SMU’s Impact: Counting The Ways The University Helps Community

As part of its Centennial commemoration, the University has published “Dallas & SMU: The Power of Partnership,” a report detailing SMU’s impact as a return on investment through its economic, intellectual, cultural and service activities.

The report was presented to more than 400 Dallas-Fort Worth leaders at a luncheon April 17.

> Read the SMU Community and Economic Impact Report

‘Dallas & SMU’ Report Highlights

• An impact of $861 million for the 2010-11 academic year from expenditures for SMU operations and capital projects; spending by students, parents and visitors drawn to the region by the University; and SMU expenditures for student scholarships.

• A total impact of $7 billion, including the above and expenditures by SMU’s 40,000 DFW alumni.

• From 1995 through 2015, an impact of $2.2 billion from capital projects, including more than 40 new or renovated SMU buildings and facilities thus far.

• University resources valued at $4 billion, including an endowment of $1.2 billion; real estate, buildings and equipment; art and collections; and other assets.

The report notes that SMU has raised more than $1.1 billion since 1995. The current Second Century Campaign coincides with the Centennial commemoration period, 2011-15. To date the campaign has raised more than $610 million, 81 percent of the $750 million goal.

Along with alumni from throughout the world, donors in the DFW region are major contributors to SMU’s campaigns. “Of the more than 42,000 donors to SMU in the last 15 years, 23,000 did not attend the University,” said Board of Trustees Chair Caren Prothro. “But they, like me, understand the value of a distinguished university in the heart of our city.”

SMU Board of Trustees Vice Chair Michael Boone ’63, ’67, who leads community outreach for the Centennial Organizing Committee, led development of the community impact report. “SMU’s academic presence and reputation will continue to ascend in a manner that brings much greater visibility and value to the region in the global marketplace,” he said.

The report also notes that SMU has established academic programs to support the city’s global impact, among them schools or institutes focusing on areas such as business, engineering, energy, and international affairs.

Speakers on SMU's economic and community impact were (from left) SMU Trustee Carl Sewell '66, President R. Gerald Turner, Trustee Chair Caren Prothro, Trustee Vice Chair Michael Boone '63, '67 and Trustee Ray L. Hunt '65. More than 400 area leaders attended the event.

SMU’s faculty numbers 705 scholar-teachers who increasingly conduct important research. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has raised SMU to the category of “high research activity,” among 96 universities nationwide. Research highlighted in the report includes projects on geothermal energy, effective drug therapies for debilitating diseases and developing artificial limbs that “feel.”

One of the most dramatic changes at SMU has been in its enrollment. Applications for admission have steadily increased, and the average SAT score has risen 129 points since 1995. Minority enrollment has reached 25 percent. Seventy percent of students receive some form of merit and/or need-based financial aid. About 50 percent of SMU students come from outside of Texas, representing all 50 states. More than 1,100 students come from 90 foreign countries. To increase global perspectives among its U.S. students, SMU has increased study abroad programs to 150 in 50 countries.

A major source of community impact is the growth in volunteerism among students and campus organizations and through academic programs that involve service, ranging from courses in human rights and theology to the arts and communications. Some 2,500 undergraduates contribute more than 200,000 hours of service a year. SMU also has increased its K-12 outreach. Law students provide six campus legal clinics, and
the pro bono law program, required for graduation, has provided more than 160,000 volunteer hours from 1996-2011.

City leaders attending a luncheon to hear SMU's Economic and Community Impact Report view a model of the main SMU campus in a lobby of the Federal Reserve Building, where the event occurred. The model shows current buildings and new construction, one of the many sources of SMU's contributions to the regional economy.

SMU attracts around 300,000 visitors a year to more than 500 lectures, performances, exhibitions and athletics competitions. The internationally known Meadows Museum attracts 60,000 visitors a year, including 7,000 area schoolchildren.

SMU’s report also notes that the George W. Bush Presidential Center will attract more than 450,000 visitors in the first year alone. Since 2010 the George W. Bush Institute has been sponsoring symposia on human freedom, education, the economy and global health.

Of the 112,000 SMU alumni worldwide, 40,000 live in the DFW region, where many hold leadership positions. They include CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, members of Congress, former First Lady of the United States, officials in foreign countries and organizers of humanitarian programs. SMU alumni have won Nobel and Pulitzer prizes; Academy, Emmy, Tony and Grammy awards; the Heisman trophy and Olympic gold medals.

Economic impact information was prepared by Bernard Weinstein, associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute in Cox School of Business and an adjunct professor of business economics, and Terry Clower, director of the Center for Economic Development and Research at the University of North Texas.

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