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

For the Record

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.

September 21, 2016|Calendar Highlights, For the Record, News|

SMU names Rakesh Dahiya treasurer and chief investment officer

Updated Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016


Rakesh Dahiya, SMU Treasurer and Chief Investment OfficerRakesh Dahiya
, CFA, an experienced investment manager with a strong background in higher education, has been named SMU treasurer and chief investment officer, effective Sept. 12, 2016.

The University will welcome Dahiya with a reception on Tuesday, Oct. 11, from 4-5 p.m. in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center. Faculty and staff members may RSVP online.

Dahiya will be responsible for oversight of the University’s $1.5 billion endowment, mineral interests and planned giving assets. He will work with the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees, setting agendas, developing policies, formulating investment strategies, as well as recommending specific investment managers and vehicles for carrying out the investment program.

“Rakesh Dahiya’s experience in higher education investment management, particularly with sophisticated institutional portfolios much like SMU’s, as well as his achievements in corporate finance, makes him an excellent fit as SMU’s chief investment officer,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “As we move forward in the University’s second century, Rakesh’s leadership and understanding of changing markets will ensure that SMU invests wisely with a close eye on the goals established by our Board of Trustees.”

“Current markets are complex and fast-moving. It was important that we find the best individual to monitor national and global markets and identify strategic opportunities that position the University for growth,” said Fred Hegi, chair of the Investment Committee of the SMU Board of Trustees. “I am pleased to say that we found that individual in Rakesh Dahiya.”

Since 2011, Dahiya served as Director of Marketable Strategies at the University of Florida Investment Corporation (UFICO), an independent investment management company with total assets over $2.7 billion. Prior to UFICO, he spent nine years at Washington University in St. Louis and six years at Ralston Purina.

Dahiya’s experience over the last 20 years includes working with investments of more than $3 billion in global equities and fixed-income markets. As Director of Marketable Strategies at the University of Florida, he was responsible for all hedge fund, traditional equity and fixed income strategies. At Washington University in St. Louis, a university with endowment assets over $5 billion, Dahiya oversaw the investment of $2.6 billion in global equities, fixed income and public real assets.

As a senior officer of SMU, Dahiya will serve on the President’s Executive Council and work with leadership on matters related to endowment spending and the communication of endowment strategy and performance. He will oversee investment research and analysis, implementation, risk management, accounting, performance measurement and reporting associated with the investment process, and with the management of real estate and mineral interests.

Dahiya graduated from Iowa State University with a B.B.A. degree in finance in 1994. He earned his M.B.A. from the University of Illinois in 1996.

> Read the full story from SMU News

September 14, 2016|For the Record, News|

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.

(more…)

August 31, 2016|For the Record, News|

Al Niemi announces plans to step down as dean of SMU’s Cox School of Business after 2016-17 academic year

Albert W. 'Al' Niemi Jr., dean, SMU Cox School of BusinessAlbert W. Niemi, Jr., the dean of SMU’s Cox School of Business during a time of great growth and increasing national stature for the school, has announced his intention to step down from his administrative post at the end of the 2016-17 academic year.

He will continue to serve as dean during the University’s search, which will begin immediately.

Dean Niemi, who currently holds the Cox School’s Tolleson Chair in Business Leadership, will remain on the faculty as the William J. O’Neil Chair in Global Markets and Freedom after he completes his administrative duties.

“We just finished SMU’s first century and the Second Century Campaign, so now is a time to look ahead,” Niemi said. “We need someone with a vision to lead the Cox School to success in its next era. By stepping down as dean, but remaining to teach, I have the opportunity to support the next dean if he or she wants my advice, and I can be with my students, work with my faculty and staff colleagues, and continue to be part of this great campus. It will be a privilege to end my career the way I began it – in the classroom, doing what I love best.”

Since arriving at the Cox School in June 1997, Niemi has increased the school’s national and international visibility. Cox’s B.B.A., full-time M.B.A., Professional M.B.A. and Executive M.B.A. programs are ranked among the best in the world by Bloomberg BusinessWeek, The Economist, Financial Times, Forbes, and U.S. News & World Report. Niemi is the eighth dean – and, as he begins his 20th year at SMU, the longest-serving dean – in the Cox School’s history.

Niemi also has been an effective fund-raiser who has dramatically increased the school’s endowment from $78 million to more than $200 million. The new endowment funds have created 10 new endowed faculty positions, eight new endowed centers and institutes, and 60 new endowed scholarships. In addition, he helped raise $19 million to support the construction of the James M. Collins Executive Education Center.

During his tenure, donors have honored his service by establishing the Albert W. Niemi Center for American Capitalism at SMU Cox and the Maria and Albert Niemi Endowed Centennial B.B.A. Scholars Fund. The Niemi Center is a partnership with the George W. Bush Institute that puts the tenets of Niemi’s teaching and research into action through research fellowships, academic programs and community outreach. The Niemi Endowed Centennial B.B.A. Scholars Fund provides scholarships to support B.B.A. students in the Cox School.

“My professional relationship with Al Niemi pre-dates my own arrival at SMU as president,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He had already earned a reputation as an outstanding educator and business school administrator at the University of Georgia, so when the opportunity arose to recruit him to serve as the dean of the Cox School, it was an easy choice and one that has greatly benefited both Cox and the University. Under his leadership, the Cox School has strengthened its connection to the Dallas and North Texas community of which SMU is a part and has also become a globally prominent business school.”

Before coming to SMU, Niemi served as dean of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia from 1982-1996. An expert in economic growth, economic forecasting, and the history of capitalism in America, he has taught more than 15,000 students and consistently has been recognized for distinguished teaching. He also has written six books and more than 200 articles for leading academic journals and business periodicals.

“As an academician, administrator, and university citizen, Al Niemi is second to none,” SMU Provost Steven Currall said. “The business school faculty he leads enjoys a stellar global reputation. Both the undergraduate and graduate programs rank highly. The Cox BBA Scholars program, which allows first-year students with outstanding academic qualifications to be admitted directly into the Cox School, continues to attract the nation’s best and brightest undergraduates. In turn, the BBA Scholars program has helped enhance SMU’s student academic profile campus-wide.”

Niemi has served on and led search committees that have brought new leaders, including the current provost, to SMU. He has worked extensively in business school and university accreditation. In addition, he has chaired or served as a member on accreditation review teams to more than 20 universities, including Emory, Washington University, DePaul, Vanderbilt, Claremont, William and Mary, North Carolina, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Syracuse, Monterrey Tech (Mexico), INCAE (Costa Rica), University of Monterrey (Mexico), the Autonomous Technological University of Mexico, and IESA (Venezuela).

The dean also served three-year terms on the Board of Governors of the American Association of University Administrators and Beta Gamma Sigma, and he served a six-year term on the Board of Trustees of Stonehill College, his alma mater, in Easton, Massachusetts.

Active in the business community, Niemi speaks to numerous civic and business groups across the nation. He is currently a member of the advisory board of the Bank of Texas and the Advisory Council of The Catholic Foundation.

Originally from Massachusetts, Niemi is the grandson of Finnish and Irish immigrants. He earned a scholarship to Stonehill College, from which he graduated cum laude with an A.B. degree in economics, and went on to earn his M.A and Ph.D. degrees in economics from the University of Connecticut.

The dean and his wife, Maria, have two grown children, Albert III and Edward Charles, and three grandchildren.

August 25, 2016|For the Record, News|

Luisa del Rosal named executive director of SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies, Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center

Luisa Del Rosal, executive director, Tower Center for Political Studies and Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center, SMULuisa del Rosal ’08, former director of strategy and international affairs with the Cox School of BusinessLatino Leadership Initiative, has been named executive director of SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies and its Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center. She began her duties on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016.

“Luisa del Rosal is a leader in higher education with the ideal background and combination of skills to build the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center,” says Jim Hollifield, director of the Tower Center. “An SMU graduate and dual national, Luisa has a deep and intuitive understanding of the vital relationship between Texas and Mexico in all of its dimensions and complexities. We are delighted that she has returned to the Tower Center and Dedman College to assume this critical leadership role.”

Del Rosal was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and lived there until she moved to Dallas to attend SMU. She holds dual bachelor’s degrees in political science and sociology, with a minor in Italian, as well as a master’s in higher education policy and leadership. She is bilingual in her native Spanish and English, and proficient in Italian.

“I am honored to return to the Tower Center for Political Studies as its executive director and to serve as the founding executive director of the newly established Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center,” Del Rosal says. “Leading these centers enables me to contribute to the regional, national and global reach of SMU.”

“The centers will help shape important regional and national conversations on topics such as education, trade and energy – topics that impact our communities every day,” she added. “As research policy centers, they’ll be places not of rhetoric, but of facts and idea sharing. The unique missions of each will influence policy questions and carry out the critical goals of engaging and mentoring the students who will become our next generation of leaders.”

In her new position, Del Rosal will have strategic and operational responsibility for both centers, including staff oversight, programming strategy and execution, board coordination and ensuring all activities are aligned with the centers’ missions.

“Luisa will add a great deal to the knowledge base of those two centers,” says Thomas DiPiero, dean of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. “She has tremendous international experience, she’s worked a great deal with people in public policy and in Mexico, and she has the diplomatic skill set that will allow the two centers to thrive under her leadership.”

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. Announced earlier this year, the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center seeks to understand and explore the political, cultural, economic and business relationship between Texas and Mexico. The center focuses on the key areas of research and policy that include border issues, energy, human capital and education, immigration and trade.

Prior to working for the Cox School, Del Rosal was director of programs and external relations for the Tower Center.

— Kenny Ryan

August 24, 2016|For the Record, News|
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