A.J. Jacobs, the man on a quest, to deliver April 1 SMU Tate Distinguished Lecutre

Journalist, author and “human guinea pig” A.J. Jacobs will be at SMU Tuesday, April 1 to deliver the Oncor Lecture of the 2013-14 Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series. The event will begin at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium.

Jacobs

Jacobs practices immersion journalism, which has led to four books, two times on the New York Times bestseller list and one film optioning. His first title, My Life as an Experiment: One Man’s Humble Quest to Improve Himself focuses on various rules and skills for life. His second, The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World, comedically details how Jacobs spent one year reading the Encyclopædia Britannica from A to Z. The book spent 10 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into 11 languages.

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible also made the New York Times bestseller list and has been optioned by Paramount Pictures. The book describes following all biblical rules, and both the humor and the comfort of rituals he found in the process. His most recent book, Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection, was written entirely on the treadmill and goes over the latest diet and workout plans.

Follow A.J. Jacobs on Twitter @ajjacobs

When Jacobs isn’t on his next humble quest, he spends his time at his day job as editor-at-large of Esquire magazine. He practices the same immersion techniques for the magazine, and his piece “My Outsourced Life” was optioned by Universal Studios. For the article Jacobs hired a team of assistants in Bangalore, India to do everything for him, from office work to at-home duties.

He is already planning his next book about a global family reunion and is giving everyone the opportunity to be a part of it. Jacobs received his degree from Brown University and currently lives in New York with his wife and three children.

The evening lecture is sold out, but SMU students may attend for free with their University ID if seats become available; meet in the basement of McFarlin Auditorium at 7 p.m.

Jacobs will answer questions from University community members and local high school students in the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 1 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. The Forum is free, but seating is limited. SMU faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend; RSVP online to ensure a place.

To ask Jacobs a question via Twitter, send a tweet to @SMUtate with @ajjacobs and the hashtag #SMUtate.

 

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Noted Liszt interpreter Michele Campanella visits SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts for mini-residency March 31-April 4, 2014

Michele CampanellaRenowned Italian pianist, recording artist and conductor Michele Campanella will be a guest of the Division of Music in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts for a mini-residency March 31-April 4, 2014.

Campanella will give a master class for SMU pianists selected by the faculty noon-2 p.m. Wednesday, April 2 in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. The master class is free and open to the public.

On Thursday, April 3 he will present a free public recital at 8 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium. The all-Liszt program will feature ultra-virtuoso transcriptions and paraphrases from the operas of Verdi and Wagner, including the “Danza sacra” from Aida, a Rigoletto paraphrase, “Liebestod” from Tristan and Isolde and the “Overture” from Tannhäuser.

Internationally acclaimed as a major virtuoso interpreter of Liszt, Campanella is a three-time winner of the Grand Prix du Disque awarded by the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest (1976, 1977 and 1998), the latter for his recording Franz Liszt-The Great Transcriptions, I-II on the Philips label. He was awarded the “Liszt High Merit” medal by the Hungarian government in 1986 and the American Liszt Society Medal in 2002.

Trained at the Vincenzo Vitale School in Naples, Campanella has interpreted composers as diverse as Clementi, Weber, Poulenc, Busoni, Rossini, Brahms and Ravel. He has recently recorded an anthology of Liszt paraphrases, 12 Transcendental Studies, and a selection of works from Liszt’s late period played on Liszt’s own original Bechstein piano. The latter is the first chapter of a 12-CD series dedicated to Liszt that will be released under the Brilliant label.

Campanella’s discography includes recordings for EMI (Ravel), Philips (Liszt, Saint-Saëns), Foné (Chopin), PYE (Liszt, Tchaikovsky), Fonit Cetra (Busoni; the recordings won the 1980 Italian Discographic Critics Award), Nuova Era (Tchaikovsky, Liszt, Mussorgsky, Balakirev), Musikstrasse (Rossini), P&P (Brahms, Liszt, Scarlatti) and Niccolò (Schumann). In 2005, the Rossini Opera Festival published a recording of the Petite Messe Solennelle in Pesaro, conducted by Campanella.

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

> Read more about Michele Campanella from SMU News

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Expert in Latin and Hispanic theologies Fernando Segovia visits SMU’s Perkins School of Theology March 31-April 11, 2014

Fernando SegoviaA noted expert in Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Hispanic theologies has come to the Hilltop as a visiting scholar.

Dr. Fernando Segovia will be in residence in the Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity and Religions in SMU’s Perkins School of Theology March 31-April 11, 2014.

Segovia is the Oberlin Graduate Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity in Vanderbilt University Divinity School, where he has taught since 1984. He is also a member of the theology faculty of Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

He teaches and researches in the fields of early Christian origins, theological studies, and cultural studies, including non-Western Christian theologies, postcolonial, minority and diaspora studies. Segovia has served on the editorial boards of several academic journals, has worked as consultant for foundations and publishing houses, and has lectured both nationally and internationally. He is also a past president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians in the United States.

He is editor, with Roland Boer, of The Future of the Biblical Past and of A Postcolonial Commentary on the New Testament Writings, with R. S. Sugirtharajah.

Segovia will preach, lecture and participate in a number of public and academic events during his tenure. Two events are open to the public:

• Dr. Segovia will preach during the annual Archbishop Romero Memorial Service in Perkins Chapel at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 2. His homily is titled “Romero and the Call to Bear Fruit in the World.”

• On Thursday, April 3, Segovia will give a public lecture, “Vatican II in Retrospect: A Lifetime and Welcome Companion,” in the Prothro Great Hall, Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall. Carlos Cardoza-Orlandi, professor of global Christianities and mission studies in the Perkins School, will present a Response. The event begins with refreshments at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Lecture and Response at 6 p.m.

“I am delighted to welcome Dr. Segovia to Perkins School of Theology and to SMU,” said the Rev. Dr. Hugo Magallanes, director of the Center. “He is world class scholar, the current president of the Society of Biblical Literature, and to have him with us for two weeks is a great honor. His teaching and writings are quite influential in general, and in particular in the area of Biblical interpretation from a post-colonial perspective,” he said.

> Read more from the Perkins School of Theology website

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Meadows Spring Dance Concert features three contemporary works, show runs March 26-30, 2014

Meadows 2014 Spring Dance Concert, SMUSMU’s Meadows Dance Ensemble will present three intriguing works, all created within the past 25 years, at its 2014 Spring Dance Concert. The show goes on March 26-30 in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

Featured will be Chalabati (2007) by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, winner of the 2014 Meadows Prize artist’s residency; Cold Virtues (2003) by Meadows Artist-in-Residence Adam Hougland; and D-Man in the Waters (1989) by Tony Award-winning choreographer Bill T. Jones.

> Choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar wins 2014 Meadows Prize

The Saturday evening concert will include a special tribute to Ann Williams, founder and artistic director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre, and Lily Cabatu Weiss, chair of the dance department at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, with performances by DBDT and Booker T. dancers. All tickets for the Saturday performance have been reserved, but a wait list is open for tickets that may become available.

The program opens with Chalabati, a work inspired by the music and culture of the Gnawa people of Morocco. Zollar, the founder of New York-based dance company Urban Bush Women, created and premiered the work during a residency at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Meadows Spring Dance ConcertZollar said, “The Gnawa language encompasses Arabic, French and various ancestral languages from their homeland region around Bambara. The Gnawa know it by heart and sing it with reverence and joy. It reminds me of stories traveling over land and time, from generation to generation.”

As winner of the Meadows Prize, Zollar spent two weeks at SMU in February rehearsing the work with dancers in Meadows School of the Arts.

Adam Hougland’s Cold Virtues is loosely based on the 18th-century novel Dangerous Liaisons, with its interplay of romance and power. Hougland, who is principal choreographer for the Louisville Ballet and resident choreographer for the Cincinnati Ballet, created the work for 14 dancers. Set to the haunting Violin Concerto by Philip Glass, it has been called “engrossing” and “unforgettable” by critics.

Rounding out the program is D-Man in the Waters, created in 1989 to honor Demian Acquavella, a member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company who died of AIDS. The work, considered a classic of modern dance, won a New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award and was also featured in PBS’s 2007 film Dancing in the Light – Six Dances by African-American Choreographers.

Spring Dance Concert performance times are 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $7 for students, SMU faculty and staff. Buy tickets online at Vendini or contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

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SMU welcomes its new supercomputer: ManeFrame

ManeFrame with R Gerald Turner, James Quick, Chase Harker, Chase Leinberger and Paul Ludden

At the ManeFrame ceremony were (l. to r.) SMU President R. Gerald Turner; James E. Quick, Dean of Research and Graduate Studies; Chase Harker, finalist in the naming competition; Chase Leinberger, who suggested the winning name; and Paul Ludden, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

SMU unveiled its new supercomputer, the ManeFrame, during ceremonies Wednesday, March 19, and award a Dell laptop computer to the student who named it – sophomore Chase Leinberger.

SMU students, faculty and staff selected the name from entries in a contest sponsored by SMU Provost and Vice President Paul Ludden.

With ManeFrame’s addition to its new data center at the southeastern end of campus, the University now has one of the top academic supercomputers in the nation. ManeFrame – named in honor of SMU’s mustang mascot, Peruna – will be opened to the campus in May, expanding the reach of faculty and student research into subjects ranging from particle physics, to human behavior, to water quality and drug discovery.

High-performance computing makes it possible for researchers to study complex problems involving massive amounts of data using sophisticated software and step-by-step recipes for calculations. At its peak, ManeFrame is expected to be capable of more than 120 trillion mathematical operations a second.

“High-performance computing has become an indispensible tool in the 21st century,” said Jim Quick, associate vice president of research and dean of graduate studies. “The incredible computational power provided by high-performance computing is widely used in science, engineering, business and the arts.  ManeFrame brings this capability to Dallas.”

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SMU Basketball makes Elite Eight in 2014 NIT; plays Cal at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 26

Shawn Williams #2, SMU Basketball

Shawn Williams will play in his 34th game of the 2013-14 season tonight in the SMU-Cal quarterfinal at Moody Coliseum. Williams graduated in May 2013 with a degree in sociology and currently is taking graduate courses at SMU.

The No. 1-seeded SMU Mustangs (25-9) will play the No. 2 seed California Golden Bears (21-13) for the chance to advance to the Final Four and Madison Square Garden in the 2014 National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The Mustangs take the home court advantage at 8 p.m. CT Wednesday, March 26 in Moody Coliseum. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2.

The quarterfinal matchup will see the SMU men’s team break its overall attendance record for a season – 101,296 during the 1984-85 season. SMU enters the contest at 100,374 fans for the 18 home games in the 2013-14 campaign. SMU is 2-2 all-time in the NIT, including this year’s victories over UC Irvine (68-54 March 19) and LSU (80-67 March 24).

> Follow the team on Twitter: @SMUBasketball

SMU’s 25 wins on the season ties for third most in program history, and the most since the Mustangs recorded 28 wins in 1987-88. The Mustangs are 17-1 at home this season, including 11-1 in the renovated Moody Coliseum since Jan. 4 – the most home victories in program history.

In addition, the team finished with 12 conference wins for the first time since its 12 Southwest Conference wins in the 1992-93 season. The Mustangs’ third-place conference finish was the program’s best record since finishing third in the WAC in 2002-03.

On Thursday, March 20, Head Coach Larry Brown was selected one of five finalists for the 2014 Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year, presented by the Atlanta Sports Council. Brown has also been named one of 10 finalists for the Henry Iba National Coach of the Year award and one of three finalists for the Jewish Coaches Association National Coach of the Year award. In his second season on the Hilltop, Brown and the Mustangs have posted the top NCAA RPI turnaround (among teams in the top 100) from 2012-13 to 2013-14, improving their mark 160 spots from 213 a year ago to 53 as of Monday, March 17.

> Read the full story from SMU Athletics

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Division of Music Director Sam Holland named interim dean of Meadows School of the Arts

Sam Holland, interim dean, Meadows School of the Arts at SMUSam Holland, professor and director in the Meadows School of the Arts’ Division of Music, has been named the School’s interim dean effective Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Meadows Dean José Antonio Bowen was named president of Goucher College in early March.

Holland has been an SMU faculty member since 1991 and has served as director of the Division of Music – the largest division in Meadows – since 2010.

“He is not only an accomplished University administrator, but a visionary leader who has done an outstanding job in moving the Division of Music forward over the past three years,” Bowen wrote in a note to the SMU community published at the Meadows School website Monday, March 24, 2014. “He has built strong community relationships with local organizations like the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Dallas Opera, and has established a national reputation in keyboard pedagogy, community outreach and in the ways that music schools are rethinking preparation for jobs and citizenship…. His reputation as an innovator and creative thinker is well deserved.

“The leadership of the University and I are confident he will be an excellent steward of Meadows programs and goals and will continue the momentum of the school while the search process for a new dean is under way.”

> Read Dean Bowen’s complete message at smu.edu/meadows

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Theatre Professor Blake Hackler receives Fulbright Scholars Grant

Blake Hackler, assistant professor of theatre in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholars Grant to conduct teaching and research in Bulgaria.

Hackler will be in residence at New Bulgarian University in Sofia from January through June 2015, where he will teach and direct theatre, focusing on physical acting techniques. He will also observe and work with the Sfumato Theatre Laboratory, an internationally recognized theatre based in Sofia that produces highly physical interpretations of classic plays.

“My research and performance interests explore the ongoing disembodiment of the ‘actor-in-training’ as a result of deepening reliance on technology,” said Hackler. “Eastern Bloc theatre-makers, both pre- and post-Glasnost, have constantly pushed the boundaries of what the physical body can and should be capable of representing. It will be invaluable to spend time training and observing both the students and actors of Bulgaria and learning from them.”

Hackler joined the Meadows School faculty in fall 2011 and teaches four courses, including acting for both sophomores and first-year graduate students; theatre games and improvisation for graduate students; and “Acting in Song” for students pursuing the new minor in musical theatre. He also holds a teaching appointment at Yale University.

As an actor, Hackler has appeared in productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in regional theatres throughout the country, working with such acclaimed directors as Michael Mayer, Scott Ellis, Alex Timbers and Mike Alfreds. In New York, he worked with theatres including Playwrights Horizons, York Theatre, The Ohio, and Roundabout, as well as creating the role of Moritz Stiefel in the original New York workshop of the Tony-award winning musical Spring Awakening.

In Dallas, he is a company member at the nationally recognized Undermain Theatre, and has also appeared at the Trinity Shakespeare Festival, Dallas Theater Center, Second Thought Theatre and Theatre Three. Currently, he is the acting coach for comedian Lisa Lampanelli as she prepares her one-woman show, Skinny Bitch, for a Broadway run.

Hackler has taught at Roosevelt University, AMDA, the National Theatre Workshop for the Handicapped, and through the Kennedy Center as an Artist-in-Residence.  He also has studied with the SITI Company and its artistic director Anne Bogart and is a member of AEA and AFTRA. He received his M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama.

> Read the full story from SMU News

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Civic leader Gail Griffin Thomas ’58 receives SMU’s 2014 J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award

Gail Griffin ThomasCivic leader Gail Griffin Thomas ’58, president and CEO of the Trinity Trust Foundation and a champion of urban transformation, received the 2014 J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award from SMU’s Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility during a Wednesday, March 19 luncheon at the Belo Mansion.

Thomas has been a  catalyst for inner city quality-of-life improvements for several decades. After Dallas residents approved the Trinity River Project in 1998 to create a centerpiece for the city and help neighborhoods feel a stronger connection to Dallas, Mayor Ron Kirk tapped Thomas to develop an operation to raise private funds for the plan.

In addition to Thomas’ Trinity Trust leadership role, she is director of the Dallas Institute’s Center for the City program, where she teaches and conducts seminars and conferences — something she has done for several decades in a host of U.S. and international cities.

The Trinity River Corridor Project consists of 20 miles and 10,000 acres of land in and along the Trinity River Corridor and the Great Trinity Forest. It seeks to protect downtown Dallas against future flooding while providing environmental restoration, improving transportation congestion, spurring economic development and creating a magnet for play. Upon its completion it will be considered the largest urban park in the U.S., including sports fields, trails, nature centers and recreational opportunities ranging from kayaking to horseback riding.

Thomas’ efforts for the Trinity project also helped inspire the philanthropic gifts for the design of Dallas’ two bridges designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava. Currently she is seeking funds to build the Trinity Spine Trail from the Audubon Center to White Rock Lake.

“We give this award to someone with courage; someone who responds to challenges with a sense of grace and ethical direction,” said Maguire Center Director Rita Kirk. “Gail Thomas certainly represents all of those things.”

Thomas has written the books Healing Pandora: The Restoration of Hope and Abundance, Imagining Dallas and Pegasus, the Spirit of Cities. She co-authored Stirrings of Culture with Robert Sardello and Images of the Untouched with Joanne Stroud. Her next book, Recapturing the Soul of the City, is forthcoming, as is a play she is writing.

In addition, Thomas is a distinguished alumna of both SMU and The University of Dallas. She has been a national awards panelist for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, and has been honored by the Texas Society of Architects and the American Institute of Architects.

Thomas and her husband, Bob Thomas, have three children and 10 grandchildren.

> Read the full story from SMU News

 

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$5 million gift from Harlan and Kathy Crow to support SMU Residential Commons

Harlan and Katherine Raymond Crow of Dallas have committed $5 million toward the construction of the Kathy Crow Commons in SMU’s new Residential Commons complex, scheduled to open in fall 2014. Mrs. Crow is a member of the SMU Board of Trustees and an alumna.

“This gift from Harlan and Kathy Crow will support a campus home and gathering place for generations of students,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Students who live in Kathy Crow Commons will be part of an academic and residential community that will become a key part of their SMU experience. We are grateful for the Crows for this generous gift.”

SMU’s new Residential Commons model of campus living, which includes 11 Commons created from new and existing residential buildings, will provide an integrated academic and residential student experience. Live-in faculty members will have offices and teach classes in on-site classrooms. In addition, each Commons will develop traditions and host gatherings and activities to create a sense of community among the residents.

“We have studied numerous institutions with strong residential communities,” said Lori White, vice president for student affairs. “We know the Residential Commons model will strengthen the SMU experience by enhancing student involvement opportunities and creating common bonds and friendships among diverse groups of students.”

Since 1988, Harlan Crow has served as chairman and CEO of Crow Family Holdings, which manages the capital of the Trammell Crow family. The Trammell Crow Company, founded in Dallas in 1948 by Crow’s father, is one of the nation’s oldest and largest commercial real estate developers and investors. Mr. Crow has worked with Crow-affiliated entities for nearly 40 years. He serves on the board of directors of the American Enterprise Institute, the Southwestern Medical Foundation, the Supreme Court Historical Society, the George W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation and the Antiquarian Society. In addition Mr. Crow is the honorary consul of Denmark for the Southwestern region.

Dallas civic leader Kathy Crow earned her M.B.A. from Cox School of Business. In addition to her current position on the SMU Board of Trustees, she has served on the boards of SMU’s Tate Lecture Series and the Women’s Economics and Financial Series at Cox School of Business.

The $5 million gift for the Kathy Crow Commons counts toward the $1 billion goal of SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign, which to date has raised $844 million to support student quality, faculty and academic excellence and the campus experience. The campaign coincides with SMU’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the University’s founding in 1911 and its opening in 1915.

Written by Nancy George

> Read the full story from SMU News

 

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