$5 million Gift To Build New SMU Soccer and Track Stadium

SMU is getting a new soccer and track stadium thanks to a $5 million commitment from Heather and Ray Washburne.

The Washburne Soccer and Track Stadium, on Ownby Drive between Ford Stadium and the Binkley Parking Center, will house SMU’s men’s and women’s soccer teams, along with the track and field and cross-country teams.

“The Washburne family’s gift will enable us to continue to offer the best opportunities, resources, and facilities to help our students succeed in all their endeavors,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner said. “The new Washburne Soccer and Track Stadium will not only create a new home for our student-athletes on par with the achievements of their programs, but it also will provide another venue where fans from across our community can come together to support our Mustangs.”

The gift builds on Ray Washburne’s longtime support for the university.

Washburne received a bachelor’s degree in history from SMU in 1984 and serves as CEO and president of Charter Holdings, a Dallas-based investment company involved in real estate, restaurants and diversified financial investments. At SMU, he has served as an adjunct professor in the Cox School of Business and on The Second Century Campaign Athletics Steering Committee, Mustang Club board, SMU Athletic Forum board, Cox School’s Folsom Institute for Real Estate advisory board and O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom advisory board, John Goodwin Tower Center for Public Policy and International Affairs board of directors and Hegi Family Career Development Center committee.

The Washburnes have three children. Their oldest son is an SMU sophomore, and their second son will enroll at SMU as a first-year student in fall 2020.

“My SMU experience still influences me today, and with the university’s growth and progress over the years, students will have even more avenues for taking full advantage of campus life,” Ray Washburne said. “My family and I are proud to contribute to a leadership pipeline that extends beyond the classroom to nurture the teamwork, discipline and skills needed for success in today’s dynamic environment.”

The Washburne Soccer and Track Stadium will stay true to the footprint of the current Westcott Field and the 400-meter outdoor track, which will be updated to meet the new facility’s standards. The new 1,000-seat stadium will include a structure featuring locker rooms and a team meeting/conference room.

“The Washburnes’ passion for improving the future and the university’s strategic needs coalesce in their gift for the new stadium,” said SMU Vice President for Development and External Affairs Brad Cheves. “We are grateful for their inspiring generosity, which will forge experiences for our students that will stay with them forever and make an impact for generations to come.”

 

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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