Good weather and plenty of Mustang spirit came together on Tuesday, May 22 as the SMU staff – and President R. Gerald Turner – gathered on the Clements Hall South Lawn. The 2018 President’s Picnic featured cookout food and lighter fare, plus fresh popcorn and cookies for snacking. Lawn games, Flat Peruna adventures, tabling, a pop-up library, and even some salsa dancing completed the recipe for fun. The annual event is organized by the SMU Staff Association.
Tune In: Videogame pioneer and Xbox co-creator Ed Fries to speak in SMU Guildhall’s Game Changers Speaker Series Friday, Feb. 2, 2018
Ed Fries, a videogaming pioneer and entrepreneur who helped create the first version of the Xbox console, will speak at SMU at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. His visit, the latest event in the Game Changers Speaker Series, will be livestreamed by SMU Guildhall on Twitch TV.
Fries joined Microsoft in 1986 as one of the early developers of the Word and Excel applications. He founded Microsoft Game Studios and served as vice president of game publishing during much of the Xbox’s life cycle. He retired from the company in 2004 and since then has served as an adviser to dozens of studios on interactive projects ranging from esports to healthcare to virtual reality. In addition, he serves as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
During his SMU visit, Fries will discuss the early history of the video game business and explore important topics currently facing the industry.
The Game Changers Speaker Series, established in 2015, brings industry professionals to campus to deliver special topics presentations to the SMU Guildhall student body, alumni and community as an extension of Guildhall’s mission – to educate and inspire the next generation of video game developers.
Three contemporary works, including newly created pieces by Complexions Ballet co-founders Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson and by Associate Professor Christopher Dolder, are highlights of the Meadows School of the Arts’ Fall Dance Concert. The show runs Nov. 8-12, 2017 in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center.
The program will open with Dolder’s new version of Bolero, set to a London Symphony recording of Ravel’s famous work. An interactive set featuring a circular stage space, curving ramps and central spire provide the physical backdrop for dancers representing an array of societal archetypes perennially caught in the cycles of life and culture. Dolder, a former soloist with the Martha Graham Dance Company, has previously expressed a fascination for architectural design in productions of His Handle (2014), Metropolis (2015) and a collaboration with Canadian wood sculptor Erik More in The Orca Project (2016).
Ascension is a new piece created by Visiting Artists-in-Residence Richardson and Rhoden, featuring a blend of ballet and contemporary dance expressed in sculptural choreography. Complexions Ballet has received numerous honors, including The New York Times Critics’ Choice Award, and has performed at Lincoln Center and The Joyce Theater in New York, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, and most recently at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., as part of “Ballet Across America.” Celebrated for his choreography and wide-ranging collaborations with well-known dance artists, Rhoden has created over 80 ballets for Complexions and for numerous other major companies. Richardson is a Tony-nominated actor and the first black American principal dancer of American Ballet Theatre.
Concluding the program is Moncell Durden’s Drop Me Off in Harlem, a tribute to the music and dance of the 1930s. Premiered earlier this year, it uses vernacular jazz movement to recount the adventures of three ladies from Pennsylvania who travel to New York City to dance at the famous Savoy Ballroom and watch the battle of the bands between Benny Goodman and Chick Webb. The audience follows Norma, Mabel and Dawn as they navigate the spirited streets, subways and ballrooms of New York and Harlem nightlife. Durden is a choreographer, historian, dance educator and current faculty member at the University of Southern California, where he teaches jazz, hip-hop and improvisation.
Fall Dance Concert performance times are 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $14 for adults, $11 for seniors and $8 for students, SMU faculty and staff.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Meadows website or call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).
— Written by Victoria Winkelman
SMU Athletics dedicated a state-of-the-art golf training facility at Trinity Forest Golf Club on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. The Payne Stewart SMU Golf Training Center is named in honor of the 1979 alumnus who became the 1989 PGA Champion, two-time U.S. Open Champion and a member of five U.S. Ryder Cup teams.
The 6,700-square foot facility features team locker rooms, coaches’ offices, a conference room, a workout center and kitchen. The center also houses a hitting bay featuring premier equipment, including the Swing Catalyst, which tracks weight shift throughout the swing as well as four video motion-capture cameras and monitors to show swings. A TrackMan system uses dual radar technology to track both club movement and the ball at the moment of impact. This equipment provides the perfect foundation for analysis, enabling the Mustang golfers to use real-time data to improve their games.
The Payne Stewart SMU Golf Training Center also includes 70,000 square feet of teeing ground, a 45,000 square-foot putting and chipping green and a challenging nine-hole short course.
“Facilities like the Payne Stewart SMU Golf Training Center, the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center, the new SMU Tennis Center, the renovated Moody Coliseum and the planned Indoor Performance Center are examples of the University’s commitment to compete at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner.
“Our commitment to competing for championships and enhancing the student experience requires continued investment in our infrastructure,” said SMU Director of Athletics Rick Hart. “This great facility is just another sign of that commitment by our donors and our university. SMU, its donors and fans have made significant investments in athletics in recent years, and we thank them for their support.”
— Written by Nancy George
Gary Brubaker, director of the Guildhall, Corey Clark, Guildhall deputy director for research, and John Wise, associate professor of biological sciences, gathered in Plano for a special Facebook Live event on Sept. 28, 2017. Watch their discussion of how their partnership has turned the popular game Minecraft into a vehicle for cancer research – and effectively doubled the computing power available for this work.
What can you do to secure your classroom or campus office in an emergency? September is National Preparedness Month, and Myles Taylor of SMU News has created a video to help the SMU community be ready for the unexpected.
Get a head start on knowing what to do if you must shelter in place, lock down or evacuate – and don’t forget your cellphone. It could become your lifeline. Click the YouTube screen to see more, or visit this link to watch “Your Classroom, Your Safety” in a new window.
SMU welcomed new students to campus last week, and SMU News was there to capture it. Watch as students, parents, and alumni joined University faculty and staff members to help the Class of 2021 settle into their residence halls during Move-in Day 2017.
Click the YouTube screen to watch, or click here to watch “Move-in Day 2017” in a new window.
President R. Gerald Turner will deliver the opening address, “World Changers Shaped Here,” at SMU’s 103rd Opening Convocation. The ceremony beings at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017 in McFarlin Auditorium.
SMU Board of Trustees Chair Michael M. Boone ’63, ’67 , Faculty Senate President Paul Krueger and Student Body President David Shirzad will also give remarks. The Meadows Convocation Chorus, directed by Pamela Elrod Huffman, will provide music, accompanied by Sarah England.
The entire Convocation will be streamed over the internet via smu.edu/live. Click or tap the screen below to watch. The broadcast begins one hour before the ceremony starts.
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., the director of the National Institutes of Health who may be best known for leading the Human Genome Project (HGP), was the featured speaker – and a featured singer – during SMU’s 102nd all-University Commencement ceremony, which took place May 20, 2017 in Moody Coliseum.
“You need to be prepared for dramatic change,” Collins told the graduates. “Whatever the field, you can’t imagine what it will look like in 10 or 20 years Your path will not always be smooth. Doors you were counting on may not open. Do you have the strength & foundation to deal with that?”
Dr. Collins – whose own personal research efforts led to the isolation of the genes responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington’s disease and Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome – received the Doctor of Science degree, honoris causa, from SMU during the ceremony.
Also receiving honorary degrees Saturday were Francis Halzen, Nancy Nasher and E.P. Sanders. Halzen’s work in particle physics detection has taken the study of neutrinos beyond the Milky Way galaxy and into deep space, leading to new understanding of astronomical phenomena including black holes, supernovas and galaxy formation. Nasher, a business leader, lawyer and philanthropist, has dedicated her professional and personal life to the betterment of Dallas. Sanders is an internationally respected New Testament scholar responsible for major contributions to studies of Jesus and the Apostle Paul and their relationships to the Judaism of their day. He is credited with prompting the re-evaluation of prejudicial views of Judaism that often characterized earlier biblical scholarship, resulting in improved Jewish-Christian relations.
“Never be so confident in yourself that you can’t see what’s around you. Be a skeptic,” Collins said. “Clarify your definition of success. You’ve succeeded, but at what? What is it we’re attaching ourselves to? Are you spending your time on ‘résumé virtues’ or ‘eulogy virtues’? Résumé virtues won’t help you with relationships. They may distract you from thinking deeply about character, about life & its meaning.”
Collins concluded his Commencement address with a song, which brought the graduates, faculty and family members to their feet.
SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts chooses the photos that sum up Spring 2017 – including spectacular shots from the Meadows Chamber Music Recital, the Meadows Opera production of The Elixir of Love, Regina Taylor’s Magnolia, the Temerlin Advertising Institute and Division of Journalism “Collaboration Room,” and the August Wilson Monologue Competition.
They also include the photo above – a stunning shot by Ace Anderson from the promotional video shoot for the Meadows 2017 Senior Dance Concert, running May 4-7 in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center.