National initiatives are making a major contribution to raising SMU’s profile around the United States and ultimately contributing to the success of The Second Century Campaign.
The University has experienced measurable increases in a number of categories that reflect national awareness of SMU. They include: broader media exposure; stronger recruitment results; increased engagement in alumni chapters and other constituent activities; and more alumni donors.
Contributions from the campaign’s national leadership cities comprise approximately $116 million of the campaign total thus far. The Second Century Campaign has an announced goal of raising $750 million for University priorities and is slated to run through 2015.
To date, the campaign has received more than 30,000 individual commitments from donors in the 10 leadership cities – Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.
That represents a rise of 35 percent in the number of commitments and a 151 percent rise in the value of leadership city commitments over the totals received during the entirety of SMU’s previous campaign, A Time to Lead.
Prominent among the initiatives that have contributed to this success are focused efforts to re-engage alumni around the United States in the life of the University.
For instance, SMU had 16 alumni chapters in 2006. Today 37 national chapters, 15 international chapters and four affinity groups are enabling large sections of SMU’s global alumni base to sustain a connection to SMU and stay apprised of the University’s progress and goals for the future.
SMU also has launched a number of other programs to enhance alumni involvement. They include no fewer than 21 national volunteer service opportunities that benefit the University, students and local communities around the country.
The National Mustang Club also has played a signature role in elevating the University’s national reputation and generating support for SMU Athletics. Since its creation in December 2010, the organization has contributed $451,000, including $260,000 in fiscal 2012, to the Mustang Club total.
Spearheaded by 30 volunteer leaders in 22 regions of the United States, the organization comprises alumni as well as parents and other SMU Athletics donors.
The strengthened bonds between University and alumni that such initiatives engender have been reflected in higher levels of alumni giving. Almost 47 percent of SMU’s alumni have made a campaign contribution thus far, en route to achieving a 50 percent alumni participation total by the campaign’s conclusion. In fiscal 2012, 24 percent of alumni made a contribution, building toward a 25 percent yearly participation goal by 2015.
SMU also is actively engaged in reaching out to various University constituencies in other ways. One example is the coordination of “sendoff” parties – gatherings for entering first-year SMU students and their parents held in July and August. These events help bring the life and spirit of the Hilltop to cities around the country and help create a connection between SMU and parents, as well as others who might not have attended the University.
Through national outreach initiatives such as these, the University’s profile will continue to rise around the United States.