September 12, 2008

DALLAS (SMU) — SMU is launching the largest fund-raising campaign in its history, aimed at achieving a dramatic increase in academic quality and impact.

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At a campus rally September 12, the University kicked off the public phase of the campaign and announced the goal of $750 million for "SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign."

The campaign already is off to a running start, with 29,488 donors providing $317 million in commitments during the two-year quiet phase of the campaign. This includes 49 donors who have made commitments of $1 million and above. The five-year public phase will coincide with the centennial of the University's founding in 1911; the University opened in 1915.

"Recognizing our first 100 years, The Second Century Campaign looks boldly to the future to build a new era of achievement," said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. "This campaign will strengthen our ability to enable the best students to attend SMU and the most distinguished faculty to teach and inspire them through challenging academic programs. With these contributions to the intellectual and economic vitality of Dallas, SMU will increasingly play a leadership role in supporting our region as a national center of commerce and gateway to the global community. The Second Century Campaign represents a great opportunity to shape our future with confidence and optimism."

Specifically, The Second Century Campaign seeks endowment in three areas:

  • $200 million for Student Quality – As competition for the brightest students intensifies, the campaign will expand scholarship programs, such as SMU President's Scholars and Leadership Scholars; create innovative scholarships within schools and disciplines; expand opportunities to study abroad through scholarships and additional programs; establish new programs that foster leadership skills and personal development; and increase fellowships and support for graduate students. For example, for this academic year, quiet phase gifts have added 12 new President's Scholars for a total of 100 students who are receiving this full-tuition award, and 26 new Hunt Leadership Scholars, for a total of 73 receiving close to full-tuition awards.
  • $350 million for Faculty and Academic Excellence – The campaign aspires to increase to 100 the number of endowed academic positions, including department chairs and deanships; increase by 50 percent the amount of annual faculty research grants; endow departments and institutes that provide core academic disciplines as well as those that address emerging issues; increase resources for graduate programs, including graduate student fellowships and equipment; significantly expand opportunities for undergraduate research; and invest in academic facilities and technology to address changing student and faculty needs. SMU now has 71 endowed academic positions, nine of them newly created with quiet phase gifts. Current external grant funding for faculty research and sponsored projects is $20 million, and the campaign goal is to reach $30 million.
  • $200 million for the Campus Experience – To help ensure the health and vitality of campus life as a resource for the highest achievement, the campaign seeks to create residential colleges or commons as part of a sophomore housing requirement; expand student services in health care, wellness and career placement, among others; enhance competitiveness of the athletics program, which teaches leadership skills and builds community spirit; and continue to enrich the campus environment on the main campus in Dallas as well as at SMU- in-Legacy and SMU-in-Taos. For example, SMU seeks to add residential facilities to accommodate 1,200 additional students living on its Dallas campus.

Gerald J. Ford, SMU trustee and convening co-chair of the campaign, said the new effort is befitting a university with high aspirations. "The campaign's theme, SMU Unbridled, reflects the bold vision of our founders as they looked at the North Texas prairie and envisioned a great university there," he said. "SMU's founders were daring, imaginative and creative, and they saw unlimited potential in what they were establishing. We're going to take that drive and aggressively carry it forward."

Toward that end, SMU has hit its stride with significant progress in recent years. For example, gifts during the campaign's quiet phase have endowed a seventh school for SMU—the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development—with a $20 million gift from Harold and Annette Simmons. Also in the quiet phase, SMU received the largest gift ever made by The Meadows Foundation—$33 million for the Meadows Museum and Meadows School of the Arts.

Other quiet phase gifts have resulted in a newly endowed academic department, the Roy Huffington Department of Earth Sciences; five academic institutes, centers and initiatives, such as the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education; nine endowed faculty positions; 175 endowed scholarships; and seven new or renovated facilities, such as the Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall for the Perkins School of Theology, now under construction, and the upcoming Caruth Hall for the School of Engineering and the Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall for the Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

With more emphasis on merit scholarships, SMU has seen its entering SAT scores rise 97 points in the past decade. In addition, SMU prevailed in the statewide competition to house the George W. Bush Presidential Library, which will provide historic resources for research by scholars worldwide as it contributes to the strength of the Dallas economy.

"The Board of Trustees believes that SMU has all the ingredients for a major leap in academic excellence, and it's our commitment to accelerate this momentum," said SMU Board Chair Carl Sewell, a co-chair of the campaign. "Our recent improvements in student quality show us that SMU increasingly attracts the best students, and we must provide scholarships that remove financial barriers for these talented young people. They will be inspired by faculty who excel at teaching and creating new knowledge, and they will benefit from a campus experience that develops leadership skills."

In addition to Ford and Sewell, campaign co-chairs include Ruth Altshuler, Ray L. Hunt and Caren H. Prothro, all SMU trustees. They lead the 15-member Campaign Leadership Council guiding 39 Steering Committee Co-Chairs who support fund-raising efforts focused on the various SMU schools and programs on campus and in cities and regions beyond Dallas. To date the campaign has enlisted 327 volunteers throughout the world.

SMU Vice President for Development and External Affairs Brad Cheves said the campaign will benefit from long-standing supporters and from newcomers to the SMU donor family.

"What these donors will share is a conviction that supporting SMU is an investment in great human potential," he said. "We have a solid volunteer structure that will take this campaign across the globe, and we expect broad participation among our more than 100,000 alumni."

The campaign seeks to have 25 percent of all alumni give each and every year, and to have 50 percent of all alumni give over the lifetime of the campaign.

SMU's last campaign, "A Time to Lead," ran from 1997-2002 and was the first successful campaign in the University's history. That campaign set an initial goal of $300 million but succeeded in raising $542 million in the five-year time frame. The campaign funded 80 endowments for academic programs, 171 student scholarships and awards, 28 campus life initiatives, 16 academic positions and 14 new or renovated facilities. Its construction projects alone contributed nearly $500 million to the Dallas economy, involving contracts to approximately 3,500 design firms, contractors and suppliers, most in the Dallas area.

The Second Century Campaign places more emphasis on endowments for people and programs, although some new facilities are included to support academic programs. "While we will see new campaign endowments make an immediate impact, endowments are essential in providing long-term resources that grow over time and ensure economic stability," Turner said. SMU's endowment of $1.4 billion currently ranks 54th among institutions nationally. "Because much of the endowment is targeted to specific programs, we need additional endowment funds to support new initiatives. That's what this campaign is all about."

SMU enrolls nearly 11,000 students in seven schools—Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Cox School of Business, the School of Engineering, Meadows School of the Arts, Perkins School of Theology, Dedman School of Law and the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. (See media packet fact sheet for more information or visit

For more information:

Brad Cheves,, 214-676-9216
Patti LaSalle,, 214-768-7660
Kent Best,, 214-768-7673

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