For the Record

SMU honors outstanding achievement, community service at 2017-18 Hilltop Excellence Awards and Honors Convocation

Laurel wreath stock photo - Hilltop Excellence AwardsSMU faculty, staff, administrators and students were recognized with teaching awards, service honors and the University’s highest commendation – the “M” Award – at the 2017-18 Hilltop Excellence Awards Monday, April 16.

Earlier in the day, the University honored its best students at the 21st annual Honors Convocation. The address was delivered by Maria Dixon Hall, senior adviser to the SMU Provost, associate professor in the Division of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs in Meadows School of the Arts, and adjunct associate professor of homiletics in Perkins School of Theology.

> Find a complete list of award winners from Honors Convocation 2018

Appointed in August 2016 as Senior Advisor to the Provost for Cultural Intelligence, Dixon Hall is charged with oversight of the University’s efforts to ensure that all members of the SMU community are equipped to effectively create, collaborate, and work on solutions to change the world. In this role, she is responsible for development and implementation of the University’s new cultural intelligence curriculum and training program.

As director of mustangconsulting, Dixon Hall heads a staff of some of SMU’s best and brightest communication students. The group serves a global client list that includes corporate, nonprofit, and religious organizations such as Southwest Airlines (Dallas), The Dance Theatre of Harlem (New York), the Ugandan American Partnership Organization (Kampala/Dallas), The Lydia Patterson Institute (El Paso), and Carry the Load (Atlanta/Dallas).

A graduate of the Culverhouse School of Business at the University of Alabama, Dixon Hall earned her Master of Divinity and Master of Theology from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, as well as a Ph.D. in organizational communication and religion from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

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Anthony Elia named Bridwell Foundation Endowed Librarian, director of Bridwell Library

Anthony Elia, Bridwell Foundation Endowed Librarian and Director of Bridwell Library, SMUAnthony Elia has been named J.S. Bridwell Foundation Endowed Librarian and director of Bridwell Library in SMU’s Perkins School of Theology, effective June 1, 2018. He succeeds retiring director Roberta Schaafsma, who has served in that role since April 2007.

Elia, director of library and educational technology at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis since 2013, will be responsible for providing vision, strategic direction and operational leadership for Bridwell Library. In addition, he will promote the development of collections and oversee the library’s public service and user education efforts.

“Bridwell Library is an extraordinary institution, both in the theological library world and the greater global community of research and scholarship,” Elia said. “It is a great honor to join such an exceptional staff and inclusive community, where students, teachers, scholars, lay community members, ministers, alumnae/i, and many others are able to work with world-class collections.

“The vision for Bridwell will be a vision of partnerships, engagement, and community participation, where all will continue to feel welcome to find inspiration and spirit in their work, life, and vocations,” he said.

Elia earned a B.A. degree in religious studies from St. Lawrence University, M.A. degrees in religious studies from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and in history of Christianity from the University of Chicago Divinity School, and the Master of Science in Library and Information Science (MSLIS) degree from the University of Illinois.

He brings significant expertise in library science and educational technology, which he has utilized in both U.S. and global contexts.  From 2010-13, he served as head Public Services Librarian at Burke Library, Columbia University, and was a lecturer in theological writing at Union Theological Seminary, both in New York City.  In addition, he has held positions at the JKM Library of McCormick Theological Seminary and Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, the American Theological Library Association, and the Regenstein Library, University of Chicago.

The author of numerous publications, he will present “The Theology of Cybersecurity” at the June 2018 American Theological Library Association (ATLA) conference in Indianapolis.  Elia has held numerous leadership positions in his field, including membership on the Directors’ Committee of the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI), where he also served as secretary of the Executive Committee.  He was chair/president of the New York Area Theological Library Association (NYATLA) from 2011-12 and vice-president of the Chicago Area Theological Library Association (CATLA) in 2010.  In addition, he was chair and past co-chair of the International Relations Round Table IVC Committee, American Library Association (ALA) from 2013-15.

Elia has also been awarded a number of grants, including a 2015-16 Wabash Center Grant for “Pedagogy of the Archive.”

A composer, Elia served as Composer in the Religion, Spirituality, and the Arts Seminar at Butler University and was also invited by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra to deliver a pre-concert lecture on Olivier Messiaen and Theology in 2016.

“Anthony Elia brings extraordinary energy and intellectual curiosity to this position,” said Perkins Dean Craig C. Hill. “In addition to his academic degrees, he has studied some twenty languages, including work in Prague, Rome, and Nairobi. Just as important, he has demonstrated the ability to forge connections between a theological library and the wider university and community.”

The J.S. Bridwell Library—among the best theological libraries in the nation—includes a full range of theological, biblical, and historical materials relating to the development of Christianity. In addition to the material available in the basic lending collection of the library, which is strong in Methodist materials, Bridwell Library contains a number of special collections that are especially valuable for the study of topics related specifically to the background, rise, development, and present status of Methodism.

With total holdings exceeding 370,000 volumes, Bridwell Library’s Special Collections contain over 50,000 printed books dating from the fifteenth to the twentieth century. Most of the printed works in these holdings, often in first and early editions, are in the fields of theology, church history, scripture, liturgy, and philosophy. Many of these editions are distinguished by fine illustration and typography, notable provenances, and historically significant bindings. Holdings also include manuscript correspondence by John Wesley and other important figures in early Methodism, archival collections of American Methodism and private presses, and a small group of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts.

> Visit SMU’s Bridwell Library online: smu.edu/bridwell

Bobby B. Lyle ’67 honored with SMU’s 2018 J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award

Bobby B. Lyle, 2018 J. Erik Jonsson Ethics AwardSMU’s Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility recognized entrepreneur and civic leader Bobby B. Lyle for his work as an engineer, educator, business executive, philanthropist, community leader and mentor.

Dr. Lyle received the 2018 J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award during a luncheon on Thursday, March 29 at Moody Coliseum. The annual honor recognizes a community leader who personifies moral leadership and public virtue.

The founder of Lyco Energy Corporation in 1981, Lyle has been a leader in the petroleum and natural gas industry for more than 25 years, exploring throughout the United States. He was instrumental in development of the Dallas Galleria and the InterFirst Bank-Galleria and, in 2005, established Lyco Holdings, Incorporated, a private investment firm.

He has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas, Volunteer Now, and the Dallas Historical Society. Lyle has been recognized with the Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award from Methodist Health System, inducted into the Dallas Business Hall of Fame by Jr. Achievement, and presented the William Booth Award by the Salvation Army for contributions to the betterment of humanity.

Dr. Lyle has served as an SMU trustee for 30 years, and the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering was named in his honor in 2008. In addition, he served as Cox School of Business dean ad interim from 1971-73 and executive dean from 1973-75. He has endowed four academic chairs at SMU, supporting outstanding faculty in cyber security, engineering innovation, engineering entrepreneurship, and leadership and global enterprise.

Lyle is a past president of the SMU Alumni Association. He has served on the Executive Boards of the School of Engineering and the Cox School of Business, and as a trustee of the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. He is vice chair of the Maguire Energy Institute in the Cox School and of the Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility. He is co-founder and current chair of the Associates Board in the Cox School and serves on the board of the SMU Hart Global Leaders Forum. He received the SMU Distinguished Alumni Award in 1995 and in 2006 was named to the School of Engineering Hall of Leaders.

His other civic activities have included leadership roles in the Boy Scouts of America, the Communities Foundation of Texas, the Volunteer Center of North Texas, the National and Dallas Advisory Boards of The Salvation Army, Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation, Texas Trees Foundation, Center for Nonprofit Management, Trinity Trust Foundation, Kindness Foundation and Dallas Assembly Foundation.

Lyle graduated from Louisiana Tech University, received a graduate degree in engineering administration from SMU, and earned a doctorate from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

The J. Erik Jonsson Award is named after a co-founder and former president of Texas Instruments who, as Dallas mayor, worked tirelessly to improve the morale and image of the city in the wake of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The award is given to individuals who epitomize the spirit of moral leadership and public virtue.

“Mayor Jonsson was one of those people who was brilliant as a mayor, not necessarily for his solo acts, but for his ability to bring people together,” says Rita Kirk, William F. May Endowed Director of the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility.

“Each of the people that we recognize in the J. Erik Jonsson Award brings people together,” Kirk adds. ”They figure that there’s a better way to do things if we take advantage of the talents and abilities and insights of everyone in our community, and then put those actions to use.”

Past recipients of the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award, now in its 21st year, include David O. Brown, Terry J. Flowers, Lyda Hill, Gail Griffin Thomas, Nancy Ann & Ray Hunt, Walter J. Humann, Ruth S. Altshuler, Bob Buford, Ronald G. Steinhart, Michael M. Boone, Zan W. Holmes Jr., Roger Staubach, Caren Prothro, Tom Luce, Ron Anderson, Jack Lowe Jr., William T. Solomon, Stanley H. Marcus, Charles C. Sprague and Curtis W. Meadows Jr.

— Written by Kenny Ryan

> Visit the SMU Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility online: smu.edu/ethics

35 outstanding teachers honored with 2017-18 HOPE Professors Awards

Alice Kendrick and Tiffany Giraudon, HOPE Awards 2018

Alice Kendrick (left) accepts the 2017-18 HOPE Professor of the Year Award from advertising major Tiffany Giraudon.

SMU’s Department of Residence Life and Student Housing (RLSH) honored 35 outstanding professors at the 2017-18 HOPE Awards Banquet Tuesday, Feb. 6.

Alice Kendrick, Marriott Family Endowed Professor of Advertising in Meadows School of the Arts, was recognized as 2017-18 Professor of the Year.

HOPE (Honoring Our Professors’ Excellence) Award recipients are named through RLSH student staff member nominations as professors who “have made a significant impact to our academic education both inside and outside of the classroom.”

The complete list of 2017-18 HOPE Award honorees:

Cox School of Business

  • Barry Bryan, Accounting
  • Jay Carson, Management and Organizations
  • Liliana Hickman-Riggs, Accounting +

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

  • Stephanie Amsel, English (Discernment and Discourse)
  • Joan Arbery, English (Discernment and Discourse)
  • Sarah Bogard, World Languages and Literatures (Spanish)
  • Richard Bozorth, English
  • Teresa Brentegani, World Languages and Literatures (Italian)
  • Alejandro D’Brot, Biological Sciences
  • LeeAnn Derdeyn, English (Discernment and Discourse)
  • Jill DeTemple, Religious Studies
  • Kirsten Egerstrom, Philosophy
  • Xiao Hu, World Languages and Literatures (Chinese)
  • Bruce Levy, English (Discernment and Discourse) *
  • Leticia Trevino McDoniel, World Languages and Literatures (Spanish)
  • Daniel Moss, English
  • Michael Saliba, Economics
  • Ross Sloan, English (Discernment and Discourse)
  • Teresa Strecker, Biological Sciences
  • Thierry Tirado, World Languages and Literatures (French)
  • Brian Zoltowski, Chemistry *

Lyle School of Engineering

  • Elena Borzova, Mechanical Engineering
  • Frank Coyle, Computer Science and Engineering
  • Rachel Goodman, Engineering Management, Information and Systems
  • Yildirim Hürmüzlü, Mechanical Engineering
  • Andrew Quicksall, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Peter Raad, Mechanical Engineering

Meadows School of the Arts

  • Willie Baronet, Advertising
  • Sandra Duhé, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs
  • Alice Kendrick, Advertising (HOPE Professor of the Year) *
  • Troy Perkins, Film and Media Arts
  • Lauren Smart, Journalism

Perkins School of Theology

  • Tamara Lewis, History of Christianity
  • Stephen Long, Cary M. Maguire University Professor of Ethics

Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development

  • Kelyn Rola, Wellness +

+ Nominated by more than one student

* HOPE Distinguished Professor, indicating the faculty member has been nominated in five or more years

Michael Molina, AIA, NCARB, named SMU Associate Vice President of Facilities Planning and Management and Chief Architect

Michael Molina head shotMichael Molina, an architect and construction professional with more than 13 years of experience in university campus planning and design, has been named SMU’s Associate Vice President of Facilities Planning and Management and Chief Architect. He will begin his new duties on Monday, April 2, 2018.

“Michael received overwhelming positive feedback from all who met with him during his SMU visit. His approach to customer service and his transparent communication style will serve our campus well,” said Chris Casey Regis, SMU vice president for business and finance. “His technical knowledge and professional background were impressive and will allow the Facilities team to better serve the SMU community.”

“As a native of the Dallas area, I am excited to return to my roots and pursue this new adventure,” said Molina. “I am humbled and honored to be selected for this role and work alongside SMU’s progressive leadership team. I look forward to playing a part in the continuum of the campus’ aesthetically iconic Collegiate Georgian architectural heritage.”

As vice chancellor of facilities planning and construction in the Texas Tech University (TTU) System, Molina leads a 40-person multidisciplinary team and oversees an annual $385 million capital improvement portfolio that includes partnering, program development, design and construction.

During his tenure, he has established definitive guidelines for integrating Texas Tech University’s signature Spanish Renaissance architectural style into all new facility programming and planning. In addition, he administered to completion more than 70 projects at all four TTU System component universities for a total capital improvement portfolio exceeding $1.1 billion.

Molina initiated more connectivity between the TTU System and the local and national design and construction industry, which gave the system a broader pool of professional partners and a more competitive cost-avoidance strategy — resulting in more than $22 million in savings being returned to the TTU System’s component institutions: TTU, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC), Angelo State University and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. He also established industry feedback events with the national design and builders’ communities.

Previously, Molina served TTU and TTUHSC as an architect and project manager in their facilities planning and construction and project engineering offices. He managed Lubbock-based and statewide campus projects from design to completion and coordinated staff safety training as acting safety officer. He served on TTU’s Physical Plant Safety Committee and received the university’s Superior Achievement Award in 1996 and its Chancellor’s Award of Excellence in 1998.

“Michael Molina has served the Texas Tech University System with utmost professionalism for nearly eight years,” said TTU System Chancellor Robert Duncan. “Michael’s leadership is transformative; he has moved us into a historic period of capital construction across our universities and instituted processes and plans that will ensure our long-term success. The more than 70 projects completed during his tenure are a testament to the impactful legacy he leaves behind. Michael will be missed greatly by all of us at the system, but I know he will continue to make us proud at SMU.”

From 1998 to 2009, Molina served as vice president, facilities design and development, with United Supermarkets, Ltd., in Lubbock. He managed a 25-person team as well as a statewide multi-brand facilities portfolio and a $17 million annual budget. He also coordinated a strategic, $750 million 10-year growth plan that included real estate acquisition, budget development, and project management from conceptual design through construction completion.

In addition, Molina has served as CEO/owner of JDMA Architects, Inc., and investor/partner in M3d Construct, LLC, both based in Lubbock and operating in multi-state regions. His responsibilities included cost modeling; fiscal strategy; design process and quality assurance development; client relations; and team leadership and training.

Molina earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree in design and city planning from Texas Tech in 1991. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and has served on the Lubbock Chapter Executive Board and as editor of the chapter’s newsletter. He is also a member of the Texas Society of Architects (TSA), National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and Association of University Architects (AUA).

His community involvement includes service as a coach for Little League Baseball, Lubbock Youth Football and youth soccer. He has served as a member of the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center of the Arts (LHUCA) Board, Covenant Medical Group Heart Health Board and the Lubbock Municipal Arts Committee, as well as Lubbock Habitat for Humanity. As a member of Lakeridge United Methodist Church, he served as a youth bible study leader and on the Building Committee, as well as Board of Trustees chair. He has also served as president of the Board of Trustees of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.

Cecil and Ida Green Chair Ronald A. Rohrer named to The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas

Ronald A. Rohrer

Inventor and scholar Ronald A. Rohrer, the Cecil & Ida Green Chair and Professor of Engineering in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering, has been named to The Academy of Medicine, Engineering, and Science of Texas (TAMEST). The nonprofit organization, founded in 2004, brings together the state’s top scientific, academic and corporate minds to support research in Texas.

The organization builds a stronger identity for Texas as an important destination and hub of achievement in these fields. Members of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and the state’s nine Nobel Laureates comprise its 270 members. The group has 18 member institutions, including SMU, across Texas.

Rohrer joins three other distinguished SMU faculty members in TAMEST — Fred Chang, executive director of the Lyle School’s Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security; Delores Etter, founding director of the Lyle School’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education and electrical engineering professor emeritus; and David Meltzer, Henderson-Morrison Chair and professor of prehistory in anthropology in Dedman College.

Considered one of the preeminent researchers in electronic design automation, Rohrer’s contributions to improving integrated circuit (IC) production have spanned over 50 years. Rohrer realized early on that circuit simulation was crucial to IC design for progress in size reduction and complexity. Among his achievements was introducing a sequence of circuit simulation courses at the University of California, Berkeley, that evolved into the SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis) tool, now considered the industry standard for IC design simulation. At Carnegie Mellon University, Rohrer introduced the Asymptotic Waveform Evaluation (AWE) algorithm, which enabled highly efficient timing simulations of ICs containing large numbers of parasitic elements.

“The appointment of Ron Rohrer into TAMEST will increase the visibility of Lyle’s outstanding faculty members,” said Marc P. Christensen, dean of the Lyle School of Engineering.  “Through TAMEST, Rohrer will share his vast knowledge and inspire additional collaborative research relationships with other outstanding Texas professors and universities. This will elevate SMU and the state as a leading center of scholarship and innovation.”

Once an SMU electrical engineering professor back in the late 70’s, Rohrer rejoined the Lyle School as a faculty member in 2017. He is professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon and Rohrer’s career has included roles in academia, industrial management, venture capital, and start-up companies.

“I’ve stayed close to industry to be a practicing engineer and close to academia to conduct deeper research on hard problems,” said Rohrer.

According to Rohrer, one pressing problem is analog integrated circuit design automation, also the name of the project-based research course he’s currently teaching.  “In the analog domain, it’s hard to design a 20-transistor circuit.  My goal is to make analog integrated circuit design more accessible to students and industry, especially for our local corporate partners,” he said. “I want to get the ball rolling so younger engineers can keep it moving toward a complete solution.”

Along with his membership in TAMEST and the National Academy of Engineering, Rohrer is an IEEE Life Fellow. His professional service includes several other prominent positions with IEEE, AIEE, and U.S. government committees.

Rohrer is the author and co-author of five textbooks and more than 100 technical papers as well as the holder of six patents. He has received 11 major awards, including the IEEE Education Medal and the NEC C&C Prize.

— Written by Kimberly Cobb

SMU Debate wins 2018 Texas state championship

SMU Debate at the 2018 TIFA State Championships - Darcy Wyatt, Chip Myers, Dr. Ben Voth, Matthew Lucci, Maggie Cook-Allen

Four SMU debaters brought home multiple awards, including a team title, at the 2018 TIFA State Championships. Left to right: Darcy Wyatt, Chip Myers, Dr. Ben Voth (SMU Debate director), Matthew Lucci, Maggie Cook-Allen.

SMU Debate brought only four team members to the state championships, but that was all they needed. The team brought home multiple awards in the 2018 Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association (TIFA) state championships, held at Blinn College in Bryan over the Feb. 3-4 weekend.

Competing against 13 other Texas universities and colleges, they took home top speaker, top scoring school and top novice debater, among other honors, in the International Public Debate Association (IPDA) division. SMU competed exclusively in IPDA-format events; the tournament also featured competition in Parliamentary and Lincoln Douglas divisions.

> Follow SMU Debate on Facebook

Some of the highlights:

  • Matthew Lucci (B.S. Mechanical Engineering ’18) won top speaker and was undefeated through all seven rounds of debate.
  • Lucci and Maggie Cook-Allen (B.A. Political Science, B.A. Philosophy ’21) defeated rivals from Texas A&M and Tyler Junior College to claim first and second place for SMU in the open division tournament. “Open division” is open to varsity, junior varsity or novice competitors. The four SMU debaters are junior varsity or novice.
  • Mark “Chip” Myers (B.A. History ’21) won top novice IPDA debater.
  • Darcy Wyatt (B.S. Biochemistry ’21) was the 8th-rated debater in the state of Texas in IPDA.
  • SMU had three of the top eight debaters in the quarterfinals, more than any other school at the tournament.
  • The University also took first place in the IPDA sweepstakes awards.
  • In addition to placing first in the state in the category of International Public Debate, SMU placed fifth in overall speech and debate awards.

The debate team’s director is Ben Voth, speech associate professor in the Meadows School of the Arts’ Division of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs. Assistant coaches include Keith Milstead and Ross Sloan. The program is funded and sponsored by the Meadows School and the SMU Vice President of Student Affairs.

> Read the full story at the SMU Meadows website

Gail O. Turner named 2018 Maura Award winner by Dallas Women’s Foundation

Gail O. TurnerDallas Women’s Foundation (DWF) has named Gail O. Turner as one of four recipients of its 2018 Maura Women Helping Women Award. The winners will be honored at the Leadership Forum & Awards Dinner, presented by AT&T, on Thursday, April 19, at the Omni Dallas Hotel, 555 S. Lamar Street.

The Maura Awards recognize “leaders who have positively impacted the lives of women and girls in the North Texas area,” according to a DWF press release announcing the honors. Tickets to the dinner start at $350; sponsorships are also available. Learn more at the Dallas Women’s Foundation website.

Gail Turner, the wife of SMU President R. Gerald Turner, is a founding member and former board chair of New Friends New Life (NFNL), a Dallas organization that serves women and children who have been victimized by trafficking. She has worked with NFNL successfully to lobby the Texas Legislature on laws that help victims of human trafficking. She also serves on the board of Shelter Ministries of Dallas, comprised of Austin Street Center, which assists 400 homeless people each night, and Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support.

As “First Lady of SMU,” Gail Turner also serves on the boards of the Meadows School of the Arts and the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

“It is a great honor for Dallas Women’s Foundation to recognize … extraordinary leaders whose example and service to women and girls are literally awe-inspiring,” said Roslyn Dawson Thompson, Dallas Women’s Foundation president and chief executive officer.

Mrs. Turner’s fellow Maura Award honorees include Arcilia C. Acosta, president and CEO of CARCON Industries and founder and CEO of STL Engineers; Jocelyn D. Kidd, DDS, a Dallas dentist and mentor to young women in STEM fields; and Dr. Cynthia Mickens Ross, creator of the Path~Way to Purpose® program and senior pastor of Path~Way to Life Center of Hope Church in Hutchins, Texas.

Two women under 40 will receive Young Leader Awards, presented by Capital One: Vanessa Bouché, Ph.D., an assistant professor of political science at TCU and a principal investigator on several federally funded human trafficking projects from the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Agency for International Development; and Brooke López, a recent UT-Dallas graduate and founder of the nonprofit Students of Change.

Dallas Women’s Foundation is the largest regional women’s fund in the world. It is a trusted leader in advancing positive social and economic change for women and girls. Since 1985, DWF has granted more than $37.6 million to help create opportunities and solve issues for women and girls.

> Visit Dallas Women’s Foundation online: dallaswomensfdn.org

Michael Bloomberg receives Medal of Freedom from SMU’s Tower Center

Michael Bloomberg with SMU students

SMU Tower Scholars attended the Tower Center Medal of Freedom Forum with Michael Bloomberg (front row, center) on January 29, 2018. The event took place at the Meadows Museum.

Businessman, philanthropist, author and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg received on Jan. 29, 2018, the Tower Center Medal of Freedom from SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies. The honor, presented every two years, recognizes “extraordinary contributions for the advancement of democratic ideals and to the security, prosperity and welfare of humanity.”

Bloomberg was elected the 108th mayor of New York City in 2001 and won re-election in 2005 and 2009. As the first New York mayor elected after the 9/11 attacks, he put emergency preparation, infrastructure issues, education, and environmental and health regulations at the center of his concerns. During his tenure, he balanced the city budget, raised New York teacher salaries; unveiled PlaNYC: A Greater, Greener New York to fight climate change and prepare for its impacts; and co-founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns (now Everytown for Gun Safety), a nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to reducing the number of illegal guns in U.S. cities.

“In the aftermath of the worst terror attack on U.S. soil, Michael Bloomberg led New York City out of mourning and back into its place as one of the most important cities in the world. He took the city’s public education system and poverty issues head on during his two terms as mayor,” said SMU Trustee Jeanne Tower Cox ’78 in her introduction. She also lauded Bloomberg’s work with his foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, which focuses on five areas that echo his priorities as mayor: public health, the arts, government innovation, the environment, and education.

Born in Boston in 1942, Bloomberg graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1964 with a B.S. degree in electrical engineering. He earned his M.B.A. from Harvard in 1966 and served as a partner in the Wall Street investment bank of Salomon Brothers before founding his own company. Innovative Market Systems, later renamed Bloomberg L.P., went on to revolutionize the rapid graphing and distribution of business and financial information and ultimately made him a billionaire. After his mayoral service, Bloomberg returned to serve as CEO of Bloomberg L.P. at the end of 2014.

In 2017, with a personal fortune Forbes magazine reported to be $47.5 billion, Bloomberg was listed among the 10 richest people in the world. Forbes estimates his wealth as of January 2018 to be $52.7 billion. In 2010, he became a founding participant in The Giving Pledge, a campaign in which the world’s wealthiest individuals and families pledge to contribute at least half their net worth to philanthropic causes.

Previous Tower Center Medal of Freedom recipients include former U.S. Secretaries of State James A. Baker III and Colin Powell, former British Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, U.S. Senator John McCain, historian David McCullough, former commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command Gen. Tommy R. Franks (Ret.), former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, and former First Lady Laura Welch Bush ’68.

The SMU Tower Center was created to commemorate the late U.S. Senator John G. Tower, whose life was dedicated to public service and education. In the spirit of John Tower‘s commitment to educate and inspire a new generation of thoughtful leaders, the Tower Center seeks to bridge the gap between the world of ideas, scholarship and teaching, and the practice of politics. The primary mission of the Tower Center is to promote the study of politics and international affairs and to stimulate an interest in ethical public service among undergraduates. The Tower Center is an academic center where all parties and views are heard in a marketplace of ideas, and the Center will pursue its mission in a nonpartisan manner.

> Visit SMU’s Tower Center online: smu.edu/tower

SMU Guildhall, Biological Sciences faculty to help launch disease-fighting game technology in online event on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017

HEWMEN alpha launch graphic

What would be the impact if humans could harness the resources of massive online communities to fight disease? SMU faculty members have developed a technology that gives video gamers the power to fight disease through data – and the entire University community is invited to participate in its online launch.

On Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017 from 6-8 p.m. CST, BALANCED Media Technology – cofounded by SMU Guildhall faculty members Corey Clark and Rob Atkins – will host an online Alpha Launch of its proprietary HEWMEN™ platform. The event will be streamed live on Mixer.com and hosted on the SMU Guildhall Facebook page.

> Learn more about HEWMEN™ and download the game client: hewmen.io/alpha

> Visit Facebook.com/SMUGuildhall to RSVP for the online launch

John Wise and Pia Vogel, faculty members in the Department of Biological Sciences of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, will also be on hand for the launch. Their research on cancer-fighting drugs provided the impetus for the specially designed Minecraft mod, and their amassed data helps to power the HEWMEN™ integration.

Wise and Vogel have tapped the high-performance computing power of SMU’s Maneframe II, one of the most powerful academic supercomputers in the nation. Yet a network of gamers can crunch massive amounts of data during routine gameplay by pairing two powerful weapons: human intuition, and the massive computing power of networked gaming machine processors. Taking this research to the gaming community will more than double the amount of machine processing power attacking the problem.

> SMU Research: SMU Guildhall and cancer researchers level up in quest to beat cancer

Viewers can watch popular Minecraft streamers GhostfromTexas, Direwolf20, TangoTek and impulseSV demonstrate the high technology and the serious fun of games that help researchers fight disease. In addition, casual and committed gamers can join in through a modified version of the popular Minecraft “Bed Wars” designed to find new cancer therapies – all during regular gameplay.

> Learn more and find more useful links at the SMU Guildhall’s launch page

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