Flags, Fireworks And Festivities Herald SMU’s Second Century

SMU marks its founding in 1911 and the start of its next 100 years Friday with fireworks, speeches and special events.

Dallas Hall surrounded by fireworks 15april2011

DALLAS (SMU) – Alumni from around the globe gathered at Dallas Hall for fireworks and a giant birthday card as SMU celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding Friday on the University’s Main Quadrangle.  The event was the first of several scheduled for SMU’s Founders’ Day Weekend, April 15-17.

The April 15 event, complete with proclamations and resolutions, also officially launched the University’s multi-year Second Century Celebration, commemorating the centennial of the University’s founding in 1911 and its opening in 1915. Founders’ Day, designated as the third Friday in April of each year, recognizes the filing of the University’s charter on April 17, 1911. 

“It will be a weekend that reminds us of where we’ve been and where we’re going,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner, citing as examples SMU’s recent rise in the Carnegie Foundation’s research classification, the University’s highest-ever U.S. News & World Report ranking and a record number of student applications. “I believe our founders would be proud of where we are as we approach 100. This event also launches our second century of achievement.”

Friday’s public event took place in front of Dallas Hall, SMU’s iconic oldest building. The University paid tribute to the people of Dallas and The United Methodist Church, which joined in partnership to establish SMU 100 years ago. The event culminated with a fireworks display and the raising of SMU’s centennial flag that will fly on campus through 2015. Giveaways included miniature versions of the centennial flag, centennial cupcakes and Peruna punch. A 12-foot-by-20-foot birthday card to SMU also was available for students, alumni and others to sign.

The afternoon of April 15 included classes for alumni, parents and friends taught by SMU faculty, followed by a briefing by President Turner. That evening and overnight, the SMU student body will host Relay for Life, benefitting the American Cancer Society, on Bishop Boulevard.

Lighting the Dome of Dallas Hall at SMU
For 10 evenings, representing SMU's 10 decades, Dallas Hall will be lit in honor of the citizens of Dallas who generously provided the funds for SMU's first building. Dallas Hall will be lit from 7 p.m. to midnight through April 27.

On Saturday, April 16, SMU will sponsor University Park’s Easter egg hunt for children eight and younger from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. at Goar Park, at 3800 University Blvd., near University Park’s City Hall. The annual neighborhood event will feature the traditional Easter Bunny and other family activities.

Finally, on Sunday, April 17, the dome of Dallas Hall will be illuminated in red lights for the first of 10 evenings, representing SMU’s 10 decades, in honor of the Dallas residents who provided land and funds used to construct SMU’s first building.

“A centennial allows us collectively to take stock, to take pride in our quality today and to reaffirm our even greater aspirations for the future,” said Carl Sewell, a co-chair of the Second Century Celebration Organizing Committee. “The University’s founders would indeed be proud of SMU’s rise in the national rankings, as well as the growth in quality of students, faculty and curriculum. We’re ready for a second century of achievement.”

Ruth Altshuler, also a co-chair of the Second Century Celebration Organizing Committee, said, “As a long-time member of the SMU Board of Trustees, I have witnessed progress through the years, but never at the level and breadth of what we are experiencing today. Through our centennial activities, we will engage our alumni and the broader community more actively in the life and progress of the University, celebrate our achievements and prepare for even brighter days ahead.”

Related Second Century Celebration News

Centennial Historian and History of SMU — Darwin Payne, Dallas historian and SMU professor emeritus of communications, has been appointed the University’s centennial historian, responsible for compiling SMU’s first comprehensive history. The book, to be published in 2015, will provide a definitive account of the University’s first 100 years. In addition to numerous other books on Southwest history, Payne authored a 2010 book, In Honor of the Mustangs: The Centennial History of SMU Athletics, 1911-2010. The centennial commemoration will include a series of taped interviews with past and current University leaders and supporters and a series of symposia and public programs.

Commemorative Picture Book — A commemorative picture book, to be published in fall 2011, will contain photographs of SMU’s campuses, historic architecture and University life. This book will be the first of its kind since SMU’s 75th anniversary celebration in 1986.

Commemorative Pavers — By making a special $100 gift, alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of the University will be recognized with an etched paver on SMU’s proposed Centennial Promenade, to be constructed on Ownby Dr. for the 100th anniversary of SMU’s opening in 2015.  For more information, go to smu.edu/paver.

Centennial Exhibition: “SMU’s Second Century of Achievement” — The lower level of the Hughes-Trigg Student Center will become a Centennial Hall with an interactive web-based exhibition designed to engage visitors of all ages in the life and future of the University. The exhibition, expected to open in fall 2011, will be available both in the Centennial Hall and through SMU’s website. The hall will be the site of alumni reunions, Homecoming activities, Founders’ Day events and other campus activities through 2015.

Dallas Hall surrounded by fireworks 15april2011The Centennial Celebration coincides with SMU’s Second Century Campaign. Launched in 2008 with a goal of $750 million, gifts to date have reached nearly $489 million.

For more information about Founders’ Weekend and other activities related to the Centennial Celebration, visit http://www.smu.edu/100/Events/FoundersDay.aspx

Media parking: Coned parking spaces will be available for media use on the east end of B-lot, located at Hillcrest and Dyer.

Second Century Celebration in the News