SMU reaches $1 billion campaign goal

SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign has reached its $1 billion goal ahead of schedule, raising unprecedented funding for scholarships, academic positions and programs, facilities and other enhancements to campus life.

The campaign’s official completion date is Dec. 31, 2015; campaign gifts will continue to be counted to that date.

The campaign announcement was made Thursday, Sept. 24, at a gathering of volunteers, donors, alumni, civic leaders and other members of the campus and Dallas communities. The event in McFarlin Auditorium was the official celebration of the 100th anniversary of SMU’s opening on Sept. 24, 1915 – and a rally for its future. The centennial is being celebrated during a weekend of Homecoming and other special events.

“This is a doubly historic day for us,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of SMU’s opening, we are pleased to announce unprecedented new support for our future. Our founders were forward-looking leaders, and they’d be pleased to see that today’s supporters are generously investing in our next century of achievement. These donors are truly the founders of our second century.”

SMU joins 34 private universities nationwide to conduct a campaign to raise $1 billion or more through major gifts campaigns. The institutions range from Columbia University and the University of Notre Dame to Emory and Vanderbilt universities.

“By raising $1 billion to support academic excellence, SMU joins distinguished company within the higher education community,” said Gerald J. Ford, SMU trustee and convening co-chair of the campaign. “This stature underscores the reality of our growth in quality and reputation. SMU is proving to be a wise and worthy investment, not only among donors, but also among the young people who will invest their futures with us as students.”

Read more below and from SMU News.

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SMU to celebrate 100th birthday during Homecoming

IMG_2-710SMU’s opening on Sept. 28, 1915, was proclaimed a “day of jubilation.” This year’s “Hundredth on the Hilltop” Homecoming celebration, Sept. 23-26, also will draw a jubilant crowd to “Pony Up!” and party down at history-making events.

“This promises to be the biggest Homecoming ever,” says Peter Lodwick ’77, ’80, chair of the SMU Alumni Board. “Please join us for what is certain to be an unforgettable celebration at a unique time in SMU history. Highlights will include the new tradition of festively lighting Dallas Hall, lots of pregame family fun, special exhibits for the entire community, alumni activities galore and a fireworks extravaganza after the football game in Gerald J. Ford Stadium.”

Read more below about events for the whole community and especially for students, parents, faculty, staff and alumni.

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‘Station Eleven’ author to present lecture at SMU

Station-Eleven-North-American-coverEmily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven, the 2015 SMU Reads selection, will present a free lecture at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9, at McFarlin Auditorium. The community is invited to attend.

SMU students are reading the book as part of the common reading program, an academic initiative, which includes small-group discussions about the book before classes begin.

Station Eleven is set in year 20 after a virus has killed almost all humanity. The main characters are a traveling troupe of actors and musicians who bring performances of Shakespeare to the small and struggling human settlements that remain. The novel tells the story of the global disaster in real time and of its survivors 20 years later.

Community members, alumni, book lovers and book clubs are invited to join SMU Reads and take part in other events planned by the University’s SMU Reads partner, the Dallas Public Library. Events include survivalist training at REI, urban emergency preparedness from Dallas County health leaders at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library and a pop-up performance of King Lear performed by Shakespeare Dallas. For more details about events and to preregister for Mandel’s lecture, visit

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Welcome, New Mustangs!

 SMU welcomed new Mustangs and their families on Move-In Day, August 19, 2015, kicking off Mustang Corral.


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Update: Virginia-Snider Commons and Lee Dining Hall open

Update Friday, August 28, 6 a.m.:

Repairs on campus have been completed. Virginia-Snider Commons will reopen for residents at 7:30 a.m. Friday, August 28.

Lee Dining Hall at the Umphrey Lee Center will reopen to serve dinner Friday and resume normal operating hours on Saturday. Other campus dining locations, including Arnold Commons and Hughes-Trigg, are open today. Mac’s Place will begin serving breakfast at 7 a.m.

SMU thanks campus community members for their patience. SMU Dining Services will serve a free barbecue picnic for students from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at the Flagpole, while supplies last.

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Watch Opening Convocation at

Opening ConvocationAll new first-year and transfer students are encouraged to attend SMU’s 101st Opening Convocation at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, August 23. President R. Gerald Turner is serving as Convocation speaker.

Families and friends are invited to view a live webcast of the event at, beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday.

At Convocation, students are formally welcomed to the SMU community in a ceremony dating back to 1915. Highlights include the faculty in full academic regalia and the presentation of the new class of students to the president, SMU administrators and professors. An important part of Convocation is the Rotunda Passage, in which students pass through the Rotunda of Dallas Hall.

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New look for 25th Mustang Corral

corral-e1426110835258Mustang Corral turns 25 this year as the University turns 100, with a new schedule and new events designed to introduce incoming students to SMU, Dallas and each other. Not to worry, however, as favorite traditions like the Club Corral dance and candlelight closing ceremony remain part of Corral.

Update: See Tweets from Discover Dallas and photos on SMU Facebook.

Redesigned to better fit the new Residential Commons model of student housing at SMU, Corral 2015 is an extended five-day University orientation for first-year and transfer students. It begins on move-in day, Wednesday, Aug. 19 and ends with the close of Opening Convocation on Sunday, Aug. 23.

Corral traditionally includes an off-campus trip to a retreat center where students have been divided into groups and sent to different locations for several days. But the new plan calls for just for one night away from campus, with students grouped with their new neighbors from the residential commons community to which they have been assigned to live. Each Residential Commons develops its own unique traditions, gatherings and activities that build community and long-term bonds among residents.

“As we are planning Mustang Corral 2015, we are all keeping in mind the time-honored components which are held most sacred to SMU students, faculty, staff and alums,” says Nicki Fletcher, one of four Corral student leaders responsible for planning Mustang Corral and director of a new Corral program called “Discover Dallas.”

“We are taking traditions that have not been changed for several years and looking at ways to strengthen them so that they may become even more special and relevant to the SMU community,” Fletcher says. “We also have added new activities to make Corral even better.”

dallas-skyline-at-nightDiscover Dallas” will give new students the opportunity Thursday, Aug. 20, to select one of 26 Dallas field trips, guided by SMU faculty members, who will take students to some of their favorite places in the city SMU calls home. Students can join faculty as they explore the Mexican-American culture and history of Dallas, tour the Holocaust Museum with a human rights professor, or visit the Bishop Arts District studio of an artist and SMU advertising professor. A music professor is taking students to the Dallas zoo and an education professor is taking students to the Dallas Arboretum. Other student choices will include kayaking White Rock Lake, touring AT&T Stadium, and visiting the Dallas Federal Reserve and the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

“We know part of the reason students choose SMU is because of the opportunities Dallas offers,” says Jomita Fleming, associate director for student transitions. “We want to help connect students with the city of Dallas from the very beginning.”

Mustang Corral also will include the Mustang cookout for students and families on Wednesday, Aug. 19, and the class photo and an introduction to campus activities at “Night at the Club” on Saturday, Aug. 22. Sunday, Aug. 23, begins with University worship in the morning, and the Common Reading discussions of Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel, in the afternoon.

Mustang Corral ends and the official academic year begins Sunday evening with Rotunda Passage, a processional march through Dallas Hall’s Rotunda to Opening Convocation, the ceremonial gathering in McFarlin Auditorium where new first-year and transfer students are formally welcomed to SMU by faculty and administrators.

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SMU Health Center relocates to Perkins Hall

The SMU Health Center is relocating to Perkins Hall, 6004 Hillcrest Ave., on Tuesday, August 4, and will provide medical and other services beginning at 1 p.m.

Starting Wednesday, August 5, the Health Center will maintain normal operating hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at Perkins Hall. Appointments will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; call 214-768-2141.

The Health Center’s permanent home, the new Dr. Bob Smith Health Center, is under construction and expected to be completed in 2016.

Medical Services offered at Perkins Hall include consultations with physicians, immunizations and treatment of illnesses.

Other services include:

  • Counseling Services, 214-768-2277 (an emergency contact number is provided 24/7)
  • SMU Pharmacy, 214-768-2149
  • The Office of Student Health Insurance, 214-768-3408
  • Testing services for faculty exams and course evaluations, 214-768-2269
  • Health Education, 214-768-2393

SMU again will offer flu shots at no charge to students and benefit-eligible faculty, staff, retirees and retiree spouses. Information about fall flu shot clinics will be provided by email.

In case of an emergency, students are asked to call 911 or SMU Police at 214-768-3333. Local hospitals, emergency resources and area clinics are listed on the Health Center website.

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Welcome, new Mustang students and families

SMU helps incoming students and their families transition to college with Academic Advising, Registration and Orientation (AARO). The two-day orientation sessions begin July 7 and end August 18, and will be followed August 19-23 by Mustang Corral.

  • Mustang Minute: Click here or on the video to watch 2015 AARO leaders prepare for new students’ arrival. 

At AARO, first-year and transfer students and their families learn about campus resources and academic expectations. During their AARO sessions, students:

  • Meet and have one-on-one meetings with their academic adviser
  • Register for fall classes
  • Meet their AARO leaders, who are current SMU students
  • Spend the night in Boaz Commons, one of SMU’s Residential Commons
  • Learn about campus involvement opportunities

Along with their students, parents will learn about SMU academics and resources, and are encouraged to attend special parent and family programming.

During Mustang Corral, August 19-23, students will meet and interact with other incoming students, faculty, staff members and alumni.  They will explore academic life and the spirit and traditions of SMU, and will participate in a retreat at Camp Corral, just south of Dallas.

Students participating in Mustang Corral move into their residence halls August 19. The deadline to register for Mustang Corral is August 15.

Get ready for the Hilltop: 

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Year in Review: A look back at 2014-15 on the Hilltop

SMU looks back on an exciting 2014-15 as it marks 100 years.  

Watch the video from SMU News’ Myles Taylor.

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