Continuing a legacy

Honoring his decades of generosity and dedication, over 150 SMU students and alumni have created an endowed scholarship in recognition of the late Chester John “Don” Donnally, Jr. ’67, ’68, who passed away in May 2022. Donnally was a proud SMU alumnus, a longtime supporter of the University and a cherished member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity, which he served through active fundraising and mentorship efforts for over 50 years.

Chester John 'Don' Donnally, Jr. ’67, ’68

Spearheaded by Donnally’s mentee and fellow SAE fraternity member, Haynes Strader ’11, the new endowment will establish the Don Donnally Endowed Scholarship to meet the full financial need of an active SAE member and support their academic pursuits and professional development. Recent gifts to the scholarship fund include a generous commitment of $100,000 from SAE parent Warren Lichtenstein and $25,000 from SAE member John C. Phelan ’86. Combined, these gifts more than double the amount of the endowment. Furthering the impact of the scholarship, Gary T. Crum ’69 and Sylvie P. Crum have gifted $25,000, enabling it to be awarded as soon as the 2023-24 school year and every year until the endowment reaches maturity.

“Our fraternity owes so much to Don Donnally, and many of us would not be who we are today without his guidance and his mentorship,” said Strader, Dedman College Executive Board member and Skybox Datacenters chief development officer. “His lifelong dedication to SMU and to the Texas Delta chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon was an inspiring display of community spirit and limitless generosity, and we are incredibly proud to honor his memory and his enduring impact on thousands of students across the country.”