When we considered themes for our current major gifts drive, we chose SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign for a number of reasons. The word “unbridled” speaks for itself – our potential is unbounded, characteristic of energetic mustangs.

We thought longer and harder about the second part of the title, however, because we were approaching the 100th anniversary of our founding, in 2011, and of our opening, in 2015. Wanting to honor our past while focusing forward, we chose The Second Century Campaign.

This balance of past and future also guides planning for the commemorative centennial activities that will begin in 2011. As we begin this special new year for us, we also carry forward some remarkable progress: In 2010 SMU ranked number 56 in the “best national universities” category of U.S. News & World Report, a jump from number 68 in 2009. Over the past several years, admission applications have almost tripled, totaling 9,093. Average SAT scores have increased nearly 100 points, reaching 1244 in 2010. Minority enrollment has risen to 22.6 percent, and minority students compose 26.2 percent of the 2010 entering class. The endowment has more than doubled in the past 15 years, reaching $1.07 billion in 2010, even with the recent downturn. At the midpoint of our Second Century Campaign, we have raised more than $460 million in gifts and pledges toward our goal of $750 million.

And on November 16 we celebrated the groundbreaking of the new George W. Bush Presidential Center, a facility that will enable generations of students and scholars to examine an important period of our nation’s history.

In her first meeting as chair of SMU’s Board of Trustees, Caren H. Prothro said, “I can’t recall as many positives at SMU than what is happening now. Trustees, alumni, parents and friends – all have played a vital role in bringing us here and moving us forward.”

Thank you, and let’s keep going. Happy new century to us all.

R. Gerald Turner