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


Althshuler speaks at Leadership Summit

SMU’s Presidential Leadership Summit featured Ruth Collins Sharp Althshuler on Wednesday. The Hughes-Trigg forum was filled as Collins Sharp Althshuler, an SMU alumna, current member of the SMU Board of Trustees and the only woman chair of the Board gave her speech.

President R. Gerald Turner introduced Altshuler. He described her family as one dedicated to community service and described Altshuler as a woman known nationally for her philanthropy work.

Turner listed many of Ms. Collins Sharp Altshuler’s leadership positions held, which include: President of the Library of Congress Trust Fund Board and a member of the National Board for the Salvation Army. She has also been honored in with the Most Outstanding University Trustee in the Country award and the Philanthropist of the Year Award in 1999.

Senior CCPA major Maggie Johnson commented on Altshuler’s many awards.

“Her many leadership positions and her honors are very impressive,” she said.

“To be named philanthropist of the year is an amazing accomplishment.”

Many buildings on campus bear the name of the Collins family. The alliance between the Collins family and SMU began in 1933 when Altshuler’s, eldest brother, James M. Collins (’37), enrolled at SMU. He was followed by brother Carr P. Collins Jr. (’39) and then by Altshuler (’48). The legacy was continued when each of her children also attended SMU: Sally Harris, Susan McAdam and Charles Stanton Sharp Jr.

The Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center, which provides SMU undergraduates with academic support and guidance beyond the classroom experience, was endowed by the Altshuler family.

Altshuler began her talk by praising SMU for the wonderful opportunities it provides its students. Her speech was based on a summary of her life and the experiences that allowed her the many opportunities she obtained within the world of philanthropic work. She described the ups and downs in her life and the way in which they provided her with a backbone to have the strong leadership skills she is known for today.

Her organizational ability, people skills and capability to delegate provided her with a strong foundation for volunteer work, she said.

“Do the right thing and be honorable, no matter what type of work you do,” she added. Altshuler used this as the focal point of her speech.

She described how lucky she was to have so much fun doing volunteer work and helping others, despite the tragedies in her life. She also told of the blessings in her life that she never took for granted.

These blessings included never having financial concerns and having many doors opened for her due to the prominence of her family.

“Sometimes I feel as if I volunteer half out of guilt and half out of compassion, but if you’re starving and I hand you a basket of bread you won’t care which half prompted me,” Althsuler said.

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