by Robert Miller
The Dallas Morning News
April 17, 2012

Southern Methodist University says that it has raised more than $610 million, or 81 percent, of the $750 million goal set by its Second Century Campaign.

This includes campaign gifts to fund new construction in the southeast sector of the campus that will be launched with a groundbreaking Friday and Saturday.

“A major part of SMU’s mission is to provide our [nearly 11,000] students with a well-rounded collegiate experience that includes outstanding academic programs, first rate facilities and opportunities for personal development,” SMU President Gerald Turner said.

“These new facilities represent that commitment and will further transform our campus, enhancing student life and continuing the standard of excellence we inherited from our founders and value today.”

SMU alumni, parents and friends will join the campus community this weekend at the 2012 Founders’ Day celebration of SMU’s founding in 1911 and its opening in 1915. Activities begin at 12:30 p.m. Friday between Ford Stadium and Doak Walker Plaza with the dedication of a centennial cornerstone and groundbreaking for a six-building Residential Commons complex. Part of the Centennial Master Plan, this is the largest concurrent building project on campus since construction of the Perkins School of Theology quadrangle in the early 1950s.

The campus will expand south of Mockingbird Lane with construction of an indoor- outdoor tennis complex and a data center on the former Mrs Baird’s bakery site at Mockingbird and North Central Expressway.

In addition, a new Mustang Band Hall will be added to Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports. Moody Coliseum will be renovated and expanded, and the Centennial Promenade will provide a walkway from the south campus to Hughes-Trigg Student Center.

Renovation projects include all existing residence halls, Fondren Library Center and Memorial Health Center, which will be renamed the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center.

“These new and renovated facilities will allow SMU to provide the best experience for our students,” said Caren Prothro, chairwoman of the SMU board of trustees.

Other activities Friday will include classes for alumni, parents and friends taught by SMU faculty, a picnic with faculty and a briefing by Turner.

Saturday activities include a Golden Mustangs reunion and Family Day at the Meadows Museum, which is open to the public. For more information, visit foundersday.

SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign, launched in 2008, is the largest fundraising effort in the university’s history. Gifts have provided funds for 231 scholarships, 22 endowed academic positions, 15 academic program endowments and 16 new or renovated facilities.