Four SMU professors honored with 2014 Ford Research Fellowships

SMU named four 2014 Ford Research Fellows at a meeting of its Board of Trustees Thursday, May 8 (l to r): Alexis McCrossen, Dieter Cremer, Alyce McKenzie and Anthony Colangelo. Photo credit: SMU/Hillsman S. Jackson.

SMU named four 2014 Ford Research Fellows at a meeting of its Board of Trustees Thursday, May 8 (l to r): Alexis McCrossen, Dieter Cremer, Alyce McKenzie and Anthony Colangelo. Photo: Hillsman S. Jackson

Four distinguished SMU professors were named 2014 Ford Research Fellows at the meeting of the University’s Board of Trustees Thursday, May 8. This year’s recipients are Anthony Colangelo, Dedman School of Law; Dieter Cremer, Chemistry, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; Alexis McCrossen, History, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; and Alyce McKenzie, Preaching and Worship, Perkins School of Theology.

Established in 2002 through a $1 million pledge from trustee Gerald J. Ford, the fellowships help SMU retain and reward outstanding scholars. Each recipient receives a cash prize for research support during the year.

Learn more about the new Fellows under the link.

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SMU celebrates its 99th Commencement May 16-17, 2014

December Commencement 2013, blue mortarboards in Moody Coliseum, SMU

SMU observes its 99th Commencement May 16-17, 2014 with events for faculty, alumni, community members and more than 2,100 graduating students.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will speak at the all-University ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 17, to be held in the recently renovated Moody Coliseum. The ceremony will be simulcast live at Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports and outside Moody Coliseum on Mustang Plaza. The ceremony will also be webcast live at smu.edu/livevideo

Guests are urged to arrive early as seating in the coliseum is limited to four guests per student.

New graduates will also have the opportunity to share their photos, thoughts and future plans via social media. Those who post by Saturday, May 31 on Twitter, Instagram or the SMU Facebook page using #SMU2014 will have a chance to win two Southwest Airlines vouchers or other prizes. Complete contest rules are available online.

Follow SMU’s 99th Commencement weekend on Twitter at #SMU2014

SMU will confer three honorary degrees during the 2014 Commencement ceremonies:

  • Isabel Wilkerson will receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, for her achievements as a journalist and contributions to understanding of the African-American experienceWhile writing for The New York Times, Wilkerson became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism and the first African-American, male or female, to win the Pulitzer for individual reporting. Her award-winning book, The Warmth of Other Suns, is a definitive history of the Great Migration of African-Americans from the rural South to urban centers in the North and West.
  • Richard P. Heitzenrater will receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, for his scholarly achievements and his service to SMU. Heitzenrater is recognized as the world’s leading authority on John Wesley and early Methodism and is best known for breaking the secret code of Wesley’s personal diaries, making them available to the world. His book, Wesley and the People Called Methodists, has been translated into seven languages. He served on the faculty of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology for 16 years and in 2010 retired from the faculty of Duke University Divinity School.
  • Joseph W. McKnight will receive the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, for his dedicated service to SMU, his distinguished scholarship and his leadership in the legal community. McKnight, the Larry and Jane Harlan Faculty Fellow and Professor of Law in Dedman School of Law, has made historic contributions to scholarship in legal history and to law reform in Texas. The author of six books, he directed the Texas Family Code project, which achieved important reforms, and was principal drafter of the Texas Matrimonial Property Act, recognizing property rights of married women.

Read more about the 2014 honorary degree recipients

The weekend’s activities include the Baccalaureate Service Friday, May 16, in McFarlin Auditorium. The service will be followed by Rotunda Recessional, a tradition in which seniors march through the Rotunda of Dallas Hall, marking the end of their undergraduate years and the beginning of their lifelong association with SMU as alumni.

More information at the SMU Registrar’s Commencement homepage

Some major events at a glance:

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SMU dedicates new Residential Commons complex

On Friday, May 9, 2014, SMU dedicated its new Residential Commons complex, enabling all first-year and sophomore students to live on campus and launching the Residential Commons (RC) model campus-wide. The RC model will be implemented campuswide during the Fall 2014 term.

The $146 million complex is the largest capital project in SMU’s history and part of a larger initiative to enhance students’ living and learning experience. New facilities for the nine-acre Commons complex include five residence halls – Armstrong CommonsKathy Crow CommonsCrum CommonsLoyd Commons and Ware Commons – as well as the Anita and Truman Arnold Dining Commons and the 800-space Mustang Parking Center. The complex will provide campus housing for an additional 1,250 SMU students, enabling nearly 2,750 students to live on campus.

The dedication of the Residential Commons complex “signifies an exciting new chapter in SMU history,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Each Commons is designed to seamlessly combine the intellectual and social aspects of University life, a concept that will be implemented campuswide in the fall. We are grateful to six generous families for transforming the SMU campus experience.”

Residential Commons facts and video video

Lead gifts of $30 million in total giving have been provided by Liz Martin Armstrong ’82 and Bill Armstrong ’82, Anita Ray Arnold and Truman Arnold, Katherine Raymond Crow ’94 and Harlan R. Crow, Sylvie P. Crum and Gary T. Crum ’69, Penny R. Loyd and Paul B. Loyd Jr. ’68, and Richard Ware ’68 and family.

Each five-story Commons in the new complex will be home to 250 students, a residence life director and a faculty member in residence.  The faculty member will serve as mentor and intellectual leader of the community, and has the opportunity to teach a class or host study sessions in the classroom included in each Commons.

Read more from SMU News

 

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SMU celebrates 99th Commencement May 17, 2014

commencement-procession-faculty-mace-howard-lantern

SMU will celebrate the academic accomplishments of more than 2,100 students at its 99th annual Commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 17, in Moody Coliseum.

This year’s Commencement speaker, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, is noted for his work to improve the quality of life in the city. He has created new strategies for growing the arts through the Mayor’s Business Arts Initiative, has used his visibility as mayor to organize a campaign against domestic violence and has put Dallas in the spotlight by taking a leading role with the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Read more on Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings

Guests are urged to arrive early as seating in the coliseum is limited to four guests per student. Additional seating will be available for a simulcast of the event at Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports. The ceremony also will be broadcast outside Moody Coliseum on Mustang Plaza, and there will be a webcast of the ceremony online at smu.edu/live.

The University’s 2014 honorary degree recipients are Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson, Methodist historian Richard P. Heitzenrater and SMU law professor Joseph W. McKnight. Each will be included in a symposium in his or her honor, all of which are free and open to the public.

> Learn more about the honorary degree recipients and symposia

The Baccalaureate Service will be at 8 p.m. Friday, May 16, in McFarlin Auditorium. Like the Commencement ceremony, it will be webcast live.

The traditional Faculty Breakfast begins at 7:45 a.m. in the Miller Event Center’s Champions Club, Moody Coliseum. If you are serving as a faculty marshal, you are encouraged to report to your assigned location by 7:50 a.m.

> RSVP for the Faculty Breakfast and Commencement procession

Retired and current faculty will assemble in academic dress no later than 8:40 a.m. in the Miller Champions Club. The procession begins moving at 8:50 a.m.

Compiled by Gary Shultz, SMU News

Visit the SMU Registrar’s May Commencement homepage: smu.edu/commencement

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Tune In: Faculty honored during Founders’ Day 2014

SMU Centennial Faculty Photo, April 11, 2014SMU’s 2014 Founders’ Day Weekend, April 10-13, spotlighted the University’s faculty as the centennial celebration of the Year of the Faculty gains momentum on the Hilltop.

The festivities included a Faculty Salute during the annual President’s Briefing, a showcase of faculty expertise as part of Inside SMU Powered by TEDxSMU, and a Centennial Faculty Photograph in Moody Coliseum.

Relive the event in photos and video courtesy of the Founders’ Day Weekend page at SMU Newsslide show video

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Volcano research shows link between ground deformation and eruption potential

InSAR image of volcanic uplift in Africa's Great Rift Valley

InSAR image shows volcanic uplift in Africa’s Great Rift Valley. (Credit: Study authors)

Using satellite imagery to monitor which volcanoes are deforming provides statistical evidence of their eruption potential, according to a new study in Nature Communications.

The European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 satellite, launched from French Guiana in April 3, 2014, should allow scientists to test this link in greater detail. Its satellite interferometric synthetic aperture radar – InSAR for short – is a spaceborne imaging technology that will help scientists understand how volcanoes work, according to study co-author and geophysicist Zhong Lu, Shuler-Foscue Chair of geophysics in SMU’s Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College.

Volcano deformation – especially uplift – is often considered to be caused by magma moving or pressurizing underground. Magma rising towards the surface could be a sign of an imminent eruption. On the other hand, many other factors influence volcano deformation, and even if magma is rising, it may stop short rather than erupting.

InSAR technology will eventually help scientists develop a forecast system for all volcanoes, including those that are remote and inaccessible. “InSAR will aid in the prediction of future eruptions,” Lu said. “At SMU, we are developing and applying this technique to track motions of volcanic activities, landslide movements, land subsidence and building stability, among other events.”

Juliet Biggs of the University of Bristol in England led the study. Biggs looked at the archive of satellite data covering more than 500 volcanoes worldwide, many of which have been systematically observed for more than 18 years.

Satellite radar can provide high-resolution maps of deformation, allowing the detection of unrest at many volcanoes that might otherwise go unrecognized. Such satellite data is often the only source of information for remote or inaccessible volcanoes.

The researchers, who included scientists from Cornell University and Oxford University, applied statistical methods more traditionally used for medical diagnostic testing and found that many deforming volcanoes also erupted (46 percent). Together with the very high proportion of non-deforming volcanoes that did not erupt (94 percent), these jointly represent a strong indicator of a volcano’s long-term eruptive potential.

“The findings suggest that satellite radar is the perfect tool to identify volcanic unrest on a regional or global scale and target ground-based monitoring,” Biggs said.

Courtesy of the University of Bristol

> Read the full story at the SMU Research blog

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Calendar Highlights: Finals week, May 5, 2014

celebratingSMU’s 99th Commencement is just around the corner – the end of Spring 2014 (and another academic year) at a glance:

  • May 5: Last day of instruction
  • May 6: Reading Day
  • May 7-13: Examinations (no exams scheduled for Sunday)
  • May 15-30: May Term 2014 for SMU main campus and SMU-in-Taos
  • May 16-17: May Commencement Weekend
  • May 26: University Holiday, Memorial Day
  • June 5: Last day to file for August Graduation
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SMU supports national effort on sexual misconduct prevention

The U.S. Department of Education announced May 1 that procedures regarding sexual misconduct and harassment are being examined at 55 higher education institutions. (Read the announcement.)

The University announced in a statement that:

“SMU applauds the U.S. Department of Education’s efforts to eradicate sexual violence on college campuses and to provide universities with additional tools to combat sexual assault. Our goals are the same.

“The matters under review by the Education Department have been investigated by SMU and predate our University task force review of sexual misconduct policies and procedures. The University has been aggressive in putting into practice wide-ranging new procedures to inform and protect our students, to provide prompt and effective resolution of complaints, and to hold violators accountable while treating all students fairly.

“SMU continually reviews and updates its programs in comparison with national benchmarks, and we are pleased that the White House also has made these matters a priority for all American universities. No issue is more important than the health and safety of our students.”

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Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will deliver address at SMU’s 99th Commencement May 17, 2014

Mike-Rawlings-02Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will deliver the address at SMU’s 99th all-University Commencement. The ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 17, in Moody Coliseum.

The ceremony, including Rawlings’ address, will be broadcast live at smu.edu/live.

Elected mayor in June 2011, Rawlings immediately took on a broad agenda of citywide improvements. He has created new strategies for growing the arts through the Mayor’s Business Arts Initiative, has used his visibility as mayor to organize a campaign against domestic violence and has put Dallas in the spotlight by taking a leading role with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which will meet in Dallas June 20-23, 2014.

With the launch of GrowSouth, Rawlings outlined a comprehensive strategy designed to boost the economic impact of southern Dallas. GrowSouth already has been a catalyst for new economic investment, job creation and public-private partnerships. In 2012, The Dallas Morning News praised Rawlings, saying, “After only six months, Rawlings has accomplished more for southern Dallas than many of his predecessors managed in their entire terms.”

Rawlings has adopted four DISD schools in southern Dallas in areas primed for growth and also is working closely with Commit!, an education collaborative for Dallas-area schools. SMU partners with Rawlings on the Mayor’s Summer Reading Club, which provides incentives to keep children reading over the summer months, as well as the Mayor’s Intern Fellows Program, an eight-week, paid summer internship program for students from public and charter high schools in Dallas.

“Mike Rawlings has a passion for improving the quality of life in Dallas,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He is using his platform as mayor to work for more livable neighborhoods, increased economic opportunity throughout the city and strong public education for Dallas children. We prepare our graduates to become world changers, and I can’t think of a better example for them than Mayor Rawlings.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

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For the Record: April 28, 2014

Anthony Cortese, Sociology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, participated in the 2014 Pacific Sociological Association annual meetings in Portland, Oregon, serving as moderator and discussant for two sessions on the sociology of religion: “Secularization of Society” and “Research-in-Progress.”

 

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