Save the Date

Pulitzer Prize-winner Matthew Desmond to give public lecture at SMU Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017

This post was originally published Aug. 18, 2017 and has been updated.

Matthew Desmond

The SMU and Dallas communities are invited to a lecture by Matthew Desmond, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. The SMU Reads event takes place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, in McFarlin Auditorium.

Desmond, a sociologist and MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, went into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to learn the stories of families struggling to keep even a substandard roof over their heads. The incoming Class of 2021 will discuss the book with faculty and staff members as their Common Reading on Sunday, Aug. 20, before Opening Convocation.

> More on Evicted from the SMU Forum

Desmond is principal investigator of the Milwaukee Area Renters Study, an original survey of tenants in Milwaukee’s low-income private housing sector. Currently a professor of sociology at Princeton University, he previously served as Harvard University’s John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences and co-director of the Justice and Poverty Project. His work has been supported by the Ford, Russell Sage, and National Science Foundations, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times and Chicago Tribune.

He has written on educational inequality, dangerous work, political ideology, race and social theory, and the inner-city housing market. Recently, he has published on the prevalence and consequences of eviction and the low-income rental market, network-based survival strategies among the urban poor, and the consequences of new crime control policies on inner-city women; his writings have appeared in the American Journal of SociologyAmerican Sociological Review, Social Forces, and Demography.

Desmond is the author of three other books: On the Fireline: Living and Dying with Wildland Firefighters (2007), Race in America (with Mustafa Emirbayer, 2015), and The Racial Order (with Mustafa Emirbayer, 2015). He also is editor of the inaugural issue of RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, Volumes 1 & 2: Severe Deprivation in America (2015).

After receiving his Ph.D. in 2010 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Desmond joined the Harvard Society of Fellows as a Junior Fellow. His primary teaching and research interests include urban sociology, poverty, race and ethnicity, organizations and work, social theory, and ethnography.

> Follow Matthew Desmond on Twitter @Just_Shelter

SMU Reads was created to encourage reading and support literacy in the Dallas community. Under the program, members of the community join in the University’s annual Common Reading, as chosen by the SMU selection committee. Campus and community participants are invited to take part in gatherings and events focused on the book, including a presentation by the author.

Evicted is available at a number online retailers, including Barnes & Noble. It is also available at a 10-percent discount at the SMU Barnes & Noble Bookstore, 3000 Mockingbird Lane. Call 214-768-2435 for more information.

The presentation is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the SMU Reads homepage:

Save the date: SMU Fall 2017 General Faculty Meeting, Wednesday, Aug. 23

SMU President R. Gerald Turner will address the University faculty at the Fall 2017 General Faculty Meeting Wednesday, Aug. 23 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. The meeting will begin at 3:45 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Theater, after a reception beginning at 3 p.m. in Centennial Hall and the Theater foyer.

Newly tenured faculty will receive their regalia during the meeting. In addition, 2017-18 Faculty Senate President Paul Krueger will give the Senate’s report. Provost Steven Currall will also address the meeting and announce the winner of the 2016-17 Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church.

Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer Prize-winner Evicted will be SMU’s 2017 Common Reading

'Evicted' cover, Matthew DesmondIn 2017, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing. Eviction, once a rare, last-resort scenario, has become an ordinary occurrence, especially for single mothers.

Harvard sociologist and MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient Matthew Desmond went into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to learn the stories of families struggling to keep even meager shelter. The Pulitzer Prize-winning book that resulted – Evicted: Poverty and Profit In the American City – is SMU’s 2017 Common Reading.

Significantly, one of the families Desmond profiles includes a landlord and her husband, writes Peter K. Moore, SMU associate provost for curricular innovation and policy. “Discussing the great difficulties the poor face just to keep a roof over their heads, it would have been easy to demonize the landlords, but Desmond shows their struggles as well — providing real nuance and a window into the issue’s complexities.

“Ideally, this work will reveal to our students how much some people struggle to stay afloat financially — introducing them to the fact that those living near the poverty line typically spend up to 50 percent and in some cases 90 percent of their income on a decent and safe place to live,” Moore added.

> Follow Matthew Desmond on Twitter: @just_shelter

In a Washington Post review, Carlos Lozada wrote, “In this astonishing feat of ethnography, Desmond immerses himself in the lives of Milwaukee families caught in the cycle of chronic eviction. In spare and penetrating prose, [he] chronicles the economic and psychological toll of living in substandard housing, and the eviscerating impact of constantly moving between homes and shelters. With Evicted, Desmond has made it impossible to consider poverty without grappling with the role of housing.”

“Written with the vividness of a novel, [Evicted] offers a dark mirror of middle-class America’s obsession with real estate, laying bare the workings of the low end of the market, where evictions have become just another part of an often lucrative business model,” wrote Jennifer Schuessler in The New York Times.

The annual book discussion with faculty, staff members and new SMU students will take place on Sunday, Aug. 20, before Opening Convocation.

In addition, Desmond will visit the University Thursday, August 24, for a 6 p.m. lecture in McFarlin Auditorium, with a Q&A session and book-signing afterward.

> Learn more at the SMU Reads website:

Summer means fun: 2017 SMU camp sign-ups now open

Stock art of 'summer camp' spelled out in chalk surrounded by kids' handsSummer break is here, and SMU has a full slate of 2017 camps for kids and teens. Campers will have the opportunity to participate in athletics, learn with LEGO® and explore interests in everything from art and engineering to sports, languages and game design. Many programs offer discounts for SMU faculty and staff members.

Camps are held on SMU’s main campus as well as at SMU-in-Plano through the SMU Summer Youth Program. Start dates range from early June to early August, and many camps fill up fast. Check the camp websites for full information, including availability, requirements and deadlines.

> Find SMU camps for 2017 at the SMU News homepage

Ticket discounts (and free hats) for SMU Day at the Texas Rangers, Sunday, June 4, 2017

SMU-themed Rangers capJoin your fellow SMU community members as Women’s Basketball Coach Travis Mays throws out the first pitch on SMU Day at the Texas Rangers, Sunday, June 4, 2017. The Rangers take on the Houston Astros in Globe Life Park at 2:05 p.m., and Mustangs receive a special discount on tickets.

In addition, the first 1,000 SMU fans to show their special event ticket at the designated cap redemption area on game day will receive a limited edition SMU-themed Rangers hat.

Here’s how to take advantage of this special promotion:

  1. Purchase your ticket(s) through the “Buy Tickets” link at Only tickets purchased through the “Buy Tickets” link will be eligible for the SMU-themed Rangers cap.
  2. Arrive at Globe Life Park early on Sunday, June 4. Gates open at 12:30 p.m., and the first 1,000 fans to line up at area inside the Southwest Airlines Third Base Gate will receive a SMU-themed Rangers hat.
  3. Enter through any entrance and head to the area inside the Southwest Airlines Third Base gate to get your cap.

To purchase 20 or more tickets, please contact Jeremy Christopher at the Texas Rangers, 817-273-5173.

By | 2017-06-01T15:33:38+00:00 June 1, 2017|Categories: Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|

Save the date to celebrate: SMU’s 2017 President’s Picnic is Wednesday, May 24

President's Picnic 2017The SMU Staff Association (SMUSA) and President R. Gerald Turner invite all University staff members to the 2017 Staff Appreciation Day and President’s Picnic. The post-Commencement celebration takes place 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, May 24 on the Clements Hall South Lawn.

This year’s edition of the annual event features food, games, popcorn, and a photo booth.

All SMU staff members with 25 years or more of service are asked to stop by the Staff Association table.

> Visit the SMU Staff Association online:

SMU’s 2017 Honors Convocation and Hilltop Excellence Awards take place Monday, April 17

Honors Convocation 2016SMU’s annual celebration of high achievement in academics and community life takes place during the 2017 Honors Convocation and Hilltop Excellence AwardsMonday, April 17.

The 20th annual Honors Convocation begins at 5:30 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium, and the Hilltop Excellence Awards ceremony takes place at 7:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater.

> Coming April 17: Watch Honors Convocation live on the web at

SMU reserves one Monday each April to celebrate the achievements of students, faculty, staff members, trustees and administrators in the two ceremonies. The Honors Convocation recognizes academic achievement at the University and department levels.

Read the full list of SMU’s 2017 Honors Convocation award and honors recipients

Jo GuldiThis year’s convocation speaker is Jo Guldi, assistant professor of history in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. A native Dallasite, Guldi studies the history of Great Britain and the British Empire, landscape history, legal history, property law, infrastructure, digital methods, international development, and agrarian studies. As a digital and data historian, she also oversees the lecture series “Data is Made Up of Stories: University-wide Futures From the Digital Humanities,” offered through the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute. Among other things, the series illustrates how text mining is used across different disciplines – from digital mapping of the transatlantic slave trade to an app that captures the inspiration for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Guldi is the designer of Paper Machines, a free, open-source software toolkit that allows users to visualize large amounts of text for historical and political analysis over time and space, without requiring special computational resources or technical knowledge. She is the author of Roads to Power: Britain Invents the Infrastructure State (2012, Harvard University Press) and co-author with David Armitage of The History Manifesto (2014, Cambridge University Press), currently being translated for publication in six languages. She graduated from Harvard with an A.B. degree in literature, earned her Ph.D. in history from the University of California-Berkeley and was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital History at the University of Chicago. She was also a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows and served a fellowship in the metaLAB (at) Harvard. Prior to joining SMU, she served as an assistant professor of history at Brown University.

Find more information on Honors Convocation

Retired and current faculty members will assemble for Honors Convocation in academic dress no later than 5:10 p.m. on the third floor of McFarlin Auditorium. The faculty procession will begin at 5:30 p.m. A reception will immediately follow the ceremony on the Main Quad.

Participating faculty members may RSVP online by Thursday, April 13, 2017. Faculty members with questions regarding the procession can e-mail or call 214-768-3417.

Later, the University will present several awards for excellence – including its highest honor, the “M” Award – during the 2017 Hilltop Excellence Awards. The ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater. Hilltop Excellence Awards honorees will be listed in SMU Forum the day after the ceremony.

Follow SMU Student Activities @SMUStuAct for live updates from the ceremony, and share your Twitter and Instagram posts from the Hilltop Excellence Awards with the #HilltopExcellence hashtag.

Learn more about the Hilltop Excellence Awards from SMU Student Life

Memorial service for Prof. Dennis Simon scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday, April 3, 2017 in Perkins Chapel

The SMU community will gather to remember the life of Associate Professor of Political Science Dennis Simon at 2 p.m. Monday, April 3, 2017 in Perkins Chapel.

Dr. Simon died Sunday, Feb. 12 in Dallas after a long illness. An SMU faculty member since 1986, he was a recognized expert on the American presidency, national elections, women and the political glass ceiling, and the politics of change in the United States.

> SMU News: SMU mourns the death of Professor Dennis Simon

The family requests that memorial gifts go to the SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage, of which Dr. Simon was a faculty leader.

Tap the YouTube screen to see Dr. Simon speak on the Civil Rights Pilgrimage at TEDxSMU 2014, or click here to see Dennis Simon’s TEDxSMU talk in a new windowvideo

By | 2017-03-30T12:41:51+00:00 March 30, 2017|Categories: News, Save the Date|Tags: , , |

New and updated SMU Facts map available for 2017; order by Monday, April 17

SMU Facts Map 2016, 400 pxThe SMU Facts map has been updated for 2017, and it’s now available for order.

The map folds down to a compact 3- by 6-inch size. On one side, a three-dimensional view of campus offers information about each SMU school, Mustang athletics, the Meadows Museum and the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

The other side has vital statistics about University facilities, finances and student body, as well as important information about rankings, libraries, student life, alumni, research activity and much more – plus new and updated information on degrees conferred, external research funding, DFW alumni and other vital statistics.

Print copies are still 25 cents each, and there is no minimum order. Maps are expected to arrive by early May.

To order copies, please send quantity and account number to Lisa Barnes, marketing services director, by Monday, April 17, 2017.

Get ready to spring forward: 2017 Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, March 12

Stock photo of clock with sweep-second handYou’re breaking for daylight: 2017 U.S. Daylight Saving Time begins this Sunday, March 12, at 2 a.m. Don’t forget to set your clocks forward one hour, and check your computer to be sure it’s displaying the correct time.

Computer behind the times? Get help from SMU’s Office of Information Technology:

By | 2017-03-21T10:16:17+00:00 March 9, 2017|Categories: News, Save the Date|Tags: , , |
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