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Community & Economic Impact Report

SMU Today: Alumni Making a Difference

Alumni Impact on DFW and Abroad

The true measure of a university's impact is the quality of the people associated with it, especially those who have benefited from its educational offerings and resources. SMU's alumni have leveraged the advantages of their education to become leaders in their professions and communities. In this way, they extend the impact of their alma mater into the highest realms of endeavor and achievement. SMU's alumni number nearly 112,000, with 40,000 in the DFW region.

Distinguished Alumni Award

SMU alumni have won Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes, along with Academy, Tony, Grammy and Emmy awards, the Heisman Trophy and Olympic medals.

In law and public service, SMU alumni serve as distinguished jurists on the highest courts of Japan, Thailand and the Philippines. In the United States, they have held titles of ambassador, First Lady and members of Congress, including the chair of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. At the state level, they have served as governor, Supreme Court justices and legislators, including as chair of the Texas House Committee on Higher Education and chair of the Texas House Appropriations Committee. An SMU law graduate pioneered and expanded legal rights for women in Texas. Alumni also serve as Peace Corps officials and leaders of humanitarian organizations providing goods and potable water to villages worldwide.

In science and technology, SMU alumni have led innovations winning the Nobel Prize in Physics and national recognition for the invention of modern computer memory and advancements in digital signaling technology. Others are physicians responsible for pioneering achievements in the treatment of breast cancer, diabetes and Gulf War Syndrome, and have led distinguished medical and research centers. Another is a NASA astronaut.

As entrepreneurs and corporate leaders, they develop and lead national and multinational companies in the fields of energy, investments, banking, health care and shipping. The owner of a shoe company donating shoes to children in 28 countries is an SMU alumnus. An SMU alumnus business leader literally wrote the book on customer service, translated into 19 languages. Another became the largest property developer in the country. Three law school alumni run Fortune 50 companies.

In athletics, SMU alumni include winners of Olympic medals, NBA players, Heisman Trophy winners and five members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. An alumnus has played in each of the past three NFL championships. The owners of two NFL teams are SMU alumni. A Mustang even coined the term "Super Bowl."

In the arts, alumni have been recognized for their gifts as performers, artists and playwrights, winning the Oscar, Tony, Grammy and Emmy awards, as well as the Pulitzer Prize. Another alumnus became a legendary television producer. SMU-educated artists have works displayed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

As philanthropists, SMU alumni number among the most generous and farsighted of givers to a variety of organizations. One alumna has won all three of the top national awards for philanthropy. The names of SMU alumni appear on structures and donor lists throughout the city as supporters of schools, hospitals, universities and arts institutions.

In education, SMU alumni have served as president of a major state university, as academic deans at distinguished universities, as assistant U.S. Secretary of Education, as chair of a national math and science initiative and as heads of major museums.

As leaders in religious life, SMU alumni serve churches and communities around the world, including one church that has become the largest social services provider in San Francisco. Theology graduates include the first Hispanic woman elected to the episcopacy of The United Methodist Church.

View a list of SMU alumni who have received the University's Distinguished Alumni Award.