Newsroom

June 1, 2007

Campaign planning moves forward
with key volunteers and early gifts

SMU is well on its way in planning its next major gifts campaign, with a public launch scheduled for 2008. Now in its quiet phase, the new campaign will focus in particular on endowments for student scholarships, faculty positions, academic programs and the overall campus experience.

In January 2006 the Board of Trustees created a Campaign Leadership Council (CLC) composed of co-chairs from the previous campaign and other trustee leaders. With former Board Chair Gerald J. Ford serving as Convening Chair, Council leadership includes current Board Chair Carl Sewell as Campus Life Co-chair; Ruth Altshuler, National Co-chair; Ray L. Hunt, Special Projects Co-chair; and Caren Prothro, Academic Co-chair. Altshuler, Hunt and Prothro were among the five co-chairs of the successful "Time to Lead" Campaign. Other members of the new CLC are trustees Mike Boone, Gary Crum, Linda Custard, Robert Dedman Jr., Mitch Hart, Gene Jones, Jeanne Phillips, John Tolleson and Richard Ware. SMU President R. Gerald Turner serves as an ex-officio member.

"One of the most critical steps in successful campaign management is recruiting the volunteer leaders who will give generously of their time, talent and resources to the effort," says Brad Cheves, vice president for Development and External Affairs. "The Campaign Leadership Council represents the important core group that will set the pace of giving and involvement for others."

The CLC will eventually oversee a larger campaign volunteer organization consisting of about 50 members and including chairs for school campaigns, regional efforts and cultivation of top-level gifts. "At full force during the Campaign's public phase, we anticipate that several hundred volunteers around the world will provide leadership, and our donors will represent the same breadth in our reach," Cheves added.

Among actions to prepare for the campaign are the following:

  • Development of campaign goals supporting the Strategic Plan
  • Cultivation of quiet phase gifts
  • Reorganization of fund-raising operations and alumni programming, now under the leadership of associate vice president for Development and Alumni Affairs Mark Petersen, reporting to Cheves
  • Establishment of the Office of Endowment and Planned Giving
  • Development of campaign marketing materials by the Office of Public Affairs, with an emphasis on new electronic tools
  • Guidelines and funding levels for named endowments
  • Upgraded prospect research procedures.

"Excitement about where this campaign can bring SMU in terms of academic quality and reputation is very high and is building momentum for the effort, as evidenced by several major commitments that have already been made," says President Turner.

Examples include:

  • Ray and Nancy Ann Hunt: $35 million, the largest single gift in the University's history for the purchase of Park Cities Plaza and for an academic initiative to be named as the campaign goes public
  • The Meadows Foundation: $33 million for Meadows Museum acquisitions and programs and student and faculty support in Meadows School of the Arts, the largest gift ever given by the Foundation
  • Roy Huffington: $10 million Bicentennial Fund for student and faculty support
  • Bobby Lyle: $2.8 million for the Embrey Engineering Building and Engineering School support; professorship and scholarships in Cox School of Business
  • The Perkins-Prothro Foundation and Elizabeth Perkins Prothro: $6 million to renovate facilities and construct a new academic building in the Perkins School of Theology
  • The Kresge Foundation of Troy, Michigan: $600,000 challenge grant to help complete the Embrey Engineering Building, with an unrestricted bonus grant of up to $250,000 if it receives Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council
  • The Embrey Family Foundation: $2.2 million to establish a pilot human rights education program in Dedman College and provide support for basketball and soccer facilities
  • The William A. Custard and L. Frank Pitts family: $1.25 million to endow four President's scholarships
  • Sylvie P. and Gary T. Crum: a leadership gift to construct the Crum Basketball Center for men's and women's programs
  • David Miller:  $3 million for a Cox School professorship and other Cox use to be determined, and support for the Crum Basketball Center.
  • Texas Methodist Foundation: $1 million for theology facilities improvements.
  • Jeanne Roach Johnson: $1 million for piano program and practice room renovations in Meadows School of the Arts.

Several other gifts will be announced beginning this fall, including additional funding for faculty endowments and student scholarships.

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