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Centennial Reading Room

Fondren Foundation Centennial Reading Room

All eyes will be on the “heart of the University” as the inaugural Founders’ Day Weekend of SMU’s second century begins with a special event honoring donors to the renovations of Fondren Library. The transformation will be unveiled in two stages: a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by President R. Gerald Turner and the SMU Board of Trustees, followed by an open house hosted by Gillian M. McCombs, Dean and Director, Central University Libraries (CUL), on April 15; and a student-centered celebration in September.

University community members and campus visitors will have an opportunity to explore three spectacular spaces on Founders’ Day:

Fondren Library Foyer

The historic foyer provides primary access to the iconic Fondren Centennial Reading Room, Hillcrest Foundation Exhibit Hall and Texana Room, all located on the main level of the original structure, built in 1940.

Fondren Centennial Reading Room

The centerpiece of the Fondren Library Center renovation is the restoration of the reading room to its former grandeur, made possible by the generosity of The Fondren Foundation.

Hillcrest Foundation Exhibit Hall

The premier exhibition space for SMU’s special collections, housed in DeGolyer Library, is a modern, spacious venue that will draw hundreds of visitors each year.

To commemorate the opening, the staff of DeGolyer Library has prepared “Books, Buildings and Benefactors,” an exhibition highlighting some of the signature gifts that exemplify the richness and variety of the libraries’ collections. On display will be rare books, manuscripts, photographs, prints and ephemera.

Three additional key spaces will be acknowledged on Founders’ Day while work on them continues through the summer during the final phase of construction:

Prothro Learning Commons

Hoblitzelle Foundation chose to honor one of our greatest University citizens, Caren H. Prothro, in the space that is central to the pursuit of knowledge and innovative academic endeavors in the library.

Gillian M. McCombs Special Collections Reading Room

Located on the third floor of the original Fondren Library building, the beautifully appointed space for study and research has been named by Caren Prothro and the Vin and Caren Prothro Foundation in honor of CUL’s dean and director.

Collaborative Commons and Starbucks® Café

This expansive area with places for individual and group study will be accessed directly from the main quad and the Laura Bush Promenade. The Starbucks® Café will attract students, faculty and staff from across the campus.