SMU’s Center for Presidential History event this week, author discusses new biography: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: October 23, 2016

“There is a tide in the affairs of men,” wrote William Shakespeare, “which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.”

“There is a tide in the affairs of men,” wrote William Shakespeare, “which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.”

While the quote comes from his play Julius Caesar, it’s an apt description of the life of Ulysses S. Grant, another military hero who became his country’s leader.
In 1860, Grant was a clerk in his brother’s leather shop in Galena, Ill. Five years later, he commanded the nation’s largest army in its victory over the Confederacy. Three years after the Civil War ended, Grant began the first of his two terms as president of the United States.

When he died in 1885 at 63, Grant was grouped with Washington and Lincoln. His funeral in New York City drew 37,000 military marchers, throngs packing the 9½-mile parade route, and was marked by a coordinated bell-ringing across the country and even Mexico. The Grant National Memorial, opened in 1897 in New York’s Riverside Park, is the largest mausoleum in North America. An estimated 1 million attended the ceremonies.

However, U.S. Grant’s reputation has tarnished over the years, darkened by charges of alcoholism, incompetence and corruption. His Personal Memoirs, considered the best-written account by an American leader, gathers dust on library shelves today. READ MORE

‘Why Standing Rock Matters’ is topic for Clements Center panel discussion Monday, Oct. 24, 2016

SMU News

Originally Posted: October 18, 2016

why-standing-rock-mattersThe national protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline have drawn thousands to rallies throughout the country, including Dallas. What is Standing Rock and its history, and what is the basis of the dispute over the pipeline?

An invited panel moderated by Ben Voth, associate professor of corporate communications and public affairs in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, will take on these questions and more at SMU.

“Why Standing Rock Matters: Can Oil and Water Mix?” will take place 6-7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, 2016in Crum Auditorium, Collins Executive Education Center.

A reception will precede the panel discussion at 5:30 p.m. Both the reception and forum are free and open to the public. Register online at Eventbrite or call the Clements Center at 214-768-3684.

The panelists include the following experts, who will each bring a different perspective to the discussion:

  • Archaeology – Kelly Morgan is president of Lakota Consulting LLC, which provides professional cultural and tribal liaison services in field archaeology. She works to protect cultural and natural resources alongside other archaeologists and environmentalists in North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota and on the island of Guam. Currently she is the tribal archaeologist for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Morgan received her PhD. in American Indian studies from the University of Oklahoma.
  • Energy – Craig Stevens is a spokesman for the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN), a partnership aimed at supporting the economic development and energy security benefits in the Midwest. MAIN is a project of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council, with members in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Illinois – the states crossed by the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. Previously Stevens served as a spokesman for two cabinet secretaries, a surgeon general, and a member of Congress. He also worked on two presidential campaigns.
  • Environmental – Andrew Quicksall is the J. Lindsay Embrey Trustee Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering. His research focuses on aqueous metal enrichment and water contamination in the natural environment by probing both solution and solid chemistry of natural materials. He received his Ph.D. in earth science from Dartmouth College.
  • Tribal history – Cody Two Bears, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Councilman and tribal member who represents the Cannon Ball district of the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota.
  • Law – Eric Reed (Choctaw Nation), J.D., is a Dallas lawyer who specializes in American Indian law, tribal law and international indigenous rights. Reed received a B.S in economics and finance and a B.A. in anthropology from SMU and his J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law.
  • Mechanical – Tayeb “Ty” Benchaita is a managing partner of B&G Products and Services LLP, a consulting company in Houston that specializes in products quality control and assurance, products manufacturing and operations for the oil, fuels petrochemical, oil refining, lubricants, re-refining, and environmental industries. He holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and executive management training from the Harvard Business School.
  • Public policy – Michael Lawson is president of MLL Consulting which provides historical research and analysis for government agencies, Native American tribes, law firms and other private clients. Additionally, he is of counsel to Morgan, Angel & Associates, L.L.C. in Washington, D.C., where he formerly served as a partner. Lawson received his Ph.D. in American history and cultural anthropology from the University of New Mexico and is author of Dammed Indians Revisited: The Continuing History of the Pick-Sloan Plan and the Missouri River Sioux (South Dakota State Historical Society: 2010). READ MORE

Numerical analysis of the Galerkin and weak Galerkin method for the Helmholtz equation with high wave number

Event date: Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Location: Clements Hall 126
Time: 3:30–4:30pm

Featured Speaker: Dr. Zhimin ZhangDepartment of Mathematics, Wayne State University and the Beijing Center for Computational Science

Abstract: We study convergence property of the weak Galerkin method of fixed degree p and supercovergence property of the linear finite element method for the Helmholtz problem with large wave number.

  1. Using a modified duality argument, we improve the existing error estimates of the WG method, in particular, the error estimates with explicit dependence on the wave number k are derived, it is shown that if k(kh)p+1 is sufficiently small, then the pollution error in the energy norm is bounded by O(k(kh)2p), which coincides with the phase error of the finite element method obtained by existent dispersion analyses.
  2. For linear finite element method under certain mesh condition, we obtain the H1-error estimate with explicit dependence on the wave number k and show that the error between the finite element solution and the linear interpolation of the exact solution is superconvergent in the H1-seminorm, although the pollution error still exists. We proved a similar result for the recovered gradient by polynomial preserving recovery (PPR) and found that the PPR can only improve the interpolation error and has no effect on the pollution error. Furthermore, we estimated the error between the finite element gradient and recovered gradient and discovered that the pollution error is canceled between these two quantities. Finally, we apply the Richardson extrapolation to the recovered gradient and demonstrate numerically that PPR combined with the Richardson extrapolation can reduce the interpolation and pollution errors simultaneously, and therefore, leads to an asymptotically exact a posteriori error estimator.

All theoretical findings are verified by numerical tests. READ MORE

Department of Mathematics Research Colloquium: Efficient time-domain DG methods for wave propagation

Event Date: October 26, 2016
Location: Clements Hall 126
Time: 3:30–4:30 (Refreshments are served 15 minutes before the talk)

Mathematics Colloquium Talk by Jesse Chan (Rice University)

Link for more information:

Contact: A. J. Meir

Data is Made Up of Stories: University-wide Futures from the Digital Humanities Series Digital Face of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Project

Event Date: November 7, 2016
Location: The Forum, Hughes Trigg Student Center
Time:11:45 a.m.


Join Professor Eltis from Emory University as he assess the impact of www.slavevoyages since its launch in 2008 on scholarship on slavery in the Atlantic world and more especially on how the site has interacted with the digital humanities revolution. Lunch Provided. RSVP at

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Save the Date: “Pursuit of Harmony” Concert, November 14

Event date: Monday, November 14, 2016
Location: Perkins Chapel
Time:7:30 pm


Join Jewish-American songwriter Michael Hunter Ochs and award-winning Muslim-Palestinian peace activist/songwriter Alaa Alshaham for an intimate performance of music and conversation.These two improbable friends will retrace their steps between Israel and Palestine – eventually finding themselves performing together at the United Nations. Their personal stories, stunning photographs and exclusive video accompany their original songs. Tickets at (free for students).

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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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