September 13, 2013
By MELISSA REPKO
When Southern Methodist University surpassed its $750 million fundraising goal, its leaders decided to raise the bar. Now, they aim for $1 billion.
SMU officials will announce their new goal Friday.
The university’s Second Century Campaign, which coincides with its five-year centennial celebration, is the largest capital campaign in SMU history. It will continue through the end of 2015.
“We felt like having a real stretch goal would ensure the next two years would be as productive as possible,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner said Thursday. “Why not use this opportunity to take the institution to another level?”
The new money will support the same priorities as the original campaign: student scholarships, academic programs, faculty positions and campus improvements.
Caren Prothro, SMU board of trustees chair and campaign co-chair, said the money raised already has translated to recruitment of top faculty members, more competitive student admissions and a more diverse student body at the private university, which has an enrollment of nearly 11,000.
The campaign has financed 472 new scholarships that allow SMU “to go head to head with other peer or aspirational schools,” Prothro said. “We want to make it possible for talented, high-achieving students to come here, and in order to do that we need to step up our scholarships.”
About 70 percent of SMU undergraduates receive merit- or need-based financial aid.
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