SMU's Turner, Gov. Rick Perry Send Their Condolences Upon Passing of Bill Clements

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Among the hodgepodge of videos to which we linked only yesterday are a handful of particular note today, as Texans mourn the death of Bill Clements -- the 94-year-old Dallas native, two-time Texas governor, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense under Nixon and Ford and chair of SMU's board of governors. One clip in particular contains perhaps Clements's most infamous quote stemming from the pay-to-play scandal that resulted in the SMU receiving the death penalty in 1987 -- the one in which Clements acknowledged that, yes, payments were made to players, but rather than end them completely, they were merely "phased out."

That, among other statements made during the NCAA's investigation, led to NCAA enforcement director David Berst laying blame for the SMU scandal directly at the governor's feet: "If he's typical of people who are in charge at the highest level, then there really isn't any hope for integrity in collegiate athletics."

But the scandal, the subject of Thaddeus Matula's extraordinary Pony Excess doc for ESPN last year, isn't mentioned in R. Gerald Turner's statement that SMU just sent to media; it receives but one sentence in The Dallas Morning News's obit, which also doesn't mention the death of Clements's son last fall. Governor Rick Perry's statement sent to media mourns the passing of "the father of the modern-day Texas Republican Party." Both Perry and Turner's statements follow.

Statement from Gov. Rick Perry on the Passing of Gov. William P. Clements, Jr.

"Anita and I are deeply saddened today as our state and nation have lost a true pioneer, and a larger-than-life entrepreneur, public servant and, most of all, a Texan. Gov. Clements was a mentor and someone I admired and respected greatly. As the father of the modern day Texas Republican Party, Gov. Clements is responsible for the growth, success and election of Texas Republicans in every corner of our state. Today, Texans and Americans have lost a leader whose leadership, service and patriotism were unparalleled. Anita and I send our deepest sympathy to Rita Crocker Clements and the Clements family during this difficult time.

Today, I have ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff in honor of the life and service of former Texas Governor William P. Clements, Jr."



Quote from Dr. R. Gerald Turner, President of SMU:

"Bill Clements' generosity and guidance have made a significant impact on academic programs throughout SMU, with major gifts supporting engineering, theology, mathematics and history. By endowing the Clements Department of History, including a new Ph.D. program, and the Clements Center for Southwest Studies, he enabled students ranging from undergraduates to doctoral fellows to learn more about the history and cultures of this region. Bill and Rita Clements also made it possible for SMU to acquire, rebuild and offer academic programs at SMU-in-Taos, located on the site of historic Fort Burgwin in northern New Mexico. This facility has given generations of students and faculty a tremendous and unique resource for teaching, learning and research.

"Earlier, as chair of SMU's Board from 1967-73 and again from l983-86, Bill Clements led the formation of an endowment committee resulting in dramatic increases in market value. He led funding of the campus master plan that continues to guide our academic offerings, and with an eye for detail in bricks and mortar, he preserved the continuity of SMU's Collegiate Georgian architecture. All this he accomplished with his typical no-nonsense approach and direct style of communication. His legacy as a business leader, public official and supporter of SMU will stand the test of time. He was a member of the SMU community for more than 70 years and he will be greatly missed."

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