Honorary Degrees
1918 - Present

Herbert Pickens Gambrell 
Doctor of Humane Letters  1982
Status: conferred

Distinguished educator and scholar, Herbert Pickens Gambrell, is an exemplary representative of Southern Methodist University's early and formative years. A member of the class of 1921, he returned two years later to teach history, and remained until his retirement in 1964. During his long association with Southern Methodist University Professor Gambrell was an indispensable leader in the institution's strivings to achieve its lofty ideals of academic excellence and scholarly accomplishment. As a teacher, his classes are even now recalled for their intellectual content and widespread appeal, earning him recognition as one the school's most memorable professors. As a scholar, he was considered the dean of Texas historians of his generation. The author of several books and numerous articles, he is best remembered for his still unrivaled biography of Anson Jones, the last President of the Republic of Texas. Considered by some to be the finest biography of a Texan ever written, this work was accorded the Carr P. Collins Award of the Texas Institute of Letters in 1948. Professor Gambrell's professional activities were extensive and important. He was the first managing editor of the Southwest Review. He was a founder of the SMU Press and the indefatigable chairman of its board for a quarter-of-a-century. He was a prime mover in the Dallas Historical Society and its longtime director of research. He was historical director for the Texas Centennial (1936) and the Pan American Exposition (1937). He was for many years a leader in the affairs of the Texas Historical Association, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the philosophical Society of Texas. Professor Gambrell has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors during his long and distinguished career. Today, his alma mater celebrates the example and accomplishments of this living link with its pioneer days and formative years. Southern Methodist University is proud to confer upon Herbert Pickens Gambrell the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.