March 18, 2016
Congratulations to the the recipients of this year’s Dean’s Research Council grants. The Dean’s Research Council provides competitively awarded seed funding for faculty research and allows them to compete for larger grants and fellowships outside SMU.
Department of Chemistry
Extending the Protein Evolution Paradigm to Combat Antibiotic Drug Resistance
Department of Anthropology
Exposing the Myth of the Pristine Rain Forest: Building the Case for the Cultural Landscapes in the Tropical Forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Department of Physics
Developing an Integrated Circuit that Drives Arrays with Ultra Low Power
Department of Philosophy
Time Consciousness: The Lockean View
DALLAS (SMU) — R. Hal Williams was a master teacher who inspired generations of SMU students as a professor and chair of the University’s Department of History. He served as an academic leader as dean of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and later as dean of research and graduate studies. He died Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, after a brief illness.
Dr. Williams came to SMU from the faculty of Yale University in 1975. He joined SMU as a full professor and chair of the Department of History.
In 1980, while continuing to teach and publish, he became dean of The College, now called Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, a position he held until 1988.
When Robert H. and Nancy Dedman gave a $25 million naming gift to The College in 1981, Dr. Williams helped raise additional funding for faculty development, undergraduate and graduate student scholarships, facilities renovation and other needs. He also helped guide the University’s Common Educational Experience, now called the University Curriculum, a course of study required of all SMU undergraduates.
In addition, Dr. Williams served as SMU dean of research and graduate studies from 2004 to 2007. He retired as professor emeritus of history in 2011. READ MORE
Originally Posted: January 27, 2016
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
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.
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
Join Dedman College Dean Thomas DiPiero in a discussion of what became of Scout and Atticus Finch and how we now interpret this literary work. RSVP by Friday, August 28th to email@example.com.
Originally Posted: July 29, 2015
The Return Of Harper Lee
Earlier 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
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
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