Caren Prothro to Lead SMU Board of Trustees

Elected by the Board in May, Caren Prothro will take over from Carl Sewell as chair of the SMU Board of Trustees at their September meeting. It’s a two-year gig.

If you’ll recall, Prothro spoke to The Daily Campus last semester for our “Board of Secrecy” story, where she stressed the importance of secrecy for the Board’s activities.

The full press release from SMU (emphasis mine) after the jump:

DALLAS (SMU) — Civic and philanthropic leader Caren Prothro, a leader in the arts and higher education, will become chair of the SMU Board of Trustees beginning with its September 10 meeting. She was unanimously elected to the two-year term by her fellow trustees in May.

“I am honored for the opportunity to serve as chair during one of the most dynamic and forward-looking times in SMU’s development,” Prothro said. “Thanks to the strength of our students, faculty, staff and administration, SMU is a rising national university with local and global impact. I look forward to working with our outstanding Board of Trustees in helping SMU continue to improve student quality, faculty and academic excellence, and the campus experience.

Prothro has been a member of the SMU Board of Trustees since 1992 and served as vice chair from 1998-2000. She currently is a co-chair of SMU’s Second Century Campaign and its Leadership Council. She serves on several trustee committees, including the Academic Policy, Planning and Management Committee and the Buildings and Grounds Committee. As trustee chair, she also serves on the executive boards of each of SMU’s schools and its libraries. In addition, she serves on the boards of SMU-in-Taos and the University’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility.

“Caren Prothro will lead our Board during a unique period in our history, as we prepare to commemorate the Centennial of SMU’s founding in 2011 and of its opening in 2015,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “During this period, we will be continuing our successful Second Century Campaign, for which Mrs. Prothro serves as a co-chair. And our Centennial will help us focus attention on the incredible progress of the University in fulfilling the vision of its founders. Most importantly, she will provide leadership and guidance going forward.”

Prothro’s community leadership positions include having served for nine years as vice chair of the AT&T Performing Arts Center Board of Directors and as a past chair of the Center’s Development Committee. She also serves on the boards of the Dallas Museum of Art and the Dallas Salvation Army. She has served on the boards of J.P. Morgan-Chase Bank of Texas, the Visiting Nurse Association, the YWCA, the YMCA, the Hoblitzelle Foundation and as chair of the Dallas Foundation Board. She was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

Prothro, who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mills College, has been honored for her leadership with numerous awards, including the Robert Dedman Award for Philanthropy, the Ruth Sharp Altshuler Award presented by the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, the Linz Award for community service, the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award, the TACA Neiman Marcus Silver Cup Award, the Annette G. Strauss Humanitarian Award and the William B. Travis State of Texas Award for Volunteerism.

Prothro, along with her late husband C. Vincent (Vin) Prothro, has been a generous donor to SMU, primarily supporting the Department of Biological Sciences of the Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, the Perkins School of Theology and the Meadows School of the Arts. She and her husband continued a long-standing tradition of SMU support from the Perkins-Prothro family of Wichita Falls. That tradition includes Mr. Prothro’s parents, Charles and Elizabeth Perkins Prothro, and his grandparents, Joe and Lois Perkins, who endowed the SMU theology school in the early 1940s and funded six buildings for the school, including Perkins Chapel.


About Meredith Shamburger

Meredith is a journalist working for the Longview News-Journal in Longview, Texas.
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