Over the past 100 years, SMU has learned a lot of lessons, both from our successes and from our failures. If we keep learning from our mistakes as a university, hopefully the next century at SMU will see even more improvement and advancement. So here is my list of “do’s” and “don’ts” for SMU’s next 100 years:
Do: Keep winning sports games
Nothing helps out school spirit like having competitive sports teams. Everyone knows and loves Moody Magic, and it currently looks as if Coach Chad Morris is working some of his own Magic with the Mustangs out on the football field. SMU will clearly benefit from a more spirited and involved student body if our sports teams can continue to improve as they have under the amazing coaches over the past several years
Don’t: Pay your players
If 1985 and the Death Penalty taught us anything, it was this. Even if it comes at the expense of the first “do,” please don’t pay anyone in ways other than the NCAA permits. It just is not worth it. But I think we have learned our lesson on this one.
Do: Keep campus looking beautiful
Sure SMU students make fountain and lawn jokes all the time, but you have to admit that it is nice going to school in what is basically a park. The buildings all go together and our lawns and pavers are always well kept (except for when construction tears them up… but we’ll ignore that for now). The beauty of SMU is one of the things that makes this school unique, and we would be well served in the next century to keep that up
Don’t: Keep raising tuition
Seriously SMU, stop it. $65,000 is so much to pay for just one year of schooling, and that number always seems to be on the rise. I know that the school has things to pay for (like the previously-discussed lawns) and staff to keep on, but tuition cannot keep going up indefinitely. I don’t want to be paying a million dollars a year for my kid’s tuition in the coming decades.
Do: Keep improving academic programs
Even though we may have fallen a few slots in this year’s rankings, SMU is still a pretty darn good academic school overall. We have some very prestigious programs (Cox and Meadows, we are looking at you) and many other programs that are up-and-coming or currently underrated. But to call ourselves world-changers or even nation-leading, well we might need some more improvement to get there. But I am sure that with dedication and incremental improvements our academics can continue to advance us up the rankings.
Don’t: Lose sight of the students
One of the main reasons why I personally am at SMU is that it seemed like an institution at which the faculty genuinely cared about their students and each individual was offered opportunities to excel if they so choose. And I know that I am not alone in this opinion. Keeping (or making) this university more student-focused and indeed making every year the “Year of the Student” will help preserve the mission of this university and what makes SMU special. Everything above goes into this, but I think that keeping the student’s first is something that will keep SMU’s character and part of what makes us special.