Loyalty and Learning
Which Never Diminishes
Walt Henderson enjoyed attending SMU football games while growing up in nearby University Park. He remembers watching Mustang legends Doak Walker and Kyle Rote making history at SMU's Ownby Stadium, and then in the Cotton Bowl. Almost seven decades later, Henderson still cheers for the Mustangs—on the playing field and in the classroom.
He and his wife, Janie, hold season tickets for football and basketball, but their interest in the Hilltop experience isn't limited to sports. They've also been impressed by student accomplishments in the academic arena, which circles back to his studies in engineering and business.
After graduating from SMU, Walt achieved success, first with IBM and later in commercial real estate, while maintaining ties to the Hilltop as an involved alumnus. When it was time to consider the future, he thought of SMU and made a planned gift to the University in the form of a paid-up life insurance policy.
Recently, Walt and Janie increased their investment in his alma mater's future by designating SMU's Lyle School of Engineering as a beneficiary in their family trust. His gift pays tribute to an engineering education that "taught me to analyze and think," and a discipline that continues to make strides. When he was in school in the 1950s, there was only one female engineering student, and as he and Janie point out, SMU now recruits and graduates a higher percentage of female engineering students than most universities.
He's also proud of the impact SMU has on its students and on the local and regional economy. In fact, at a time when others are slowing down, the octogenarian recently amplified his involvement by joining the SMU Alumni Board.
"Making the additional planned gift was an easy choice," Walt says. He adds, "If you are a graduate, think about the things the University provided that helped you get where you are today, and think about all the resources that you still benefit from as alumni."
By his example of continued volunteerism and philanthropy, Walt exemplifies a continued loyalty to SMU and love of learning to which future generations of students can aspire.
Ready to make a difference for future SMU students like Walt and Janie have done? Contact SMU's Office of Gift Planning at 214-768-1911 or firstname.lastname@example.org to get started today.