SMU Centennial Homecoming Weekend, September 23-26, was marked by a series of dazzling events commemorating 100 years of achievement. It was a ‘pull out all the stops’ celebration that might have put a smile on the face of the late Nancy Hamon, whose lavish theme parties remain unparalleled on the Dallas social scene. Only her generosity eclipsed her flair as a hostess.
Mrs. Hamon, who died in 2011 at age 92, was a passionate champion of the arts and education. Among her contributions to the University was a principal gift of $5 million in 1988 to establish the Jake and Nancy Hamon Arts Library. Ground was broken on December 12, 1988, and Hamon Arts Library opened on October 10, 1990.
For a quarter of SMU’s first century, Hamon Arts Library has supported the academic mission of Meadows School of the Arts and served as a vital resource for the Dallas arts community. The Meadows School honored that dynamic partnership by hosting its Homecoming open house in the library’s recently renovated lobby on September 25.
Meadows Dean Samuel S. Holland shared his vision for the school as a model for 21st-century arts education that wipes “the term starving artist from the lexicon.” Hamon Arts Library has a vital role to play as a research hub and catalyst for intellectual discovery.
Art Department Chair Noah Simblist noted that even the reconfigured library lobby feeds that vision by creating a new zone for displaying art. The built-in reference desk that once dominated the space was removed and replaced with sectional seating and side tables. Thanks to the generosity of Ann Folz ’50, the more open and comfortable design creates an inviting space for contemplating art that lines the walls. Folz provided funding for new furnishings both in the lobby and in the library, providing patrons prime seating and study spaces. The inaugural exhibit in the remodeled lobby, “Paper Dolls,” photographs of collages created by artists Justin Shull and Colleen Shull ’11, will continue through December 13.
Twenty-five years ago, Mrs. Hamon encouraged students to take full advantage of the library, to “read, learn, create and enjoy.” Students continue to reap the benefits of her advice as Hamon Arts Library begins a new chapter on the vanguard of arts education.