When Patricia Center Radcliffe was born, her parents knew they would like their daughter to attend SMU. In fact, when she was only 11 days old, Patricia's father took out an insurance policy that would expire on her 18th birthday. The intent was to use the money to send Patricia to SMU, a true reflection of Douglas Center's values and belief in the importance of education.
As her parents had desired, Patricia enrolled at SMU and eventually received a degree from Meadows School of the Arts in 1974. Following graduation, Patricia began a successful career as a television producer. What Patricia had not realized was the time commitment and sacrifices that would be necessary to continue in that industry.
As she observed her parents, Ferne and Douglas Center, traveling the world, living full and exciting lives, Patricia reassessed her career plan. She returned to college, this time to Florida State University, to study psychology. Patricia now has a successful private psychology practice in Colorado, where she lives with her husband, Tom.
Ferne and Douglas were inspired by Patricia's career choices and were grateful to SMU for its role in Patricia's success. In 2005, they created a Charitable Gift Annuity at SMU. They received a charitable income deduction and annual annuity payments for their lifetimes. Above all, they were honored to establish an endowment that would be funded by the remainder of their annuity upon their deaths. With Patricia's guidance, the Centers established the Douglas D. and Ferne Center Family Scholarship Endowment.
Following long, happy, and successful lives, both Ferne and Douglas died in 2008. Because of their gift, however, the impact of this family at SMU remains. The balance of their annuity has been transferred to their endowment where it will provide scholarships to students in Meadows School of the Arts and in the Psychology Department in perpetuity.
The Center's appreciation for their daughter's SMU education is reciprocated by SMU's deep gratitude to them for their generous gift.