Dallas civic leader Ruth Altshuler serves as co-chair of The Second Century Campaign Leadership Council, co-chair of The Second Century Celebration Organizing Committee and as an SMU trustee. She served as chair of the Board of Trustees from 2000–02. She has served on numerous other SMU boards and committees and is a recipient of the University’s Distinguished Alumni Award. This Campaign Q&A with Mrs. Altshuler marks the first of six interviews with campaign co-chairs, including those in upcoming issues of Campaign Update, leading to the campaign’s conclusion.
Campaign Update: As a longstanding SMU trustee, an alumni leader and a donor, what is your perspective on the impact of The Second Century Campaign to date?
Altshuler: I think this campaign will go down as the most exciting and meaningful period of development ever experienced by the University. The campaign’s sustained leadership, the unparalleled level of support it has generated and the accomplishments of students and faculty – aided at least in part by campaign success – all mark this era as a special time. The campaign is helping us to step into the big league and join the ranks of universities with national and international reputations and impact.
CU: How has the centennial commemoration aided the campaign?
Altshuler: The Second Century Celebration has provided SMU with a high level of visibility at the time that we are working toward achieving our campaign goals. Alumni also are focused on this milestone and want to be a part of the activity surrounding the commemoration. And having the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in the middle of this period helped draw national and international attention to the University and the amazing progress that is taking place on the SMU campus.
CU: What is important for us to focus on during the last year of the campaign?
Altshuler: There are four basic areas. First, we need to meet the key campaign goal of having 110 endowed faculty positions. A distinguished faculty lies at the heart of our efforts to be one of the nation’s finest universities, and resources for faculty help ensure that we can attract and retain the nation’s best teachers and scholars. Second, we must continue to fund the remaining capital projects currently on our list of needed facilities. Third, we need to meet our yearly alumni participation goal by May 2015 to demonstrate the support of alumni for their institution. Finally, we must meet the $1 billion financial goal by the end of the campaign, through which we will gain support for critical academic programs and student scholarships.
It’s now time for the final push in this marathon, and we need everyone to be ambassadors for the campaign in the final months. If we all pull together we’ll meet every goal and secure SMU’s future. I’d like to thank everyone for coming this far with us. It’s going to be an exciting year!