“SMU Ignited”: SMU Announnces Record-Breaking $1.5 Billion Campaign

SMU celebrated the launch of its new $1.5 billion fundraising campaign in front of Dallas Hall on Friday, Sept. 18. SMU Ignited: Boldy Shaping Tomorrow is SMU’s third comprehensive fundraising campaign and has the largest fundraising target ever set by a private university in Texas.

The campaign’s $1.5 billion target will support three general goals: Increased merit and need-based scholarships ($450 million+), greater investment in faculty teaching, research and graduate fellowships ($650 million+), and increased partnerships with Dallas-area nonprofits and corporations ($450 million+).

A mini black horse wears a blue vest
Peruna helps celebrate the launch of "SMU Ignited" on Friday Sept. 18, 2021. Photo credit: Jacqueline Fellows

“Tens of thousands of donors have established strong momentum during the planning phase of the SMU Ignited campaign by committing more than $654 million to date,” a SMU announcement said. “[T]he campaign already has kickoffs scheduled for Houston and Atlanta, and planned for New York, Los Angeles and other regions with high concentrations of alumni and current students.”

Among these committed gifts are 90 individual donations of $1 million or more, a record-breaking $50 million contribution to the Cox School of Business from the Miller family and $100 million from the Moody Foundation – the single-largest gift in SMU history.

SMU hopes these fundraising targets will allow the university to provide a greater financial safety net for all students as well as advance its research ranking from R2 to R1. The university already has a 10-year plan to achieve R1 classification, “the most prestigious research category available to American Universities” as per the Carnegie Classification system.

A blue shirt, white cap, and white brochure arranged on a green lawn
Celebratory "SMU Ignited" swag from the Dallas Hall celebration on Friday Sept. 18, 2021 Photo credit: Jacqueline Fellows

“This is an exciting time for SMU and for Dallas,” SMU Vice President for Development and External Affairs Brad Cheves said in a SMU press release. “Every great city needs a great University, and this campaign sets the stage for more scholarships, more partnerships with corporations and public-serving agencies, and more research to improve lives.”