Building on three years of record contributions to The Second Century Campaign, SMU unveiled a new focus on annual giving designed to encourage the broadest possible participation by the University’s alumni, parents and friends.

“It has been truly gratifying to see the support that The Second Century Campaign has generated throughout the country and internationally,” said President R. Gerald Turner. “While we continue to seek and receive leadership support at a record pace, we also want to highlight the importance of annual contributions that support student and faculty achievement in the classroom, library and laboratory.”

Annual giving has an immediate impact and helps meet the needs of SMU’s many areas of excellence that require ongoing support. Yearly giving also affects the University’s rise in national prominence, since alumni participation rates are a factor in determining national rankings.

The campaign’s focus on annual giving also represents an effort to adjust to the special challenges presented by the current economic climate.

Applications to the University are at an all-time high, reflecting the growing awareness of SMU’s quality and offerings. Financial considerations, however, are forcing many families to consider educational options more carefully than before.

For that reason, there is a particular need for gifts made in support of annually funded scholarships. These funds can help bridge support for scholars at a time when the SMU endowment, because of market conditions, is providing fewer dollars for operational expenses.

“We must ensure that we continue to provide the best possible education to our students,” Turner said, “and that we make the high quality of an SMU education accessible through scholarships, needed now more than ever.”

Honoring Annual Donors

As part of the new focus on annual giving, the University announced the creation of two societies honoring SMU’s generous and consistent yearly donors.

President’s Associates comprises select supporters who contribute $1,000 or more during a fiscal year, June 1 – May 31. These farsighted individuals harken to SMU’s founding, when donors joined the first University president in setting a vision for SMU.

Those who have contributed for two or more years consecutively will be welcomed into the new Hilltop Society, a name that invokes the celebrated crest on which SMU is built.

The Hilltop Society will award special recognition to donors who give for two, five, 10 and 20 years consecutively. Membership in both societies is based on a fiscal year, June 1 – May 31.

Members of both societies will receive special communications and will be acknowledged in SMU publications. They also will receive invitations to special events in Dallas and cities around the United States.

The societies are intended to encourage participation by donors at every level, from students making their first gifts to longtime contributors.

“We must maintain the unprecedented progress that is occurring in all areas of the University,” said Turner. “So we are reminding everyone that gifts of all sizes, to all areas, are vitally important.”