SMU Receives $50M for Ford Stadium End Zone Upgrade
The foundation’s gift is the largest in Athletics Department history and launches an overall $100 million drive to fund the project. Part of the University’s recently announced $1.5 billion campaign for impact, SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow, the gift from Weber’s foundation helps continue SMU’s momentum, pushing the total invested in SMU athletics facilities to a quarter of a billion dollars since 2013. The Garry Weber End Zone Complex, along with the new Indoor Performance Center/Armstrong Fieldhouse, represents over $125 million in football construction projects in the last three years, alone.“Garry Weber has been an integral part of SMU’s growth and success for many years,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “From remarkable student-athlete to distinguished alumnus and donor, his dedication to SMU cannot be overstated. We are incredibly honored by the Garry Weber Foundation’s gift and excited about the impact this gift will have on all of SMU Athletics. Since its founding, SMU has always been focused on excellence in everything we do. Having great athletics increases the visibility of the University.”
The new 192,500-square-foot Garry Weber End Zone Complex will anchor Ford Stadium’s south bowl, connecting its existing east and west gate entries. Team-focused spaces will include new locker rooms, a weight room, position-specific meeting rooms, a full-team auditorium, and a full kitchen and training table to support all of SMU’s 484 student-athletes. The new facility will also house football coaches, support staff, and video and recruiting services.
The newly constructed concourse will offer more premium experiences for fans, expand guest facilities, improve pedestrian accessibility and add a breezeway that joins the stadium’s entryways to the internal field.
“The Garry Weber Foundation’s gift exemplifies the kind of spirit that we hope to instill in our student-athletes,” said Rick Hart, SMU director of Athletics. “As a former Mustang football player and a community leader, it is fitting that his name will adorn the new End Zone Complex. This gift will continue our momentum toward a bright future that would not be possible without Garry’s generosity. His belief in the SMU student-athlete experience – in shaping champions – will serve as an inspiration to the entire SMU community.”
“Both SMU and Dallas have played a substantial role in my life, and I feel honored to pay it forward to the next generation of Mustang student-athletes and fans,” Weber said. “Being a member 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 that this gift will inspire SMU’s student-athletes and Mustang fans to dream bigger than they thought possible and to 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 for lead donor and SMU Trustee Gerald J. Ford ’66, ’69.
Garry Weber ’58 is a graduate of the Edwin L. Cox School of Business at SMU. A former member of the Mustang football team, Weber served on the SMU Board of Trustees from 1984 to 1996 and has been a member of the Edwin L. Cox School of Business Executive Board for over 30 years. In 1998, Weber received the University’s highest honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2016, he was honored with the Silver Anniversary Mustang Award, the most prestigious award granted by the SMU Lettermen’s Association. An active presence at SMU and throughout Dallas, Weber has contributed generously 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 City Council member, Weber is the founder of Weber Financial Inc., as well as an active individual investor in venture capital and late-stage hedge funds.