Children of Henry L. “Buddy” Gray and Rebecca A. Gray announce planned gift in honor of their parents

SMU News

Originally Posted: January 27, 2016

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DALLAS (SMU) – A lifelong passion for family, teaching and research was celebrated Jan. 15 when the children of retired SMU faculty member Henry L. “Buddy” Gray and his wife, Rebecca, surprised their parents with a $1.5 million planned gift in their honor.

The gift, made by the Gray’s son, M. Scott Gray ’90, and his partner, Duane Minix, on behalf of all of the Gray’s children, will establish the Henry L. and Rebecca A. Gray Endowed Chair in Statistical Sciences in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

“SMU has been my life,” Buddy Gray said at a ceremony in Heroy Hall.

Scott Gray said love for his work defined his father, who frequently exclaimed: “Can you believe we get paid to do this!”

Scott Gray added that Rebecca Gray was an equal partner with his Dad. “Mom gave as much to this institution as Dad.” Scott Gray, who served as student body president while at SMU, maintains fond memories of the University. “When I think of every organization that’s had an impact on my life, SMU is at the top of the list,” he said.

At the ceremony, Robert Gray ’87 read from a letter written by his father to his family 10 years before, which expressed gratitude and appreciation for the support of his wife, Rebecca, and their children while he pursued his professional passion as a mathematical sciences researcher. “Dad was excited about what he was doing every day,” Robert Gray said.

Kelly Gray Doughty thanked her parents and shared several nuggets of advice imparted by her father over the years. Among them: “Practice gratitude every day, because it’s the single most perfect prayer.”

Chair of SMU’s Department of Statistical Sciences Wayne Woodward, a former student of Buddy Gray, praised Gray for his devotion to research and teaching. “As a mentor and role model, I couldn’t have found a better one.”

Thomas DiPiero, dean of Dedman College, thanked the Gray family for their support and service to SMU and Buddy Gray for his contributions to the field of mathematical science, declaring Gray a “true pioneer.”

Buddy Gray worked at SMU from 1973 to 2004 in the Department of Statistical Sciences with a joint appointment in the Department of Mathematics as the C.F. Frensley Professor of Mathematical Sciences from 1973-2004. During that time he also served in several administrative roles, including as dean of Dedman College from 1989-91.

The commitment to fund the Henry L. and Rebecca A. Gray Endowed Chair in Statistical Sciences counts toward SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign, which concluded on Dec. 31 and raised more than $1 billion to support student quality, faculty and academic excellence, and the campus experience.

“Commitments accomplished through estate and gift planning, such as the bequest intention that will establish this endowment, are vital to our fundraising success,” said Brad Cheves, vice president for development and external affairs. “These planned gifts allow our supporters to plan for their own financial security in a tax effective way, while also providing for their families and the institutions they love.” READ MORE

A conversation with author Fiston Mwanza Mujila. 2 p.m. today

The Department of World Languages and Literatures, Dedman College Dean Thomas DiPiero and the Cultural Service at the French Embassy host: A conversation with author Fiston Mwanza Mujila.

2 p.m. today (Friday, Oct. 2) in room 100 of Hyer Hall, 6424 Robert S. Hyer Lane, on the SMU campus.

READ MORE

Dean Dipiero discusses new Harper Lee novel

SMU Daily Campus

Originally Posted: September 10, 2015

On Wednesday, Sept. 2, dean Thomas DiPiero of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences hosted a lecture discussing Harper Lee’s newest novel “To Go Set A Watchmen.”

To celebrate the 55th anniversary of her Pulitzer Prize winning novel “To Kill A Mockingbird,” Lee released the story’s ‘prequel’ in July. The 1960’s classic is one of the most influential American novels of its time; it has sold over 40 million copies and has been translated into 40 different languages.

The cultural and social issues that create Lee’s first novel lead experts like DiPiero to believe that it is important to read “To Kill A Mockingbird” again as an adult. Although it is a required reading in nearly 70 percent of our country’s junior high and high schools, he says that, “the simplicity in how Scout explains such complex issues such as racism and murder is what makes Lee’s novel so brilliant, but also much more complicated than we may first understand.”

In “To Go Set A Watchmen,” Scout returns as the narrator, but is 20 years older and has moved from the small southern town to New York City. Although it was one of the most highly anticipated book releases of all time, many readers have criticized “Watchmen” for destroying so many aspects that made Lee’s first novel so brilliant.

DiPiero argues that “Watchman” is not a failed attempt to recapture the essence of “Mockingbird,” but rather a depiction of how times have changed in the characters’ lives and in the society in which we live.

DiPiero adds that “To Kill A Mockingbird” was written in first person, from the ironic perspective of a child who knows more than she should, leaving us as readers to fill in the gaps.”

Contrastingly, “To Go Set A Watchman” is written from the third person perspective, which DiPiero believes “is a voice that tells us, rather than shows us how characters think and act.”

So, even though “Watchman” may not become the groundbreaking book that “Mockingbird” is, DiPiero acknowledges Harper Lee’s ability to challenge her readers to question what we know and who we think we are, as every good author should. READ MORE

Dean DiPiero on KERA’s “Think” with Krys Boyd

KERA
Originally Posted: July 29, 2015

The Return Of Harper Lee

CLHO4x-UsAAzfV9.jpg-largeEarlier this month, HarperCollins published Go Set a Watchman, the novel Harper Lee called the “parent” of To Kill a Mockingbird. This hour, we’ll talk about how the book has us reconsidering Atticus Finch and the rest of the Mockingbird universe with Thomas DiPiero, dean of the Dedman College of Humanities at SMU. DiPiero reviewed Watchman for the New York Post. LISTEN

Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman’ analyzed by Dean DiPiero

WGNtv.com

Originally Posted: July 14, 2015

Dr. Tom DiPiero, Dean of Dedman College at Southern Methodist University answered some of the WGN Morning News Crew’s questions about the sequel to the American classic “To Kill a Mockingbird.” WATCH

Thomas DiPiero, Dedman College Dean, reviews author Harper Lee’s new book Go Set a Watchman ahead of its release this week

New York Post

Originally Posted: July 12, 2015

Forget the controversies – ‘Go Set a Watchman’ is worth reading
By Thomas DiPiero

It’s strange to think of Scout, eternally a 10-year-old desperado, as an adult. Strange to think that Jem is dead. Strange to think that “Go Set a Watchman,” the original draft of the book that became the classic “To Kill a Mockingbird,” exists at all.

And most of all, it’s strange to read that Atticus Finch, the moral compass and hero of “Mockingbird,” is a racist.

“Boycott the book!” some commentators cry. Should have never been published, other critics say.

But to me, Atticus’ complexity makes “Go Set a Watchman” worth reading. “Mockingbird” was written through the eyes of a child. “Watchman” is the voice of a clear-eyed adult. READ MORE

Uber’s Leandre Johns to Discuss His Drive to Succeed April 28

Originally Posted: April 27, 2015

Dallas Morning News- Park Cities Blog

DALLAS — Learn why SMU alumnus Leandre Johns is driven to succeed as general manager for the ride-sharing service Uber, one of the world’s fastest-growing technology companies, when he joins SMU Dedman College Dean Thomas DiPiero in conversation Tuesday, April 28, at 5:30 p.m. in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. READ MORE

Driven to Succeed: Uber Leader Leandre Johns to Talk at SMU April 28

Learn why SMU alumnus Leandre Johns is driven to succeed as general manager for the ride-sharing service Uber, one of the world’s fastest-growing technology companies, when he joins SMU Dedman College Dean Thomas DiPiero in conversation Tuesday, April 28, at 5:30 p.m. in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall.

Leandre Johns 8640 (1)“From SMU to Uber: A Conversation With Leandre Johns ’02” is free and open to the public, with RSVP to mfevans@smu.edu requested by Monday, April 27.

Johns, a Hunt Leadership Scholar who earned a B.A. in psychology from SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences in 2002, will discuss how his educational experiences helped pave the way to his current role as North and West Texas general manager for Uber Technologies. The company connects riders to drivers via a mobile app-based service.

In 2014 D Magazine named the Garland native one of Dallas’ “10 Most Eligible Men,” noting, “Leandre’s responsible for some serious transformation in the Dallas social scene.” The magazine even added insight from Johns’ mother, who said, “He loves being involved with the community, reaching back, giving and encouraging others to succeed.”

Prior to joining Uber, Johns worked in the venture capital and startup field as vice president for a healthcare technology and media portfolio company in Chicago. He also spent more than three years with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Chicago, consulting in the healthcare and finance sector. He earned his M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where he majored in finance, entrepreneurship and marketing.

For more details about the event visit: http://www.smu.edu/Dedman/AboutDedmanCollege/Events/Uber.

Deep Vellum Publishing founder gets people to think about literature in a new way

Culture Map

Originally Posted: March 17, 2015

New York may be the center of the publishing universe, but not if Deep Vellum founder Will Evans has anything to do with it. Evans has ambitious plans for our city’s role in the literary landscape, even if he ended up here more or less accidentally.

“To be fair, I didn’t choose Dallas, Dallas chose me,” he explains. “My wife got a job here, so we moved in 2013. I created Deep Vellum around what Dallas has and doesn’t have: There’s a great arts community, and it’s not tapped out.

“The digital revolution has changed how we read and find out about stuff,” Will Evans says. “You can live in a place like Dallas and be part of the conversation.”
“It’s the future of publishing to be in a decentralized place. The digital revolution has changed how we read and find out about stuff. You can live in a place like Dallas and be part of the conversation.”

With a mission of publishing international literature in English translation, Evans was drawn to UTD’s literary translations program, one of the best in the country. SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences dean Thomas DiPiero is also “a big supporter of translations,” according to Evans, assuring there will be plenty of home-grown talent emerging in the next few years to work with Evans’ stable of authors. READ MORE