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Does Dallas deserve more than SMU

Postby SoCal_Pony » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:34 pm

Been thinking about posting this for awhile, more so after Stallion commented that even University of Cincinnati had over $1B in endowment.

All great cities have great universities, that is a given. Over the past decades, Dallas has truly moved up the ranks to become one of the most important cities in this country, mainly in terms of commerce. But is SMU holding up its end of the bargain?

San Fran and LA on the west coast, Chicago, Dallas, Houston in middle America, Boston, NYC, Atlanta and Miami on the east coast. All great cities that play an invaluable role in defining us as a country. Each of these cities has at least one great university; most have two. The exception is Dallas. SMU is a good, but not great, university.

30 years ago I attended SMU. We were ranked I believe at #54 by US News. I remember a professor, Art Patton, who said once a few key alums passed away, our endowment and reputation would sky rocket. Well, that wasn't happened. Today, 30 years later, Dallas as a city has grown tremendously. Same cannot be said for our University.

Dallas and SMU deserve better.
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Re: Does Dallas deserve more than SMU

Postby PK » Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:51 am

SoCal_Pony wrote:Been thinking about posting this for awhile, more so after Stallion commented that even University of Cincinnati had over $1B in endowment.

All great cities have great universities, that is a given. Over the past decades, Dallas has truly moved up the ranks to become one of the most important cities in this country, mainly in terms of commerce. But is SMU holding up its end of the bargain?

San Fran and LA on the west coast, Chicago, Dallas, Houston in middle America, Boston, NYC, Atlanta and Miami on the east coast. All great cities that play an invaluable role in defining us as a country. Each of these cities has at least one great university; most have two. The exception is Dallas. SMU is a good, but not great, university.

30 years ago I attended SMU. We were ranked I believe at #54 by US News. I remember a professor, Art Patton, who said once a few key alums passed away, our endowment and reputation would sky rocket. Well, that wasn't happened. Today, 30 years later, Dallas as a city has grown tremendously. Same cannot be said for our University.

Dallas and SMU deserve better.

I think a lot of money recently has been pouring into new facilities and not so much into the endowment. Don't know when you last made a trip to the campus, but new buildings have been sprouting up everywhere. New engineering buildings and facilities. New dorms for sophomores. Renovations of Moody. New building for the education department. New Administration building. Purchased additional land and buildings on the east side of 75/Central Expwy and SW corner of Mockingbird and Central. The University enrollment (undergrad and grad) has grown over the years a well. My guess is that once the building construction phase cools down they will get back to work on building up the endowment.
SMU's first president, Robert S. Hyer, selected Harvard Crimson and Yale Blue as SMU's colors to symbolize SMU's high academic standards. We are one of the few Universities to have school colors with real meaning...and we just blow them off.
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Re: Does Dallas deserve more than SMU

Postby SoCal_Pony » Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:01 am

All good points PK, and yes, I have visited the campus recently. While I am impressed with the growth, I suspect at some level this is occurring at many schools, ergo my reference to U of Cincinnati.

But to my bigger point. 30 years ago we were ranked #54. Since then, Dallas has grown leaps and bounds in stature, yet today US News ranks us #58. We should have done much better. And for A&M's B-school to be ranked ahead of us, that is totally unacceptable.
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Re: Does Dallas deserve more than SMU

Postby StallionsModelT » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:19 am

SMU will be a top 40 school in ten years. Book it.
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Re: Does Dallas deserve more than SMU

Postby Digetydog » Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:08 pm

I think that you are 100% incorrect. If you drive around the campus, the old buildings have been been rebuilt and there are new buildings everywhere. Our $1.4b endowment is pretty large for a private school. Compare it to the teams Catholic schools leaving the Big East. Only Georgetown is close. Compare it to Baylor

There are couple of things that are affecting our rankings and prestige that cannot be fixed.

First, the decision to name the school "Southern Methodist University" was an enormous mistake. Because of the name, we are viewed by many people as a "Church" school in general and a "Methodist" school in particular. Schools like USC, Duke, Vandy, and Emory have similar histories to SMU's. Because they aren't tied to any one particular religion, they have more opportunity to feel inclusive.

Second, in many ways, good rankings are self fulfilling. Whis Yale a ranked high? All the best students go there. Why do all the best students go there? It has a great ranking. Is it really "better?"

If SMU wanted to be "better" than Yale, how would it achieve that?
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Re: Does Dallas deserve more than SMU

Postby EastStang » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:26 pm

There are lots of good things happening that will increase the endowment. I think part of that is due to investments being down perhaps. I think the Bush Library going in as well as the Circle of Champions donations have sent more "endowment" money to operations right now since they are pretty much the same pool of donors. Remember we are just 100 years old. We are being compared to institutions which have been around for 150 -200 years. Harvard and Yale are 300 years. What that means is that you pretty much have only two generations of alums that have passed on compared to older schools that have three or four. Money doubles every 7-10 years depending on your model. So, for a school that was around for 50 more years, its endowment would have doubled 5 times before we even started. And FYI, University of Cincinnati is almost 200 years old.
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Re: Does Dallas deserve more than SMU

Postby StallionsModelT » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:37 pm

At a function last year someone told me virtually all the money coming into the university right now is being used to subsidize the construction projects. Literally every cent (unless CoC or Mustang Club).

It seems reasonable to think that once the construction projects are finished that getting the endowment to 2B should be the next goal.
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Re: Does Dallas deserve more than SMU

Postby NavyCrimson » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:08 pm

East Stang - your point is well taken. When you put it in that perspective, it stands to reason you are dead-on with your comparison.

I would imagine that the new dorms will be a money-maker for the school once they open?
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Re: Does Dallas deserve more than SMU

Postby SoCal_Pony » Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:15 pm

Some really good comments, but I would add this.

As far back as the '70's I remember hearing, 'Southern Methodist University is neither Southern, nor Methodist, nor a University'. Point being even back then we were not viewd as a religious school. Seriously doubt the word 'Methodist' is holding us back.

I said 30 years ago we were #54, it was actually closer to 33 years, and that is only when I began tracking it. This building boom we are experiencing started some 7 years ago?, that does not explain the prior 25 years.

ES, you are right about the power of compounding, but you can only take that argument so far. Stanford was founded only 20 years before us. Now I do not expect us to be at Stanford's level, but I certainly expected us to be better than #58, or in MexMustang's words, and he is correct, 'not even in Top 100'.

SMT, love your enthusiasm regarding us being Top 40 in ten years, but i don't see it as it is extremely difficult moving up the ladder at this level in such a short time frame. Which kinda leads me back to one of the reasons I posted this. When I had just graduated, I also thought SMU was going to advance academically. It simply hasn't happened yet and I don't exactly know why.
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Re: Does Dallas deserve more than SMU

Postby Digetydog » Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:51 am

SoCal_Pony wrote:Some really good comments, but I would add this.

As far back as the '70's I remember hearing, 'Southern Methodist University is neither Southern, nor Methodist, nor a University'. Point being even back then we were not viewd as a religious school. Seriously doubt the word 'Methodist' is holding us back.

I said 30 years ago we were #54, it was actually closer to 33 years, and that is only when I began tracking it. This building boom we are experiencing started some 7 years ago?, that does not explain the prior 25 years.

ES, you are right about the power of compounding, but you can only take that argument so far. Stanford was founded only 20 years before us. Now I do not expect us to be at Stanford's level, but I certainly expected us to be better than #58, or in MexMustang's words, and he is correct, 'not even in Top 100'.

SMT, love your enthusiasm regarding us being Top 40 in ten years, but i don't see it as it is extremely difficult moving up the ladder at this level in such a short time frame. Which kinda leads me back to one of the reasons I posted this. When I had just graduated, I also thought SMU was going to advance academically. It simply hasn't happened yet and I don't exactly know why.


In the Northeast, we are viewed as a Church school.
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Re: Does Dallas deserve more than SMU

Postby Cadillac » Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:59 pm

Maybe we should start a slush fund to pay the top students in the nation to come here instead of the ivy league :)

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Re: Does Dallas deserve more than SMU

Postby NY Pony » Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:33 pm

Digetydog wrote:
In the Northeast, we are viewed as a Church school.


I remember once telling someone that I went to SMU and they asked me if that was "Southern Missouri." I told them it was a university ranked better than their beloved Syracuse.
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Re: Does Dallas deserve more than SMU

Postby NavyCrimson » Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:42 pm

Good for u. Here it's Santa Monica university or st. Mary's university. Heard it more than once too. Lol!!!!
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Re: Does Dallas deserve more than SMU

Postby MustangSTATS » Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:44 pm

If you want to compare us to another university, just look at Rice (est 1912). I would argue STEM and not the traditional liberal arts should be SMU's focus for growth and expansion. STEM fields help bring in research dollars to fund themselves, create streams of revenue for the university, and spinoff new businesses.
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Re: Does Dallas deserve more than SMU

Postby Pony^ » Sun Dec 23, 2012 12:38 am

MustangSTATS wrote:If you want to compare us to another university, just look at Rice (est 1912). I would argue STEM and not the traditional liberal arts should be SMU's focus for growth and expansion. STEM fields help bring in research dollars to fund themselves, create streams of revenue for the university, and spinoff new businesses.


Unlike SMU, Rice started out with a very significant endowment that provided it with huge advantages, including the ability to offer free tutition to every student it accepted until 1965.

I think SMU is now focusing on STEM fields after an early decision to get rid of Southwestern Medical School and a decison in the early 1960s to reject the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest, which was initially housed in the Fondren Science Library at SMU and later became the University of Texas at Dallas.
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