Supporting Student Quality

Yandell “Tog” Rogers, Jr. ’61, and his wife, Suzie Rogers (center), surrounded by family members during a special SMU event in Houston that honored Rogers’ historic gift to Dedman School of Law.

Gifts to The Second Century Campaign are playing a central role in SMU’s successful efforts to attract top students to the Hilltop.

Thanks to the generosity and farsightedness of donors, more than $160 million has been invested in SMU’s student quality thus far toward a $200 million goal. That translates to more than 230 endowed merit-based scholarships added in the campaign to date.

These include endowments and annual support for the President’s Scholars and Hunt Leadership Scholars programs. They also include endowments for school-based scholarships that provide support for high-achieving students who express advance interest in the schools’ major programs.

The impact of scholarship support on SMU’s student quality is clear. The average SAT score of entering undergraduate first-year students has risen from 1185 to 1274 over the past decade. SMU has set a goal of achieving an average SAT score of 1300 by 2015.

At the same time as SAT scores have risen, SMU’s student body has become more diverse geographically and ethnically.

Among those who have answered the call to support SMU’s student quality is Yandell “Tog” Rogers, Jr. ’61, who has provided a gift of $12.1 million to Dedman School of Law to establish the Yandell “Tog” Rogers, Jr. Endowed Scholarship Fund. This is the second largest gift in the history of the law school, following the Dedman family gift of $20 million that resulted in naming the school in 2001, and the largest gift toward graduate scholarships in this campaign.

The gift was announced in November at a special event in Houston, where Rogers lives.

Rogers says he was motivated to give to the law school as someone who was able to attend the school through a scholarship.

“I’m paying back a debt,” he said. “Without a scholarship, I wouldn’t have made it through the SMU School of Law. This gift is to help other people in need do what I was able to do. I can honestly say that my years at the law school helped prepare me for all of the issues I would later face in business.”

“We are grateful to Tog Rogers for his vision and generosity in support of one of our key campaign priorities,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The Rogers Scholarships will have a long-term impact on Dedman School of Law by providing resources to educate leaders, like Tog, for generations to come.”

Yandell “Tog” Rogers, Jr.

Dennis E. Murphree ’69 (left) and Scott J. McLean ’78 (right), co-chairs of the Campaign Steering Committee for Houston, flank Yandell “Tog” Rogers, Jr.

“We are overwhelmed by the tremendous generosity of Tog Rogers,” said John B. Attanasio, the Judge James Noel Dean and Professor of Law in Dedman School of Law. “Continued investment in scholarships and faculty is essential to Dedman Law remaining competitive and advancing the momentum of recent years. We attract some of the most sought-after students from across the country and around the world. This is possible only because of the exceptional generosity of our donors.”

Rogers is a member of the Executive Board of Dedman School of Law and the Houston Steering Committee of The Second Century Campaign. Three of his five children are SMU graduates. Wiley Yandell Rogers, III ’86 earned a B.B.A. in finance. Laura Rogers Braun ’87 earned an M.B.A., and Matthew Alford Rogers ’03 graduated with B.A. degrees in public policy and economics.

Gifts for both graduate and undergraduate scholarships remain crucially important if SMU is to continue this momentum through the final three years of the campaign. SMU gratefully accepts gifts that create endowments as well as annual gifts supporting the University’s scholarship fund.

To learn more, please contact Pam Conlin, assistant vice president for University Development, at 214-768-3738 or