In 1911, the leaders of what is now the United Methodist Church drew up a plan to build a university, beginning construction the following year. With the enthusiastic support of Dallas residents, the church raised $300,000 to secure the university’s location. In 1915, SMU opened its doors to 456 students, the administration choosing Harvard crimson and Yale blue as its colors to symbolize the university’s high standards. In 1939, SMU was placed under the South Central Jurisdiction of the Methodist Church, which still owns the university today.
As a tribute to the city in which it was built, SMU named its first building Dallas Hall. The school is sometimes called the “Hilltop” due to the hilly area Dallas Hall was built upon. The school’s main campus is small by some standards, spanning 210 acres. The Hall is now registered in the National Register of Historic Places and remains one of the iconic images of SMU.
The Meadows Museum is one of the more well-known spots on the SMU campus, housing one of the most noteworthy collections of Spanish art outside of Spain.
SMU’s campus in Fort Burgwin, New Mexico, is an archaeological site where the university offers summer programs that include rafting, hiking, and fly fishing in the surrounding area.
SMU has enjoyed a positive relationship with the city of Dallas since the school’s founding in 1911. Today, this city of 1.2 million is the ninth-largest in the country, and contains a plethora of education and entertainment resources for SMU students to enjoy.
Dallas boasts the largest urban arts district in the country, and the area known as Deep Ellum is always a popular spot for live music. For the sports fan, one of the nearby pro teams are always playing. And the city is of course also known for having a huge selection of bars and nightclubs for those of age.
“Pony ears” is SMU’s well-known sign. At football games, students show their school spirit and hold their pony ears high in the air by lifting their hands up and bending two fingers.
Mustang Corral is a retreat in the Texas Hill Country where incoming freshmen get to meet faculty and socialize with one another.
On the Friday before football games, students wear red and blue in support of their team.
The Celebration of Lights is a Christmas celebration on the Main Quad where the president reads a Christmas story and students sing carols to get into the holiday spirit.
The dance department showcases student works in the Owens Art Center’s Bob Hope Lobby every semester in the Brown Bag Dance Series (students are invited to bring their lunch to enjoy while watching the show).
Kathy Bates (1969) is an Academy Award-winning actress.
Laura Bush (1968) is the First Lady of the United States.
James Cronin (1939) is a Nobel-Prize winning physicist.
Beth Henley (1974) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright.
Lamar Hunt (1956) was the founder of the American Football League and owner of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Aaron Spelling (1949) was a television mogul and the producer of Beverly Hills, 90210.
John Tower (1951) was a Republican US Senator from Texas.
SMU’s athletic teams compete in the NCAA’s Division I (the football team plays in Division I-A) and are affiliated with Conference USA. The university’s main rivals are Texas Christian University and Rice University. Each year, the football team plays against TCU to determine the winner of the “Iron Skillet.” In 2005, the SMU Mustangs, unranked at the time, beat 24th-ranked TCU.
During the 2006 season, the men’s soccer team enjoyed its best season in recent memory. After spending most of the season at the top of the rankings, the team won the Conference USA title game, beating Kentucky 1-0.
The Mustang became SMU’s mascot when a faculty member remarked that the football team looked like “a bunch of wild mustangs”; the name was adopted when it won a student vote.
In 2005, SMU was ranked #4 for "Happiest Students" and #4 for "Great College Town" by the Princeton Review.
Thurston Howell III and Professor Roy Hinkley, two characters from Gilligan’s Island, both supposedly attended SMU.
SMU is one of 76 universities in North America with an endowment exceeding $ 1 billion.
The University's ten libraries house the largest private collection of research materials in the Southwest.
The university’s unique campus in northern New Mexico is situated on the site of a 13th-century Native American pueblo.
All SMU dorms are co-ed, smoke-free, carpeted, and air-conditioned.
- Cockrell-Macintosh Hall
-Mary Hay Hall
-Daniel House: community for transfer students to live together within an apartment setting
-Hawk: theology commuter community
-Service House: community service-themed apartments
-Multicultural House: international-themed community
-Shuttles: fine arts community
-Virginia-Snider: honors community