Can you believe school is back in session? Time to crack open the books, move into dorms & cheer on the Mustangs here in Dallas! The Southern Methodist University, located in the Highland Park area of Dallas, TX has been a part of our community since 1911. As we are proud Mustang fans, we thought it would be appropriate to give our readers and future guests a little history & information on our beloved SMU.
Today, the university is ranked among the top 100 universities in the United States, as well as one of the “Best Western Colleges” by The Princeton Review. Many SMU departments are ranked in the top 50 for their respective fields as well. The main campus is a beautiful sight in town, so impressive that Conde Nast Traveler crowned the campus The Most Beautiful in 2016! One of the most precious buildings is the new George W. Bush Presidential Center. The library and museum opened in 2008 and are privately administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.
Dallas Hall, which inspired the nickname “The Hilltop” for the school, officially opened its doors in 1915 and housed the entire university along with a bank & a barbershop. 456 students & 37 faculty members were in attendance. Due to construction delays, opening was pushed back from the original date of 1913 to 1915. In the interim, the only classes offered were out of the medical college, which was acquired from Southwestern University. The Hall was designed by Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge & modeled after the University of Virginia. It is now a member of the National Register of Historic Places; SMU is rooted in history, much like Magnolia Hotels.
The beloved mascot, Peruna, a miniature pony, was introduced to the university in 1936 and instantly became a crowd favorite. There have been at least 5 other ponies since then, all encompassing the SMU spirit. It wasn’t until 1958 that the hand symbol was created. The two-finger hand sign originally meant “V for Victory” to develop team unity after a disagreement between the team & coaching staff. However, in the mid-1970s a cheerleader named Roy Bailey thought the sign should compete with the surrounding university’s hand signs. The old sign converted into a different meaning: pony ears. As little Peruna’s ears were floppier, the public decided to adjust the stiff V-shape into a curved sign to represent the floppiness of pony ears. The hand sign is mostly presented whenever “Varsity,” the SMU cheer song, is sung.
Whether you are visiting the Magnolia Hotel Dallas Park Cities for business or pleasure, checking out SMU is a worthwhile pit stop. The University is rich in culture and essential to our city of Dallas. Each year, we look forward to welcoming students, parents, alumni & fans through our doors. Whether it’s an extra box of tissues set out for the emotional Move-in Weekend, or a special Homecoming Cocktail, we love supporting the SMU community in any way we can, as it is dear to our hearts.
Next time you are coming into town for SMU, please book our discounted SMU rate.