Res Commons Groundbreaking

SMU broke ground on the new Residential Commons Complex April 20, the centerpiece of a major new phase of construction across campus. The enhancements represent just a portion of the impact being felt by donor support for The Second Century Campaign, which is helping propel SMU’s advance as a top private university.

As the 2011-12 academic and fiscal year drew to a close, SMU announced that campaign gifts to date total more than $631 million, representing more than 84 percent of the overall goal of $750 million. This success makes the campaign one of the largest in North Texas history, and puts it in the company of the most significant fundraising initiatives under way in U.S. higher education.

The campaign has received gifts from 45.4 percent of undergraduate alumni toward an announced goal of 50 percent by the campaign’s end. And we are well on the way to achieving our third major campaign goal: annual participation of 25 percent by the final year of the campaign. Annual participation has risen from 13 percent in 2005-06 to 22.5 percent in 2010-11. And SMU announced at the May 4 meeting of the Board of Trustees that we had already reached 20 percent participation for 2011-12, with many gifts still to be booked before the end of SMU’s fiscal year May 31.

Total gifts have included more than 100 commitments of $1 million or more. Five commitments have exceeded $20 million, including gifts in support of the Meadows School of the Arts and Meadows Museum, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, Lyle School of Engineering, Athletics, endowments for scholarships, graduate fellowships, faculty positions and other campus initiatives.

Among the highest priorities of the Centennial Strategic Plan is the recruitment of outstanding students. More than 230 endowed scholarships established through the campaign support this effort.

In one measure of success, the average SAT score of entering first-year students has risen 129 points over the past 15 years, from 1140 to 1269. SMU has set a goal of achieving an average SAT score of 1300 by 2015.

Endowments for faculty positions are helping SMU to recruit and retain outstanding teachers and scholars. Support for the campaign thus far has enabled SMU to add 23 new substantially endowed faculty positions, for a total of 85. That leaves 15 additional positions to be created to reach the University’s goal of 100.

Two of the positions have named the deanship of the Dedman School of Law and the deanship of the Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

The campaign has generated support for new facilities that are transforming the campus while maintaining the University’s traditional Collegiate Georgian architectural style. And on April 20, SMU broke ground on a new wave of campus development, expected to total more than $300 million in construction by 2015.

Endowments have established several new academic centers and institutes during the term of the campaign, including the Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity in the Lyle School of Engineering; the Don Jackson Center for Financial Studies in the Cox School of Business; and the new Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute, among others.

New academic majors also have evolved during the campaign,  including one in human rights, an outgrowth of the Embrey Human Rights Program in Dedman College.

Much of the campaign’s remarkable success is directly attributable to the work of 370 volunteers who lead or serve on campaign steering committees representing schools, units and geographic regions nationally and internationally.

This success has set the stage for a strong 2012-13, and  continued progress for years to come. The campaign is slated to run through the 2015 calendar year.