Facing the final opportunity to reach a key goal of The Second Century Campaign, SMU donors came through with record-setting generosity.

During the 2014–15 school year, 13,980 undergraduate alumni made a gift to SMU, which represents 26 percent of all undergraduate alumni – both records for the University. “Over the past decade, SMU undergraduate alumni have nearly doubled their participation rate in yearly giving,” said Leslie Long Melson ’77, 2013–15 chair of SMU’s Alumni Board.

“The extraordinary generosity of SMU alumni demonstrates their pride in SMU and their commitment to strengthening its future,” she added.

In addition, 18,525 graduate alumni, parents and friends made gifts during the year, also setting a record. The SMU campus community joined the effort: a record-breaking 1,404 members of the faculty and staff made gifts to SMU, as did 1,274 students.

“SMU is grateful to every person who made a donation during the 2014–15 school year,” said R. Gerald Turner, SMU president. “We’re proud that SMU now is part of an elite group of only 30 universities in the U.S. News & World Report rankings with a 25 percent alumni giving rate.”

To achieve the giving record, SMU employed the slogan Join the Stampede and under that banner organized mini-campaigns. During the year, SMU donors:

  • Became Stampede Leaders by giving early in the campaign. These donors were recognized at the Friday Night Stampede pep rally before the first home football game on September 20.
  • Expressed pride in their favorite SMU groups by making a gift before Homecoming to show they were “All In for Homecoming.”
  • Answered President Turner’s challenge to make a gift by mid-March. Deans of each of SMU’s schools also highlighted opportunities to invest in priority areas in the schools.
  • Participated in SMU’s one-day Find Your Cause challenge on April 14, 2015, when donors set a record for the number of gifts received by SMU in a single day.

Responded to the Horsepower Challenge in the final month of the school year with a flood of gifts.

“Driving the success of Join the Stampede were the more than 550 alumni who volunteered
to pick up the phone or reach out in person to their friends and classmates,” said Marianne
B. Piepenburg ’81, assistant vice president for alumni and constituent giving.

In addition to achieving the goal of 25 percent of alumni giving in a single year, SMU donors have already surpassed The Second Century Campaign goals of more than 50 percent of alumni donating at least once during the campaign (currently at 57 percent and growing) and more than 500 new endowed scholarships (currently at 560).

As the University seeks to join the elite company of private universities that have raised $1 billion in a single campaign, it also is nearing its goals for the total number of endowed faculty positions and new major capital projects. Commitments to SMU through December 31, 2015, count toward The Second Century Campaign.