMU student-athlete experience?? to shape champions?? will serve as an inspiration to the entire SMU community.
“SMU and Dallas have played a significant role in my life, and I feel honored to give that back to the next generation of student-athletes and Mustang fans, ? said Weber. “Being part of a team means striving for success for yourself and those around you, and I’m proud to continue to be a part of Mustang football and its future success and growth. I hope this gift inspires SMU student-athletes and Mustang fans to dream bigger than they thought possible and strive for a new level of excellence.
Ford Stadium celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2020. Its construction was made possible through the support of Mustang alumni, donors, and community members and was named in honor of SMU’s primary donor and trustee. Gerald J. Ford ??66, ??69.
Garry Weber, 58, is a graduate of SMU’s Edwin L. Cox School of Business. A former member of the Mustang football team, Weber served on the SMU board of trustees from 1984 to 1996 and was a board member of the Edwin L. Cox School of Business for more than 30 years. In 1998, Weber received the University’s highest honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2016, he received the Silver Anniversary Mustang Award, the highest award given by the SMU Lettermen’s Association. Actively present at SMU and throughout Dallas, Weber has generously contributed to SMU and various educational and philanthropic causes, including Scottish Rite for Children, UT Southwestern, United Way, and the Boy Scouts of America, among others.
Having served Dallas as both a Dallas County judge and a member of the city council, Weber is the founder of Weber Financial Inc., as well as an active individual investor in late-stage venture capital and hedge funds.
More Notable Quotes
??With this giveaway, we are capitalizing on the incredible momentum our football program is currently experiencing and ushering in an exciting new era of Mustang football. The Garry Weber End Zone Complex will leave a legacy that will create a lasting impact on our student-athletes for generations. It will also allow us to attract the best future recruits to join the Mustang family.
Rhett Lashlee, SMU Head Football Coach
“I was honored to have Ford Stadium named after me, and I’m thrilled with the plans for this expansion. Garry’s gift is a generous investment in SMU and Mustang athletics and continues our high expectations for varsity excellence.
Gerald J. Ford ??66, 99, administrator of SMU
“We are extremely grateful for the generosity of Garry Weber and his continued enthusiasm for Mustang football, SMU Athletics and our great university. His historic commitment challenges all of Mustang Nation to help reach the $100 million goal as quickly as possible.
Brad E. Cheves, SMU vice president for development and external affairs.
??Installations are a tangible and visible sign of investment and commitment to a program. Our student-athletes feel it and our coaches feel it. This obviously helps us to recruit and it helps us to develop talent. This helps engage fans and create a great experience for all event attendees. ??
Rick Hart, SMU Athletic Director
Ranked in the top 20% of national universities by US News and World Report, SMU is the only NCAA FBS program in Dallas, Texas, a top 5 media market. Since 2013, SMU has invested more than $250 million in athletics facilities, 12 of 17 programs have won at least one conference championship, and 16 programs have made the playoffs. With over a century of athletic tradition, SMU has won eight national championships and more than 170 conference championships and posted more than 150 top-10 NCAA finishes. SMU student-athletes have won more than 100 individual national championships and earned more than 1,900 All-America honors. More information about SMU and its coaches, student-athletes and teams can be found at SMUMustangs.com.
EMS is the nationally ranked world research university in the vibrant city of Dallas. SMU alumni, faculty, and more than 12,000 students at eight degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they drive change in their professions, communities, and the world. Building on its history of excellence, the University has launched SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow?? a multi-year, $1.5 billion campaign to empower outstanding students, enrich teaching and research, and improve our campus and community.