SMU Trustee Michael Boone is a co-founder of the law firm Haynes and Boone, LLP. He earned both his undergraduate and J.D. degrees at SMU, is an SMU Distinguished Alumni Award recipient and has served on numerous SMU boards and committees. As Vice Chair, Community Celebration, for The Second Century Celebration Organizing Committee, Mr. Boone spearheaded creation of The Power of Partnership: SMU Community and Economic Impact Report, released in April. Campaign Update asked him to discuss the report.
Campaign Update: Why was it important for SMU to produce this report?
Boone: Those of us close to SMU know about its huge impact on Dallas-Fort Worth and its emergence as a leading national university, but many in our region do not. Our current centennial commemoration provided an opportunity to produce an in-depth report demonstrating the incredible return that Dallas has realized on its investment in SMU over the past 100 years, and for SMU to say thank you again to Dallas for its ongoing support.
CU: What does the report say about SMU’s contributions to the economic strength of Dallas and the region?
Boone: SMU’s annual economic impact on Dallas-Fort Worth is $7 billion. The University’s activities support jobs in the region, generate significant tax revenues and attract hundreds of thousands of visitors who spend dollars here.
CU: How else does SMU impact the community?
Boone: The University serves the region as a major resource for education, providing a wide range of degree and nondegree programs. It serves as a major cultural resource, and students and faculty perform more than 200,000 hours of public service annually. The George W. Bush Presidential Center will be another very significant resource when it opens in 2013.
CU: What about the impact of SMU students on the region?
Boone: SMU’s student quality is especially noteworthy. The average SAT score for entering first-year students has increased 129 points over the past 15 years to 1269, with a goal of surpassing 1300 by 2015. At the same time, the student body has become more diverse geographically and culturally. Half, including about 1,000 international students, are from outside Texas, and ethnic minorities now make up 25 percent of the total. SMU is attracting a diverse group of bright young minds from around the nation and the world, many of whom will stay here and become leaders.
CU: What’s the most important conclusion you have drawn as a result of working on the report?
Boone: Because of SMU’s unrelenting desire to succeed and its proven access to private financial resources for enhancing the University’s academic strength and reputation, I would say that I have come to realize that SMU’s impact on the DFW region will be much greater in the future than it has been during the past 100 years.