Take a closer look at student innovation during the 2016 Engaged Learning Symposium and Big iDeas Pitch Contest, Friday, Sept. 23

engaged-learning-logo-300Make an appointment to see outstanding students show their work and stump for their innovations during the Fall 2016 Engaged Learning Symposium and Big iDeas Pitch Contest.

The two events take place Friday, Sept. 23 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum, as part of SMU’s 2016 Family Weekend.

Find the complete symposium line-up at the SMU Engaged Learning homepage

During the Engaged Learning Symposium, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., students in research, service, creative and internship programs from across campus will present their work and take questions from the audience. They will include SMU’s Maguire and Irby Family Foundation Public Service Fellows, Summer Research FellowsUniversity Honors Richter Research Fellows and McNair Scholars, as well as Engaged Learning Fellows.

> See the Big iDeas Pitch Contest rules and guidelines

SMU Big iDeas logo, blue background-400From 2-5 p.m., find out what some of SMU’s most innovative students are up to during the Big iDeas Pitch Contest. After developing their ideas, undergraduate teams pitch their ideas to a panel of judges with backgrounds in innovation and entrepreneurship. Next, judges determine which ideas are most realistic and can be developed in the following three months. The winning teams are eligible to win up to $1,000 in seed money to prepare prototypes and pilot programs for the Demo Day Fair in early February 2017.

> Visit SMU’s Office of Engaged Learning online

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Andrew J. Torget’s history of cotton, slavery and the Texas Revolution wins 2015 Weber-Clements Book Prize

'Seeds of Empire' coverSMU’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies will present its annual Weber-Clements Book Prize to historian Andrew J. Torget for Seeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, 1800-1850 (University of North Carolina Press, 2015).

Torget will be honored Tuesday, Sept. 27 at a 5:30 p.m. reception, followed by a 6 p.m. lecture and book-signing in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. To register, call 214-768-3684 or visit the Clements Center website.

In addition, Torget will discuss his work on KERA 90.1’s “Think with Krys Boyd” during the noon-1 p.m. hour on Thursday, Sept. 22. Listen live. audio or podcast

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. The $2,500 prize, administered by the Western History Association, is given for fine writing and original research on the American Southwest and is open to any nonfiction book, including biography, on any aspect of Southwestern life, past or present.

Andrew J. Torget, 2015 Weber-Clements Book Prize winner

Andrew J. Torget, SMU’s 2015 Weber-Clements Book Prize winner. Photo credit: Jun Ma/UNT

Torget, associate professor of history at the University of North Texas and the Clements Center’s inaugural David J. Weber Fellow, has won nine major book awards for Seeds of Empire, including the Weber-Clements Prize. The book explores the roles 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 included 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.

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SMU is ‘Home in the Heart of Texas’ for 2016 Family Weekend, Sept. 23-25

SMU Family Weekend 2016 bannerSMU family members from around the Metroplex and across the country will join their students in celebrating a beloved Hilltop tradition Sept. 23-25, 2016. SMU Family Weekend is coordinated by the Student Foundation‘s Family Weekend Committee.

Student research, creativity and innovation will be on display during the Fall 2016 Engaged Learning Symposium and Big iDeas Pitch Contest, scheduled for Friday, Sept. 23 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum. Engaged Learning Fellows show their work 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., and Pitch Contest teams will hold forth from 2-5 p.m. for the opportunity to win $1,000 in seed money for their projects.

Find the full schedule for 2016 SMU Family Weekend

Limited quantities of Boulevard BBQ tickets will be on sale at the Friday event from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on the Clements Hall South Lawn. Faculty and staff members can claim four free football tickets for the 7 p.m. Battle for the Iron Skillet against TCU at the Ford Stadium ticket window with SMU ID. Tickets may also be purchased by calling 214-768-GAME or by visiting the Athletic Department website.


SMU Boulevard celebrationClear bag policy at Ford Stadium:
The only bags permitted on Game Day are those made of clear plastic, vinyl or PVC that do not exceed 12-by-6-by-12 inches; one-gallon clear plastic freezer bags (Ziploc or similar), or small clutch bags (about the size of a hand) with or without a strap. See the complete list of SMU Ford Stadium Game Day policies.

Giving back: In keeping with this year’s “Home in the Heart of Texas” theme, the SMU Student Foundation is partnering with Family Gateway, an organization that provides transitional housing and services for homeless families with children in Dallas County. Collection boxes for household items are available in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center and other locations.

Parking: On Friday, Sept. 23, Game Day parking is in effect. Please watch your e-mail on Thursday morning and plan to move your car if you usually park near Ford Stadium. Refer to www.smu.edu/athletics for a parking map.

— Sarah Hanan

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Dr. Bob Smith Health Center dedication to take place at SMU Friday, Sept. 16, 2016

Dr. Bob Smith Health Center, SMUSMU will dedicate a new facility to provide comprehensive medical care to its 11,000 students at 11:45 a.m., Friday, Sept. 16, 2016.

The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center – a two-story, 33,000-square-foot building completed over the summer – is the University’s new home for medical and counseling services, a full-service pharmacy and the health education program.

“SMU is committed to providing care for our students’ physical and mental health, as well as teaching students healthy habits that will influence the rest of their lives,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The professional, confidential and convenient care provided at the Dr. Bob Smith Medical Center will contribute to our students’ success.”

Named for a University alumnus and benefactor who was also a prominent Dallas medical leader, the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center was constructed on the site of the former Memorial Health Center. It features a sky-lit atrium, high ceilings, large windows and natural finishes. New technology enables students to check in to appointments with a swipe of their ID card and receive messages from the health center via e-mail and text.

“It is such a joy to see my father honored in this special way,” said Sally Smith Mashburn ’77. “He would be delighted to see this wonderful facility and staff members providing well-rounded and excellent care for SMU students.”

The first floor of the center houses medical services, the pharmacy and health education offices. The medical services area is staffed by board-certified physicians, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, registered nurses and medical technicians. It includes 10 newly equipped exam rooms, a treatment room for minor surgical procedures, two patient observation rooms, two patient consultation rooms and several private waiting areas. A medical laboratory and radiology facilities also are located in the medical services area.

The health center, accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care Inc., provides care to students for acute illnesses, infections, injuries, minor medical procedures, immunizations and allergies as well as diagnostic X-rays and laboratory tests. Specialists in sports medicine, gynecology and dermatology also treat students at the center. The full-service pharmacy provides prescription medications and patient counseling and supports a small convenience store.

Counseling Services, located on the second floor, are provided by licensed psychologists and counselors, psychiatrists, doctoral interns and post-doctoral fellows. The new health center includes 19 counseling offices as well as a separate area for sexual assault counseling. Professionals are available to see students for mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and relational disorders and their services include evaluations, medication consultations and individual and group therapy.

The health center also includes two comfortable rooms designed for support groups. Counseling and referral for drug and alcohol abuse are available, as is ongoing support for recovering students. SMU Counseling Services are accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services, Inc.

A multi-purpose classroom on the first floor of the new health center provides a dedicated space for educators to expand student health education to include more preventive, wellness and peer-education programs. SMU’s health education program includes student orientation programs, training for student peer health educators and student wellness programs. The health center also includes a testing center for administration of psychological testing as well as national tests such as the SAT, LSAT and GRE.

“We know the importance of supporting the whole student, and research shows that good physical and mental health is key to student success,” says Pamela Anthony, vice president for student affairs. “The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center is a reflection of the high value we place on our students’ well-being, and we are determined to make sure every student knows about the resources that are available to them there.”

Charles Robert “Bob” Smith earned a B.A. in psychology from SMU in 1944. He graduated from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, then returned to Dallas to begin his 30-year career as a pediatrician. Smith was a co-founder of Doctors Hospital in East Dallas, serving as its CEO from 1959 to 1984. He founded Doctors Healthcare Center, heading it from 1964 to 1994, and founded Arcady Health Services Corporation, a healthcare management company.

Together with his wife, Jean, Dr. Smith created the Dr. Bob and Jean Smith Foundation in 1985 to support higher education, medical education and research and health. At SMU, the foundation funded the Bob Smith M.D. Pre-Medical Studies Center in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, the Dr. Bob and Jean Smith Auditorium in Meadows Museum, and a challenge grant for the SMU Annual Fund.

Four generations of the Smith family have attended SMU, including Dr. Smith’s father, his brothers and two sisters, all five of Dr. and Mrs. Smith’s children, and several grandchildren.

> Read the full story from SMU News

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SMU rises to 56 in U.S. News & World Report rankings; five-place increase is one of nation’s best

SMU rose to its highest ranking among the nation’s universities in the 2017 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges, released online Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. The University tied with the University of Texas-Austin with the second-highest ranking in the state.

Among 310 institutions classified as national universities, SMU ranks 56, up from 61 a year ago. The increase was one of the five largest among the top 100 universities.

Since 2008, SMU’s 11-place increase is one of the four largest among schools in the top 60. In other ranking categories, SMU ranks 32 as one of the best national universities for military veterans.

For the rankings, U.S. News considers measures of academic quality, such as peer assessment scores and ratings by high school counselors, faculty resources, student selectivity, graduation rate performance, financial resources and alumni giving. SMU ranks 24 among all national universities in alumni giving at 25 percent.

“It is gratifying for SMU to be recognized for its positive movement among the best national universities,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The ranking is an example of the momentum of the Second Century Campaign and the University’s Centennial Celebration.

“We appreciate external recognition of our progress and believe it’s valid, but we also know that rankings do not portray the whole picture of an institution and its strengths. We encourage parents and students to visit the institutions they are considering for a firsthand look at the academic offerings, the campus environment and the surrounding community to best gauge a university.”

The rankings of 1,374 institutions, including national universities, liberal arts colleges, regional colleges and regional universities, are available now online and on newsstands Friday, Sept. 23. Find the “Best Colleges 2017” guidebook in stores Tuesday, Oct. 4.

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$10 million gift will establish Brierley Institute for Customer Engagement in SMU’s Cox School of Business

Marci Armstrong, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs at SMU Cox - Albert Niemi, Dean of the SMU Cox School of Business - Harold (Hal) Brierley

Hal Brierley (right) with Cox Dean Albert Niemi and Cox Associate Dean Marci Armstrong.

The nation’s first academic institute devoted to the study of customer engagement will be based in SMU’s Cox School of Business thanks to a $10 million gift from Diane and Harold (Hal) Brierley.

A pioneer in database marketing and customer loyalty programs, Hal Brierley is perhaps best known as the only consultant for the launch of American Airlines’ AAdvantage program, the nation’s first frequent traveler program. The Brierley Institute for Customer Engagement will support a critical and growing business need: capturing customer attention in what Brierley has described as “a time-starved, social media-obsessed environment.”

The gift – among the largest in the history of the Cox School – will be formally announced at a ceremony on the SMU campus in the James M. Collins Executive Education Center at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14.

“It is an honor for SMU and the Cox School of Business to serve as home of the Brierley Institute for Customer Engagement,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “We are grateful for the Brierleys’ foresight and their generous gift to establish endowments and provide operational funding that will support curricular innovation, graduate scholarships and faculty leadership to address the issue of building and maintaining customer relationships.”

Hal Brierley

Hal Brierley

The ceremony will be followed by a 5 p.m. panel discussion, also in the Collins Center, focusing on customer engagement insights for the future. Panelists will include John Deighton, Baker Foundation Professor and Harold M. Brierley Professor Emeritus of Business Administration at Harvard Business School; Karen Katz, CEO & President of Neiman Marcus; Suzanne Rubin, former president of American Airlines AAdvantage program; Hal Brierley; and Marci Armstrong, SMU Cox associate dean of graduate programs. SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven Currall will host the panel discussion.

“This gift will greatly enrich our marketing concentration, provide extra funding and create depth,” said Cox Dean Albert Niemi. “The Brierley name is magic in customer engagement. Hal will have an office here and serve as an executive-in-residence. He’ll be engaged in the classroom with our students. Both his gift and his presence will strengthen the program.”

“It’s more than serendipity when the right program comes to the right University,” said Currall. “Our existing course offerings within the Cox School are a strong foundation for the new Brierley Institute, and we look forward to partnerships with other disciplines across campus, which will multiply the Institute’s value to our students and faculty members.”

“I look forward to having Dallas and SMU viewed as a center of excellence in customer relationship management,” said Hal Brierley. “I’m pleased that SMU Cox has stepped up to create effective curricula to teach tomorrow’s marketers the techniques that are essential to design and manage successful customer loyalty programs. The Brierley Institute will take an active role in advancing the techniques employed by consumer brands for their current and future customer engagement efforts.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

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Research: Rare inscription names mysterious Etruscan goddess

Greg Warden with Etruscan steleArchaeologists translating a very rare inscription have discovered the name of a goddess in a sacred text that is possibly the longest such Etruscan inscription ever discovered on stone.

The discovery indicates that Uni – a divinity of fertility and possibly a mother goddess at this particular place – may have been the titular deity worshipped at the sanctuary of Poggio Colla, a key settlement in Italy for the ancient Etruscan civilization.

“We can at this point affirm that this discovery is one of the most important Etruscan discoveries of the last few decades,” said SMU professor emeritus Gregory Warden. The University is the main sponsor of the archaeological dig.

“It’s a discovery that will provide not only valuable information about the nature of sacred practices at Poggio Colla, but also fundamental data for understanding the concepts and rituals of the Etruscans, as well as their writing and perhaps their language.”

Scientists discovered the ancient stone slab embedded as part of a temple wall at the Poggio Colla dig, where many other Etruscan objects have been found, including a ceramic fragment with the earliest birth scene in European art. That object reinforces the interpretation of a fertility cult at Poggio Colla, Warden said.

Poggia Colla steleNow Etruscan language experts are studying the 500-pound stele to translate the text. It’s very rare to identify the god or goddess worshipped at an Etruscan sanctuary.

“The location of its discovery – a place where prestigious offerings were made – and the possible presence in the inscription of the name of Uni, as well as the care of the drafting of the text, which brings to mind the work of a stone carver who faithfully followed a model transmitted by a careful and educated scribe, suggest that the document had a dedicatory character,” said Adriano Maggiani, formerly professor at the University of Venice and one of the scholars working to decipher the inscription.

“It is also possible that it expresses the laws of the sanctuary — a series of prescriptions related to ceremonies that would have taken place there, perhaps in connection with an altar or some other sacred space,” said Warden, co-director and principal investigator of the Mugello Valley Archaeological Project that made the discovery.

Warden said it will be easier to speak with more certainty once the archaeologists are able to completely reconstruct the text, which consists of as many as 120 characters or more.

While archaeologists understand how Etruscan grammar works, and know some of its words and alphabet, they expect to discover new words never seen before – particularly since this discovery is not a funerary text. Permanent Etruscan inscriptions are rare, as Etruscans typically used linen cloth books or wax tablets. The texts that have been preserved are quite short and are from graves.

Besides being possibly the longest Etruscan inscription on stone, it is also one of the three longest sacred texts to date. The sandstone slab, which dates to the 6th century BCE and is nearly four feet tall by more than two feet wide, was discovered in the final stages of two decades of digging at Mugello Valley, which is northeast of Florence in north central Italy.

Other objects unearthed in the past 20 years have shed light on Etruscan worship, beliefs, gifts to divinities, and discoveries related to the daily lives of elites and non-elites, including workshops, kilns, pottery and homes. The material helps document ritual activity from the 7th century to the 2nd century BCE.

— Margaret Allen

> Read the full story and see more images at SMUResearch.com

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SMU honors fallen 9/11 first responders with honor guard, bell ceremony at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 9, 2016

Scene at the SMU flagpole on Sept. 11, 2001

Scene at the SMU flagpole on Sept. 11, 2001.

The SMU Police Department and first responders from the surrounding community will commemorate the 15th anniversary of 9/11 with a solemn ceremony honoring the police officers and firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty during the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

University police officers, along with members of the Highland Park and University Park Police and Fire Departments, will participate in a combined honor guard and bell ceremony for the fallen. The ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, at the flagpole on the Main Quad. The event is free and open to the public.

To symbolize the first responders’ devotion to duty, the bell ceremony includes a special signal of three rings, three times each, representing the end of duty and a return to quarters. The signals ring out that “those who have selflessly given their lives for the good of their fellow man, their tasks completed, their duties well done … are going home.”

The remembrance will also feature remarks from SMU President R. Gerald Turner and Police Chief Rick Shafer and a benediction by University Chaplain Stephen Rankin, as well as bagpipe performances of “Amazing Grace” and “America the Beautiful.”

“We welcome the community to come and help us remember those who gave their lives while protecting those they served,” said Chief Shafer.

The remembrance ceremony is one of several opportunities for campus community members, both in-person and virtual, to reflect on and remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001:

> Christina Rancke and Osama Bin Laden’s death
> Journal entries written by the SMU community 15 years ago

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Tune In: SMU welcomes the Class of 2020

SMU welcomed new students to the Hilltop in August with five days of learning, bonding and exploring their new home. Throughout the week, University reporters and photographers captured the Class of 2020 at Mustang Corral and in the Discover Dallas program.

Opening Convocation

Now their photos, social media posts, and a new video by SMU News’ Myles Taylor are gathered at one link. Visit SMU News for many more dispatches from Move-in Day, Camp Corral, the 2016 Opening Convocation, the making of the class photo and more.

> Relive the SMU Class of 2020’s week of welcome here

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Willard Spiegelman receives Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award at 2016 Fall General Faculty Meeting

Willard Spiegelman, Hughes Professor of English in Dedman College, was honored as the 2015-16 United Methodist Church University Scholar/Teacher of the Year at SMU’s 2016 Fall General Faculty Meeting Wednesday, Aug. 24.

The first meeting of the entire faculty for the 2016-17 academic year featured the Spring 2016 Faculty Senate report, the presentation of regalia to newly tenured faculty, and President R. Gerald Turner’s updates on initiatives ranging from cultural intelligence to continuing education.

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