SMU’s Taos campus has long been an important research hub and summer outpost for students and faculty. Now the opportunities for study are expanding. New and renovated housing and technology improvements have allowed SMU for the first time to offer a fall semester on this storied landscape in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

“By offering a fall semester, we are making this tremendous resource accessible to more SMU students, especially those who must work during the summer months,” says Paul W. Ludden, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Improvements were made possible by a group of donors passionately connected to the mission of SMU-in-Taos. Their partnership with SMU has provided current and future Mustangs with the unique opportunity to take credit courses in a setting filled with cultural and historical significance.

Former Texas Governor William P. Clements, Jr. ’39 and Rita Crocker Clements provided a lead gift of $4 million to the University for the project. Other donors who gave a combined total of more than $1 million include Dallas residents Roy Coffee, Jr. and Janis Coffee, Maurine Dickey ’67, Richard T. Mullen ’61 and Jenny Mullen, Trustee Caren H. Prothro, and Stephen Sands ’70 and Marcy Sands ’69, as well as Bill Armstrong ’82 and Liz Martin Armstrong ’82 of Denver; Irene Athos and the late William J. Athos of St. Petersburg, Florida; Jo Ann Geurin Thetford ’69, ’70 of Graham, Texas; and Richard Ware ’68 and William Ware ’01 of Amarillo, Texas. The Armstrongs, who also serve as co-chairs of SMU’s Parent Leadership Council, met at SMU-in-Taos as undergraduate students. SMU-in-Taos has offered summer study programs since 1973 at the site of historic Fort Burgwin, a pre-Civil War fort.

While rustic campus dormitories were impractical for use during colder weather, new and renovated student casitas now allow both students and faculty to live there comfortably during the fall and winter. During the fall semester, students at Taos will take 12-16 hours of courses that meet core undergraduate requirements, including anthropology, biology, geology, statistics, accounting, photography, painting, literature and history.

To learn about supporting new projects at SMU-in-Taos, please contact Assistant Vice President for University Development Pam Conlin at 214-768-3738 or