Dedman College, home to SMU’s liberal arts programs, has unveiled a major Second Century Campaign initiative to increase student quality and enhance the college’s academic programs.

The initiative focuses on drawing support for two priorities: the Dedman College Scholars Program, which provides merit-based scholarships for students pursuing a Dedman College major; and Centers of Excellence – academic programs or areas comprising endowed faculty positions, endowments for research and graduate fellowships. Donors seeking to support Centers of Excellence may provide gifts for any or all of these components.

The initiative has an announced goal of raising $10 million.

“Dedman College is poised to make great strides in its rise as a nationally recognized center for teaching, scholarship and research in the liberal arts,” says President R. Gerald Turner. “To continue to advance, it must increase initiatives to recruit and retain gifted students. And it must facilitate high academic achievement through strategic investment in targeted Centers of Excellence.”

Kelly Hoglund Compton ’79 and Frederick B. Hegi, Jr. ’66, co-chairs of the Campaign Steering Committee for Dedman College, say the initiative will build on Dedman College’s strong academic foundation. Members of the college’s faculty have been honored by prestigious national organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and received awards and grants from organizations such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

“We are excited to be telling people about the extraordinary research taking place at Dedman College and its high academic quality,” says Hegi. “Now we need the support of alumni and others who care about the college in order to take the college to the next level.”

“Dedman College is the heart of SMU,” added Compton. “Every student at the University takes classes in Dedman College, and almost half of all SMU students choose a Dedman College major. For SMU to be a nationally recognized University, it’s essential that Dedman College be strong.”

Dedman College Scholars Program

Support for the Dedman College Scholars Program will enable the college to increase student quality and enrich SMU’s learning environment. Previous investment in scholarships has had a measurable impact on SMU’s ability to attract and retain top students. As the University has increased scholarship support over the past decade, the average SAT score of entering students has risen 98 points.

Many of the most effective scholarships offered by the University have proven to be those tied to students’ majors and interests, such as the Cox BBA Scholars Program and Meadows Scholars Program. The Dedman College Scholars Program builds upon this successful model.

Thanks to donor support, the inaugural class of three Dedman College Scholars entered SMU in fall 2009.

“In this complicated financial time, it’s more important than ever that we have a tool to help us attract top students and keep the gifted students who already attend SMU,” says Compton. “The Dedman College Scholars Program will increase SMU’s ability to attract the best liberal arts students from around the country.”

Centers of Excellence

Support for faculty, research and graduate fellowships will enable Dedman College to strengthen the core components of the college’sacademic programs, contributing to the development of Centers of Excellence in key disciplines. Gifts funding new endowed faculty positions will enable Dedman College to continue to grow as a home for recognized experts committed to inspiring students and advancing their fields.

Increased support for endowed research funds will make it possible for college faculty to expand and deepen work on cutting-edge issues such as energy, the environment, globalization and ways to employ technology to combat life-threatening diseases. And additional support for graduate fellowships will enable the college to increase its ability to attract and retain top students interested in conducting research and pursuing advanced academic degrees.

“There are many areas of the college that already have faculty members who are recognized nationally and internationally,” says Hegi. “By strengthening these areas through additional support for faculty, research and graduate fellowships, we ensure that they develop a reputation as the ‘go to’ places for the best expertise.”