The generous gifts of alumni, family and friends have had an extraordinary impact on SMU’s ability to recruit and retain top students and faculty and make important additions to the University’s unique campus. Each issue of SMU Campaign Update will highlight the way contributions from past donors and more recent gifts are making a difference in the lives of students and faculty and enabling SMU to continue its rise among the nation’s top universities.
Endowment a Testament to Founders’ Vision
The SMU endowment is worth more than $1 billion and comprises hundreds of named funds either for specific areas and needs or for general operating funds. Annual income from the endowment provides vital support for approximately 15 percent of the University’s operating expenses each year, while the balance of SMU’s budget depends upon tuition and annual gifts.
The endowment is, in part, a testament to the vision of SMU’s founders, who understood that such a fund would be a crucial component for the development of a successful university. For that reason, in 1914, a year before the opening of classes, the General Education Board of the Methodist Church provided gifts totaling $111,540 to establish the SMU endowment. Following in the footsteps of the founders, endowment donors provide support that changes the lives of students and scholars while ensuring the University’s continued financial strength.
Historic Gifts Support Scholarly Achievement
Douglas E. Ehring, who serves as W.E. Easterwood Professor of Philosophy, recently received a much-coveted honor in the world of academic scholarship: his book, Tropes: Properties, Objects and Mental Causation, was accepted for publication by the prestigious Oxford University Press.
The Easterwood Professorship is one of five endowments created by Eva Easterwood, the daughter of Capt. W.E. Easterwood and the brother of Col. W.E. Easterwood, Jr. During the 1920s and 1930s, Col. Easterwood served as a representative for Wrigley Gum and as a real estate developer, and later served as an advisory board member at SMU.
“Capt. Easterwood felt the best good that could come from his own good fortune would be to support education, and his daughter Eva saw to it that his wishes were honored,” says James E. Dearien ’68, the family’s attorney. “I know if Eva or her father were here today, they would be very proud of the impact their gifts have had.”
Scholarships Are Investments in People
Support for scholarships enables SMU to attract top students to the Hilltop. Roza Essaw ’13 says that receiving a Hunt Leadership Scholarship made the difference in her decision to attend SMU. “The scholarship made it possible for me to enroll in the University,” says Essaw, whose family moved from Ethiopia to Wylie, Texas. “But even more than that, the experiences that it has enabled me to have are shaping me to be the kind of person I want to be.”
Essaw, a double major in political science and communication studies, writes for The Daily Campus, has participated in the Civil Rights Pilgrimage, has worked on an independent study project in South Africa and is involved in numerous other campus activities and organizations.
Like many other students, Essaw also has received other endowment-funded awards since coming to the University, including the John L. Freehafer Memorial Scholarship Fund Award, which recognizes campus leaders, and the Hilltop on the Hill Endowment Fund Award, which enabled her to visit Washington, D.C., to interact with leaders in government, lobbying and the media.