As SMU has embarked upon the second year of the centennial celebration period, the University continues to take major strides forward.

In December we celebrated the graduation of approximately 950 undergraduate and graduate students who received degrees from every SMU school and professional program.

The Mustangs’ inspiring triumph in the 2012 BBVA Compass Bowl in January was followed by the announcement that the University will be joining the BIG EAST athletic conference in 2013. The move is the most recent evidence of SMU’s steady rise in both athletics and academics.

In addition, new gifts for The Second Century Campaign, such as the recently announced gift from the Dr. Bob and Jean Smith Foundation for the renovation of Memorial Health Center, have pushed the campaign total to $609 million as of February 2012.

These developments have set the stage for the extraordinary events scheduled for spring. They include the coming release of a detailed University impact report, which describes the many deep bonds connecting SMU and the Dallas-Fort Worth region.

The University community also will celebrate our second annual Founders’ Day Weekend April 20-21. In addition to an array of other events, this year’s historic commemoration will feature the groundbreaking of the new Residential Commons Complex, which will provide campus accommodations for 1,250 additional students and spearhead a transformation of the SMU student experience.

The project also is the centerpiece of a major development initiative in the southeast section of campus, which includes construction or renovation of a variety of facilities that will support achievement in a range of endeavors.

This remarkable progress is the direct result of your commitment and supportive efforts. I hope that you are inspired by SMU’s momentum and motivated to continue to be a part of the University’s success.

There are many ways to be involved in these exciting initiatives. I encourage everyone who cares about SMU to find an opportunity to contribute as we continue to lay a strong and broad foundation for an extraordinary second century at the University.