November 9, 2008
By By GENE TRAINOR
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Texas’ good fortune — a state budget surplus and a comparatively stable economy — will allow area universities to go forward with plans to construct buildings, increase financial aid budgets and hire top-tier researchers. Other U.S. colleges and universities are facing budget meltdowns.
Even in Texas, reductions may be necessary. Gov. Rick Perry sent a letter Oct. 14 to presidents of public universities and other state agency leaders asking them to reduce costs where possible. And private colleges are also looking for savings, given the woes on Wall Street.
Overall, officials are guardedly optimistic. . .
Southern Methodist University in Dallas is adding a $14.4 million theology building that is to open in September and a $26.3 million engineering building that is to open in December 2009.
"Right now our plans are to continue as we intended," said Brad Cheves, SMU vice president of development and external affairs. . .
The return on SMU’s endowment fell about 6 percent from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30 to $1.29 billion, SMU Treasurer Liz Williams said. That’s a better return than the 19.3 percent drop in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index over the same period. Hiring will continue as needed, Cheves said.
"We’re guardedly optimistic," he said.
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