Opportunities for Giving

We are grateful for the support of our donors, especially for contributions to the department that provide discretionary funding that can be spent on student awards and scholarships, student travel and research, teaching enhancement, and community-building activities. More than ever, we rely on these donations to enhance teaching and research excellence.

If you wish to donate to one of our funds, simply click on the fund name. You will then be connected to a secure SMU portal that will manage the donation process. If you wish to first engage with a Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Development Officer to discuss your gift or other options including estates, trusts, gifts in kind, or planned giving, please contact Clayton Ellis, Director of Development for Dedman College, by phone at (214) 768-9202 or by email at crellis@smu.edu.

General Funding Areas

The Physics Department Gifts Fund

This fund supports a wide and flexible range of discretionary needs beyond the scope of the department’s general operating funds or external grant support. Recent impacts include teaching technology grants for faculty, undergraduate and graduate merit-based awards (such as the Frank C. McDonald Memorial Award or the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award), conference and/or research travel support for students (undergraduate and graduate), and research equipment that cannot be funded by external grants. This fund is entirely sustained by donations.

Undergraduate Support

The Physics Undergraduate Scholarship Fund

Donations to this fund provide support for an annual scholarship (currently at the level of a few thousand dollars) for undergraduate students who exhibit both merit and need. The goal of this award is to provide financial assistance to students to help them continue in their passion for the completion of the Physics degree. Nominations are made annually by the faculty to the Department Undergraduate Committee, and the committee selects the finalist(s). This fund is not endowed and relies on donations to the department to sustain this award.

The Jeff Chalk Physics Scholarship Award Fund

This fund supports the annual Jeff Chalk Physics Award(s). These are given annually in honor of beloved former SMU physics professor Dr. Jeff Chalk to a current undergraduate student who embodies Dr. Chalk’s passion for promoting the learning of physics. This fund is not endowed and relies on donations to the department to sustain it.

The Wiley Physics Scholarship Endowment Fund

Created based on a generous endowment from Mrs. Katharine Sams Wiley, this fund provides support for annual scholarships based on merit to students at the sophomore level or above who are majoring in physics, with attention to women focused on science and engineering. Donations to this fund are applied toward the endowment, to help grow the long-term impact of this award.

Graduate Support

The Lightner Sams Physics Fund

Originally created based on a generous donation from the Lightner Sams Foundation, this fund is used to provide research merit-based graduate awards and, when possible, to provide additional travel support for doctoral students pursuing their Ph.D. in Physics at SMU. This fund has also been used to bring expertise to SMU in support of graduate education, such as external leaders in the field whose presence at SMU can enhance graduate research and education. This fund is not endowed and relies on donations to the department to sustain it.

The Tittle Physics Fund

Created based on a generous endowment from Mr. Robert Mayer Jr., this fund was established as a tribute to the memory of Dr. Charles W. Tittle. This fund provides support for the graduate program, including the department speaker series (speaker travel support) to enhance graduate exposure to the leading ideas of the field as well as the new Charles W. Tittle Graduate Starting Line Award for new students, to help them make successful the difficult transition from undergraduate to doctoral studies. Donations to this fund are encouraged especially toward the principal to help increase the long-term impact of this fund. The giving link above will apply the donation toward the operating fund rather than the endowment.