Turner celebrates SMU’s achievements

Before a nearly full crowd of donors and alumni in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theatre Friday evening, President R. Gerald Turner delivered the President’s Briefing.

Turner’s speech celebrated the achievements SMU has made in the last century. He began his briefing discussing the university’s “Community and Economic Impact” on the city of Dallas.

It is estimated that SMU’s annual spending impact is $7 billion.

SMU’s president then discussed new spending on campus – the university is projected to expand in multiple ways in the next decade.

Approximately $500 million in construction is happening on the southeast corner of the campus.

The Park Cities Plaza will also undergo renovations. Its exterior will be redone with bricks to match the SMU campus.

Turner and other administrators are hoping that new development will continue to increase SMU’s academic and diversity rankings.

The student body is expected to be 25 percent minority with 50 percent of students coming from outside of Texas.

In the last 15 years, the average SAT score of students has increased almost 135 points.

SAT scores and diversity rankings are key to SMU’s overall perception as an academic institution – a key part of US News annual university rankings.

SMU has rose more than forty spots in the rankings in the last two decades.

Rankings have dramatically increased student quality at SMU. More than 200 student athletes received academic honors from Conference USA for having GPAs of 3.0 and above.

Turner said that SMU would continue to improve on the quality of education its students receive.  Next year, SMU will unveil a new undergraduate curriculum. The curriculum will include a keystone senior project for all students. 

The campus is improving on many fronts.

The Bush Presidential Library will open next spring, and the Meadows Museum of Art will have six new paintings on loan from the Prado Museum in Spain next year.

SMU will continue to raise funds to fund all of its new projects. It has now met 81 percent of its $750 million Second Century fundraising campaign goal. 

“I am excited about all the new changes happening on campus. It’s a great time to be at SMU,” Mehdi Hami, a first year who attended the event, said. “I can only imagine what the campus is going to look like when I graduate.”


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