Don Glendenning’s involvement with our Zoo began over three decades ago when he volunteered through his law firm, Locke Lord, where he has spent his entire working career and long has served as managing partner of the firm’s Dallas office, to work as apro bono lawyer for the Dallas Zoological Society.
That initial involvement led, years later, to two consecutive terms as Chair of the Society, during which time the Society brought Gregg Hudson to Dallas, forming, with Michael Meadows, Don’s “Dream Team.” Michael and Gregg, in turn, energized enhanced philanthropic giving to our Zoo, and the Society entered into its transformational public-private partnership with the City – which privatization, Don notes with a grimace followed by a smile, “only took me 25 years.”
Reflecting on the special resource of the City’s sole “core asset” on the South side of the Trinity, Don sees the Dallas Zoo as a place for family bonding and enjoyment, a great educational resource, and a Town Square for the entire metropolitan area. Don is particularly grateful for the steadfast advocacy and support of Mary McDermott Cook . . . with respect to whom Don always refers to our zoological institution as “Mary’s Zoo” . . . and for the successive philanthropic recalibrations of Nancy Hamon in creating our zoo’s amazing gorilla habitat and then the Simmons Family whose unprecedented contribution made the Giants of the Savanna possible, placing our Zoo among the most successful in the country.
Expressing a mixture of satisfaction and regret at completing the major gifts campaign he has just successfully co-chaired with Diane Brierley and Jennifer Eagle . . . regret that he is losing an assured opportunity to meet regularly with Diane and Jennifer, whom he terms “two of the most wonderful and charming humans on the planet” . . . he again highlights the foresight and generosity of the Simmons Family for their leadership gift in making the Hippo Outpost a reality next year.
And he always reserves a personal note of special thanks for the Eugene McDermott Foundation, which named the Penguin Cove in his honor. That generous gesture led to a well-documented, but entirely spur-of-the-moment, swim that Don took in the Cove to celebrate an earlier Zoo to Do: Fully dressed just like his penguin cohorts in full straight-from-the-office black suit and white shirt. As Don says, “That’s my one zoological experience that might have been as much fun as this year’s Zoo To Do is going to be.” And he adds, “On the plus side, coming to the Silver Safari does not necessitate smelling like fish and penguin excrement, an unavoidable aspect of a dive in the Cove, which may have its unique charm, but comes at a cost: The dry cleaners could not salvage anything.”