Chair of the SMU Board of Trustees since June 2014, Mr. Boone served as a co-chair of The Second Century Campaign and The Second Century Celebration Organizing Committee. He is also a member of the executive boards of Dedman School of Law and Dedman College and received SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1996. After earning both his undergraduate and law degrees from SMU, he co-founded the law firm Haynes and Boone LLP. This Campaign Q&A is the last of six interviews with the campaign co-chairs that have appeared in the final editions of Campaign Update.
Campaign Update: SMU celebrated The Second Century Campaign Finale on April 15. What message would you like to communicate to the many people who made the campaign successful – as well as the broader community that has supported SMU’s progress?
Boone: Our tremendous success would not have been possible without two groups of individuals. First, our donors. SMU attracted unprecedented support from greater numbers of individuals and organizations than ever before in our history – ultimately reaching more than 65,000 donors.
Leading the charge were our 183 donors who committed more than $1 million each and 610 additional major donors who committed more than $100,000 each. They set the pace for our record-breaking results and enabled SMU to enter its second century with optimism and strength.
The second critical group is the volunteer organization. The Board and I are extremely grateful to the more than 500 committee members who worked for nearly a decade on the campaign. We also thank the volunteer leaders: my fellow Campaign Co-chairs Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler ’48; Gerald J. Ford ’66, ’69; Ray L. Hunt ’65; Caren H. Prothro; and Carl Sewell ’66; plus the other members of the Campaign Leadership Council. All of them gave the University precious time, generous resources and sage advice. SMU will forever be grateful for their leadership.
CU: What effect will the campaign have on SMU’s national impact and prominence?
Boone: SMU is only the 34th private U.S. university to undertake a $1 billion campaign. We’ve put ourselves in the company of institutions like Columbia, Notre Dame, Emory and Vanderbilt universities.
During the campaign, SMU’s rise in the U.S. News & World Report ranking was the sixth highest among the top 70 national universities. As our generous donors fulfill their campaign commitments, the University’s reputation will continue to strengthen.
Great global cities need great centers of learning that incubate ideas and actions that change the world. Our fundraising success helps SMU advance the growth and entrepreneurial culture of Dallas for many years to come.
CU: Given the campaign’s success, what do you see ahead in SMU’s future?
Boone: As President Turner has noted, SMU is uniquely positioned in the nation for educational leadership. We have tremendous people in our students, faculty and staff, tremendous resources in our campus and an ideal location to lead on national issues.
Remarkably, SMU’s best days are still ahead of us. Thanks to those who have set the course for the University’s second century, it is a great time to be a Mustang.