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Dallas Hall at Dedman College at SMU
The Laura Lee Blanton Hall during a rare snow storm

Southern Methodist University (SMU) is a private, coeducational university in University Parkmarker, Texasmarker (an enclave of Dallasmarker). Founded in 1911 by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, SMU currently operates campuses in University Park, Planomarker, and Taos, New Mexicomarker. SMU is owned by the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church.

Of the University's current enrollment of 11,000, around 6,000 are undergraduates.


The university was chartered on April 17, 1911 by the five Annual Conferences in Texas of what is now the United Methodist Church. Classes were originally planned to start in 1913 but were postponed until 1915.

SMU's establishment was the result of an unsuccessful attempt to relocate Southwestern Universitymarker from Georgetown, Texasmarker to either Fort Worthmarker or Dallas. The first relocation effort, devised by Polytechnic College president Hiram A. Boaz and spearheaded by Southwestern president Robert Stewart Hyer initially involved merging Southwestern with Polytechnic College, now Texas Wesleyan University. The post-merger university would retain the Southwestern name while occupying Polytechnic's campus in Fort Worth.

The merger never came to fruition, primarily because the Dallas Chamber of Commerce set up a committee to raise funds and entice Southwestern to relocate to Dallas instead. This second proposal gained considerable traction since Southwestern was already operating a medical school in Dallas at the time. Plans were drawn for the campus's first building, originally named Memorial Hall, which would later inspire SMU's first building, Dallas Hall. Southwestern's trustees rejected the relocation plan, prompting Hyer to resign as president and move to Dallas to establish a new school, Southern Methodist University.

SMU would retain close connections to both Southwestern and Polytechnic. Former Southwestern president Robert Stewart Hyer became SMU's first president. Hiram A. Boaz, a Southwestern graduate, resigned as president of Polytechnic to become SMU's second president. Polytechnic unsuccessfully attempted to become a feeder school of SMU before becoming a women's college. SMU acquired Southwestern's medical school in Dallas and operated it until the main campus opened in 1915. Southwestern and SMU would become athletic rivals for several years until Southwestern reformed itself as a small liberal arts college.

The effort to establish a new university in Dallas drew the attention of the General Conference of the Methodist Church, which was seeking to create a new connectional institution in the wake of a 1914 Tennessee Supreme Court decision stripping the church of authority at Vanderbilt Universitymarker. The church decided to support the establishment of SMU and dramatically increase the size of Emory Universitymarker at a new location in Dekalb County, Georgiamarker. At the 1914 meeting of the General Conference, SMU was designated the connectional institution for all Conferences west of the Mississippi River.

Classes were planned to officially begin in 1913, but construction delays on the university's first building prevented classes from starting until 1915. In the interim, the only functioning academic department at SMU was the medical college it had acquired from Southwestern University.

SMU named its first building Dallas Hall in gratitude for the support of Dallas leaders and local citizens, who had pledged $300,000 to secure the university's location. Dallas Hall remains the university's symbol and centerpiece. Designed by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge after the Rotunda at the University of Virginiamarker, Dallas Hall opened its doors in 1915 and housed the entire university as well as a bank and a barbershop. Dallas Hall is registered in the National Register of Historic Places. SMU's nickname "The Hilltop" was inspired by Dallas Hall, which was built on a hill.

The university's first president, Robert Stewart Hyer, selected Harvard crimson and Yale blue as the school colors in order to associate SMU with the high standards of ivy league universities. Several streets in University Parkmarker were named after prominent universities, including Harvardmarker, Yalemarker, Stanfordmarker, Princetonmarker, Dartmouthmarker, Purduemarker, Tulanemarker, Amherstmarker, Bryn Mawrmarker, Drexelmarker, Hanovermarker, Marquettemarker, Southwesternmarker, Vassarmarker, and Villanovamarker.

In 1939, SMU was placed under the South Central Jurisdiction of the Methodist Church.

The university drew considerable media attention in 1987 when the NCAA administered the death penalty against SMU for repeated, flagrant recruiting violations. The punishment included cancellation of the 1987 and most of the 1988 athletic seasons and a two year ban from Bowl Games and all televised sports coverage.

In 2008, SMU was selected as the site of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and the George W. Bush Policy Institute.

Academic profile

SMU's has seven degree-granting schools:


SMU's endowment of $1,367,744,000makes it one of only 77 colleges and universities in the United Statesmarker and Canadamarker with an endowment above $1 billion, and is ranked number 51.

Research & graduate studies

During 2004-05, SMU received almost $15 million in external funding for research. Results of the funded research include:
  • The introduction of a new fossil species, Dallasaurus turneri, that represents a link in the evolution of mosasaurs (prehistoric contemporaries of dinosaurs that started on land but evolved in the seas)

  • The discovery of the existence and location of Site Q, a long-sought Classic Maya city, in one of the longest hieroglyphic texts to be discovered in Guatemalamarker in several decades

  • A new model for instruction, integrating academic standards with language skills, that can help children with limited English proficiency develop biliteracy in Spanish and English

  • Research into early detection, tracking, and response for cyberattacks that use phishing scams, resulting in software that can help prevent identity theft and other computer crimes

  • Study of a mechanical system that simulates the propulsion of jellyfish, which might propel tiny vehicles for microsurgery, undersea exploration, and military surveillance

Special programs

  • SMU's Fort Burgwin campus in Northern New Mexicomarker offers summer credit courses, including the SMU archaeology field school program. Past archaeological work has included excavations at Pot Creek Pueblo, a 13th-century ancestral pueblo home of both Taos and Picuris Pueblos. The annual SMU-in-Taos Cultural Institute also uses the campus for a weekend of informal classes taught by SMU faculty members. The 2008 Cultural Institute will be held on the Fort Burgwin campus July 17-20, 2008.

Study abroad programs
  • International study is offered through 24 programs in 12 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and Latin America.

The University Honors Program
  • The University Honors Program in the Liberal Arts serves the highest achieving undergraduate students in all departments and majors across campus. Those invited to participate fulfill a seven-course requirement of their General Education Curriculum in small, often discussion-based classes. The Honors Program hosts many events throughout the academic year. It also offers considerable research grants, exclusive job opportunities, and other selective benefits to its student constituents.

The Center for Academic-Community Engagement (ACE)
  • Center for Academic-Community Engagement (ACE) - The ACE Center engages students in academic coursework that promotes scholarship through civic participation. Students enrolled in ACE Center courses work 2–3 hours a week staffing local agencies and community organizations dedicated to social and economic opportunity. The most remarkable part of the ACE Center is the ACE House, a four-student, off-campus residence in the low-income Dallas neighborhood of Garrett Park, East. ACE House student-residents run weekly programs at the House for neighborhood children and their families.

Rankings & recognition

Cox School of Business

Notable Recognitions

Fiske Guide to Colleges commends the Cox School's strong ties with the Dallas business community, claiming, "SMU is all but the official alma mater of the Dallas business and professional elite."

  • SMU consistently ranks in the top third of national universities in the U.S. News & World Report annual guidebook America's Best Colleges (67th in 2008).

  • The Cox Full Time MBA program is ranked among the nation's top schools by BusinessWeek, Financial Times, and Forbes.

Overall University Rankings
  • 1st  The University's 10 libraries house the largest private collection of research materials in the Southwest.

  • 1st  The Economist ranks the Cox School #1 in the United States for "Potential to Network".

  • 1st  In the 2005-06 U.S. Sports Academy Directors' Cup Division I Final Standings, SMU is ranked as the top school in its conference for the eighth consecutive year.

  • 1st  In the 2003 BusinessWeek ranking of the top 25 Executive MBA programs in the world, SMU Cox was listed #1 for entrepreneurship course offerings.

  • 4th  In 2005, SMU was named #4 for "Great College Towns" by Princeton Review.

  • 5th  In 2005, Entrepreneur magazine ranked the Caruth Institute #5 among the top 100 entrepreneurship programs in the nation, as ranked by program directors, faculty & alumni.

  • 5th  BusinessWeek ranks Cox #5 for Global Business as "Best Subjects" in the world, as surveyed by EMBA alumni.

  • Top 5  Five Cox School of Business departments were recognized among the nation's top business schools for research productivity based on more than 1.5 million scholarly citations. Only seven schools ranked in the top 30 in all five categories: SMU Cox, Harvard, Stanford, University of Chicago, MIT, NYU, and UCLA.

  • 6th  BusinessWeek ranks SMU Cox #6 for highest SAT scores.

  • 6th  BusinessWeek ranks Cox #6 for Marketing as "Best Subjects" in the world, as surveyed by EMBA alumni.

  • 7th  The Economist ranks the Cox School #7 in the world for "Potential to Network".

  • 9th  US News & World Report currently ranks The Cox Professional MBA program (PMBA) 9th in the nation

  • 9th  The Princeton Review ranks Cox #9 for best professors, based on interest and accessibility.

  • 10th  Forbes ranks Cox #10 in the nation for ROI, the only program in Texas and the South on the list.

  • Top 10  Financial Times also names Cox among the top 10 in the U.S. for enrolling the most experienced students and for highest salaries five years after graduation.

  • 12th  U.S. News & World Report ranks Cox #12 in the nation, the highest ranked program in Texas named in the category.

  • 13th  U.S. News & World Report ranks Cox #13 in the nation.

  • 13th  BusinessWeek ranks Cox #13 in the U.S., praising faculty members for real-world experience brought to the classroom.

  • 15th  Financial Times ranks Cox #15 in the U.S.

  • 16th  BusinessWeek ranks Cox #16 worldwide praising faculty members for real-world experience brought to the classroom.

  • 20th  BusinessWeek ranks SMU Cox #20 for sending the most undergraduates to top MBA programs.

  • Top 25  Hispanic Trends names Cox one of the 25 best business schools for Hispanic MBAs.

  • 29th  The Wall Street Journal ranks Cox #29 regional, and students are commended by recruiters for their ambition and people skills.

  • 30th  The Cox faculty is ranked among the top 30 business schools in the world for research productivity in economics, finance, information systems, marketing, and strategy, according to a recent study by Academic Assessment Services (AAS). Only six other U.S. business schools rank in the top 30 in all five categories.

  • 36th  SMU ranked No. 36 out of 98 schools in the 2005 NCSA Division I Power Rankings, which recognizes the nation's best overall collegiate athletics programs.

  • 46th  The Dedman School of Law ranks No. 46 in the U.S. News & World Report guidebook America's Best Graduate Schools 2009.

  • 46th  In 2004, SMU's "major fraternity and sorority scene" was ranked #46 by Princeton Review.

  • 54th  SMU's Endowment of U.S. $1.3 billion is ranked #54 in the nation.

  • 66th  Southern Methodist University ranks No. 66 in the U.S. News & World Report guidebook America's Best Colleges Nationally 2008

Research and related facilities


Fondren Library
  • Business School Library - Some resources are available to the public.
  • Bridwell Library- Bridwell Library is one of the leading theological research collections in the United States.
  • Central University Libraries - Central University Libraries is the largest of the SMU library administrative units, with holdings of over 2 million volumes. It comprises the Fondren Library Center, the Jake and Nancy Hamon Arts Library, the DeGolyer Library of Special Collections, the SMU Archives, the ISEM Reading Room, the Norwick Center for Digital Services, and the Fred Wendorf Information Center at SMU-in-TAOS, NM. Holdings include 1,244,889 books, 11,275 current serials, 621,970 microforms, 685,969 government documents, and 4,200 electronic databases.
  • CUL Digital Collections- Central University Libraries Digital Collections provide anyone around the world the ability to access a variety of text, videos and images. These collections are part of CUL’s ongoing effort to digitize and make available SMU’s unique special collections on the Web.
  • DeGolyer Library - The DeGolyer Library is the principal repository at SMU for special collections in the humanities, the history of business, and the history of science and technology. Its rare books, manuscripts, photographs, maps, and other materials are available to all SMU students, faculty, visiting scholars, and other researchers. DeGolyer Library’s holdings of primary sources are supported by exhibitions, lectures, publications, and seminars. Dedicated to enhancing scholarship and teaching at SMU, the DeGolyer Library is charged with maintaining and building its various collections "for study, research, and pleasure." Established in 1957 by gifts from geophysicist Everette Lee DeGolyer, DeGolyer Library houses one of the strongest collections in the United States on the Trans-Mississippi West, Texas, the Spanish borderlands, transportation with an emphasis on railroads, and business history.
  • Fondren Library Center - The largest collection of resources on campus, Fondren Library houses materials in the humanities, social sciences and business, as well as government information resources. Fondren Library also houses the Science and Engineering Library which includes collections in biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences, mathematics, statistics, computer science, and civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering. The library has particularly strong collections in the earth sciences, electronics, general science and technology. The Norwick Center for Digital Collections is also housed in Fondren.
  • Edwin J Foscue Map Library - Located in Fondren Library Center, this is one of the largest map collections in the Southwest.
  • Fort Burgwin Library - The Fort Burgwin Library, located on the SMU-in-Taos campus in New Mexico, contains approximately 9,768 books and small collections of journals and maps.
  • Hamon Arts Library - Hamon Arts Library supports the undergraduate and graduate programs of the Meadows School of the Arts in the disciplines of art, arts administration, cinema, dance, music, and theater. The Library's circulating and reference collections contain more than 180,000 items relating to the visual and performing arts. In addition, the Library has some 300 subscriptions to arts periodicals and provides access to more than 40 online resources that are specific to the arts.
  • Norwick Center for Digital Services - The Center includes a student multimedia center and screening room and supports a full range of digital services, production services and collaborative technology support, including the CUL Digital Collections.
  • Underwood Law Library - The Underwood Law Library's more than 640,000 volumes support the instruction and research of the Dedman School of Law and the general SMU community. The Library's collection is particularly strong in the areas of international law, commercial law, securities, taxation, jurisprudence, oil and gas, and air and space law.
  • Library Catalog - On line catalog of all SMU libraries

Research centers and institutes

  • Business Leadership Center - The BLC encourages MBA students to develop leadership skills.
  • Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship - The Institute offers education and training for today's entrepreneur who competes in a rapidly changing, fast paced, technology-driven environment.
  • Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility - The Center supports research, writing and teaching in ethics at the graduate and undergraduate level.
  • Center for Teacher Education - Workshops and seminars provide lessons that are both useful in instructional delivery and applicable to required professional-development hours.
  • Center for Teaching Excellence - Achieving teaching excellence is not formulaic: in diverse areas of the University, different teaching strategies work best. Therefore, the Center encourages dialogs across schools and disciplines.
  • Clements Center for Southwest Studies - This center promotes research, publishing, teaching, and public programming in a variety of fields of inquiry related to the American Southwest.
  • The Center for Research in Real Estate and Land Use Economics - The Center was created in 1984 as an entity focusing on major issues in the real estate industry.
  • Center for Scientific Computation - This interdisciplinary research center is devoted to the application of computational techniques to problems in mathematics, engineering, and the applied sciences.
  • Center for Statistical Consulting and Research - Statistical consulting services include statistical data analysis and modeling, interpretation of the results, and presentation of conclusions using state-of-the-art statistical methods.
  • Ellen K. Solender Institute in Free Speech and Mass Media Law - Its focus is on media law and issues affecting the free flow of information with some emphasis on problems caused by the differences in the law of various democracies.
  • Center for the Advanced Study and Practice of Evangelism - It seeks to accomplish its mission by providing resources within the Field of Evangelism for scholars, local churches, and others engaged in evangelization, and by providing a strategic forum in which scholars and practitioners of evangelism can be in fruitful dialogue.
  • The Institute for Engineering Education - The Institute for Engineering Education at SMU has been established to pioneer an array of innovative programs designed to present engineering as a fun, challenging and rewarding career opportunity to a national audience of students in kindergarten through high school.
  • The Institute for Reading Research - The Institute's primary mission is to promote reading skills through research in the areas of developing reading interventions for children at-risk for failing to learn to read, children with mild to moderate mental retardation, and children who are either bilingual or who speak Spanish exclusively in the early primary grades.
  • Institute for the Study of Earth and Man - The ISEM was established nearly forty years ago to foster interdisciplinary research in geology and anthropology.
  • JCPenney Center for Retail Excellence - The JCPenney Center for Retail Excellence is the leading source of academic expertise on consumer shopping behavior and the effects of retailer activities on shopping behavior.
  • John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies - The Center was established to support teaching and research programs in international studies and national security policy, focusing upon the institutions that structure national and international decision-making.
  • KPMG Institute for Corporate Governance - The KPMG Institute will explore corporate governance and ethical decision making, and how those choices impact the market's perception of a firm and its future.
  • Law Institute of the Americas - NAFTA/FTAA-related Legal Studies, Latin American Legal Studies, Selective Canadian Legal Studies, Regional Intergovernmental Institutions, Related Rule of Law and Law Reform Issues, International Economic Law and Development Issues
  • Linda and Mitch Hart eCenter - The eCenter provides leadership in the development and use of interactive network technologies.
  • Maguire Energy Institute - Studies the economic, policy, marketing and management issues related to oil, natural gas, and electricity.
  • Research Center for Advanced Manufacturing
  • SW Graduate School of Banking (SWGSB) Foundation - Focuses on providing education for all levels of bank officers.
  • Temerlin Advertising Institute - The Institute strives to advance the state of advertising communication through partnerships with both industry and government and through programs to blend the research interests of the academy and the profession.
  • Center for Academic-Community Engagement (ACE - The ACE Center engages students in academic coursework that promotes scholarship through civic participation. Students enrolled in ACE Center courses work 2–3 hours a week staffing local agencies and community organizations dedicated to social and economic opportunity. The most remarkable part of the ACE Center is the ACE House, a four-student, off-campus residence in the low-income Dallas neighborhood of Garrett Park, East. ACE House residents run weekly programs at the House for neighborhood children and their families.
  • High Assurance Computing and Networking (HACNet) Lab - is a research facility in the School of Engineering. HACNet is a certified Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education.


  • Meadows Museum - The Meadows Museum houses several collections including a collection of Spanish art from the tenth to the twenty-first centuries. It also includes a sculpture collection including works by David Smith, Henry Moore and Claes Oldenburg, as well as by contemporary sculptors such as James Surls. Important figural sculptures by Rodin, Maillol, and Giacometti are also housed within the museum. In addition it is also responsible for the University's art collection including several important regional artists.
  • Pollock Gallery - The Pollock Gallery provides an ever-changing display of works by the faculty and students of the Meadows School of the Arts, as well as by outside artists.

Performance Venues

  • McFarlin Memorial Auditorium - McFarlin Auditorium is the largest theater on campus, hosting a variety of events throughout the year.
  • Moody Coliseummarker - Moody Coliseum is a multi-purpose arena that hosts many athletic competitions and other events.

George W. Bush Presidential Center

On February 22, 2008, the University trustees unanimously instructed President R. Gerald Turner to enter into an agreement to establish the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the southeast side of the campus. SMU has courted Bush—whose wife, Laura, is an alumna—ever since Ray Lee Hunt broached the subject with the President a few months after Bush assumed office.. The museum will be joined by the George W. Bush Institute.

Laura Bush and project architect Robert A.M. Stern unveiled the center's final design on November 18, 2009, on the SMU campus. Budgeted at $250 million, the 227,000-square-foot complex will include a museum, library, archive and private Policy Institute. The building will be constructed of Texas limestone and red brick with a central landmark tower to blend with SMU's Georgian Revival architecture, and will look out onto a rolling terrain of native Texas wildflowers and grasses designed by landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh.

SMU had been considered the primary choice for the library since the December 21, 2006, announcement that the school had been selected for the "next phase of discussions" on the library.

The Mission Council of the South Central Jurisdiction of the Methodist Church in March 2007 voted 10-5 with one abstaining in favor of a 99-year lease of 36 acres.

Specifications sent to prospective architects in June 2007 called for a library and a institute to be built in an area bordered by SMU Boulevard to the north, Central Expressway to the east, Mockingbird Lane to the south and Airline Road and Dublin Street to the west. The specifications called for the buildings to comply with SMU's "distinct architectural character."

The library and museum will be administered by the National Archives and Records Administrationmarker while the institute will be privately maintained. The university will have representation on the Institute board.

Student life

  • In 2008, SMU was named #3 among all U.S. colleges for "Most Conservative Students" and #14 for "Alternative Lifestyles Not an Alternative" by Princeton Review.

Student demographics

  • 21.6% of undergraduates claim to be minorities. There can be, in any given year, students from all 50 states, the District of Columbiamarker, and almost 100 different countries.

  • SMU's female to male ratio is approximately 1:1 and its student-faculty ratio is 12:1. The average age of undergraduate students is 20.6 while that of graduate and professional students is 32.3.

  • Two-thirds of undergraduates and 42% of graduate students report a religious affiliation; 23.1% are Methodist, and 22.9% are Catholic. Other represented religions include Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam.


At SMU, the residence halls comprise a variety of room types, bathroom styles, and community areas. All of the residence halls have these common features:
  • Carpeted Rooms, Local Phone Service with Voicemail, Computer Connections via Ethernet, Air Conditioning, 24-Hour Security Card Access System, Coed Residence Halls, Laundry Rooms (Some halls have these offered at no charge), Soda Vending Machines, Microwave Ovens available in the Hall, Smoke-Free Environment, Resident Assistants and Hall Director

Residence halls
  • Boaz, Cockrell-McIntosh, Mary Hay, McElvaney, Morrison-McGinnis, Perkins, Peyton, Shuttles, Smith, Virginia-Snider

Theme halls or apartments
  • Daniel House, Hawk, Martin, Moore, Multicultural House, Service House, SMU Apartments, Fine Arts Community

Student organizations

SMU boasts nearly 200 student organizations, including academic, professional, fraternal, sporting, ethnic themed, religious, service, and political diversity groups.

Greek life

In 2004, SMU's "major fraternity and sorority scene" was ranked #46 by Princeton Review.

Southern Methodist University has:

Student media

  • The Rotunda, the official SMU Yearbook.
  • The Daily Campus, an independent student newspaper since 1915, it is published Tuesday-Friday during the Fall and Spring semesters and monthly during the summer.
  • The SMU Daily Mustang, a convergent news Web site housed in the Division of Journalism at SMU.
  • SMU-TV, a student-run television station serving the Park Cities community.
  • KPNI, a student-run radio station.
  • Hilltopics, a bi-weekly publication sponsored by the University Honors Program.
  • Espejo, an online literary magazine.
  • The Muddler, a satirical newspaper.
  • The Great Wall Street Journal, an Asian-interest newspaper


  • SMU's closest rival in athletics is Texas Christian Universitymarker (TCU) in Fort Worth, Texas. In football, SMU and TCU compete annually (with the exception of 2006) for the Iron Skillet. In 2005, a nationally unranked SMU beat then 24th ranked TCU for SMU's first win against a ranked team in 19 years (since October 1986). TCU had won the previous seven football games played against SMU.

  • SMU also competes annually with Rice University in football for the "Mayor's Cup", a traveling trophy that has been created to enhance the Rice-SMU rivalry, which dates back to 1916.

  • From 1980–1985 SMU had the winningest program in Division I-A. They posted a record of 55-14-1, and finished these seasons ranked #21, #7, #2, #19, and #8 in the nation.

  • In 1987 the NCAA administered the death penalty for repeated, flagrant recruiting violations. Components included cancellation of the entire 1987 season, a two-year ban from bowl appearances, a two-year ban from television appearances, a limit of seven games (all on road) in the 1988 season (the school responded to the combination of these conditions by canceling the '88 season outright), a loss of three assistant coaching positions for two years and a loss of 55 new scholarships over four years. Players were allowed to transfer without sitting out one season, per standard requirement.

  • On November 11, 2006, redshirt freshman quarterback Justin Willis broke the single season touchdown pass record held by Chuck Hixson (21). Willis threw for three touchdowns in a 37-27 loss to the University of Houstonmarker, setting the new single season record at 23. At the end of the season, Willis set the new record at 26. He also broke the SMU single season touchdown record accounting for 29 touchdowns. He was named to the Freshman All American team at quarterback.

  • On Monday, January 7, 2008, June Jones was named the head football coach at SMU. He brings a record of 76-41, all at the University of Hawai'i, where he won more games than any other coach in school history. He signed a five-year contract worth ten million dollars.


The SMU Mustang mascot came into being when President Hyer's assistant, Dorothy Amann once noted that SMU football players looked like a "bunch of wild mustangs." The term "Mustangs" became official upon its approval by a student vote. SMU's official mascot was named after an early 20th century patent medicine, Peruna Tonic, which was popular for its highly alcoholic "kick." Peruna is a black stallion Shetland pony that attends all home football games. Peruna I was introduced in the 1930s by an early director of the Mustang Band, Cy Barcus. Peruna is accompanied to games by "Peruna Handlers", students who are trained to lead Peruna across the field after every touchdown.

  • The Boulevard - Before every home football game, SMU students, faculty, staff, and alumni gather along Bishop Boulevard (SMU's main street) for pregame picnicking and festivities. The North end of the Boulevard hosts the tents of student organizations, including almost every fraternity and sorority on campus. Other groups such as Student Council, Program Council, and the Student Senate have traditionally participated. Many tents offer free food and drinks. Many fraternities hire bartenders and serve beer to those students and visitors who are 21 and older. The South end of the Boulevard usually hosts the tents of alumni groups and groups from various departments of the school. It is not uncommon to see pets, alumni, and children of all ages with their parents, all walking along the Boulevard. Booths offer face and body painting and give away SMU gear such as pom-poms, stickers, and temporary tattoos. North of the Boulevard, SMU's Main Quad is made available to tailgaters from the opposing team.

  • The "M" Award - This award—given to students, faculty, staff, and administrators in recognition of exemplary service to the University—is SMU's most highly coveted recognition.

  • "Pony Ears" - Mustang fans show school pride by raising two bent fingers, a gesture known as "Pony Ears", during school songs, chants, and cheers. In the 1950s, the football team held two fingers up in the air as a sign of unity. The symbol was meant to represent a 'V' for victory. By the mid-1970s, the hand symbol became more curved to represent mustang ears "which are kind of floppy."

  • Celebration of Lights - This winter tradition is a candlelit ceremony of songs and readings, held each December. The SMU community gathers on the Main Quad of the campus for this popular event. Traditionally, the Christmas story is read from the Bible by the University's president. Those who attend sing Christmas carols led by choirs from the Meadows School of the Arts and nearby high schools. The Christmas lights that decorate Dallas Hall and the surrounding trees are lit during this time.

  • Mustang Corral - This retreat in the Texas Hill Country is for entering first-year students. Student leaders, alumni, faculty, and staff welcome new students to the SMU community while sharing the rich history of spirit and traditions. Students meet professors, get to know each other, perform skits, and learn the school's cheers. They also compete in various events such as tug-of-war, sponge racing, and water balloon throwing in a camp-wide event known as The Olympics. The team that wins the Olympics receives the coveted Golden Rake.

  • Red and Blue Fridays - On the Friday before football games, SMU students wear red or blue shirts to show their support for the team. On game days, students and fans wear red. In the past, the University has sold an "official game day shirt", which is always red and usually features a clever saying or play on words relating to SMU's mascot, the Mustang.

  • The Mustang Band - The SMU marching band was the first band to play jazz music on a football field beginning in the 1930s. From 1959 forward, the band's instrumentation was designed to mimic that of a jazz band, consisting only of brass instruments, drums, and saxophones. And, the band began to use actual jazz arrangements instead of imitation jazz pieces written specifically for marching bands. The band has a unique uniform style (coat and tie) which evolves over each season. The band wears different combinations of uniform parts for the first half of the game, switching or adding parts for the second half, and not repeating any of these combinations for the entire season. The available parts include: coat (red, blue, or candy-striped), vest (red, blue, or candy-striped), button-down shirt (white or blue), pants (white or blue), bow tie (red or blue), and long tie (red or blue).

  • Varsity (Alma Mater)
Oh we see the Varsity, Varsity, Varsity,

As she towers o'er the hill over there.

And our hearts are filled with joy, SMU, SMU,

Alma Mater, we'll be true forever.

  • Peruna
Peruna is the official SMU fight song. It is based on the classic tune "She'll Be Comin' Around The Mountain". While officially wordless, the fight song is sometimes sung in parody as "She'll be loaded with Peruna when she comes".

  • Pony Battle Cry
The Pony Battle Cry is SMU's official battle cry. The lyrics are:

Hail to the red and the blue

We’re the Mustangs from SMU.

Give a cheer, show your might,

Get the victory in sight.

For our battle cry will be:


Spirit's the best in the land,

And right to the end we’ll stand

For the M-U-S-T-A-N-G-S!


  • Mighty Mustang Thunder
Mighty Mustangs Thunder through the canyon on the hill

For red and blue and SMU Mighty Mustangs always

Will fight! Fight! Fight!

Mighty Mustang Thunder from Peruna's heart within,

Fighting back, fighting on, fighting hard,

Fighting strong,

Mighty Mustangs will win!

Notable people

Pop culture

  • The book "A Payroll to Meet: A Story of Greed, Corruption, and Football at SMU" is a literature account of the recruiting scandals and violations that ultimately led to the famous "Death Penalty" being instituted.

  • While students at SMU, siblings Bill and Julie Ann Brice founded I Can't Believe It's Yogurt!, a chain that grew to more than 400 locations throughout the United States and 17 foreign countries.

  • In the 2006 NBC reality television show Treasure Hunters, the victors of ten competing three-person teams were the members of team Geniuses, a team wholly composed of SMU students which won $3 million in the largest reality show prize ever to date.

  • On the television show "Dallas", Ewing granddaughter Lucy Ewing briefly attended Southern Methodist and was a member of the cheerleading squad.


External links

Scholastic links



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