The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


SMU names School of Engineering, announces new programs

SMU will announce the naming of the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering today, as well as the implementation of several new programs within the school.

The announcement will be made at 11:15 a.m. in front of the construction at Caruth Hall.

The school has been at SMU for 83 years. Until today it was the last remaining unnamed school on campus.

The host of new programs and initiatives to be established include a partnership with Lockheed Martin and the founding of the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works Lab. The Skunk Works title represents the official alias for the Lockheed Martin Advanced Development Program. The Skunk Works program is responsible for many of the more famous Lockheed Martin designs including the U-2 bomber and the F-22.

The lab will be closely modeled after the iconic and top-secret California research and development facility created to solve the “toughest technology problems facing this country,” Engineering Dean Geoffrey Orsak said.

The introduction of the Skunk Works lab to SMU will help produce a higher class of engineers from the Lyle School of Engineering, Orsak said.

“The Lockheed Martin Skunk Works Lab at SMU is a critical element in the development of a new generation of engineers imbued with the spirit to take on unsolved problems and challenge the status quo. Our goal is to have 100 percent of our students participate in the lab at the SMU Lyle School of Engineering,” Orsak said.

In addition to the Skunk Works lab, SMU plans to employ other programs such as the Center for Engineering Leadership. The program is a four-year customized leadership development program aimed at fostering the broad professional and leadership skills necessary for engineers today to excel in today’s competitive global environment.

An engineering and innovation minor is being created out of the Lyle School of Engineering. The minor will serve as a compliment to students perusing liberal arts degrees.

“Plugged In” is a daily executive news briefing that will be required reading for all Lyle School of Engineering students to engage the students in current global political, economic, social, scientific and technical issues.

The Office of Contemporary Technology is being established within the Lyle School of Engineering to provide, for the first time, cutting edge educational resources available to engineering alumni for their entire careers.

A new international institute is in the works, but plans are for the institute to develop and deploy sustainable, technology-based solutions for the global poor. It will illustrate how engineering expertise can be applied to societal challenges.

The school offers a total of 49 programs, including master’s and doctoral programs. The school’s enrollment has doubled over the last five years. External research funding has tripled in four years to $10 million.

Lyle serves on the Board of Trustees. He has been on the board for 20 years. He also serves on the Executive Board of the School of Engineering and the Executive Board of the Cox School of Business, in addition to numerous other committees and boards at SMU.

He graduated from SMU in 1967 with a degree in engineering administration. He is also a recipient of a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Lyle worked as a professor and administrator in the Cox School of Business from 1967 to 1975. He served as the dean ad interim from 1971 to 1973 and the executive dean from 1973 to 1975.

“Over the past several years, Bobby Lyle has spent countless hours helping to chart a course that will position the school for national leadership in American higher education,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner said in a press release.

“In recognition of his leadership, we are honored today to name the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering at SMU.

“No one in the history of the School of Engineering has brought more dedication, support and commitment to its permanent development than has Dr. Lyle. With the naming of the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering, we are confirming our commitment to leadership in engineering education and securing the school’s bright and promising future.”

Lyle is a convening co-chair of the Engineering Steering Committee for the Second Century Campaign. Lyle donated more than $5 million during the quiet phase of the campaign. His gift has funded the construction of the J. Lindsay Embrey Engineering Building, Caruth Hall, the implementation of new programs, scholarships, fellowships, and research in the engineering school, as well as an endowed position, an endowed scholarship, and the construction of the James M. Collins Executive Education Center in the Cox School of Business.

“Bobby Lyle’s commitment to creating the new American engineer right here at SMU is simply remarkable,” Orsak said.

“His challenge to all of us to look beyond the conventional to find answers that will lead this nation and institution forward will forever stand as his greatest legacy at SMU.”

In an SMU press release Lyle said he was “grateful and humbled by the University’s decision” and that he was “extremely excited that we have crafted a strategic plan for the school that has the potential to advance engineering education on a worldwide basis.”

“By incorporating business and leadership training into the engineering curriculum, SMU’s School of Engineering is grooming today’s engineering students to be tomorrow’s engineering leaders and entrepreneurs,” Lyle said.

“Our programs are designed to move beyond traditional engineering education as we prepare our students to provide leadership in the application of technology to solve real world problems.”

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