As we celebrate the holiday season and the end of the 2011 centennial year, we reflect on the things for which we are thankful and pause to consider the opportunities ahead.

We have seen increased momentum across the University. SMU’s centennial class arrived this fall with immediate impact through a 25-point increase in the average SAT score, now 1268. We held our first Centennial Academic Symposium – The University and The City: Higher Education and the Common Good. And the success of our football program continues with a third consecutive year of bowl eligibility.

We have also celebrated remarkable progress in The Second Century Campaign, including landmark gifts supporting the first centennial chair, Moody Coliseum renovations, the dedication of the Turner Centennial Quadrangle and Pavilion, the dedication of the Cooper Centennial Fountain and the opening of Centennial Hall. In total, as of December 2011, commitments to the campaign have exceeded
$574 million.

Looking toward the future, the University community is anticipating with excitement the official ground- breaking for the new Residential Commons Complex, which will enable all sophomores to live on campus. And we look forward to our second annual Founders’ Day celebration and many other campaign and centennial activities planned for the spring.

As you are aware, all of these activities are part of The Second Century Campaign and are occurring during The Second Century Celebration marking the 100th anniversaries of the SMU’s founding in 1911 and opening in 1915.

The centennial commemoration period has prompted many of us to remember with gratitude the teachers, mentors, family members and friends who have played such an important role in shaping our lives and SMU. Several campaign donors have chosen to designate their gifts in honor or memory of others.

This issue of Campaign Update highlights a number of examples of such gifts.

I hope these stories will inspire you to reflect on the people who have made an impact on your life and consider ways that you can honor them through this campaign.

Please accept my warmest good wishes this holiday season.