When 9/11 happened, SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence had just inaugurated the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor award. Our initial four members of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers–Bill Babcock (Theology), James Hopkins (History), Joe Kobylka (Political Science), and Ellen Pryor (Law)–had not yet met to decide on our first Academy Forum.

The terrorist attacks, unfortunately, gave us the forum topic. Less than a month after 9/11, I moderated a panel discussion featuring these four. The topic: “The Role of the University in Times of Crisis.” Held in the Hughes-Trigg Auditorium, several hundred faculty and students attended, asked questions, and offered comments.

It was a fitting topic for the inaugural Forum series: intellectually stimulating and emotionally purging.

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