Ross Perot Jr. has played an instrumental role in shaping North Texas, from his massive AllianceTexas development in North Fort Worth to his pioneering Victory Park and his company’s Turtle Creek headquarters in Dallas. Along the way, the chairman and CEO of Hillwood has taken a hands-on role in serving the community. SMU is recognizing his impact with its prestigious J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award, from the school’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility.
Named for the late Texas Instruments co-founder and former Dallas mayor, the J. Erik Jonsson Award honors those who reflect moral leadership and public virtue. “Ross Perot Jr., is known for both his adventurous spirit and for leading by example,” said Rita Kirk, the center’s director, in a statement. “His quiet but profound leadership has been instrumental in addressing some of our most pressing social challenges.”
Perot served as a U.S. Air Force pilot for eight years and completed the first helicopter flight around the world in 1982, circumventing the globe in under 30 days. He then advocated for the construction of the U.S. Air Force Memorial, which honors those who have served as pilots in the military’s airborne branch. After 14 years, the monument was dedicated to America as a nation in 2006.
Perot’s determination and love of adventure spurred him to found Hillwood in 1988 and Perot Systems—an IT services company that Perot began with his father, EDS founder H. Ross Perot—in 1999. Perot Systems was purchased by Dell in 2009. Hillwood continues to flourish and now ranks among the top 10 residential developers in the nation.
Perot currently serves as chairman of the EastWest Institute and on the boards of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, Dallas Citizens Council, and Vanderbilt University. He and his wife donate to a vast number of educational, artistic, environmental, and religious causes, including St. Mark’s School of Texas, TCU, SMU, Dallas Symphony Orchestra programs, AT&T Performing Arts Center, North Texas Food Bank, and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
Perot will receive the award on March 11 at SMU.