Welcome to the Class of 2020

SMU News

Originally Posted: August 22, 2016

Following you will find Class of 2020 PhotoMaking the Class of 2020 PhotoOpening Convocation scenesOpening Convocation speechCamp Corral scenes“Discover Dallas” scenes“Discover Dallas” StorifyCorral Kick-OffMove-In video and scenes, and AARO.

SMU Class of 2020 Photo

SMU Class of 2020

Calendar Highlights: Back to school in brief, Fall 2016

Dallas Hall at SMU

Welcome to the 2016-17 academic year! Here are a few Fall 2016 dates to remember:

  • Opening Convocation and Common Reading discussion: Sunday, Aug. 21
  • First day of classes: Monday, Aug. 22
  • General Faculty Meeting: Wednesday, Aug. 24
  • Labor Day: Monday, Sept. 5 (University offices closed)
  • First Faculty Senate Meeting of 2016-17: Wednesday, Sept. 7
  • Family Weekend: Friday-Saturday, Sept. 23-24
  • Fall Break: Monday-Tuesday, Oct. 10-11
  • Homecoming Weekend: Friday-Saturday, Nov. 4-5
  • Thanksgiving: Thursday-Friday, Nov. 24-25 (University offices closed, no classes on Wednesday, Nov. 23)
  • Last day of classes: Monday, Dec. 5
  • Reading days: Tuesday-Wednesday, Dec. 6-7
  • Final exams: Thursday-Wednesday, Dec. 8-14 (no exams scheduled for Sunday)
  • December Commencement Convocation: Saturday, Dec. 17 (official close of term and date for conferral of degrees)
  • Christmas/Winter Break: Friday, Dec. 23, 2016-Monday, Jan. 2, 2017 (University offices closed)


Kimbilio Literary Retreat: Writers flock to retreat for serenity, beauty of Taos and northern New Mexico


Originally Posted: August 1, 2016

kimbilio-writing-retreatDALLAS (SMU)When Lakiesha Carr decided she needed a quiet place and the support of her peers to finish her debut collection of short stories, she knew exactly where she wanted to go: The Kimbilio Retreat for African-American fiction writers at SMU-in-Taos, New Mexico.

“As a writer, it’s always great to have workshop opportunities, because you want as many eyes and insights as you can get for the work,” Carr says. “Kimbilio has a great legacy, even though it’s a young organization, of having tremendously talented and intelligent people coming there, and that in itself is a gift.”

Carr says she choose to attend Kimbilio because it’s hosted by SMU, her alma mater; because she’d heard great things about it from fellow writers; and because of the renowned beauty of northern New Mexico.

“A lot of the great retreats and MSA programs are often not just in remote areas, but places where natural life is preserved and honored,” Carr says. “I appreciate how much landscape scenery and the history of a place can inspire my creative process in particular, which I think is fairly common for a lot of writers.”

A former journalist with CNN and the New York Times, Carr says she decided to write a short story collection to tell stories with the kind of nuance that national media can’t muster.

Her debut collection will focus on the experiences of African American women going through change; whether it’s the change of flowering youth, the change of old age, or the change of becoming a mother in a community that often feels its youths are victimized by the police.

“There’s a story touching on the things we see in the news today, particularly with the police violence toward young black people, and the response of a mother who is raising two black boys and what fears, rational and irrational, it causes in her,” Carr says. “Each story is a woman experiencing something critical to her sense of self and sense of identity, and we see how that changes them or if they resist to what that change brings.” READ MORE


SMU remains weapons-free under Texas ‘campus carry’ law

SMU News

Originally Posted: July 27, 2016

SMU prohibits the possession of any dangerous weapon (either openly or in a concealed manner), or facsimiles of dangerous weapons such as water guns or toy guns and knives, on all University property, athletic venues, passenger transportation vehicles and any groups or building on which University activities are conducted.

Student-owned sporting firearms or other weapons (including all BB and pellet guns) are the responsibility of the owner and must be stored at an appropriate location off campus.

SMU has been a weapons-free campus since at least 1994. See smu.edu/policy for the full policy.

Any violation of this policy is considered a serious offense. If you have questions about this policy, please contact the SMU Police Department at 214-768-3388. READ MORE

Black Writers Retreat to New Mexico

Black Enterprise

Originally Posted: July 19, 2016

Kimbilio, a community of writers and scholars committed to developing, empowering, and sustaining fiction authors from the African diaspora and their stories, hosts an annual retreat for writers of color to read, write, and learn from each other.

A project of the English Department and The Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences at Southern Methodist University (SMU), the Kimbilio Retreat is seven days in which selected fellows and faculty gather in the Carson National Forest to work and share, held each July on the Taos campus of SMU.

“Writing is a solitary, isolating process, but the writer herself cannot grow in an environment of marginalization and doubt. Race permeates the water of American life, but Kimblio allows black writers to float above it—if only for one week a year—and bask in the light of a rigorous, loving, literary community,” says Desiree Cooper, 2013 Kimbilio Fellow. “Kimbilio is a safe place for African American writers to ask hard questions of their art and of the cannon itself. It is a safe place to experiment and evolve, engage and argue, explore, and discover. Kimbilio is as necessary as fire.”

Former CNN and New York Times journalist and SMU alumna, Lakiesha Carr, joins the Kimbilio Retreat as a 2016 Fellow. “As a writer, it’s always great to have workshop opportunities, because you want as many eyes and insights as you can get for the work,” she says. “Kimbilio has a great legacy, even though it’s a young organization, of having tremendously talented and intelligent people coming there, and that in itself is a gift.”

You too can become a Kimbilio Fellow; Kimbilio is open to serious-minded, committed writers with a solid grounding in the fundamentals of fictional craft.

The application process to become a Fellow is open during the late winter and early spring of every year. Applicants submit a sample of their fiction writing and a short essay about why they are interested in becoming a Kimbilio Fellow. Applications are judged blindly by outside evaluators, who are themselves accomplished fiction writers.

Other Kimbilio projects include readings, presentations at professional conferences, and social media networking.

For more information visit kimbilio.com.

Willard Spiegelman’s book Senior Moments: Looking Back, Looking Ahead, nicely reviewed

Post and Courier

Originally Posted: July 10, 2016

Review: ‘Senior Moments’ reflects on books, writing, perception, experience

Willard Spiegelman writes essays like Ferran Adria approached “molecular” gastronomy, with conscious, understated artistry.

While generally a hopeful sort, here and there in this slim but thoughtful collection of essays, Spiegelman is as glum as he is enthusiastic, not least on the paradox of humanity’s insignificance.

But if lucidity and essence, alloyed with depth, are what he expects of great writing, he generally delivers what he advocates. And with an elastic, youthful temperament that belies the book’s title. The author’s reflections on growing older frame the book; they do not define it.

Spiegelman, 71, distinguished professor of English at Southern Methodist University and former editor of the Southwest Review, is most engaging on the subject he knows best. He defines good writing as what makes you interested in something you are not interested in. Yet few of these pieces lack relevance. Spiegelman is especially adroit on poetry, admiring verse that seduces through “condensation and expansive suggestiveness,” prompting each reader to respond to and decipher it individually. In any field of writing, he respects and seeks out those demonstrating “cool clarity, sharpened perception, and a transparent style.”

Occasionally, this prompts the native Philadelphian to be offhand and a bit waspish regarding work he considers less aesthetically sound or pleasing, but perhaps this comes with the territory, and he certainly has a right to his preferences.

On other matters, one may disagree with any number of his pronouncements, such as “the most compelling revelations always come to travelers in the most ordinary situations,” that in our digital age “all that recommends books as material objects” is their decorative appeal or “their manifestation of cultural capital,” or that, more prosaically, “driving closes the mind to everything but driving itself.” Certainly, all these things depend on the individual.

A regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Spiegelman deals with the glories of books and reading as well as the freedom of saying “No thanks” to many a book, including some celebrated classics. READ MORE

What we know about Hope Hicks, SMU grad and Donald Trump’s secretive press secretary

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: June 21, 2016

Donald Trump’s press secretary hasn’t shared much information about herself, and she’s rarely, if ever, available for comment.

But this week,  the public learned  more about Hope Hicks when GQ and Marie Claire magazines published pieces about the Southern Methodist University alum.

Since her graduation from SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences in 2010, Hicks, 27, has skyrocketed to the top of the Trump universe. The Connecticut native comes from a family of well-connected public relations experts.

Hicks routinely declines interview requests, unlike Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, whose social media presence rivals that of Trump himself. READ MORE

Meet Hope Hicks, Dedman College Alumna and Donald Trump Communications Director

Marie Claire

Originally Posted: June 7, 2016

In Donald Trump’s inner circle on the campaign trail, there’s just one woman: Hope Hicks, 27, his communications director and the only woman who travels full-time with the Republican front-runner.

Hicks has played an integral role in Trump’s unprecedented rise in the 2016 election. As Trump tweets about the controversies du jour with abandon, delivers unscripted soliloquies at campaign stops, and is a near-constant presence on cable news, Hicks is behind the scenes, juggling the moving parts of the rapid news cycle.

In 2012, after a successful teen modeling career and graduating from Southern Methodist University, the Connecticut native got her first taste of the Trump life working on the hotel and golf divisions of his company for New York public relations firm Hiltzik Strategies. The Trump Organization brought her in-house as the director of communications in 2014, and the following year, she got the surprise of a lifetime when The Donald asked her to join his budding campaign. Here, in her first-ever interview in her current role, she shares what it’s like to work for the unconventional candidate.  READ MORE