It is always exciting to welcome new students at the beginning of the academic year. This fall SMU is privileged to greet the students comprising our Centennial Class, whose members will graduate in 2015, the same year that we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the University’s opening.

Their arrival on campus reminds us that the aspirations and goals of students continue to be a main focus of our efforts on behalf of the University.

The Second Century Campaign, which runs concurrently with SMU’s centennial commemoration period, 2011-2015, is designed to ensure that current and future SMU students continue to receive the benefits of an extraordinary education, and that SMU continues to move forward as a center of learning and scholarship.

Thanks to the inspiring support of alumni, family and friends, SMU already has taken great strides in achieving its ambitious goals.

At the September meeting of the Board of Trustees, Gerald J. Ford ’66, ’69, convening co-chair of The Second Century Campaign, made an exciting announcement: commitments to the campaign, which total $560 million as of Aug. 31, have now exceeded the total generated by SMU’s last campaign, A Time to Lead. It is notable that this milestone was reached during SMU’s centennial celebration period.

The two campaigns have had a transformative impact on SMU. The extraordinary support they have engendered demonstrates the extent to which the University community has come together to enable SMU to move ahead boldly.

Thus far, The Second Century Campaign has enabled the creation of 224 new endowed scholarships; 21 new endowed faculty positions, 15 endowed schools, centers, institutes and academic programs; and a range of new facilities that are transforming the campus and altering the way SMU students live, learn and grow as citizens.

During our centennial commemoration period, which we are calling The Second Century Celebration, I am hopeful that everyone who cares about SMU will take the opportunity to visit the campus and to see firsthand the progress SMU has made and the strides the University continues to take.

Thank you for your support, which will enable us to continue our momentum for years to come.