Dedman College student Ramon Trespalacios named among Best Buddies Texas Champions of the Year fundraising event

Best Buddies Dallas to Host Champion of the Year Event: Meet the Candidates

Advisory Board Member

Best Buddies Dallas will be hosting a Kick-Off Party for its inaugural Champion of the Year fundraising competition on Wednesday, September 10th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at men’s clothing boutique Alton Lane’s beautiful showroom. The Kick-Off will be an opportunity for the community to meet the Champions, who will raise money and awareness for Best Buddies over an eight-week period. The candidate that raises the most money will be named the Champion of the Year and will receive two airline tickets to New York City, two tickets to the Best Buddies Dallas Gala and other prizes.

Here is a quick snapshot of our Dallas Champions:

Angela Boyd is the Corporate Controller of LHP Hospital Group, Inc., a privately held company established to provide essential hospital capital and expertise to not-for-profit hospitals and hospital systems. Prior to joining LHP, Boyd served as the Vice President of Shared Services at 7-Eleven, Inc. At 7-Eleven, Boyd led teams that provided payroll, accounts payable, inventory, revenue and cash services to its over 8,000 stores in the US and Canada and was named by senior leadership as a High Potential Executive.

Prior to 7-Eleven, Boyd served as Director of Finance and Accounting at URS Corporation, a Fortune 500 engineering, construction and design firm. Boyd began her accounting career in public accounting and left that industry as a Senior Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers. She is also co-author of PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ first guide to software revenue recognition.

Boyd is a graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting. Angela is excited to participate as a Champion for Best Buddies because she embraces the diversity of God’s beautiful creations and has a God-son who she cherishes who was born with Down syndrome.

Jackie Collins was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and is married and living in the Preston Hollow area selling real estate with Ebby Halliday Realtors. She attended high school at Ursuline Academy where her service to the community really began by volunteering with the AIDS Services of Dallas.

The Best Buddies opportunity was appealing to Jackie because she lost a sister to spina bifida just over 11 years ago. She recognizes the importance of giving back to those who are a less fortunate than herself and by doing so she hopes to encourage others to do the same. “We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

Jessica Collins lives in Dallas where she works as a personal trainer at SWEAT as well as for Mind Set, training people with Multiple Sclerosis in their homes. She loves cooking, practicing yoga, reading novels and volunteering for both the Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Humane Society of Dallas. Jessica is participating in the Champion of the Year fundraiser in honor of her best friend’s brother who was born with Down syndrome and is inspiringly joyful. Through the fundraiser, she hopes to bring recognition and support to such an impactful organization.

Michael Gruber is the music director/DJ for the Dallas Stars. Previously, he spent ten years at Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket as a “drop artist.” Michael is honored to take part in Best Buddies and believes that his years of friendships made within the Dallas community will be a big asset to spreading the word about BB. While he hasn’t done as much charity work as he should, Michael looks forward to BB “jumpstarting” his charitable participation and contributions!

Chris Howell is the Founder & CEO of Chris Howell Communications, LLC, a full-service marketing and consulting firm. CHC offers consultation direction to event planners along with an array of client services. As a father of a 22-year-old special needs son, Chris Howell understands first-hand the importance of a program like Best Buddies, and as an award-winning journalist he is using his more than two decades of industry experience and community influence to help others better understand how the role of a program like this helps individuals with intellectual disabilities to have a better quality of life.

Paige Murray is an entrepreneur at heart and loves supporting small to mid-size companies as a Business Performance Advisor for Insperity. Her company supports all volunteer efforts. She spent 18 months in Chile on a mission trip in 2009. During that time she had the chance to work with and teach several children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her five uncles are all head coaches for several high school football and softball teams. Her uncles make special efforts to place teens with intellectual and developmental disabilities in team leadership roles. She is always amazed at how happy the students with IDD are when they are given the chance to help coach and actively participate on the teams. It was empowering for her. She is so happy to support Best Buddies as a Champion and continue to empower such amazing adults and students!

Barry D. Nalls is the founder, President and CEO of VYBRANZ, a global expense management and cost reduction company. He is the previous Founder, President and CEO of Masergy Communications, a global telecommunications company sold to ABRY Partners in 2011. He has been involved with several non-profit organizations including the Board of Directors of the Denton State School, Pescatore Eye Clinic in Guatemala, Saturday School Program and many others. He holds an MBA from SMU. Barry is a serial entrepreneur and the subject of a Harvard Business School case study titled, “The two lives of Barry Nalls, from big to small”, taught to second year MBA students.

Alex Small’s passion for Best Buddies stems from a special bond with her aunt, Emilie, who has Down syndrome. This college student and fashion blogger has been a long-time fan of Best Buddies and has been involved with the Ursuline Academy and SMU Best Buddies chapters. Her blog Small 4 Style is a source of fashion inspiration and news for many Dallasites, as well as an outlet for her aunt Emilie to show off her fashion style! Alex manages to find time for her passion for this cause and her interest in fashion while studying finance at SMU. Alex is honored to have been chosen to participate in the Champions of the Year campaign and is ready to support Best Buddies!

Ramon Trespalacios is the SMU student body president and the campaign director of “Not On My Campus,” a student lead movement to end the silence surrounding sexual assault and create a safe environment at SMU. He participated in a program like Best Buddies in Mexico, and he loves Dallas and believes that as a community we can help make it better. He is participating as a Champion because inclusion is one of his top personal values, and he believes friendship is one of the best gifts a person can receive.


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Alexis McCrossen, History, Apple watch will need a social revolution


…With the Apple Watch, Tim Cook and company are now hoping to push us through a similar social revolution. And because that’s such an enormous task, it too may be a flop—at least initially. Alexis McCrossen, a Southern Methodist University professor and author of a book on the history of clocks and watches, believes that, much like the original wristwatch, it has too much to overcome.

“They’re making two bets,” she says of Apple. One bet is that people want bigger screens and more visible access to information, she explains, and that’s why the iPhone 6 is bigger. But then the company has hedged that bet with Apple Watch, in case people are more interested in having information on them at all times. “But the thing is,” she says, “your iPhone can be on you all the time too.” READ MORE

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George Holden, Psychology, Adrian Peterson case brings scrutiny to child spanking


…Between 70 percent and 90 percent of Americans admit to using some form of physical force when disciplining their kids, according to Southern Methodist University psychology professor George Holden.

“Physical punishment is extremely common for young children,” Holden told ABC News. “It’s very common in the United States.” READ MORE

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2014 Stata Texas Empirical Microeconomics Conference


Event: November 7-8, 2014

The Stata Texas Empirical Microeconomics Conference is an annual gathering of empirical microeconomists from the (great) state of Texas. The primary goal of the camp is to bring together empirical economists of the host institutions and their guests to discuss current research in all areas of empirical microeconomics. The secondary goal of the conference is to provide a venue for graduate students receive feedback on current research and develop their technical presentation skills. FOR MORE INFORMATION


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A Markets and Culture perspective on immigration


Lisa, Maguire Fellow in Israel, is a senior majoring in markets and culture in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, with a minor in education in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. She is working on an Engaged Learning project during summer 2014 and also was awarded a Maguire and Irby Family Foundation Public Service Fellowship from the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at SMU. She is volunteering with the Ethiopian National Project (ENP), whose purpose is to help Ethiopian immigrants and their families succeed in Israel.

Read more from Lisa, Maguire.

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Santanu Roy awarded Dedman Family Distinguished Professorship



This year Professor Santanu Roy was named the 2014 Dedman Family Distinguished Professor in recognition of his research achievements and service to the university. Congratulations, Dr. Roy!


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Tower Center welcomes nuclear strategist Paul Avey

AveyPaul Avey joins the SMU John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies as a new postdoctoral fellow focusing on nuclear statecraft, foreign policy and international relations.Avey joined the Tower Center on Aug. 1 from MIT where he served as a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow in the Security Studies Program. Prior to MIT, he was a pre-doctoral fellow with the Managing the Atom project and International Security Program at Harvard’s Belfer Center for International Studies.

“Paul Avey is one of the leaders of an extraordinary group of young nuclear strategists,” said Joshua Rovner, John Goodwin Tower Distinguished Chair in International Politics and National Security. “He has done pathbreaking work to bridge the gap between scholars and policymakers by conducting a broad survey of current leaders to discover what kind of research is useful and what influences policy decisions. His effort to encourage this kind of practical political science is the kind of scholarship we encourage at the Tower Center.” FULL PRESS RELEASE HERE

Full faculty profile here.

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Ronald Reagan and the Struggle Over Apartheid, Sept. 17

Event: Sept. 17. 5:30pm. Dallas Hall, McCord Auditorium, Room 306

Ronald Reagan and the Struggle Over Apartheid. In 1986, anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu announced that President Ronald Reagan would be “judged harshly by history” for vetoing economic sanctions against South Africa.

Co-sponsored by the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute and the SMU Center for Presidential History, this event features Dr. Piero Gleijeses, a professor at Johns Hopkins University and one of the leading scholars of the global Cold War and the struggle over Apartheid, and Rozell W. “Prexy” Nesbitt, an educator and speaker on Africa, foreign policy and racism, and an activist in the anti-apartheid movement in the United States.

To register for this event, please visit events/reaganapartheid/. For more information, please contact Brian Franklin at

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Gartner Lecture Series: NoViolet Bulawayo, Sept. 15

EVENT: Sept. 15. 5pm. Umphrey Lee Center, Mack Ballroom

Gartner Lecture Series: NoViolet Bulawayo. SMU alumni and author of this year’s common reading book, We Need New Names, NoViolet Bulawayo (Elizabeth Tshele, M.A. ’07), will discuss her remarkable coming-of-age story and share her experience of leaving her home country of Zimbabwe to pursue the American dream. For more information.


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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

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