Pillars of Achievement: Students

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Generating new ideas, creating solutions to  societal challenges, developing advances that transform lives – all are part of SMU’s commitment to serving as a source of innovation. The spirit of discovery among SMU’s faculty has resulted in a dramatic increase in externally funded research and is helping SMU educate bright young minds dedicated to becoming the next generation of innovators. Through innovative thinking, SMU advances intellectual pursuits and practical knowledge supporting economic and societal progress.


The ability to transcend traditional patterns, formulas and assumptions rests squarely on the human capacity to think and act creatively. SMU’s faculty emphasizes the importance of creativity in every sphere, from educating students in the classroom to producing works of art, new historical perspectives or technological advancements. In this environment, creativity thrives across the University – in business, engineering and science, no less than the arts and humanities.


A cornerstone of SMU’s educational philosophy and campus culture, service is a core component in classes ranging from human rights and theology to law and education. Service learning encourages growth in character and civic responsibility, enhances education through direct experience, and prepares students for active community engagement. SMU also serves the community through a range of programs, events and local partnerships, ensuring that the University makes an impact in our backyard and around the globe.


Understanding how to inspire, encourage and organize others in pursuit of a common goal is as important in achieving success as is intellectual or technical expertise. Because leadership can be an important outcome of learning, SMU and its faculty encourage students to use education not only to build a career but also to make a difference. The result is an alumni population that includes winners of the the highest honors in their fields – the Nobel Prize and Academy Award – along with leaders in every profession and segment of society.