Donors charged past two spring campaign participation goals as part of the Join the Stampede giving challenge, putting SMU within reach of achieving an overall goal of 25 percent alumni giving in 2014–15, the final fiscal year of The Second Century Campaign.

SMU needs to receive gifts from a total of 13,625 undergraduate alumni by May 31 to reach the 25 percent goal.

The President’s Centennial Challenge ended March 15 with a total of 11,055 alumni having provided gifts, blowing past the goal of 10,000 set for that date. Donors strongly responded to President R. Gerald Turner’s call for all alumni to give during 2014–15, as well as to appeals from the deans of all SMU schools. More than 1,200 alumni who had already given made an additional gift during the President’s Centennial Challenge.

The giving total reached 12,018 following the April 14 one-day Find Your Cause challenge, focused on younger alumni. The challenge set a record for the number of gifts received by SMU in a single day. Younger alumni were offered the opportunity to give to specific causes with very identifiable impact. SMU solicited donations to one of three causes that enhance the student experience:

  • An Alternative Breaks fund that will enable more students to take part in the program by reducing the participation cost;
  • A fund to purchase two new projectors for the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center in the Paul B. Loyd, Jr. All-Sports Center; and
  • A new Military Alumni of SMU scholarship fund supporting veterans attending SMU.

Currently underway is the final Join the Stampede initiative of the year, Horsepower Challenge. A corps of more than 550 volunteers from across the country have agreed to make personal appeals to their alumni classmates and neighbors as part of the final Horsepower Challenge, which also includes a robust set of solicitation mailings, emails and telephone calls from regional and city campaign co-chairs. This unprecedented level of peer-to-peer fundraising is expected to be a key to SMU’s setting a new record for alumni giving by May 31.

“The alumni giving rate is one of the many factors taken into consideration in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of national universities,” said Leslie Long Melson ’77, 2013–15 chair of SMU’s Alumni Board.

“It is viewed as an indicator of the strength of the relationship between the school and its alumni. Because of the impact on these rankings, it is essential that every SMU alumnus make a gift every year. The act of making a gift annually is just as important as the amount you give.”