An Instrumental Decision
Milton Bludworth, 96, grew up in a musical family and pursued his interest in music as a member of the Mustang Band. Seven decades later, fond memories of playing in the clarinet section motivated him to include SMU's band in his will.
"While I didn't know it at the time, my experience at SMU meant a lot to me," he says.
He performed under the direction of Frank Malone, who had played with the famous Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and shaped the Mustang Band into one of the nation's top college swing bands. Milton thoroughly enjoyed the music and camaraderie, and laughs when remembering that the director called him the "next-to-worst clarinet player who had ever played in the band."
Following graduation in 1942, Milton enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as a chaplain's assistant in Italy during World War II. After the war, he joined Temco Aircraft Company and later owned the first Budget Rent a Car franchise in Dallas. In the intervening years, he built a successful career, raised a family and retired.
When it was time to make plans for the future, he allocated a percentage of his estate to the Mustang Band in his will. Milton says he felt he "owed SMU something" for his education and the wonderful experiences.
Last year he toured the new Mustang Band Hall and found a surprise. In a display of memorabilia from the archives, a program from the 1938 Pigskin Revue caught his attention. He pointed out his name and photo, then posed with the program for a new picture, creating another piece of band history.
Planned gifts such as Milton's help secure a bright future for the University. Thanks to visionary donors, students in the years ahead will have opportunities to make their own cherished memories at SMU.