SMU’s multiyear centennial commemoration, marking the anniversaries of SMU’s founding and opening, is geared to supporting The Second Century Campaign by involving alumni, parents and friends in a range of special events and engaging them in SMU’s future progress.

The Second Century Celebration will enhance student recruitment, expansion of SMU’s donor base and awareness of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

The centennial commemoration kicked off April 15- 17 with the first annual Founders’ Day Weekend, which featured a variety of events, including an all-SMU community gathering April 15 in front of Dallas Hall, daytime fireworks and the raising of the centennial flag.

“It was a weekend that reminded us of where we’ve been and where we’re going,” said President R. Gerald Turner, noting SMU’s recent rise in the Carnegie Foundation’s research classification, the University’s highest-ever U.S. News & World Report ranking and a record number of student applications.

“I believe our founders would be proud of where we are as we acknowledge completion of our first century. This event also launched our second century of achievement.”

During the event, the University paid tribute to the people of Dallas and the United Methodist Church, which joined in partnership to establish SMU 100 years ago.

Following the gathering, many alumni, parents and friends attended classes taught by SMU faculty as part of Inside SMU. The day also included the annual President’s Briefing, highlighting SMU’s progress over the previous year, and a number of receptions, including the President’s Associates donor recognition event and a young alumni wine tasting held at the Meadows Museum.

On Saturday, April 16, SMU sponsored University Park’s Easter egg hunt at Goar Park. The annual neighborhood event featured the traditional Easter Bunny, the SMU Peruna mascot and other family activities.

Finally, the dome of Dallas Hall was illuminated for several evenings, in honor of the Dallas residents who provided land and funds used to construct SMU’s first building.

“A centennial allows us collectively to take stock, to take pride in our quality today and to reaffirm our even greater aspirations for the future,” said Carl Sewell ‘66, a co-chair of the Second Century Celebration Organizing Committee.

“The University’s founders would indeed be proud of SMU’s rise in the national rankings as well as the growth in quality of students, faculty and curriculum. We’re ready for a second century of achievement.”

Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler ‘48, also a co-chair of the Second Century Celebration Organizing Committee, said, “As a longtime member of the SMU Board of Trustees, I have witnessed progress through the years, but never at the level and breadth of what we are experiencing today.

“Through our centennial activities, we will engage our alumni and the broader community more actively in the life and progress of the University, celebrate our achievements and prepare for even brighter days ahead.”

The Second Century Celebration will continue through 2015, the anniversary of the University’s opening in 1915.