On September 17, 2021, SMU launched a historic campaign to impact Texas and beyond, seizing opportunities to change countless lives. SMU exists to shape future leaders who transform communities and organizations through ingenuity and thoughtful problem-solving. Building on our significant history of excellence, SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow is a multiyear, $1.5 billion campaign to empower outstanding students, enrich teaching and research and enhance its campus and communities.

Leveraging a worldwide network of Mustangs, SMU will transform the lives of high-achieving students, enabling them to attend the University regardless of financial means and apply what they gain on the Hilltop as they change the world. SMU will use this moment to join the highest rank of universities – to accelerate knowledge and tackle grand challenges. By continuing to strengthen its community engagement, nationally competitive athletics and diverse public programming, SMU will boldly shape Dallas and the world.

The examples below show how SMU alumni, students, faculty, staff and donors are kindling a brighter future for people throughout our state – and around the world.

SMU Trustee Creates Opportunities for Connection

Recruited from Austin on an athletics scholarship, Richie Butler ’93 credits his SMU education with igniting his passion for helping others. Senior Pastor of St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church, founder of Project Unity, and a former senior managing director of Prescott Group, Richie was inspired by his upbringing to think of real estate as a way to build communities, particularly to revitalize impoverished neighborhoods.

“What unites us is greater than what divides us.” – Richie Butler

Photo courtesy of SMU.

Young Founder and CEO Makes History

In February, Whitney Wolfe Herd ’11 became the youngest woman to take a company public when she celebrated the initial offering of shares in her dating and networking app company Bumble. Herd says SMU helped her become strong and confident enough to change the online dating world.

“I think SMU has this remarkable way for charting students on the right course. People will work with you to make sure you’re taking the right classes to achieve your ‘big picture’ dreams.” – Whitney Wolfe Herd

Photo courtesy of SMU.

SMU Seismology Researchers Help Peacekeeping Efforts

The U.S. Department of Defense awarded SMU’s Brian Stump and his team $18 million, the largest research grant in the University’s history, to continue their work of international nuclear disarmament and peacekeeping significance. As Albritton Professor of Earth Sciences, Stump’s work focuses on seismic activity and how better to distinguish between natural events such as earthquakes, and human-caused events such as nuclear tests.

“The work we’ve done at SMU on inducted seismicity in North Texas has that same blend of real science and societal impact.” – Brian Stump

Photo courtesy of SMU.

PhD Graduate Studies Treatments for Alzheimer’s

Inspired by her grandmother’s struggles with Alzheimer’s disease, Lauren Ammerman ’21 joined a team of SMU scientists examining how proteins might unlock treatments for those suffering from the disease. Awarded a prestigious Moody Fellowship from SMU’s newest school, the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, Ammerman recently earned her doctorate in molecular and cellular biology.

“Even though our work can’t help our grandparents, I hope that it might help others in the future.” – Lauren Ammerman

Photo courtesy of SMU.

Partners Form a New STEM School to Transform K-12 Education

Last month, a new Pre-K-8 STEM Model School opened in West Dallas. Created by the Dallas Independent School District, the Toyota USA Foundation, SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development and the West Dallas community, the school will empower young students and prepare them for success in their future academic and career pursuits.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for the students and community of West Dallas. We are committed to equipping our students to succeed in an evolving global society.” – Marion Jackson, Master Principal, West Dallas STEM School

Answering the Call for Help During COVID-19

In June 2020, SMU’s Dedman School of Law created a student-staffed helpline that offered local residents the opportunity to secure free legal assistance with matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In recognition for their service to the community, the Dedman Law School’s COVID-19 Helpline was awarded the 2021 State Bar of Texas’ W. Frank Newton Award.

“This project is a wonderful example of how deeply committed SMU is to helping our students and to serving the beautiful city in which we are so fortunate to be located.” – Jennifer Collins, Dean, SMU Dedman School of Law

Photo courtesy of SMU.

Blazing a New Path

We invite you to join us as we elevate SMU among the preeminent U.S. universities and establishing a legacy benefiting Dallas and beyond. This is our moment to think big and do good. With your support, SMU can tackle grand challenges and find big solutions. You are the foundation on which our excellence is built. With you beside us, SMU can look boldly ahead and invigorate our communities. Join us in SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow as we take our enterprising spirit into the world and shape world changers for generations to come. For more information visit smu.edu/ignited.