A message from R. Gerald Turner to alumni and friends

Dear Mustang Family:

The global spread of COVID-19 is affecting all of us – the way we learn, live, work and play. I wanted to update you on how we continue to approach this situation at SMU. 

First, we hope that you and your families remain safe and healthy. Our hearts go out to those who have been impacted by the virus. We extend our warmest wishes for a swift recovery to those who are sick. And we are inspired by the many SMU alumni on the front lines working tirelessly to care for others. 

Since our last update in March, we have extended online learning through June and postponed SMU’s spring Commencement to August 15. Now we are turning our attention to assessing the financial impact this pandemic will have on our SMU community. We are evaluating various scenarios coming out of the stay-at-home restrictions and the financial implications thereof to share with our governing board in early May. We are exploring every aspect of our operations to reduce expenses while mitigating impacts to the extent possible on our students, staff and faculty. 

In particular, our students are the most vulnerable. Some have experienced loss of income and are having to consider if they are able to return to the Hilltop. And many of our recently admitted students are also having to re-examine their plans to go to college. We are planning an appeal in the coming weeks to help these students pursue their goals of graduating from SMU.

Amid this disruptive environment, we find numerous examples of creative and generous ways our community is responding. Here are just a few:

 On a more personal note, I miss the vibrancy and energy of having our community together, so I dropped in on a few online classes this past week. We continue to engage and meet with our committees, volunteer groups and the Board of Trustees through video and audio conference calls.  

Thank you for your warm prayers and kind words of encouragement. Feel free to reach out to any of us if you have any questions or needs. We are a resource for you during this stressful time, and we will get through this challenge together. We are moving ahead with plans for the fall and look forward to welcoming back our alumni and friends to our beautiful campus. Until then, please stay safe and healthy. 

With deepest gratitude,
R. Gerald Turner
SMU President