Southern Methodist University announced on Tuesday that it hit a record high number for fundraising, with donors pledging $159 million for the school in preparation for an exciting 2024-2025 athletic season.

The fundraising effort began shortly after the university shared its plans to join the Atlantic Coast Conference. SMU is slated to enter the conference on July 1, 2024. Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley will also soon be joining the conference, albeit on August 2.

A news release from the university stated that a large portion of the funding came within the first week of the conference announcement last September, with an incredible $100 million raised just seven days after.

Multiple school fundraising records were broken, with donors stepping up previous commitments to help support SMU athletics.

SMU said that a record 4,831 Mustang Club members helped support the cause, resulting in four eight-figure gifts, 35 seven-figure gifts, and 82 six-figure gifts.

The university is planning to use the majority of the funds to construct the Weber End Zone Complex, which is a “192,500 square foot football operations center and club space set to open for the 2024 football season,” according to the SMU news release.

The SMU football team is coming off one of the most successful seasons in recent memory. The program finished the year 11-3 and went 9-0 in AAC conference games.

SMU Director of Athletics Rick Hart thanked those who donated in a statement and said that the funding will be significant in helping the school further its goals in the athletic world.

“We are incredibly grateful for the overwhelming support from our donors, alumni, and the entire SMU community,” he said, according to a news release.

“This record-breaking fundraising year is a testament to the belief in our vision for SMU Athletics and our commitment to excellence as we enter the ACC. The unprecedented contributions from the First Week Society and all who gave to support our mission will have a lasting impact on our programs, our student-athletes, and our university.”