Meet anthropologist and coffee master Ryan Fisher, Dedman College alumnus ’05, ’11

5280 Denver Magazine

Q&A: Commonwealth Coffee’s Ryan Fisher

Ryan Fisher, coffee expert and co-founder of the Park Hill roastery, chats about his love for the bean and taking second place at the inaugural NYC Coffee Masters Tournament.

The launch of the semiannual Coffee Masters Tournament in London and New York this year was certainly buzz-worthy. The worldwide competition (think: Iron Chef for java) invited 20 talented baristas from around the globe to compete onstage—foaming, swirling, and tasting their way to the top. Denver’s own Ryan Fisher, co-founder and co-owner of Commonwealth, took home second place in New York two weeks ago. Here, his thoughts on the competition and his love of everything coffee.

5280: What sparked your interest in the coffee world?

Ryan Fisher: I got into coffee when I was in graduate school at SMU. I was finishing up my PhD and needed a job, so a few friends and I messed around with coffee and realized we could do a lot with it. I ended up going to London to study coffee more in depth, and then came back to Dallas with that knowledge and made a pretty reputable cafe with those friends. In the end, I wanted a new adventure, so I sold my share back to them and moved to Denver to start Commonwealth. READ MORE

Dedman College Alumni Connection Series Kicks off October 15

SMU Alumnus Matt Alexander discusses the college lessons that launched his entrepreneurial career
Lecture will kick start Dedman College Alumni Connection Series

Originally Posted: October 6, 2015

DALLAS (SMU) – The SMU Dedman College Alumni Connection Series of lectures will launch its 2015-16 series in mid-October when alumnus and entrepreneur Matt Alexander ’10 takes the stage at Vester Hughes Auditorium in SMU’s Caruth Hall.

Alexander will discuss how the lessons he learned at SMU about innovation, English, computer science and fashion prepared him for his entrepreneurial career.

In 2013, Alexander founded his first online company, Need, as a “curated shopping” site aimed at young men with disposable incomes. In February, Alexander launched his second site, Foremost, which sells informal, Dallas-made clothing for men and women in their 20s.

The lecture will begin at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 15. The event is free and open to the public. READ MORE

Dr. Phillip Williams reflects on college memories and Dr. Harold Jeskey

SMU Daily Campus

Originally Posted: September 28, 2015

Walking into McFarlin Auditorium Thursday morning brought back several fond memories for Dr. Phillip Williams, neurosurgeon and member of the SMU Class of 1959. Nearly half a century ago, he walked up those same steps on his graduation day, and now he returned for SMU’s Centennial Commemoration.

“Every aspect of the event was memorable,” said Williams.

Williams was just one of hundreds of alumni who traveled back to SMU this weekend to celebrate SMU’s 100th birthday. For months, the Office of Development and Student Affairs as well as Student Foundation have planned a busy schedule for the weekend. The alumni schedule included events such as tours and reunions, allowing alumni to reconnect with their fellow alumni as well as see how SMU has grown over the years.

Amidst all the years, Williams attested that the expansions on the campus are the biggest change.

“Every time I see Bush library, I feel semi-responsible,” said Williams.

Back when Bush was running for governor, Williams spoke to former chairman of SMU Board of Trustees Ray Hunt about Bush’s potential career.

“I told Ray Hunt that Bush may be elected governor and then be nominated and then become president,” said William. “I told Hunt now wouldn’t that be great for SMU to get his presidential library here.” Nearly a decade after, William’s vision came true.

Not only did visiting campus bring back memories, but the different events that SMU hosted for alumni’s also spoke to William’s SMU experience. William attended the author signing of “The Man in the Red Tie,” a biography of the late SMU professor Dr. Harold Jeskey. Dr. Jeskey taught Williams Organic Chemistry during his time at SMU. The book spawned several memories of his time at SMU.

“Dr. Jeskey was by far the best teacher,” said Williams. “He made the class come alive.” While Williams spoke to the quality of Jeskey’s teaching, he did not doubt the difficulty of the course. “He only wore a red and black tie. The only days he would wear the black tie was to a funeral or to quiz days,” said Williams.

If students survived Dr. Jeskey’s class and continued into medical school, Dr. Jeskey remained a continual support in the students’ lives. When his former students graduated medical school, he would then attend the ceremony and present a red tie as congratulation, according to Williams.

In addition to speaking highly of noteworthy teachers, Williams fondly recalled his involvement on campus. Nominated by his fraternity as their first-year class president, Williams campaigned by selling pig dissection manuals to sorority row, allowing girls to study for the exam without actually performing the dissection. Williams then won the campaign with the slogan “Vote for Phil Williams, the Fetal Pig Salesman.”

While SMU formed several memories for Williams, the school also prepared him for several life experiences after graduation as well. Williams interned at Parkland during the JFK assassination in 1963. While Williams did not actually enter Kennedy’s room, he was present in the trauma unit throughout the night, and he even consoled Jackie Kennedy outside of the emergency room. Williams then tended to Lee Oswald a few days later when he was shot and taken to Parkland.

Despite being a man of many experiences, Williams focused on the Homecoming events for this weekend and reconnecting his alma mater with his wife. READ MORE

Alumna Hope Hicks in New York Post: Meet Trump’s 26-year-old mystery woman

New York Post

Originally Posted: September 25, 2015

She’s just 26 and could be on her way to the White House.
Granted, that journey to DC would require Donald Trump actually winning the election, but Hope Hicks has emerged as the gatekeeper to the field’s most talked-about candidate.

Hicks, a Greenwich, Conn., native, is The Donald’s media handler, and reportedly the only young woman in his inner circle. In a business often dominated by the same old operatives, she is a fresh face.

“I’m sure she’s a great partner for [Trump],” says Kerri Dezell, a friend of Hicks’ and a former teammate on Southern Methodist University’s lacrosse team. “He’s a fierce person and extremely dedicated, and she has that same type of demeanor with a perfectly put-on exterior.” READ MORE

Dedman College alum and Dallas’ newest billionaire, early failure set stage for success

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: September 13, 2015

Not that long ago, just out of SMU, Tom Dundon just wanted to run a good burger joint. In a 1994 review of his Fort Worth restaurant, Izzy’s, a food critic raved about the cheddar fries.

“The fresh potato fries peeking out from beneath the cheese blanket were greasy and delicious, two words I’d never expect to say in the same breath,” she wrote.

Still, the critic gave the place a rating of only 21/2 stars out of five and it closed within a year.

Lucky for Dundon.

In the two decades that followed, he helped build a pioneering company that provides auto loans to buyers with marginal credit, a business concept that became a spectacular success.

Called “brilliant” and “unique” by some who know him, Dundon mastered the intricacies of lending better than he did making burgers and quesadillas. Perhaps more important, he also understood the vital importance of cars to people trying to improve their lives. To them, a car means independence and more opportunity for work. READ MORE

Dedman College Alumni Celebrated at Homecoming

Congratulations to Dedman College alumni Bess Enloe ’60, finance educator and the Rev. Dr. Michael W. Waters ’02, ’06, ’12. Mrs. Enloe will receive a Distinguished Alumni award while Rev. Waters will receive the University’s Emerging Leader Award, which recognizes the outstanding achievements of an alumnus or alumna who has graduated in the past 15 years. READ MORE

Watch: From SMU to UBER – highlights with Leandre Johns ’02

Mr. Johns was a Hunt Scholar and Psychology major at Dedman College. His drive and passion lead him to become the General Manager of Uber Technologies for North and West Texas. He was also recently named one of Dallas’ “10 Most Eligible Men” by D Magazine. Learn about how his SMU experience paved the way to his current role in this April 2015 interview with Dean of Dedman College, Thomas DiPiero. WATCH

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Dedman College Alumnus Junchang Lü ’04 Identifies Velociraptor Cousin, Maybe Weirder And Scarier Than Movies Imagine


LuFeatheredDinoSMU alumnus Junchang Lü ’04, one of China’s leading dinosaur experts, has helped identify a new dinosaur species – Zhenyuanlong suni – a cousin to the Velociraptor of Jurassic World fame and the newest clue as to how birds descended from dinosaurs.

The well-preserved fossil of a dinosaur with bird-like wings was unearthed by a farmer in northeastern China and eventually found its way to Lü, a top dinosaur researcher with the Institute of Geology at the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences in Beijing. Lü called in Stephen Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh to aid in the identification process. The two scientists had teamed up previously in the discovery of Qianzhousaurus sinensis, a cousin of Tyrannosaur rex whose whose long snout earned it the nickname “Pinocchio rex.” READ MORE

Virgin America CEO / Dedman College alum David Cush on KERA-TV “CEO” this Friday at 7:30p CST


CEO, Aug. 7
7:30 p.m.

Virgin America CEO David Cush tells host Lee Cullum why there is such a fight for access to gates at Love Field and how fierce competition in the Dallas market is driving fare wars. Cush warns of potential dangers to the industry due to sweeping consolidation. Learn how Virgin survived a turbulent start after launching the airline in 2007 and how the company built a niche business enticing passengers with creature comforts and competitive prices. READ MORE

About David Cush:

David was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Broadcast/Film and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, in 1982. A year later (1983), he received a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from SMU.

Alumna Whitney Wolfe, founder of new dating site Bumble profiled in Austin Monthly

Austin Monthly

Originally Published: August 2, 2015


If you’re familiar with “swiping right” and “swiping left,” you have Whitney Wolfe to thank. The 26-year-old is one of the co-founders of Tinder and led the marketing team that made it such a success. READ MORE