SMU observes its 99th Commencement May 16-17, 2014 with events for faculty, alumni, community members and more than 2,100 graduating students.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will speak at the all-University ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 17, to be held in the recently renovated Moody Coliseum. The ceremony will be simulcast live at Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports and outside Moody Coliseum on Mustang Plaza. The ceremony will also be webcast live at smu.edu/live.
Guests are urged to arrive early as seating in the coliseum is limited to four guests per student.
New graduates will also have the opportunity to share their photos, thoughts and future plans via social media. Those who post by Saturday, May 31 on Twitter, Instagram or the SMU Facebook page using #SMU2014 will have a chance to win two Southwest Airlines vouchers or other prizes. Complete contest rules are available online.
SMU will confer three honorary degrees during the 2014 Commencement ceremonies:
- Isabel Wilkerson will receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, for her achievements as a journalist and contributions to understanding of the African-American experience. While writing for The New York Times, Wilkerson became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism and the first African-American, male or female, to win the Pulitzer for individual reporting. Her award-winning book, The Warmth of Other Suns, is a definitive history of the Great Migration of African-Americans from the rural South to urban centers in the North and West.
- Richard P. Heitzenrater will receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, for his scholarly achievements and his service to SMU. Heitzenrater is recognized as the world’s leading authority on John Wesley and early Methodism and is best known for breaking the secret code of Wesley’s personal diaries, making them available to the world. His book, Wesley and the People Called Methodists, has been translated into seven languages. He served on the faculty of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology for 16 years and in 2010 retired from the faculty of Duke University Divinity School.
- Joseph W. McKnight will receive the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, for his dedicated service to SMU, his distinguished scholarship and his leadership in the legal community. McKnight, the Larry and Jane Harlan Faculty Fellow and Professor of Law in Dedman School of Law, has made historic contributions to scholarship in legal history and to law reform in Texas. The author of six books, he directed the Texas Family Code project, which achieved important reforms, and was principal drafter of the Texas Matrimonial Property Act, recognizing property rights of married women.
The weekend’s activities include the Baccalaureate Service Friday, May 16, in McFarlin Auditorium. The service will be followed by Rotunda Recessional, a tradition in which seniors march through the Rotunda of Dallas Hall, marking the end of their undergraduate years and the beginning of their lifelong association with SMU as alumni.
Some major events at a glance:
- May 15 – Free public symposium honoring Doctor of Law honoris causa recipient Joseph W. McKnight, 3-5 p.m., Underwood Law Library
- May 16 – Free public symposium honoring Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa recipient Isabel Wilkerson, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall Pavilion
- May 16 – Free public symposium honoring Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa recipient Richard P. Heitzenrater, 3 p.m., Great Hall, Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall
- May 16-17 – Class of 1964 Golden Reunion, various times and locations
- May 16 – Baccalaureate Service for undergraduates with distinguished attorney, SMU alumnus and incoming Board of Trustees Chair Michael M. Boone delivering the featured speech, followed by Rotunda Recessional, 8 p.m., McFarlin Auditorium
- May 17 – Faculty Breakfast and Distinguished University Citizen Awards presentation, 7:45 a.m., The Varsity, Hughes-Trigg Student Center (RSVP online for the Faculty Breakfast and processional)
- May 18 – All-University Commencement, 9 a.m., Main Quad
- May 18 – Commencement Buffet Luncheon, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., RFoC @ Lee, Umphrey Lee Center
- May 18 – School and departmental diploma presentations, various times and locations