Looking back and moving ahead with SMU’s Willard Spiegelman

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: September 16, 2016

Every day he taught a class at Southern Methodist University, Willard Spiegelman wore a bow tie and a jacket. Every day in every class he taught, students were expect to write. For 45 years, it was this way.

On a Friday afternoon in early September, Spiegelman wears just khakis and a button down shirt, sleeves rolled to his elbows. He’s spent the past few months packing up his office, giving away volumes of poetry to students and colleagues from his bookshelves, preparing for his move to Manhattan, where he will spend his retirement. For decades he’s split his time between Dallas and the East Coast, where his partner of many years resides.

But before he goes, he’s making appearances to celebrate a new collection of essays, Senior Moments (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $24), which reflects on the life that made him an icon on campus and respected nationally for his wit and insight.

A native of Philadelphia, Spiegelman arrived in Dallas via undergraduate studies at Williams College and doctorate work at Harvard University. He says his original selling point to academia was as an English Romanticist who built much of his career on poets like Keats and Shelley. Poetry, which became his vocation, was his second love. In childhood, he says, he “took to books.”

Spiegelman grew up in a suburban Jewish household without a lot of books. Education and learning, while valued, were not necessarily tied to the liberal arts. His father grew up in the Depression and studied to become a physician. His mother stocked the house with   Reader’s Digest Condensed Books , but as Spiegelman writes in the first essay from Senior Moments, the house was a place of raucous conversation, not silent reflection. READ MORE

SMU to honor global & local humanitarians at ‘Triumph of the Spirit’ celebration Nov. 16


Originally Posted: September 16, 2016

DALLAS (SMU) – African physician Georges Bwelle, who goes the distance to offer free healthcare for his country’s impoverished,and Carol Brady Houston, a compassionate Plano-based supporter of special-needs children and their families, will be recognized with 2016 Triumph of the Spirit Awards at a music- and art-filled celebration Nov. 16 at the Kessler Theater in Dallas.

Sponsored by SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program (EHRP), the bi-annual awards reward both an international and local humanitarian with a total of $30,000. The awards and its related festivities are supported by an anonymous donor.

The dynamic “VOICES”-themed event will feature music by former Sudanese child soldier/current hip-hop peace activist, Emmanuel Jal; the smart, gritty country-folk music of Austin-based BettySoo; compelling spoken-word and live-action performances by Journeyman Ink;and mixed-media works created by SMU students and local professionals.

Event tickets, which support human rights programming, start at $50 (via prekindle.com/triumph) for access to a 6 p.m. reception, 7 to 9 p.m. event, catered hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and valet parking. (For information related to discounts for students and others, contact Sherry Aikman at saikman@smu.edu or 214-768-8347.)

“These awards –which put a human face on the struggle for human rights – are unique to SMU and are rarely offered by higher-education institutions. We’re fortunate we’re able to help extraordinary individuals empower marginalized people in innovative ways,” says EHRP Director Rick Halperin. “The event is also designed to revitalize the spirit of the entire Dallas community as we work to build a kinder and more humanitarian city.” READ MORE


Dedman College alumnus and Jaguars Tackle, Kelvin Beachum is featured in a new NFL video airing for Hispanic Heritage Month


Originally Posted: September 16, 2016

Dedman College alumnus and Jaguars Tackle, Kelvin Beachum is featured in a new NFL video airing for Hispanic Heritage Month. Kelvin is doing some excellent work on and off the field. WATCH


Fondren library closed Saturday, September 17th

Fondren Library will be closed this Saturday, September 17th for Game Day. Regular hours will resume Sunday September 18th at Noon. READ MORE 

Skip Hollandsworth talks about new book during lunchtime lecture series

Daily Campus

Originally Posted: September 13, 2016

Skip Hollandsworth, Texas Monthly journalist and author of “The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America’s First Serial Killer”, kicked off the six-part, lunchtime lecture series, hosted by the Clements Center for Southwest Studies on Wednesday. Beginning at 1:00 p.m. in Hyer Hall, students, faculty, and guests were invited to attend the presentation followed by a short question and answer session and book signing.

Presenting to a room of approximately 50 attendees, Hollandsworth walked the audience through a timeline of events highlighted in his book that surrounded a mysterious string of gruesome murders that occurred in Austin, TX in 1885.

Through use of vivid language and photographs, Hollandsworth painted a picture of what Austin, TX looked like during the 1800s as technological advances began to emerge.

“Austin was transforming from a sepia-toned old west town into a new age. The phrase ‘everything is bigger in Texas’ existed even at that time,” Hollandsworth said as the crowd chuckled.

The lecture attracted people of all ages as Hollandsworth warmed the room with his passion for crime and unsolved mysteries.

Tommie Ethington, who attended the lecture after reading Hollandsworth’s book said, “I was fascinated by learning about the history of Austin. You learn so much about the city in addition to the murders.”

The Center for Southwest Studies puts on public programming each year, beginning with the lunchtime series, in an effort to promote their own research fellows and to engage a broad public interest.

“I have worked with Skip on a couple of events in the past and I thought his book would be a great way to begin the year,” said Andrew Graybill, co-director of Clements Center for Southwest Studies. READ MORE

Income up, poverty down: Texas exceeding U.S. in key economic numbers

Dallas News

Originally Posted: September 15, 2016

Texas rode the national wave of rising incomes and decreased poverty last year — a combination economists and demographers found surprising, given turbulence in the state’s energy industry.

“It’s a great report and it’s great for us,” said Pia Orrenius, a senior economist at the Dallas Federal Reserve. “You don’t see any impact from the oil bust.”

Experts said the Lone Star state didn’t merely keep pace with the rest of the country; it exceeded national averages in key economic measures included in new Census Bureau data released Thursday.

For the first time since 2009, the national median household income grew significantly, jumping 3.8 percent from $53,713 in 2014 to $55,775 in 2015. The phenomenon spanned racial categories and age groups.

Economists celebrated that boost as a sign that one of the most stubborn remnants of the recession — stagnant wages — is finally dissipating.

In Texas, though, the number was a full percentage point higher. Here, median household income jumped 4.8 percent, from $53,105 in 2014 to $55,653 last year.

Texas’ percentage of residents living in poverty also dropped faster than the nation’s overall, by 1.3 percentage points, compared with the national rate dropping 0.8 percentage points. READ MORE

Save the date: Archives and Blue Lives, October 3

Event date: Monday, October 3rd
Time: 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Location: McCord Auditorium, Dallas Hall

Archives and Blue Lives. Join Jarrett M. Drake, Digital Archivist at the Princeton University Archives for a special guest lecture. In light of this summer’s tragic shootings, many individuals are asking: “What contributions, if any, can the archive make towards restoring and repairing communities most impacted by police violence?”. This talk will offer concrete examples of how communities, librarians, and archivists might use the archives as a space and a process to redress the trauma communities endure from prolonged public violence. Mr. Drake will propose that archives possess an untapped potential to humanize the people directly experiencing the violence, as well as the people propagating it. This event is part of the semester-long series, Data is Made Up of Stories: University-wide Futures from the Digital Humanities, sponsored by the DCII’s Ph.D. Fellows Program and the Dedman College Dean’s Office. For more information visit http://www.smu.edu/Dedman/DCII/Events.


Social Science in the Age of Social Media

Event date: Monday, September 26
Location: Forum, Hughes-Trigg Theater
Time: 11:45 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.

Social Science in the Age of Social Media. Join Kieran Healy, Associate Professor of Sociology at Duke University as he lectures on the role of social media platforms in academic disciplines. The talk will discuss the character of “latently public” work resulting from social media (a situation where academics unselfconsciously do some part of their work in public), the opportunities and difficulties it creates for people, the forms it takes across disciplines, and the efforts of universities to measure and capture its presumed value. This event is part of the semester-long series, Data is Made Up of Stories: University-wide Futures from the Digital Humanities, sponsored by the DCII’s Ph.D. Fellows Program and the Dedman College Dean’s Office. For more information visit http://www.smu.edu/Dedman/DCII/Events.dcii_speaker_healy_email

TODAY 10am-2pm. Student Leadership Initiative hosts Human Rights Program kickoff

SMU Daily Campus

Originally Posted: September 13, 2016

The Student Leadership Initiative (SLI) Board is hosting a kickoff for the Embrey Human Rights Program on Sept. 14. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the flagpole in front of Dallas Hall lawn.

The event aimed to raise awareness for the Human Rights Program and other human rights-oriented groups on campus. The event will also feature a dunk tank, Jimmy John’s, Steel City Pops, music and husky puppies.

“The Student Leadership Initiative is the liaison between the Embrey Human Rights Program and other human rights organizations on campus,” said junior Karly Zrake, a student in the program majoring in Human Rights. The SLI board comprises students from all majors, not just those studying in the human rights field.

This kickoff is the first event this year hosted by SLI.

Started in 2006, the Embrey Human Rights Program defined its mission to “educate students and other members of the global community to understand, promote, and defend human rights as responsible citizens of the world.”

“There is no such thing as a lesser person,” is the program’s motto.

The Embrey Human Rights Program, directed by Dr. Rick Halperin, offers a major and minor in Human Rights and facilitates human rights trips and outreach initiatives around the DFW area.

Zrake notes the major’s interdisciplinary qualities. “It covers courses across so many different curricula,” she said.

The Embrey program hosts four trips annually. The trips are unlike study abroad but are “educational trips,” as Zrake called them. This year, the program will offer a trip to Poland in December, Germany over spring break, Cuba in late May and a U.S. tour to death row facilities in the south in August.

Research grants are awarded to students in the program. The Community Outreach Initiative provides $2,000 to fund a student’s action in the human rights area.

“The program is really like a family and a support system,” said Zrake. READ MORE