BooneMichael M. Boone became chair of SMU’s Board of Trustees June 1. In that capacity he also is the sixth co-chair of The Second Century Campaign. He is a member of The Second Century Celebration Organizing Committee and the executive boards of Dedman School of Law and Dedman College. He also spearheaded the creation of the SMU Community and Economic Impact Report, released in 2012. Mr. Boone is a recipient of SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Award. After earning both his undergraduate and law degrees from SMU, he co-founded the law firm Haynes and Boone LLP. Campaign Update spoke to Mr. Boone about his history of commitment to SMU and his vision for the University’s future.

Campaign Update: You have served SMU in a variety of ways over many years and now have begun your tenure as board chair. Why have you chosen to remain so involved in the life of the University?

Boone: I had an extraordinary education both as an undergraduate and as a law student at SMU, and I have felt an obligation to give back to an institution from which I received so much. More important, I understand SMU’s unique role as a resource. The University’s impact as a provider of educational opportunities, cultural enrichment and public service in Dallas and the North Texas region is unmatched, and its alumni have been leaders in Dallas since the University’s beginning. I also believe that SMU’s importance as a national and global resource will only continue to grow.

CU: How would you compare SMU today with the University when you attended?

Boone: SMU today is better than when I was a student. There are more faculty members with national reputations than ever before, the quality of the student body has been enhanced and the University has built or renovated a large number of critical facilities. That includes the addition of the new high-performance computer, which is essential if the University is to attract additional external research funding. Much of that progress stems from support provided by SMU’s two most recent campaigns, including The Second Century Campaign, which continues to be truly transformative.

CU: What would you identify as priorities moving forward?

Boone: SMU must ensure that students continue to receive the education they need to be leaders and that faculty continue to have the tools necessary to create new knowledge that drives societal progress and economic growth. I also would like to see the University increase its partnerships with other educational institutions and organizations as a way of tackling major challenges and expanding its national and global profile.

CU: What message would you like to send to those who care about SMU and its future progress?

Boone: It’s so important that support for SMU remain strong throughout the final phase of The Second Century Campaign, which runs through the end of 2015. That support is crucial if the University is to continue its rise as a global educational and research institution. Building on the progress so far, we can help propel SMU to even greater prominence and influence.