The countdown has begun on the final 18 months of The Second Century Campaign. As we enter this important phase, I want to express deepest appreciation to Caren Prothro as she completes two terms of service as chair of SMU’s Board of Trustees, and to welcome Mike Boone ‘63, ‘67 as our incoming Board chair. SMU is especially fortunate to have such farsighted and committed leaders during this exciting time for the University.

For much of the campaign, the emphasis has been on reaching – and exceeding – our overall financial goal. That focus remains crucial as the campaign continues the march to the $1 billion mark by the end of 2015.
Of equal importance, however, is achieving the key campaign goal of having at least 25 percent of all undergraduate alumni provide a gift each and every fiscal year – a major milestone, an important indicator of alumni engagement and a factor in our national ranking. We also continue to seek gifts from everyone who is part of SMU’s family.

The adjacent article details why yearly gifts make such a difference and outlines the campaign strategy for reaching the 25 percent annual alumni participation goal in 2014–15.

The importance of receiving broad support has been evident since SMU’s founding, when the citizens of Dallas came together to provide the financial resources necessary to create a new university on the North Texas prairie. It has remained important throughout SMU’s history, such as when donors supported the annual fundraising effort called Sustentation.

Ultimately, however, yearly giving is about more than reaching a goal during a single year or even a single campaign. It is about alumni and friends demonstrating their ongoing commitment to an institution that continues to play a vital role in their lives, in the lives of family members and in the life of our community and our nation. And it is about maintaining a lifelong connection to SMU.

Thank you for your continued support in this exciting time. And thank you for your commitment as we move forward together.