Founders’ Day 2016 marked another milestone in the history of SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign. In addition to the campus campaign finale celebrating $1.15 billion raised in gifts and pledges, Founders’ Day April 15 honored more than 65,000 donors to the campaign.
Among them are 10,000 individuals whose names are now literally etched into the history of SMU. They gave funds for pavers, at $100 each, to create a new campus promenade. The pavers are engraved with the donors’ names or the names of others they wish to honor – families, friends, favorite professor or administrators. Invited to share online their stories behind the pavers, donors recalled special memories ranging from “this is where I met my wife” to “these professors changed my life.”
A 2012 gift from the Crain Foundation enabled construction of the Crain Family Centennial Promenade, which in turn offered the opportunity for others to join in with honorific pavers. The promenade makes the campus more pedestrian-friendly, linking the Hughes-Trigg Student Center on the north with the new Residential Commons complex on the southern end of the campus. It is a convenient passageway to sites including the George W. Bush Presidential Center, Moody Coliseum, Collins Executive Education Center and Blanton Student Services Building. The Crain family represents three generations of SMU alumni.
The Crain Promenade provides the setting for other historic markers on campus – a permanent plaque wall, over 6 feet in height, honoring the highest-level donors who have made campaign history with the size and scope of their giving. They include 183 donors of $1 million and up and 601 supporters giving from $100,000 to $999,000.
“It takes donors at every level for a campaign to succeed,” says Brad E. Cheves, SMU vice president for development and external affairs. “We appreciate every gift and are pleased that our campaign finale could honor so many generous donors. These donors are paving the way into our second century of achievement.”
The Founders’ Day campaign finale celebrated the official campaign results reported to the University’s Board of Trustees at its February meeting. The $1.15 billion total represents the largest campaign amount raised by any private institution in Texas.
The campaign is providing 689 new student scholarships; raising the previous number of 62 endowed faculty positions to a new total of 116; and supporting 68 new or significantly enhanced academic programs and initiatives, including endowments for two schools. Twenty-four capital projects have been substantially funded, including new facilities for academic programs, student housing and athletics. Other gifts for campus enhancements support expanded career services and leadership programs.
SMU joins 34 private universities nationwide that have undertaken campaigns of $1 billion or more. The institutions include Columbia University, the University of Notre Dame, and Emory and Vanderbilt universities.
PROGRAMS IN EMERGING FIELDS
Among academic program enhancements, campaign resources enabled SMU to endow the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering and SMU’s newest and seventh degree-granting school, the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.
Also endowed during the campaign was the Judge Elmo B. Hunter Legal Center for Victims of Crime Against Women at the Dedman School of Law and other innovative legal clinics and centers. The new Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security in the Lyle School is an example of new interdisciplinary programs, joining expertise in engineering, political science and psychology.
Mirroring the importance of the arts in a thriving community, the Meadows Foundation provided the largest single gift to the campaign, $45 million, the largest in SMU history. The gift benefits SMU’s Meadows Museum and the Meadows School of the Arts, which offer collections and events that strengthen cultural programs of the region.
ATTRACTING THE BEST STUDENTS AND FACULTY
New funding for student scholarships will enable SMU to attract greater numbers of high-quality students. Those who remain in Dallas after graduation will strengthen the talent pool in the area, while those who leave for other cities will elevate recognition of SMU’s success in producing outstanding professionals.
“What this campaign will do for the next generation of leaders, researchers, innovators, artists and entrepreneurs is impossible to measure at this time, but the impact will be unprecedented,” says Gerald J. Ford ’66, ’69, trustee and convening co-chair of The Second Century Campaign.
New endowed scholarships created include support for undergraduates and graduate students in all seven schools of the University. New support also is being provided for SMU’s top two merit scholarship programs – the Nancy Ann and Ray L. Hunt Leadership Scholars and the SMU President’s Scholars.
Endowments for new faculty positions enable SMU to broaden the subjects taught and researched at the University. Faculty endowments provide support for research projects in addition to salaries, and enhanced research enables SMU scholars to make an impact on their varied disciplines and global issues.
LIVING AND LEARNING FACILITIES
New campaign-funded facilities include buildings for the Simmons School of Education and Human Development, Perkins School of Theology and Lyle School of Engineering, as well as a new Mustang Band Hall, new tennis center, and renovation and expansion of Moody Coliseum for athletics and academic ceremonies. In progress are the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center and Fondren Library Center renovation, parts of which were dedicated on April 15, such as the Fondren Foundation Centennial Reading Room.
Upcoming construction projects include the Gerald J. Ford Research Center and the Robson-Lindley Aquatics Center. At SMU-in-Taos, new facilities include a campus center, new and renovated housing and a chapel.
One of the most visible campaign projects is the addition of five new residence halls and a dining center as part of SMU’s new Residential Commons system, including on-site classes and faculty in residence. Six other halls have been renovated as Commons.
The Second Century Campaign was launched in 2008 with a goal of $750 million. Rapid progress toward that goal and opportunities for further advancements led SMU leaders to increase the goal to $1 billion. The last four years of the campaign, 2011-2015, coincided with SMU’s centennial era, marking the 100th anniversary of the University’s founding in 1911 and opening in 1915.
ACHIEVING LOCAL AND NATIONAL STATURE
The multiyear centennial commemoration has provided SMU with greater opportunities to recognize its special relationship with Dallas. In 1911, the city fought to become the location of the new university being planned by Methodist Church leaders, who then partnered with the city in establishing SMU in and for Dallas.
“Dallas and SMU have grown up together, and both are experiencing an era of great promise and momentum,” says Michael M. Boone ’63, ’67, chair of SMU’s Board of Trustees and a campaign co-chair. “I’m thrilled that this fundraising success helps ensure that SMU will continue to play a pivotal role in advancing the growth and entrepreneurial culture of Dallas.”
The prominence of SMU now transcends regional recognition.
“All major metropolitan areas have at least one nationally competitive university that educates the area’s workforce and leadership, serves as an intellectual and cultural hub and, through its research and innovation, contributes to the broader progress of society,” says President R. Gerald Turner. “SMU is proud to be that university for Dallas, with an impact that is national and global.”