September 14, 2009
By Robert Miller
Southern Methodist University has passed the halfway point in the largest fundraising effort in its history.
The $750 million campaign is called "SMU Unbridled: The Second Century."
President R. Gerald Turner says that more than $385 million, or 51 percent of the goal, has been raised or pledged after a two-year quiet phase and one year of the campaign's public phase, which began Sept. 12, 2008.
He made the announcement Friday at the fall meeting of the SMU board of trustees.
The campaign seeks endowment in three areas:
• $200 million for Student Quality, including scholarships for top students, leadership development programs, expanded opportunities to study abroad and increased graduate student support.
• $350 million for Faculty and Academic Excellence, including endowments for academic positions and departments, research and graduate programs.
Campaign gifts have provided 12 new academic positions, making a total of 74 substantially endowed positions. SMU has a full-time faculty of more than 600.
• $200 million for the Campus Experience, including residential facilities, student services in areas such as health care and career placement, and enhanced competitiveness in athletic programs.
The quiet phase traditionally brings in the biggest chunk of contributions in the shortest time because it targets the school's most loyal, wealthiest supporters. In this case, it racked up $317 million.
Turner said that the largest commitments to date are:
• $35 million from Nancy Ann Hunter Hunt and Ray L. Hunt to buy property for campus development and an academic project to be determined.
• $33 million from the Meadows Foundation for the Meadows Museum and Meadows School of the Arts.
• $21.7 million from Roy M. Huffington of Houston, who died last year, to provide scholarships and faculty support and to endow the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences in Dedman College.
• $20 million from Annette Caldwell Simmons and Harold C. Simmons to endow programs and provide facilities for the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.
• $12.6 million from the W.W. Caruth Jr. Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas to endow the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education and for a new Caruth Hall in the School of Engineering
To date, 55 donors have given $1 million or more to the campaign, which coincides with the centennial of the university's founding in 1911 and opening in 1915.
"The strong start of our Second Century campaign has enabled our momentum to continue even during this uncertain economy," Turner said.
"Our donors have rallied around the goal of accelerating our advancement among the premier universities in the nation. They want to make it possible for high-achieving students to attend SMU, be inspired by our talented faculty and develop as leaders through a unique campus experience."
To date, SMU's Second Century campaign has provided funds for 185 new scholarships; 12 new endowed academic positions; 11 new academic institutes, centers and other academic initiatives; support for two schools and one academic department; and 11 new or renovated facilities.
New scholarship programs include the Edwin L. Cox BBA Scholars, in Cox School of Business; Meadows Scholars, in Meadows School of the Arts; Dedman Scholars, in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; and Palmer Scholars, in the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering.
Support for international students includes an expanded Sohmen Chinese Scholars Program, which enables Chinese lawyers to pursue post-graduate study in Dedman School of Law.
Among new endowed academic positions are the Judge James Noel Deanship and Professorship in Dedman School of Law, the Leon Simmons Deanship in the Simmons School of Education and Human Development, the Texas Instruments Distinguished Chair and Director of the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education and the Bobby B. Lyle Professorship in Leadership and Global Entrepreneurship in Lyle School of Engineering.
A 15-member Campaign Leadership Council is headed by convening co-chair Gerald J. Ford and co-chairs Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler, Ray L. Hunt, Caren H. Prothro and Carl Sewell, chair of the SMU board of trustees.
Other members of the Leadership Council are Michael M. Boone, Linda Pitts Custard, Robert H. Dedman Jr., Milledge A. Hart III, Gene C. Jones, Jeanne L. Phillips and John C. Tolleson, all of Dallas; Gary T. Crum of Houston; and Richard Ware of Amarillo. Turner is an ex officio member.
SMU's last campaign, which ran from 1997-2002, raised $542 million, surpassing its initial goal of $300 million.