Increasing the quality of the students who come to the University to learn, grow and contribute to the SMU experience is a key priority of The Second Century Campaign. We continue to move forward in achieving this important goal; I am pleased to report that SMU exceeded its student recruitment targets for 2009-10, despite the economic downturn.

That success is directly attributable to the wonderful support of a committed group of scholarship donors. They understand that annually funded scholarships can provide an essential bridge for students who might not otherwise be able to attend SMU – especially at a time when the University’s endowment is providing fewer dollars because of the recession. Trustee David Miller ’72 and his wife, Carolyn, are two such donors. While attending the SMU Board of Trustees meeting in May, David learned of the University’s increased need for scholarship support. The Millers decided to respond by funding “capstone” scholarships, which can be used to attract and retain priority student prospects.

The Miller scholarship gift had a direct and immediate impact, resulting in the decision by gifted young scholars to join SMU’s Class of 2013. Increasing student quality is important for many reasons. A talented student body creates an academic environment that inspires excellence across campus and affects a University’s national ranking. SMU has proven that investment in scholarships and student recruitment and retention strengthens the University’s ability to compete nationally for these brilliant and creative young minds. During the past 11 years, as support for scholarships has increased, the average SAT score for first-year students has risen from 1144 to 1242, putting SMU within reach of its goal of an average SAT score of 1250 next year and at least 1275 by 2015, the centennial of SMU’s opening.

With the commitment of donors who care deeply about the future of the University we will continue to provide scholarships that are helping to ensure that SMU remains a desirable choice for the nation’s top students.

R. Gerald Turner