Congratulations to Dr. Rick Halperin, the 2016 Peacemakers Incorporated Peace Patron award winner

Originally Posted: September 26, 2016


Congratulations to SMU Embrey Human Rights Director, Dr. Rick Halperin, who recently accepted the Peacemakers Incorporated 2016 Peace Patron award. Dr. Halperin was introduced with an inspirational testimony by Embrey Family Foundation Philanthropic Visionary and Dedman College board member Lauren Embrey. Learn more about the Embrey Human Rights Program.


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 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 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


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

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

SMU recognizes outstanding achievement at 2015-16 Hilltop Excellence Awards, Honors Convocation

Congratulations to the Dedman College faculty and students who were recognized at the 2016 Awards Extravaganza on Monday, April 18.

Recipients of the Outstanding Professor Awards presented by the Rotunda yearbook include:

B. Sunday Eiselt, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies, Department of Anthropology
Laurence Winnie, senior lecturer and director of undergraduate studies, William P. Clements Department of History

Receiving the Extra Mile Awards, presented by Students for New Learning for graciousness and sensitivity to students with learning differences:

Sheri Kunovich, associate professor, Department of Sociology
• Laurie Nuchereno, adjunct lecturer, Department of Economics

For the full list of faculty, staff and student award recipients click here.



Professor Kunovich, Sociology, Recognized at Hilltop Excellence Awards Ceremony

Professor Sheri Kunovich received the Extra Mile Award from the Students for New Learning. Students for New Learning is an SMU-chartered student organization for students with ADHD or learning differences. The group meets monthly to provide support, learn tips and strategies, plan fun events, and works to increase campus understanding on the topic of learning differences.

Dedman College Scholar Jaden Warren has been designated the top varsity debater in the U.S. by the International Public Debate Association

SMU News

Originally Posted: April 6, 2016


DALLAS (SMU) — The SMU debate team racked up significant tournament wins this spring including the designation of top varsity debater in the U.S. — won by team member Jaden Warren on April 3 at the International Public Debate Association (IPDA) tournament in Houston.

Warren defeated 327 varsity undergraduate debaters to win the title for SMU. This is the second major national speaking championship he has won this year — a rare feat in college forensics. Two weeks ago, he was crowned top speaker in the nation at the Pi Kappa Delta National Forensics championships in Lexington, Ky.

This is the first national title in varsity level debate for SMU in more than 10 years.

“When Jaden came to me in fall 2015 and said he wanted to win a national title in debate, I was skeptical at first,” says SMU Debate and Speech Director Dr. Ben Voth. “But I said, let’s give it a try and see what happens. It is an incredible story of personal tenacity, speaking ability and perseverance.” READ MORE

High School Student Offered Over $1 Million in College Scholarships

ABC News

Originally Posted: April 1, 2015

Hard work definitely does pay off, or at least it does for one high school student, from Lynn Haven, Florida. Mimi Mallory, a senior at Mosley High School, was offered more than $1 million in merit-based college scholarships.

“It was crazy,” Mallory, 18, told ABC News. “I just didn’t know what to think.”

As one college acceptance after another came in, they were also paired with a lot of cash. Mallory was awarded a combined total of $1,052,400 from the 11 schools where she was accepted.

The highest scholarship Mallory was offered came from Mercer University, totaling $212,000. She also received a full tuition scholarship from the University of Alabama.

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Mallory decided to accept the offer from her dream school, Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, Texas. “It’s crazy to think I can go to SMU,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting to because of how expensive it was.”

SMU awarded Mallory $166,000 in scholarship money, so she will only have to pay a few thousand dollars each year out of pocket. READ MORE

Congratulations to Psychology graduate students Margaret Sala and Rose Ashraf

Margaret Sala has been awarded an NSF Graduate Fellowship. This is a three year award and very competitive.

Rose Ashraf won the award for best graduate student paper at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Human Development held in Denver on March 17-19.