Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Two SMU alumni create medieval history professorship - Dallas Morning News

Two Southern Methodist University graduates, Stephen L. and Kathryn Hedges Arata of Dallas, have given $1.25 million to honor history professor Jeremy duQuesnay Adams.

The Jeremy duQuesnay Adams Centennial Professorship in Western European Medieval History honors the impact Adams made on their lives.

Adams will continue to teach in the university’s Clements Department of History.

Stephen Arata is executive vice president and CFO of Caiman Energy II LLC, a Dallas company that provides infrastructure to transport natural gas products from wellhead to market. Kathryn Arata is president of the Aldersgate Charitable Foundation.

“We are grateful to the Aratas for their vision and generosity in providing this gift, which supports our Second Century Campaign goal to increase the number of endowed chairs to 100,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner said. “With the Adams professorship, the university is within 15 faculty positions of reaching that goal.”

The Adams professorship is the first Centennial Professorship to be established in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

Adams earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard University. After teaching at Harvard and Yale, he joined the SMU faculty in 1974. Adams and his wife, Bonnie Wheeler, an associate professor in SMU’s Department of English, helped establish SMU’s Medieval Studies Program.

At Yale, Adams received the DeVane Medal of that university’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter and the national Danforth Foundation’s E. Harris Harbison Award for Gifted Teaching. At SMU, he was awarded the Perrine Prize from SMU’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter and was named an Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor. He is the author or editor of seven books and numerous academic articles.

Several other former students contributed toward the endowed professorship. Those contributing $25,000 or more include Cindy and Dr. David Stager Jr., Jo and Joe Goyne and Renee Justice Standley and Kenneth Standley.

The Aratas majored in English and minored in medieval studies. Kathryn earned two degrees from SMU, a bachelor’s in 1987 and a master’s in English in 1991. Stephen received two degrees in 1988, a bachelor’s degree from Dedman College and a bachelor’s in business administration from Cox School of Business. He also earned a master’s degree in management from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Kathryn Arata said: “My parents, the Rev. Bill B. Hedges and Jane Hedges, graduated from SMU in 1960. All of my life, I have loved this university, growing up steeped in the SMU culture and history.

“Now that Stephen and I are in a position to pay back â€" actually pay forward â€" the gifts he [Adams] gave us, we wanted to do something that would be close to Jeremy’s heart.”

The Aratas named their son for Jeremy Adams, and Jeremy Andrew Arata entered SMU as a Dedman College Scholar this fall. The Aratas have two younger daughters, Hanna and Julianna.

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