Letter from the Chair of the Board of Trustees

Mr. DedmanI am pleased to report that your University stands strong

We are meeting our challenges head on, and in this annual report, you’ll read about the remarkable things happening on the Hilltop. Using creative instruction, research and ingenuity, SMU is inspiring change and hope in these unprecedented times.

COVID-19 has put many institutions of higher learning in difficult positions. Students and their families are experiencing unforeseen hardships. Shortly before the school year started, nationwide data revealed that 26% of current students would not be able to return to their current institutions and 52% of students reported a parent or guardian had lost a job, been laid off or been furloughed.

In contrast, this fall SMU undergraduate class is fully enrolled. SMU continues to advance because of strong leadership and because of you, our supporters.

We are prepared for the difficulties ahead. In this past fiscal year, COVID-19 created a budget gap of more than $11 million, including the $7.7 million we refunded or credited to our students for their interrupted spring semester. We dealt with these impacts through prudence and sacrifice. We reduced expenses, applied for federal CARES funding and left unfilled faculty and staff positions. We instituted Pony Power Plus – a fundraising drive to address the current needs of our students facing adversity because of COVID-19. As part of that effort, we created the Presidential Fund for Immediate Needs with a goal of $2 million to empower SMU students to complete their education.

Despite the financial challenges of the pandemic, through strong financial stewardship, we were able to protect the funds used annually to increase base salaries for faculty and staff. However, our deans, University vice presidents, athletic director and President Turner chose to forgo their increases in compensation this year. I am proud our University leaders were willing to make this sacrifice for the greater good of SMU.

We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know that SMU will meet the challenges ahead. SMU has withstood hard times before, and we will again.

Mustangs are stronger together, and we will do whatever it takes to support SMU.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, thank you for supporting SMU as we boldly meet the future.

Robert H. Dedman, Jr. ’80, ’84

Chair, Board of Trustees