SMU students in Paris report they are safe; SMU monitoring situation

SMU News

Originally Posted: November 14, 2015

SMU has heard from all 11 of its students studying in Paris that they are safe. The SMU Travel Oversight Committee is closely monitoring the situation and is receiving updates from the U.S. State Department and International SOS.

SMU community members abroad are asked to be aware that France has declared a national state of emergency and has tightened its borders. On Saturday, November 14, the U.S. Embassy in France issued a security message regarding the terrorist attacks: “Further incidents are possible. We strongly urge U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security, including limiting their movements to essential activity. U.S. citizens are encouraged to monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.” While airports and train stations remain open, travelers may expect delays due to heightened security measures.
All SMU Abroad students are covered by emergency travel assistance through I-SOS and may use the services of I-SOS worldwide during their term of study abroad. During SMU Abroad orientation, students received laminated cards with emergency phone numbers for I-SOS. I-SOS contact information also is available online at In addition, every SMU-approved study abroad program has its own emergency preparedness plan and protocols.

Students with concerns or questions are asked to contact the SMU Abroad Director, Dr. Cathy Winnie, at (214-768-4904) or SMU Assistant Chief of Police Jim Walters at (214-768-1586). Student safety is the highest priority of SMU and our partner study abroad programs. READ MORE

Meet Dedman College Faculty during Family Weekend

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Dedman College, the heart of SMU houses the vital disciplines the underlie great accomplishment. Denman College offers 85 exciting majors and minors in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. Their award winning faculty will be available to discuss their teaching and research interests. READ MORE

Seven Dedman College professors receive emeritus status in 2014-15

Congratulations to the following professors who received emeritus status in 2014-2015. The professors, and their dates of service:



Christine Buchanan, Professor Emerita of Biological Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1977-2015




Bradley Kent Carter, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1970-2015




Anthony Cortese, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1989-2015


habermanRichard Haberman, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1978-2015



Hopkins D11


James K. Hopkins, Professor Emeritus of History, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1974-2015




John Ubelaker, Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1968-2015




Ben Wallace, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1969-2015


Congratulations to the 2015 Research Day Award Winners

Congratulations to all the Dedman College students who received 2015 Research Day awards.

The goal of Research Day  is to foster communication between students in different disciplines, give students the opportunity to present their work in a professional setting, and share the outstanding research being conducted at SMU with their peers and industry professionals from the greater Dallas community.

See the full list of Research Day Winners, 2015

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Students honor Dedman College professors’ excellence with 2015 HOPE Awards

SMU’s Department of Residence Life and Student Housing honored 45 exceptional University educators, 26 Dedman College professors, at the 2015 HOPE Awards Banquet.

HOPE (Honoring Our Professors’ Excellence) Award recipients are named through student staff member nominations as professors who “have made a significant impact to our academic education both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Congratulations to all of the Dedman College 2015 HOPE Award honorees:

Adriana Aceves, Mathematics
Paul Avey, Tower Center for Political Studies
Greg Brownderville, English
David Michael Crow, Psychology
LeeAnn Derdeyn, English/Discernment and Discourse
Melissa Dowling, History/Classical Studies
John Duca, Economics
James K. Hopkins, History
Vanessa Hopper, English
Matthew Keller, Sociology
Michael Lattman, Chemistry
David Lee, Anthropology
Judy Newell, Mathematics
Rachel Ney, World Languages and Literatures/French
Jennifer O’Brien, Chemistry
Wei Qu, World Languages and Literatures/Chinese
Stephen Robertson, Statistical Science
Bivin Sadler, Statistical Science
Martha Satz, English
Sam Ross Sloan, English
Tom Stone, English
Thierry Tirado, World Languages and Literatures/French
Nick Tsarevsky, Chemistry
John Wise, Biological Sciences
Patty Wisian-Neilson, Chemistry
Brian Zoltowski, Chemistry


Four student projects win recognition (and $5,000) in SMU’s 2015 Big iDeas Business Plan Competition

Congratulations to Hunter Rice, Edward Allegra and Rax Friman on their winning projects. These Dedman College students were part of four student teams that competed in SMU’s Big iDeas Business Plan Competition.

More on the competition and the projects below:

Four student teams combined winning pitches with solid business plans to earn $5,000 startup grants for their projects through SMU’s Big iDeas program on Jan. 30, 2015.

The four winning teams were chosen from a business plan competition featuring the winners of the Big iDeas Pitch Competition, which took place in October.

The projects were judged by a panel of volunteers from Executives in Action, a Dallas-area organization that helps strengthen North Texas nonprofits by matching them with senior-level executives for pro bono consulting services. The winners:

The projects were judged by a panel of volunteers from Executives in Action, a Dallas-area organization that helps strengthen North Texas nonprofits by matching them with senior-level executives for pro bono consulting services. The winners:

Beyond US Clothing (Hunter Rice and J.P. Buxbaum) – a for-profit clothing company that partners with charities to help underprivileged children in the United States by offering unique T-shirt designs for each partnership and donating a portion of the sales to charities with a focus on children and education.

Biolum Sciences (Edward Allegra, Miguel Quimbar and Jack Reynolds) – A smartphone-based imaging system that can detect the presence of asthma and reduce the current 40% misdiagnosis of asthma in the United States.

Helpple (Austin Wells and Irisa Ona) – an app that connects people who need help with people who are offering to help, ranging from tutoring to moving furniture to getting volunteers.

Out & About (Renita Thapa, Sam Hubbard and Raz Friman) – an app that promotes local businesses and organizations by showing its users what is going on in the community for easy planning, exploring and getting to know the area.

“The world needs big thinkers to address global challenges. It needs innovators to create solutions. It needs risk-takers to turn solutions into sustainable businesses. And at SMU, Big iDeas makes this happen,” said Engaged Learning Director Susan Kress, whose office also oversees Big iDeas.

The students will spend the next nine months developing their projects. They will present results in October 2015 at Big iDeas Demo Day for a chance to win another $5,000 to continue their work.


• Visit SMU’s Big iDeas website at

Dedman College students Jessica Leija and Katherine Mejia mentioned in a story about a local publication’s anniversary


artworks-000089494752-081kx9-t200x200D Magazine is marking its 40th anniversary with a diverse list of personalities that suggest a new currency of power in the city. A special issue and exhibit at Klyde Warren Park feature portraits of these individuals — GLBT activists, immigrants, and, yes, moguls among them — by photographer Elizabeth Lavin. For this week’s Friday Conversation, D editor Tim Rogers met KERA’s Rick Holter at the park.

Interview Highlights:

…on the assertion over the years that the city of Dallas and D Magazine seek to serve a portion of the city’s residents, and that those are wealthy and white: “We do cater to an exclusive audience. We’re not trying to publish a magazine for everyone. … That core readership; yes, they’re more affluent. They’re the leadership class. We’re not trying to reach everyone in North Texas. So it’s a focused audience, that’s how I’d put it.”

… on including Jessica Leija, valedictorian of Thomas Jefferson High School and now a freshman at SMU, in the ‘D 40’: “In 1974, when D Magazine launched, I believe 12 percent of the student population in DISD was Hispanic. And now it’s 70. And at TJ, where she graduated, it’s 93. That’s been a huge shift and it presents all sorts of challenges. But Jessica is what it looks like when you meet those challenges.”

… on how the city has changed since early issues of ‘D’: “I think maybe the biggest symbol of how the city’s changed is Klyde Warren Park, where you’re standing right now. The highway under our feet was built to enable people to get out to the suburbs as quickly as they could … There are so many changes underway right now that show — I think — that Dallas is waking up and realizing that we only succeed if the heart of the city — if downtown — succeeds.”

D Magazine’s ‘The Dallas 40’ is on newsstands now. See the stories and portraits in this interactive feature.

We checked in with Jessica Leija during her first week at SMU, and found her buddied up with another Thomas Jefferson valedictorian – Katherine Mejia (2013). They both got full rides to SMU after graduating first in their respective classes. People often tell them how successful and influential they’ll be someday. We asked them to share their feelings about power, and how they plan to use their own. Jessica, pictured at right, speaks first. LISTEN HERE

Dedman College student Jessica Leija spotlighted in D Magazine

D Magazine


Jessica Leija didn’t even know what a valedictorian was until her junior year at Thomas Jefferson High School. Junior year is when administrators first release a class ranking. Her classmates placed bets on who would own the top spot. Odds favored one of the Asian kids. Leija’s name hadn’t even entered the conversation. READ MORE

Graduate student reception scheduled for September 25

Welcome Back Graduate Student Reception flyer[1]