“As a great city must be beautiful, an outstanding college shall also be beautiful.”
Founding Vice Chair, DCCCD Board of Trustees
Margaret McDermott’s countless contributions to the cultural landscape of Dallas would take pages to describe. Tireless civic leader, educational champion, patron of the arts and philanthropist, she has been a staunch supporter of DCCCD since its inception more than four decades ago.
She and her late husband Eugene McDermott, an influential industrialist who co-founded Texas Instruments and the University of Texas at Dallas, were committed to changing their community for the better not only with generous financial contributions but with dedicated personal involvement.
The McDermott Foundation, established in 1955, has given millions of dollars in support of educational, cultural, social and other civic ventures, including the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Dallas, the University of Texas Health Science Center, the Dallas Public Library System, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and DCCCD. Mr. McDermott died in 1973; Mrs. McDermott celebrated her 100th birthday in February of 2012.
Mrs. McDermott was an early supporter of the community college system from the time it was founded as the Dallas County Junior College District in 1965. She served as first vice chairman – and the only woman – on the visionary charter Board of Trustees that included other Dallas luminaries such as R.L. Thornton II and DCCCD founding Chancellor Dr. Bill J. Priest.
In great part due to her extraordinary aesthetic guidance, the seven colleges of DCCCD were built by different architects from around the country, with nationally award-winning designs. With the addition of new buildings on all DCCCD campuses following bond expansion in the past few years, another generous gift by Mrs.McDermott laid the foundation to create the Founders’ Foyer at the college district’s headquarters on South Lamar Street.
Throughout her long and productive life, Mrs. McDermott has championed beauty as a necessary part of function. “As a great city must be beautiful,” she once said, “an outstanding college shall also be beautiful.”