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.

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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

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SMU Guildhall ranked 3rd among graduate game-design programs in 2014 Princeton Review list

The Guildhall at SMU, SMU-in-PlanoThe Guildhall at SMU has risen to the third spot among the world’s top graduate game-design programs in The Princeton Review’s fifth annual report, published Tuesday, March 11, 2014. The list puts The Guildhall four places higher than last year’s ranking of #7.

The University of Southern California is #1 on both the undergraduate and graduate school lists in The Princeton Review’s 2014 report; UCF’s Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy ranked #2 among graduate programs. At #3, The Guildhall ranks above the Rochester Institute of Technology (#8) and MIT (#10), and higher than three other top-25 graduate programs in Texas: UT-Dallas (#11), University of North Texas (#23) and St. Mary’s University in San Antonio (#25).

> Read The Princeton Review‘s full report on its 2014 game design program rankings

The Review selected the schools based on its 2013-14 survey of 150 institutions in the United States, Canada and abroad offering game design coursework and/or degrees. The 50-question survey asked schools to report on a range of topics, from academic offerings and faculty credentials to graduates’ employment and professional achievements. Among the 60 data points the Review considered in its assessments were program curriculum, facilities, career services and technology.

“Being in the top three schools is a tribute to faculty with deep experience, bright and motivated students, industry support, and a commitment to continual improvement,” said Gary Brubaker, director of The Guildhall at SMU.

The Princeton Review’s reporting partner, PC Gamer magazine, will include a section on the top schools in its May 2014 issue. The issue will feature information on degree programs, class offerings, events, prominent professors, and alumni. The print edition will be available on newsstands Tuesday, April 1.

> Visit The Guildhall at SMU online

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SMU Guildhall graduate students compete at the 2014 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco

Intel University Games Showcase logoTwo teams of graduate students from The Guildhall at SMU will compete for cash prizes and gaming glory at the 2014 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Computing and game-hardware giant Intel® will host the Intel® University Games Showcase on Thursday, March 20, 2014 at the Marriott Marquis.

The SMU teams will demonstrate two distinct creations: Hymn of the Sands, an action-adventure whose story draws on Egyptian mythology; and the viral hit Kraven Manor, a horror-based puzzle game.

Joining the Guildhall groups at the invitation-only event will be teams from USC, Drexel, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Utah, UC-Santa Cruz, the Rochester Institute of Technology, the DigiPen Institute, and UCF’s Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA).

The competitors will demonstrate their best projects running exclusively on Intel® graphics platforms, and a panel of industry luminaries will select those that demonstrate the best gameplay and the best visual quality.

Follow The Guildhall at SMU on Twitter @SMUGuildhall

Prizes will be awarded based on innovation in gameplay, game performance, immersiveness, art style, entertainment value, and quality in rendering, character design and user interface. In addition, Intel® will conduct live polling of the audience and display the results in real time as input to the judging panel.

The programs represented by the winning projects will each receive a $10,000 hardware grant from Intel®.

> Read updates from The Guildhall at GDC 2014 at SMU Adventures

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Sports: Postseason Mustang basketball

Photo by Vladimir Cherry, Courtesy of SMU Athletics

Photo by Vladimir Cherry, Courtesy of SMU Athletics

The regular season for men and women’s basketball has ended, but Moody Magic has not. Both the men and women have home postseason games this week, the men on Wednesday, March 19 and women on Thursday, March 20.

Men’s Basketball: SMU was chosen as the #1 seed for the 2014 National Invitation Tournament. Their first game on Wednesday is against #8 seed UC Irvine at 8 p.m. UC Irvine won the Big West regular season title, and SMU finished third in the American Athletic Conference. Wednesday’s game will be the first in history between the two teams.

SMU finished the season with a 23-9 record and numerous honors. For the first time in program history, SMU is ranked in the USA Today Coaches Poll and the AP Poll. Sophomore Nic Moore was named to the first team of the American Athletic Conference, U.S. Basketball Writers Association All-District Team and the National Association of Basketball Coaches District 25 First Team.

Sophomore Markus Kennedy was also recognized; he was named a second-team honoree for the American Athletic Conference and to the National Association of Basketball Coaches District 25 Second Team.

Finally, Head Coach Larry Brown was named the District VII Coach of the Year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

The winner of Wednesday’s game will play either San Francisco or LSU in the second round. The final game of the NIT is scheduled for Thursday, April 3.

Women’s Basketball: For the first time in program history SMU will host the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. Their first game is Thursday, March 20 against Texas Southern at 7 p.m. This will be the team’s sixth appearance in the WNIT after finishing the season with a 17-3 record.

The women finished fifth in the inaugural season of the American Athletic Conference with several players honored. Senior Keena Mays was named to the first team of the AAC, Senior Akil Simpson was named to the second team of the AAC and Kiara Parry was named to the All-Freshman team of the AAC.

The winner of Thursday’s game will play either Minnesota or Green Bay in the second round. The final game is scheduled for Saturday, April 5.

Tickets: Tickets for either game can be purchased at smumustangs.com/tickets or by calling 214-768-4263.

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Paul Phillips to serve as guest conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra March 20-22, 2014

Meadows Symphony Orchestra conductor Paul PhillipsMeadows Symphony Orchestra conductor Paul Phillips ’74 will step in for Dallas Symphony Orchestra Music Director Jaap van Zweden and serve as guest conductor of the DSO on March 20, 21 and 22.

Under Phillips’ baton, the DSO and guest pianist Anna Fedorova will perform the stirring Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2; Shostakovich’s Five Fragments; and Aaron Copland’s Third Symphony.

Tickets are available online for the March 20, 21 and 22 DSO performances with Paul Phillips as guest conductor. For more information, call 214-692-0203.

> Find the event at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra homepage

Phillips, the Martha Raley Peak Endowed Centennial Chair in the Meadows School of the Arts’ Division of Music, was originally scheduled to conduct the MSO on Wednesday, March 19 in Caruth Auditorium. Instead, he will be at the Meyerson Symphony Center rehearsing with the DSO. Taking Phillips’ place on the Meadows conductor platform that night will be Michelle Merrill, a former student of Phillips’ who was the only American among the four winners of the 2012 International Conductors Workshop and Competition. She has conducted such orchestras as the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony, the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, the Round Rock Symphony and the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra in the Czech Republic.

With guest cellist Christopher Adkins (a Meadows faculty member and principal cellist for the DSO), the MSO will present Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo, a Hebraic rhapsody exploring the lamentations and trials of King Solomon. The ensemble will also perform Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4, a piece originally composed in 1936 but not performed publicly until 1961 due to threat of repercussion by Stalin, who denounced Shostakovich as a creator of “chaos instead of music.” The concert takes place at 8 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center.

Tickets are available online for the Meadows Symphony Orchestra performance and cost $7 for SMU students, faculty and staff. For more information, call the Meadows Ticket Office at 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

> Read the full story from SMU News

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SMU mourns death of Law Professor Sarah McQuillen-Tran

Sarah McQuillen-TranSarah McQuillen-Tran didn’t let a second battle with leukemia keep her from her class in property law. During Fall 2012 mid-terms, she taught 80 first-year SMU law students via Skype from her hospital bed in Baylor University Medical Center.

The University community is invited to a service celebrating her life at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 15, 2014 at Highland Park United Methodist Church. A potluck lunch will follow the service.

Tran, an assistant professor in SMU’s Dedman School of Law, died Friday, Feb. 28 at the age of 34. The family requests that memorials be made to the Tran Children Development Fund.

> Texas Lawyer: SMU property law professor teaches from hospital bed

Born in Leidschedam, Holland, Sarah went to school in England and Saudi Arabia, and attended high school in the United States and Philippines. After graduating from high school, she spent a year volunteering in the Philippines, India and Nepal before matriculating at the University of California-Berkeley. After graduating from Berkeley with a degree in civil engineering, she and her college sweetheart, Thuan Tran, joined the Peace Corps and served in Guinea, West Africa. They were married in Oakland, California in 2004.

After graduating magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, Tran clerked for The Hon. Timothy Belcher Dyk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. She also worked for the Energy Group at the Jones Day law firm.

Tran joined the SMU law faculty in January 2011 as an assistant professor specializing in intellectual property and regulatory and environmental law. A nationally recognized legal scholar, she published articles in several leading U.S. law journals. During the 2012-13 academic year, she served as a Fellow in SMU’s Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute.

Sarah is survived by her husband, Thuan, and their two children, FarrahSophia and Jimi Owen; her mother, Jacqueline Conci, and husband Michael Conci, of Auburn, California; and her father, Roland McQuillen, and wife Gabrielle Kelly-McQuillen, of Ireland. She is also survived by her brother Paul and his partner, Heather; her brother Mark; and her sister, Kathy, and husband Mo and their daughter.

> Read more from the SMU Dedman School of Law website

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SMU Dean José Bowen named president of Goucher College

Jose Bowen

José Antonio Bowen, dean of SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts for the past eight years, will become president of Goucher College in the Baltimore suburb of Towson, Maryland, on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.

Following a nationwide search, the trustees of Goucher announced on Tuesday, March 12 that Bowen will be their university’s 11th president, succeeding Sanford J. Ungar, who is stepping down. Goucher is a private, coed liberal arts college with approximately 1,500 undergraduates.

“We deeply appreciate the leadership of José Bowen as dean of Meadows School of the Arts at SMU. He has demonstrated outstanding leadership in developing innovative programs to support teaching, advance research and make an arts education an avenue for greater community impact and career opportunities beyond the traditional pathways of success,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He has worked collaboratively to expand interdisciplinary programs not only within the Meadows School, but also in cooperation with the other six schools of the University. With his broad background and perspectives in the arts, humanities and sciences, he is an ideal choice to lead Goucher College as president.”

Bowen joined the Meadows School as dean in July 2006 after serving as dean of the School of Fine Arts and professor of music at Miami University in Ohio.

Under his leadership, the Meadows School has established the National Center for Arts Research, a first-of-its-kind center that analyzes the largest database of arts research ever assembled and makes its findings available to arts leaders, researchers and the general public; the Meadows Scholars program, which enables Meadows to offer scholarships that attract the most talented and academically successful students in the arts and communications nationwide; and the Meadows Prize, an arts residency awarded to up to two pioneering artists and scholars each year who are active in a discipline represented by one of the academic units within the Meadows School.

The school also has recruited top international faculty – such as former Yale School of Drama dean Stan Wojewodski as chair of theatre; Metropolitan Opera star Clifton Forbis as director of voice; and award-winning Artists-in-Residence Will Power (theatre) and Matt Albert (chamber music). The Meadows School has launched under Bowen’s leadership new curriculum in emerging fields such as arts entrepreneurship, art and urbanism, fashion media and creative computation, as well as a new Ph.D. in art history.

“It is no surprise that Jose Bowen’s creative, academic and administrative achievements have moved him into the top ranks of educational leadership,” said Paul Ludden, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “He has strengthened important relationships with funding organizations, individual donors, and new community partners. He has become a national figure in the conversation about teaching methodologies and faculty-student interactions. He leaves us well positioned to attract another outstanding dean. We will miss Jose and his wife, Kimberly, but wish them the best of success at Goucher College.”

> Read more from SMU News

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SMU’s Dedman School of Law rises in 2015 U.S. News rankings

SMU Law QuadSMU’s Dedman School of Law rose in the ranks of both the nation’s top law schools and best part-time J.D. programs in the 2015 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools, which was published online on Tuesday, March 11, 2014.

Among 194 law schools fully accredited by the American Bar Association, the Dedman School of Law ranks 42nd, an increase of six points from last year’s ranking of 48th. The ranking again places Dedman Law in the first tier of law schools in the guide’s “best schools of law” category. In Texas, SMU is one of only two law schools in the first tier.

> Visit U.S. News’ rankings online at usnews.com/grad

Among 83 part-time J.D. programs, Dedman Law ranks 7th, an increase of 8 points from last year’s ranking of 15th.

Recently, The National Law Journal ranked Dedman Law 26th among law schools based on the percentage of 2013 graduates placed in NLJ 250 firms – the nation’s largest firms.

“SMU Dedman School of Law continues to provide a legal education of the highest quality,” said SMU Dedman School of Law Dean ad interim Julie Forrester.  “I would like to recognize the efforts of our career services staff for the tremendous job they do in helping our students find excellent employment opportunities and the efforts of our admissions staff for continuing to enroll outstanding students.”

> Read more from SMU News

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Spring forward: Daylight Saving Time 2014 begins Sunday, March 9

Stock photo of a clock face with hands approaching 12U.S. Daylight Saving Time is here again: The time shift begins this Sunday, March 9, 2014, at 2 a.m. Don’t forget to set your clocks forward one hour, and check your computer and other electronic devices to be sure they’re displaying the correct time.

Get computer help from the Office of Information Technology

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