June 28, 2012

Alumni in seven chapters, along with membership of the National Mustang Club, set the pace for giving by hitting their campaign participation goals during fiscal year 2011-12.

Finishing the year with flying colors were Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, New York City, San Francisco, St. Louis and Washington, D.C., chapters.

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These chapter efforts were tied to an international outreach that keeps Mustangs informed about the University’s progress and connected to their alma mater. More than 7,500 guests attended over 200 events in 52 cities across the globe in 2011-12.

To keep alumni on track to attain a 25 percent annual giving participation rate by the end of the campaign, chapter leaders motivate members to pony up by adopting strategies tailored to their Mustangs’ interests.

For example, in Chicago the Centennial paver program was a winner, according to Caroline Sullivan ’08, who spearheaded the initiative. Alumni were encouraged to make their marks on the SMU centennial with a special gift of $100. In recognition of each donor, a commemorative etched paver will be placed in the Centennial Promenade to be constructed on Ownby Drive.

>The Second Century Celebration

“I donated because I loved every minute at SMU and couldn’t be more proud of our legacy,” explains Sullivan. “I think the personal element really got people excited about the paver program, which allows you to both literally and figuratively ‘make your mark’ on SMU.”

Check the back cover of the current print edition of SMU Magazine to see how you can make your mark on the SMU centennial.

Among the Chicago alumni participating were Lisa Lebeck ’07, who purchased a paver with her father, an SMU alumnus, and Micah Nerio ’08, who bought a paver to honor his father, Mark A. Nerio ’78, a former University trustee (1993-2008).

“Since I was a little kid, I remember Dad taking my brothers and me to visit the campus, where we attended special events and met distinguished alumni,” says Nerio. “SMU has always been a part of our family, and I’m proud to have followed in his footsteps.”

In New York City, alumni raised money for student travel in conjunction with the Embrey Human Rights Program in Dedman College. SMU is the first university in the South, and only the fifth in the country, to offer an academic major in human rights, which was officially launched in the spring.

“For a city that faced an absolute human rights violation in the 2001 attacks, this is something unique and worthwhile we pulled together and care about,” says Jackie Effenson ’05, chapter president.

The National Mustang Club extends the scope of SMU’s official athletic fundraising organization across the country with a network of 31 volunteers – including alumni, parents and friends of the University – operating in 22 national regions. Since its inception 18 months ago, the National Mustang Club has generated more than $451,000 in new gift dollars to support SMU student-athletes.

To date SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign has raised more than $631 million to support student quality, faculty and academic excellence, and the campus experience.