Lunch and Lecture by Tina Wasserman: “Beyond Brisket and Bagels: A Tour Of Jewish Food”

Event date: Wednesday, October 26
Location: Heroy Hall 153
Time: Noon-12:55 pm

Tina Wasserman, author of the acclaimed cookbook “Entree to Judaism A Culinary Exploration of the Jewish Diaspora,” is a renown cooking instructor living in Dallas. Wasserman was elected in 1994 to Les Dames d’Escoffier, an International Culinary Society. She will discuss the history of Jewish food and its cultural significance. The talk includes lunch and a hands-on lesson in food art. RSVP by Oct. 20 to

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Benefactors behind two Tower Center programs honored by D CEO Magazine with Latino Business Awards.

SMU News and D CEO Magazine

Originally Posted: September 6, 2016

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU’s Latino Leadership Initiative in the Cox School of Business, as well as the benefactors behind two other SMU programs in the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, have been honored by D CEO Magazine with Latino Business Awards.

Launched in November 2013, the SMU Cox Latino Leadership Initiative (LLI) distinguishes SMU as the only university working across the entire Latino talent pipeline for corporate America.  The initiative is designed to help meet the nation’s growing need for corporate leaders as national demographics evolve through management and organizational development, research into Latino corporate workplace retention and community outreach.

D CEO named the Latino Leadership Initiative its “Outstanding Latino Nonprofit” for 2016.

Nearly a year ago, SMU announced it strategic academic partnership with the Latino Center for Leadership Development  (Latino CLD), founded by SMU alumnus Jorge Baldor ’93.  The Latino CLD-SMU Tower Center Policy Program was formed to identify and implement policy-focused solutions to the Latino concerns such as educational and economic opportunities, voting rights and immigration reform, and the under-representation of Latinos in elected and appointed positions.

D CEO named Baldor its “Latino Advocate” for 2016, noting his organization’s contribution forming the Latino CLD-SMU Tower Center Policy Program.

Also in September 2015, SMU’s Tower Center launched an ambitious new program to research and promote policy-based discussion on the economic, political and social ties between Mexico and Texas.  Made possible by a gift from GRUMA-Mission Foods, a Mexican corporation headquartered in Dallas, the program is designed to elevate the frequently fractured conversations about and between Texas and Mexico, creating a platform that examines shared issues through a policy lens.

D CEO named GRUMA Corp., led by CEO Juan González Moreno, as its “Outstanding Latino Business: Large,” specifically noting the company’s contribution to form the SMU Texas-Mexico Center.

“We are delighted that the Cox School’s Latino Leadership Institute, as well as the forward-thinking benefactors behind our newest Tower Center programs, are being recognized,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner.  “Taking advantage of geography, demographics and the business leadership that exists in Dallas, SMU is determined to remain at the hub of programs that tap the strength of our growing Latino population and our economic partnership with Mexico.”  READ MORE


Helping West Dallas Teens Develop a Blueprint for College and Careers

Schweitzer Fellow Hillary Evans partners with Brother Bill’s Helping Hand to develop a college readiness / health professions program for high school students.

 Schweitzer Fellow and UT Southwestern medical student Hillary Evans understands the importance of higher education and early exposure to the medical field. Growing up in a small west Texas town, she wasn’t always aware of the opportunities available outside of her home. Through her involvement with the school basketball team, she began to see just what could be possible through education.

Evans Hillary“In high school, the basketball team not only gave me the chance to discover how many different avenues are available and reinforced my drive to pursue medicine to help others,” she explained.

As an undergraduate, Evans participated in a volunteer program through her alma mater, where she spent a year tutoring nontraditional students seeking their GED. The students she worked with were faced with challenges that Evans had never encountered—everything from balancing children and multiple part time jobs, to gang involvement, to coping with movement between foster homes. This experience taught Evans the importance of working with others to break down barriers to their goals, meeting them where they are and helping in any way that she can, and also reinforced the power of education.

Evans elaborated on why, saying “My experience tutoring as an undergrad was eye opening, and I wanted to continue to give back and serve others while in medical school in a personal way. The Schweitzer Fellowship was the perfect opportunity to bring something that could help high school students realize their own potential.”

Evans’ project is multifaceted: the first part of the program consists of six weeks of workshops, covering everything from undergraduate education and community college, as well as information about health career options and other training. The first three weeks of sessions is focused on more general, immediate goals for the students: introductions, financial aid information, how to select a school, ACT or SAT prep options, as well as practical skills like writing a personal statement and how to prepare a resume.

Evans, Hillary

As part of the project, the students took two college tours, allowing them to get a small glance into what college life is like and see what opportunities would be available to them. Their first stop was Southern Methodist University, which houses the DFW chapter of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. The day began with a campus tour led by a current student, giving the teens a chance to learn more about what life on campus is like: everything from classes, professors, dorms, and the extracurricular activities available.

Following the tour, Kim Konkel, Director of Recruiting and Communications for Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, provided an information session about the different majors and course requirements available through Dedman, as well as more information about scholarships and research happening through the college.

Speaking about the importance of researching options for college and available programs of study, Konkel elaborated, “Research shouldn’t begin once you enter college; it has to start well before then. Students need to know they have many choices and what they are so when the time comes they can make an informed college decision. It is important for students to do their research so they can figure out which college is the best fit for them and which will provide them with the breadth and depth of knowledge to make them a responsible leader who is competitive in our global job market.”

The second portion of the program is more health care career focused and includes speakers from different professions and educational programs to present to the students about required education, the types of courses they should take throughout college, financing their education, as well as personal stories about why and how they chose their current career.

“As a medical student, I know the health professions best, and touring UT Southwestern was a great experience. Our faculty really opened the doors for them, taking them into the gross path lab, showing off some of the unique specimens in the lab, like an elephant heart, and even allowing them to practice working on triage dummies in our labs. It gave them the chance to learn about medical school in a fun, approachable, and interactive way, which can be so critical for high school students,” Evans explained.

Recognizing the importance of keeping the students engaged and active during the sessions, Evans has designed the program to where students will participate in at least two community service projects in addition to the sessions. The summer portion of the program closes with personal meetings with each of the students to create a plan for their upcoming school year, and the meetings will continue once a month to allow them some time to check in with Evans and stay on track.

“Working with the students this summer has been an amazing experience, and we’ve been able to help them take real, actionable steps toward the college application process, like preparing personal statements for their applications and beginning ACT/SAT prep. I’m excited to continue to work with them and help them as they move into the next phase of their education and lives,” Evans concluded.

SMU-trained physicist who bolstered Big Bang theory dies at 84

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: August 31, 2016

James Cronin, a Southern Methodist University graduate who shared a Nobel Prize for explaining why the universe survived the Big Bang, died last Thursday in St. Paul, Minn. He was 84.

His death was confirmed by the University of Chicago, where he was a professor emeritus. No cause was given.

In 1964, Cronin and Val Fitch of Princeton University were conducting experiments at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island involving matter and antimatter: particles that have the same mass but hold opposite (though equal) charges, either positive or negative, compelling them to destroy each other on contact.

The researchers found that for all their similarities, the particles obeyed slightly different laws of physics: that there was, as Cronin put it, “a fundamental asymmetry between matter and antimatter.”

This contradicted a bedrock scientific principle known as charge-parity invariance, which had assumed that the same laws of physics would apply if the charges of particles were reversed from positive to negative or vice versa.

The finding, known as the Fitch-Cronin effect, bolstered the Big Bang theory, mainly by explaining why the matter and antimatter produced by the explosion did not annihilate each other, leaving nothing but light instead of a residue that evolved into stars, planets and people.

“We now believe this tiny difference led to us,” Michael S. Turner, an astrophysicist at the University of Chicago, said last year after Fitch died at 91.

James Watson Cronin was born in Chicago on Sept. 29, 1931. His father, also named James, met Cronin’s mother, the former Dorothy Watson, in a Greek class at Northwestern University. The elder James Cronin became a professor of Latin and Greek at SMU.

Cronin’s infatuation with physics began in high school. He graduated in 1951 from SMU, where he majored in physics and mathematics. He received a doctoral degree from the University of Chicago, where he studied under Enrico Fermi, Edward Teller and Murray Gell-Mann. His thesis was on experimental nuclear physics.

Cronin’s first wife, the former Annette Martin, died in 2005. He is survived by their children, Emily Grothe and Daniel Cronin; his second wife, the former Carol Champlin McDonald; and six grandchildren.

After collaborating with Cronin at Brookhaven, Fitch, the son of a Nebraska rancher, recruited him to Princeton. Cronin was lured back to the University of Chicago in 1971, attracted in part by one of the world’s most powerful particle accelerators, which was being built at what is now known as the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, operated by the university in partnership with a consortium of other educational institutions. He was offered a post teaching physics, astronomy and astrophysics.

Cronin and Fitch were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1980. But Cronin acknowledged that they had not completely solved a riddle of the universe.

“We know that improvements in detector technology and quality of accelerators will permit even more sensitive experiments in the coming decades,” he said at the time. “We are hopeful, then, that at some epoch, perhaps distant, this cryptic message from nature will be deciphered.”

Working with Fitch and using instruments they had devised, Cronin conducted his groundbreaking experiments when he was in his early 30s, less than a decade after he had received his doctorate. Why did it take the Nobel Committee 16 years to recognize their achievement?

“I don’t think that people recognized that this had something to do with one of the most fundamental aspects of nature, with the origin of the universe,” Cronin said in the 2006 book Candid Science VI: More Conversations With Famous Scientists, by Istvan Hargittai and Magdolna Hargittai. “I think that it took a while to realize this.”

He added: “For me, this was actually a good thing. I was much too young at that time to deal with such a thing as the Nobel Prize.” READ MORE

SMU alumnus Tim Seibles named Virginia’s poet laureate

Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

Originally Posted: August 23, 2016

Tim Seibles, professor of English at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, was named poet laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia by Governor Terry McAuliffe. Professor Seibles teaches in the master of fine arts in creative writing program at Old Dominion.

Professor Seibles joined the faculty at Old Dominion University in 1995. He was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2012 for his collection Fast Animal (Etruscan Press, 2012).

Professor Seibles is a graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He taught for 10 years in the Dallas public school system before earning a master of fine arts degree in creative writing at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier. READ MORE

James Cronin, Nobel laureate who overturned long-accepted beliefs about the fundamental symmetry of laws of physics , dies at 84

Washington Post

Originally Posted: August 28, 2016

James W. Cronin, who shared the Nobel Prize in physics for discovering a startling breakdown in what was assumed to be the immutable symmetry of physical law, thereby helping to explain the behavior and evolution of the universe as a whole, died Aug. 25 in St. Paul, Minn. He was 84.

Dr. Cronin’s death was announced by the University of Chicago, where he was a professor emeritus of physics as well as of astronomy and astrophysics. No cause was reported.

Through the study of the decay of a single subatomic particle, Dr. Cronin and a colleague, Val Logsdon Fitch of Princeton University, made it possible for inferences to be drawn about the laws of nature on a scale as vast as the entire universe, in all its unfathomable immensity and multibillion-year duration. The two shared the 1980 Nobel Prize.

Scientists had assumed a symmetry between the particles making up matter and what theory described as their oppositely charged counterparts. These counterparts formed what is known as antimatter.

In addition, it had been assumed that the laws of nature were, in the terms of science, “invariant under time reversal.” This meant essentially that physics would be the same whether time flowed forward or backward, a concept as intriguing as it is foreign to experience. READ MORE

We Can’t Resurrect T. Rex and We Don’t Want To

Originally Posted: August 22, 2016

Molecular biology Ph.D. candidate Lauren Ammerman has looked into and Jurassic megafauna would be a megaproblem.

The Jurassic Park franchise, like the dinosaurs it reanimates, won’t be ignored. Michael Crichton’s masterpiece makes a lot of cameos in academic papers. Still, it’s rarely the focus of true inquiry. It is, after all, kind of easy to dismiss. But Lauren Ammerman, a molecular biology Ph.D. candidate at Southern Methodist University, doesn’t want to be dismissive. This is why, as a senior at Baylor University, she authored an honors thesis about what happens when Jurassic gene editing meets the rewilding movement meets the ultimate alpha predator. She made herself — and this is truly awesome — an expert on what would happen if we brought back the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Inverse spoke to Ammerman, whose work reads like a potential sequel to Jurassic World, about how science and blockbusters can coexist.

Okay, I know we can’t actually resurrect the T. rex — for now. What’s holding us back?

We have one or two complete genes, but they’re not anything important, like dinosaur hemoglobin. And the information we do have is pretty badly damaged so, right now there’s not that much we can do about it. We don’t know enough about these decaying processes to reverse them and determine the original sequence. So the whole Jurassic Park idea of using frog genomes and reptile genomes to supplement it doesn’t really work because we don’t have anything to supplement. Dinosaurs are also actually physiologically different than the reptiles we have on Earth right now. We don’t have a good foundation to build on there.

I didn’t really have the chance to get into this in my thesis and I’ve never seen anyone mention it, but you also have this problem of ‘Okay, it’s in the cell, now what do we do?’ DNA is just one piece of the puzzle. It’s pretty strictly regulated by epigenetic mechanisms, processes that make DNA available or unavailable for gene expression. We have no way of knowing what key points turn it on or off. READ MORE

Nobel laureate and SMU alumnus James Cronin dies

Physics World

Originally Posted: August 27, 2016

American nuclear-physicist James Cronin, who shared the 1980 Nobel Prize for Physics with Val Fitch, died on 25 August, at the age of 84.

James CroninCronin and Fitch – who died in February last year – were awarded the prize for their 1964 discovery that decaying subatomic particles called K mesons violate a fundamental principle in physics known as “CP symmetry.” The research pointed towards a clear distinction between matter and antimatter, helping to explain the dominance of the former over the latter in our universe today.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, on 29 September 1931, Cronin completed his BS in 1951 at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where his father taught Latin and Greek. Cronin moved to the University of Chicago, where he graduated with a PhD in physics in 1955. While there, Cronin benefited from being taught by stalwarts of the field, including Enrico Fermi, Maria Mayer and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar.

After his doctorate, Cronin worked as an assistant physicist at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) until 1958, when he joined the faculty at Princeton University, where he remained until 1971. He then returned to the University of Chicago to become professor of physics. Cronin met Fitch during his time at BNL and it was Fitch who brought him to Princeton. While there, the duo aimed to verify CP symmetry using BNL’s Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS) by showing that two different particles did not decay into the same products. READ MORE

Oh, the places Dedman College students will go… (after graduation)!

Dedman College graduate employer list

SMU Clements Center awards top book prize Sept. 27

SMU News

Originally Posted: August 15, 2016

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies will present its annual book prize on Tuesday, Sept. 27, to historian Andrew J. Torget forSeeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, 1800-1850 (University of North Carolina Press, 2015).

The David J. Weber-William P. Clements Prize for the Best Non-Fiction Book on Southwestern America honors both the Center’s founding director and founding benefactor.

Torget, a former Clements Fellow, will be honored Sept. 27 at a 5:30 p.m. reception, followed by a 6 p.m. lecture and book-signing at McCord Auditorium in Dallas Hall, 3225 University, SMU. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. To register, call 214-768-3684 or click here.

Andrew TorgetIn Seeds of Empire, Torget, associate professor of history at the University of North Texas, explores the roles that cotton and slavery played in fomenting the Texas Revolution, which was in part a reaction against abolitionists in the Mexican government, and in shaping Texas’ borderlands into the first fully-committed slaveholders’ republic in North America.

In selecting the book from a large field of entries, judges wrote: “Torget’s deep archival work brings a fresh perspective to the conflicts over slavery in Texas on the eve of the Civil War. The book’s most notable accomplishment is the emphasis on cotton and slavery as a world-wide system that bound Texas history to larger economic and political forces in the U.S., Mexico, and Europe. He challenges the traditional interpretation that the westward movement in the early nineteenth century was primarily motivated by ideologies of racial supremacy that characterized Manifest Destiny. Instead, Torget demonstrates that, although westering Americans felt superior to the people whose lands they invaded, they mainly migrated to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in the trans-Atlantic cotton economy that the Mexican government had established by offering them free land.”

Finalists for the Weber-Clements Book Prize are Emily Lutenski for West of Harlem: African American Writers and the Borderlands; and former Clements Fellow John Weber for From South Texas to the Nation: The Exploitation of Mexican Labor in the Twentieth Century.

This is the eighth major book prize Seeds of Empire has won.

The $2,500 Weber-Clements Book Prize, administered by the Western History Association, honors fine writing and original research on the American Southwest. The competition is open to any nonfiction book, including biography, on any aspect of Southwestern life, past or present. The William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies is affiliated with the Department of History within SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. The center was created to promote research, publishing, teaching and public programming in a variety of fields related to the American Southwest.  READ MORE