A message from R. Gerald Turner to alumni and friends

Dear Mustang Family:

We hope that you, your family, and your loved ones remain safe and healthy during this unprecedented time. Responding to the rapid and relentless expansion of COVID-19 has challenged us all. As I see our faculty and staff prepare for this first full week of online instruction and remote working, I am grateful for the resilience, strength and determination of our community to rise above it all with even stronger commitment to our mission. Many of you have received our emails and monitored the SMU blog, so you know that we have responded strategically to the threat of the pandemic to our on-campus community.

We have had to pivot and adapt rapidly these past few weeks by moving instruction online for the remainder of semester, enabling employees to work from home, and cancelling spring sports and usual spring events.
Nevertheless, as we work toward meeting these current demands, we are planning for the future when students and the entire SMU community can once again gather on our campus. In 105 years our University has successfully addressed many crises. I often refer to the words of SMU’s first president, Robert S. Hyer, who said, “Universities do not grow old but live from age to age in immortal youth.” The commitment of the University to enhancing human knowledge, ensuring social progress and shaping our students for successful futures will prevail beyond this difficult time. To paraphrase William Faulkner, we must not only endure this crisis but prevail against its destructive forces. And we will.

As you can imagine, the complexity of managing the needs of the entire SMU family is immense and requires diligent effort on our staff and faculty as well as the students themselves. I am proud of our campus community for the courage, patience and grace they have demonstrated. Our alumni and friends have always made sure that SMU has the commitment, support and resources to meet whatever challenges the University confronts.

This history grounds our continued optimism for the future. We look forward to all members of the SMU family returning this fall to the Hilltop to enjoy anew the beauty and ties of “Varsity.” Until then, we will keep you updated. Please stay safe and healthy.

With deepest gratitude,
R. Gerald Turner