The Join the Stampede giving challenge picked up momentum as more than 7,500 SMU undergraduate alumni made a gift to SMU between June 1, 2014, and Homecoming Weekend. The total significantly surpassed not only the original goal of 6,000 donors by Homecoming but also the goal of 7,000 donors by December 31, 2014 – key milestones on the path to setting a new record for giving in a single school year.

“This year, 7,514 SMU alumni have established a new record for giving in the first six months of the year,” said Leslie Long Melson ’77, SMU Alumni Board chair. “Because of the extraordinary response, we’ve extended our goal for the holidays to 8,500 donors. We hope the generosity of the more than 7,500 alumni who have given will inspire other Mustangs to join them.”

In addition to the undergraduate alumni, thousands of graduate alumni, parents, faculty and staff, and friends also have given during this school year.

Join the Stampede was launched to encourage alumni giving and help SMU achieve one of the key goals in The Second Century Campaign: having at least 25 percent of undergraduate alumni make a gift to the University every year. In each of the past three fiscal years, 24 percent of SMU alumni made a gift. The 12-month period from June 1, 2014, through May 31, 2015, is the last fiscal year of the campaign and the last chance to reach the 25 percent total. A total of 13,625 undergraduate alumni donors is needed by May 31, 2015, to achieve the 25 percent giving percentage.

Yearly participation rates affect rankings by U.S. News & World Report and other ranking services, raise SMU’s stature and increase the value of a University degree.

“Much of the success of Join the Stampede to this point is the result of hard work by SMU alumni who have volunteered to contact their friends and classmates,” said Marianne B. Piepenburg ’81, assistant vice president for alumni and constituent giving. “In addition to the generous gifts of reunion classes, we saw incredible success in the Dallas-area neighborhoods and regional alumni chapters across the country that set specific giving targets – and activated volunteers to make personal calls to achieve those targets.”