Jody and Sheila Grant pledge $1.5 million to SMU’s Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center

Robson and Lindley Aquatics Center, artist's rendering

Former varsity swimmer Joseph M. “Jody” Grant ’60 met his wife, Sheila Peterson Grant, while they were both SMU students. Now they have provided $1.5 million to help fund the University’s new Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center.

With their gift, they’ve also created the Sheila and Jody Grant Challenge, which encourages other donors to give the remaining $1.5 million to complete the Center’s $22 million funding goal. The 42,000-square-foot facility, soon to be home to the University’s internationally recognized men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, will be dedicated Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, during SMU Homecoming.

Jody and Sheila Grant

Jody and Sheila Grant

“As community business and philanthropic leaders, Jody and Sheila Grant know the importance of reaching the finish line and completing worthy goals,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Their generosity is inspirational and helps get us closer to completing funding for the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center and providing a place where our student athletes can continue the championship legacy of SMU swimming and diving.”

Jody Grant attended SMU on a swimming scholarship. He earned four individual Southwest Conference swimming championships and was twice named to the All-America team.

“SMU’s swimming program has been near and dear to my heart since Coach Red Barr recruited me many years ago to swim for the Mustangs,” said Dr. Grant. “I am honored to support this new facility, which will be home for the swimming program that was so meaningful to me.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

Meadows Theatre presents In the Blood through Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017

In the Blood poster art 2017The SMU Meadows Theatre season begins with a new production of a Pulitzer Prize finalist that reimagines an American literary classic in a modern setting. Professor of Theatre Rhonda Blair directs Suzan-Lori Parks’ In the Blood , running through Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017 in the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

Parks conceived In the Blood as a retelling of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, with Hester as a single mother living in poverty with her five children. As she struggles to support them, she decides to seek help from their various fathers, with tragic consequences.

The playwright has won awards and honors including a MacArthur “Genius” Grant, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Tony Award; in 2002, she became the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama. In the Blood, which premiered in 1999, was a Pulitzer finalist.

Showtimes are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, with 2 p.m. matinees Saturday-Sunday. Tickets are $8 for SMU faculty, staff and students. Arrive early – there will be no late seating.

For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

> Buy tickets online from Vendini.com

Operational Excellence shares 2016-17 progress report

SMU’s Office of Operational Excellence (OPEX) has met an important milestone: The University has passed the $20 million mark in annual savings as a result of Operational Excellence for the Second Century (OE2C) initiatives, as detailed in its September 2017 Progress Report.

According to the report, of the $20 million saved, $14.1 million has been committed for new uses, including research, fellowships, high-performance computing, and general academic reinvestments, among other items. The report also includes updates on new and ongoing initiatives designed to streamline and formalize administrative processes.

One notable highlight is an update on the status of funds available for SMU doctoral degree candidates. Currently, 34 doctoral students are receiving University Ph.D. Fellowships supported by funds saved through OE2C. A 2013 Faculty Senate resolution urged SMU to create such University-wide fellowships, stating they “play a crucial role in engaging and interfacing with undergraduate students in faculty research projects that in turn helps us recruit high-quality undergraduates and raise the academic quality of the incoming class.”

> Learn more at the OPEX blog

By | 2017-09-26T16:54:31+00:00 September 26, 2017|Categories: News, OPEX|

Get ‘Wild About SMU’ for Family Weekend 2017, Sept. 22-24

Family Weekend 2017 Wild About SMU

SMU family members from across the country will get “Wild About SMU” during 2017 Family Weekend, coordinated by the Student Foundation’s Family Weekend Committee. The festivities take place Sept. 22-24.

Student research, creativity and innovation take the spotlight during the Fall 2017 Engaged Learning Symposium and Big iDeas Pitch Contest, scheduled for Friday, Sept. 22 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum. Engaged Learning Fellows show their work 9 a.m.-1 p.m., and Pitch Contest teams will hold forth from 2-5 p.m. for the opportunity to win $1,000 in seed money for their projects.

Find the full schedule for 2017 SMU Family Weekend

Events include the traditional Game Day Barbecue, 3:30-5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23 on the Clements Hall South Lawn. Faculty and staff members can claim four free football tickets for the 6 p.m. SMU-Arkansas State at the Ford Stadium ticket window with SMU ID. Tickets may also be purchased by calling 214-768-GAME or by visiting the Athletic Department website.


SMU Gives Back 2017 flyerClear bag policy at Ford Stadium:
The only bags permitted on Game Day are those made of clear plastic, vinyl or PVC that do not exceed 12-by-6-by-12 inches; one-gallon clear plastic freezer bags (Ziploc or similar), or small clutch bags (about the size of a hand) with or without a strap. See the complete list of SMU Ford Stadium Game Day policies.

SMU Gives Back: This year, the Student Foundation is partnering with Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, which supports the health and well-being of seriously ill or injured children receiving treatment in the Dallas area, as well as their families. Throughout SMU Family Weekend, University community members can eat and shop at a variety of local partner businesses – just mention that you are with SMU, and  part of your purchase will directly benefit Ronald McDonald House of Dallas.

Parking: On Friday, Sept. 22, Game Day parking is in effect. Please plan to move your car if you usually park near Ford Stadium. Refer to SMUMustangs.com/gameday for a parking map.

By | 2017-09-21T16:23:09+00:00 September 21, 2017|Categories: Calendar Highlights, News|

Celebrate student innovation at the 2017 Engaged Learning Fall Symposium and Big iDeas Pitch Contest, Friday, Sept. 22

engaged-learning-logo-300Outstanding students will show their work and market their startup concepts during the Fall 2017 Engaged Learning Symposium and Big iDeas Pitch Contest.

The two events take place Friday, Sept. 22 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum, as part of SMU’s 2017 Family Weekend.

Check out the complete EL Symposium line-up

During the Symposium, which runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., students in research, service, creative and internship programs from across campus will present their work and take questions from the audience. They will include SMU’s Maguire and Irby Family Foundation Public Service Fellows, Summer Research FellowsUniversity Honors Richter Research Fellows and McNair Scholars, as well as Engaged Learning Fellows.

> See how the Big iDeas Pitch Contest works

SMU Big iDeas logo, blue background-400From 2-5 p.m., find out what some of SMU’s most innovative students are up to during the Big iDeas Pitch Contest. After developing their ideas, undergraduate teams pitch their ideas to a panel of judges with backgrounds in innovation and entrepreneurship. Next, judges determine which ideas are most realistic and can be developed in the following three months. The winning teams are eligible to win up to $1,000 in seed money to prepare prototypes and pilot programs for the Demo Day Fair in early 2018.

> Visit SMU’s Office of Engaged Learning online

By | 2017-09-21T16:21:05+00:00 September 21, 2017|Categories: Calendar Highlights, News|

SMU panel discusses the future of affordable housing in Dallas, Sept. 21, 2017

Dallas skylineDallas’ economy is booming, yet home prices and rents are rising beyond the means of many residents. How can the city tackle this challenge, yet continue to promote economic growth?

Local experts will discuss the path forward in “How Will Dallas Address the Issue of Affordable Housing?,” presented by SMU Reads and the Folsom Institute for Real Estate in SMU’s Cox School of Business. The event takes place 5-6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 in the University’s Collins Executive Education Center.

The panelists include:

The discussion will be moderated by Nicole Stockdale, deputy editorial page editor of The Dallas Morning News. The event is free; advance registration is recommended.

Are you attending? Share your thoughts on social media with the #SMUServes hashtag.

> Register to attend “How Will Dallas Address the Issue of Affordable Housing?” at Eventbrite

Staff Celebration and Convocation scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017

The SMU Staff Association, in collaboration with the Office of Operational Excellence, has created a new Staff Celebration and Convocation program honoring SMU staff excellence. The ceremony is for all SMU staff members and will take place at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017 in McFarlin Auditorium.

President R. Gerald Turner will give his traditional State of SMU address as the keynote during the event. University Registrar John Hall, SMU’s longest-serving staff member, will be the featured speaker.

Staff members who have achieved 25 years of service to SMU will be honored, as well as the 2017 Presidential and Loretta Hawkins Award recipients. The ceremony with also recognize staff members who have continued their SMU service beyond 25 years, and previous Presidential and Loretta Hawkins Award recipients.

A reception with light refreshments will precede the ceremony at 10 a.m. For more information, visit the SMU Staff Association website.

PwC SMU Athletic Forum continues 2017 season with Charles Barkley Wednesday, Sept. 20

Charles BarkleyThe PwC SMU Athletic Forum continues its 26th season with Basketball Hall of Famer and 11-time NBA All-Star Charles Barkley. The event takes place Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.

An All-American center at Auburn, Barkley was drafted as a junior by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1984. He was selected to the All-NBA First Team five times, appeared in 11 NBA All-Star Games and was named All-Star MVP in 1991. He was named the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1993 and was chosen as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History during the league’s 50th anniversary in 1996.

Barkley also competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games and won two gold medals as a member of Team USA. Since retiring as a player, Barkley has built successful careers as an author and television NBA analyst.

All Forum luncheons begin at noon at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, 2201 N. Stemmons Freeway near downtown Dallas. Single tickets are $75. Proceeds from PwC SMU Athletic Forum events are used to support University athletic scholarships and operating initiatives.

> Learn more about the PwC SMU Athletic Forum online: smu.edu/athleticforum

By | 2017-09-13T12:56:34+00:00 September 13, 2017|Categories: Calendar Highlights, News|

Tate Distinguished Lecture Series kicks off 2017-18 season Tuesday, Sept. 26

SMU Tate microphoneSMU’s 36th season of the Tate Distinguished Lecture Series features an international affairs discussion with two prominent experts on emerging threats; a TED Prize-winning archaeologist who uses satellite imagery to uncover lost sites; the founder and president of the world’s largest political risk consultancy firm; and an evening with an Oscar-winning actor and crusader against childhood hunger.

All lectures take place at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium. Each lecturer will also participate in a free SMU Tate Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. on the day of the event; faculty, staff members and students are welcome to attend.

The upcoming season at a glance:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 26 – Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass and CNN international affairs expert Fareed Zakaria, joined by returning moderator David Gergen, former presidential advisor and CNN senior political analyst
  • Tuesday, Oct. 24 – Amanda Lindhout, freelance journalist, survivor of 460 days as a hostage in Somalia, author of the best-selling memoir A House in the Sky, and founder of the Global Enrichment Foundation (GEF), dedicating to empowering citizens of conflict-ridden countries
  • Tuesday, Nov. 28 – Sarah Parcak, archaeologist and anthropologist renowned for her innovative use of satellite imagery to locate archaeological sites, and recipient of a 2016 TED Prize that funded GlobalXplorer, an online portal for crowdsourcing satellite imagery analysis
  • Tuesday, Jan. 30 – Ian Bremmer, founder and president of Eurasia Group, the world’s largest political risk consultancy firm, and leading expert on how political risk affects policy decisions
  • Tuesday, Feb. 27 – Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, one of the world’s largest nonprofit foundations with an endowment of $12.4 billion and a mission to “advance human welfare”
  • Tuesday, March 20 – Retired General David Petraeus, 37-year U.S. Army veteran and one of the most decorated military officers in U.S. history, former commander of coalition forces during the Iraq War and of United States Central Command, and former director of the CIA
  • Tuesday, April 10 – Shawn Achor, native Texan, best-selling author of The Happiness Advantage and Before
    Happiness, and leading expert on the connection between happiness and success
  • Tuesday, May 1 – Jeff Bridges, seven-time Oscar nominee and Academy Award winner for Crazy Heart, and  national spokesman for the Share Our Strength/No Kid Hungry campaign that works to end childhood hunger in America

For more information, visit the Tate Distinguished Lecture Series website.

By | 2017-09-13T12:42:35+00:00 September 13, 2017|Categories: Calendar Highlights, News|Tags: , , |

Tune In: Be ready for National Preparedness Month

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. video

By | 2017-09-12T16:50:51+00:00 September 12, 2017|Categories: Tune In|Tags: , , , , |
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