There has been a volunteer office at SMU since the mid-1970s, which later merged with the SMU Women's Center. In 2003, the Leadership & Community Involvement (LCI) Office was formed which tied the community service and service-learning aspects (formerly with the Women's Center) with the leadership initiatives housed in the Student Activities Center. LCI was housed on the third floor of Hughes-Trigg in Suite 318. In August 2011, the department relocated to Suite 200 with the Hegi Family Center for Career Development and underwent a renaming process to become the Community Engagement & Leadership Center.
The Community Engagement & Leadership Center cultivates student leaders through education and transformational experiences that equip them to impact positive social change.