Bolstered by the success to date of SMU’s Second Century Campaign, the University’s Board of Trustees has raised the goal from $750 million to $1 billion.
At its quarterly meeting Friday, Sept. 13, the board voted unanimously to accept the new goal recommended by the campaign’s leadership.
The campaign seeks additional funds for scholarships, academic programs, faculty positions and campus improvements and facilities.
SMU already has surpassed its original goal and timetable, raising $780 million for a campaign scheduled to end in 2015, the 100th anniversary of the University’s opening. That date is now set to mark another milestone – the completion of SMU’s first $1 billion campaign.
SMU will join only 12 other private universities currently seeking goals of $1 billion or more. Among them are Columbia, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, the University of Chicago and the University of Southern California. SMU is the first comprehensive university in North Texas to seek that amount.
“The generosity of our donors, the strength of our campaign leadership and the hard work of volunteers around the globe have resulted in record-breaking support for SMU,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Even during uncertain economic times, our donors kept the momentum of the campaign going. They did not skip a beat in continuing to fund SMU’s rise in quality and reputation.”
Gerald J. Ford, trustee and convening co-chair of the campaign, said, “The notable investment made in SMU through the campaign demonstrates the University’s positive trajectory and unprecedented momentum. Raising and achieving the campaign goal is the next logical step for SMU as it expands its national and global impact.”
“Adding to SMU’s momentum during its Centennial era, 2011-2015, is the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library, Museum and Institute,” Turner said. “This resource has attracted joint programming, concurrent appointments of SMU faculty and Bush fellows, visiting dignitaries, heightened visibility and more than 206,000 visitors to campus thus far. The support attracted by this resource has already been a tremendous benefit to the campus, city and nation.”
The funding campaign for the Bush Center, conducted by the Bush Foundation, proceeded separately from SMU’s Second Century Campaign, although at the same time. The Bush funding campaign raised more than $500 million for construction, programming and endowment for the Bush Center. “The campaigns have been synergistic, achieving mutual success,” Turner said.
Read about the $1 billion campaign goal in The Dallas Morning News.
Important SMU Priorities
Raising the campaign goal to $1 billion will provide gifts to fund additional scholarships, endowed faculty positions, academic programs and campus life enhancements, including new facilities.
Faculty and academic leadership positions targeted for endowments include those in areas such as entrepreneurship, biostatistics, science and technology law, the impact of the arts on communities, art history, theological studies and library support.
Academic programs earmarked for new endowments and operational support represent areas of growing importance to the region and nation, among them programs in energy management, public policy, interdisciplinary studies, cyber security, arts research and K-12 school leadership.
Increased scholarship funding is being sought to support top undergraduate and graduate students throughout the University. These resources will ensure that SMU can educate the next generation of leaders in areas such as the arts, sciences, business and engineering, disciplines that, with others, are critical to the future of Dallas.
Capital projects for academics include the renovation of Fondren Library Center in Central University Libraries and Bridwell Library in Perkins School of Theology. In addition, funding is being sought for new campus facilities, such as the Residential Commons complex and the Mustang Band Hall, now under construction. The campaign also seeks to complete funding for renovation and expansion of Moody Coliseum and construction of new complexes for tennis, golf and other sports, along with operational support for athletics.
SMU Board of Trustees chair and campaign co-chair Caren Prothro emphasized the case for going forward with a new goal: “The campaign has achieved remarkable results that can be seen in our impressive gains throughout the University, but its momentum tells us that much more can be accomplished. On behalf of the students we seek to serve and the faculty who help to shape their futures, we need additional resources for scholarships to attract the best among them and continue to increase our diversity. We need to recruit and retain faculty devoted to teaching, research and creativity with an impact on their disciplines and society. We want to establish and support new academic programs that will prepare students for leadership in their professions and communities. And we must provide the best facilities for these endeavors in a living-learning environment that is second to none.”
To Mike Boone, chair-elect of the SMU Board of Trustees, the University stands at a crossroads of opportunity and is ready to take a bold step forward. “At critical times in Dallas’ history, the city has been transformed by decisions that resulted in world-class assets for our community. Among these are an airport that serves as a global hub, a thriving arts district, a distinguished medical school producing Nobel laureates and a vibrant business community. Our new campaign goal signals the unequivocal commitment to join the list of milestones that have changed our community and its impact on the world.”
Results and Impact
To date, the campaign has raised funds for 472 new scholarships; 24 academic programs such as new schools, institutes and centers; 34 endowed faculty positions, bringing SMU’s total to 96 out of a goal of 100; and 26 capital projects, including new or expanded facilities for libraries, academic programs and athletics.
Many of the new academic programs SMU has created have direct impact on the Dallas region, such as new centers for legal services and financial studies. Schools recently endowed are the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering and the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, which focuses on school reform and programs for community impact. Other programs contribute to research and dialogue on important national and international issues, such as the Scholars Program of the John G. Tower Center for Political Studies, focusing on public policy and service, and the Embrey Human Rights Program. Still other resources, among them expanded acquisitions for the Meadows Museum and a new National Center for Arts Research, broaden the city’s reputation in the arts internationally.
In another measure of impact and rising quality, the average SAT score of entering students has risen from 1144 in 1999 to 1302 in 2013, thanks to increasing resources for scholarships.
“These resources bring outstanding students to Dallas and help to keep our bright local students in our region, all of which enriches the talent pool here,” said Carl Sewell, trustee and campaign co-chair. “Funding for new academic positions has enabled us to attract and retain scholars from throughout the world. Professors named to endowed chairs are distinguished scholars at the top of their careers and reputations,” he added. “They bring important research projects and work not only with graduate students, but also with undergraduates, mentoring them and involving them in their research.”
Ray L. Hunt, trustee and campaign co-chair, notes that increased academic resources “enable SMU to be nimble in creating new programs in emerging fields.” Examples include centers in alternative asset management, engineering leadership, and global markets and freedom. “Access to these programs will help our graduates to compete and lead in key areas where new expertise and perspectives are needed and will increase their contributions to critical areas for our nation and the world.”
As SMU changes with the impact of the campaign, “the community will be better served and Dallas will have the distinguished university it deserves,” said Mike Boone. “Regional leaders know that as SMU rises as a center of ideas, knowledge and service, our region will be strengthened as a global center of commerce and culture. Campaign resources have strengthened not only the University, but also the economic vitality of the region,” he said. “SMU is both an indicator and a predictor of success for Dallas and our region. We will continue to prosper together.”
Campaign Participation and Leadership
Thus far 58,159 donors have made one or more gifts to the campaign. This includes 279 who have given $100,000 or more, and 123 who have committed $1 million or more, an all-time high for SMU.
SMU’s campaign goals also include giving levels among alumni. The campaign seeks gifts from 25 percent of alumni each year and from 50 percent over the course of the campaign. Thus far more than 50 percent of SMU alumni have made one or more gifts during the campaign. A record 24 percent of alumni provided gifts in the fiscal year ending May 31, 2013, representing the highest number of alumni ever to give to SMU in a single year.
“The concept of a billion dollars may seem overwhelming, but the fact is that it will take gifts of all sizes for us to meet our new goal,” said Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler, a trustee and campaign co-chair. “So we’re asking our alumni to take part at any level they can afford. It all counts, and it all makes a difference. Together, we are living up to the theme of our campaign, SMU Unbridled.”
The Second Century Campaign is led by five co-chairs: Convening co-chair Gerald J. Ford, with Ruth Altshuler, Ray L. Hunt, Caren H. Prothro and Carl Sewell. They lead a 15-member Campaign Executive Council and nearly 40 Steering Committee co-chairs spearheading various fundraising efforts, such as those for each school, the libraries, athletics and student life. Regional campaigns range from New York to Los Angeles and from Mexico City to Hong Kong. Campaign committee members total more than 350 worldwide, and hundreds of others are providing volunteer support.