Building on unprecedented accomplishments over the past decade, SMU has launched a three-year giving “stampede” focused on yearly investments that strengthen current efforts in every area of the University.
The drive, named Pony Power: Strengthening the Stampede, sets a goal to raise an average of $50 million a year in current-use gifts from June 1, 2017, to May 31, 2020, for a total of $150 million.
SMU President R. Gerald Turner provided a preview of the stampede to a gathering of the University’s key supporters during Founders’ Day weekend in April.
“The national universities with which SMU now competes have endowments two to three times the size of ours,” Turner said. “Annual fund gifts that bring immediate assistance to enhance what is happening at SMU today enable the University to ‘fight above its weight class’ as its endowment continues to grow.”
A committee of volunteer leaders representing academic schools and constituencies is leading Pony Power. The stampede is chaired by SMU trustees Caren H. Prothro and Carl Sewell ’66, with honorary chairs Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler ’48, Michael M. Boone ’63, ’67, Robert H. Dedman, Jr. ’80, ’84, Gerald J. Ford ’66, ’69, Ray L. Hunt ’65 and David B. Miller ’72, ’73.
Other representatives on the committee include Douglas Smellage ’77, chair of the SMU Alumni Board; Connie ’77 and Chris O’Neill, co-chairs of the SMU Parent Leadership Council; Paul Grindstaff ’15, president of the SMU Mustang Club; Fredrick Olness and Jennifer Jones, co-chairs of SMU Faculty and Staff Giving; SMU Student Giving representative Madison M. Zellers ’18.
Additional committee members include representatives from each school’s executive board: Kirk L. Rimer ’89, Cox School of Business; Jon J. Altschuler ’94, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; James L. Baldwin ’86, Dedman School of Law; Michael G. Sullivan ’85, ’91, Lyle School of Engineering; Marvin B. Singleton ’89, Meadows School of the Arts; Dodee F. Crockett ’03, Perkins School of Theology; and Richard H. Collins ’69, Simmons School of Education and Human Development.
“Pony Power represents a fantastic opportunity for donors and non-donors alike to enhance new initiatives created in recent years – and empower the University to take advantage of new opportunities as they emerge,” Prothro said. “Increasing our investment in these areas will ensure that SMU expands its ambitions and impact.”
Sewell said, “Peggy’s and my support for scholarships to SMU is one of the most rewarding things we have ever done. Current-use gifts fuel student scholarships and fellowships, faculty research and every area of the student experience. If thousands of donors join together to give $50 million each year, SMU can outperform traditional academic powers when it comes to attracting outstanding students, charting new fields of knowledge and solving complex problems.”
To encourage others to experience for themselves the benefits of consistent, increased giving for current use, one strategy SMU will employ is the expanded SMU Fund, which provides flexible support for key priorities and emerging opportunities. SMU Fund donors will be able to designate their gifts to broad areas such as SMU’s greatest needs, scholarships and faculty; to the highest priorities of a school or the libraries; or to campus experiences through Athletics or Student Affairs.
Brad Cheves, vice president for Development and External Affairs, said, “Expanding the SMU culture of annual giving and encouraging donors to commit to extend their annual gifts over a three-year period helps every school and unit plan its efforts to address the University’s strategic priorities.”
To learn more about Pony Power and see a video about the impact of current-use gifts, visit smu.edu/ponypower.