academic ceremonies

Bush Center president, CEO Kenneth A. Hersh to speak at SMU’s 2017 December Commencement Convocation

Kenneth A. HershKenneth A. Hersh, president and CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, will be the featured speaker during SMU’s December Commencement Convocation at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, in Moody Coliseum.

> Watch the SMU December Commencement Convocation live via Facebook Live

As chief executive of the Bush Center, Hersh leads the institution that oversees the George W. Bush Institute and houses the George W. Bush Library and Museum. In addition to his work at the Bush Center, Hersh is the co-founder and advisory partner of NGP Energy Capital Management, a deputy chief investment officer for The Carlyle Group’s natural resources division, and sits on the board of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club.

Hersh also serves on the Board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Council of the American Enterprise Institute, the Dallas Citizens Council, and the World Economic Forum. He also sits on the Dean’s Council of the Harvard Kennedy School. In 2014, he was recognized as Master Entrepreneur of the Year for the Southwest Region by Ernst & Young during its Entrepreneur of the Year program, and in 2017 received the Oil & Gas Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

> More ceremony information in SMU Forum

Hersh is active in non-profit causes through The Hersh Foundation. He serves on the boards of the Communities Foundation of Texas, Baylor Health Care System Foundation, and the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues.

Hersh was born and raised in Dallas. After graduating from St. Mark’s, he attended Princeton University, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1985 with a degree in politics. In 1989, Mr. Hersh earned his MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, where he graduated as an Arjay Miller Scholar.

SMU expects to award more than 700 degrees at its University-wide Commencement ceremony.

> Visit the SMU Registrar’s December Commencement Convocation homepage

SMU celebrates its 2017 December Commencement Convocation Saturday, Dec. 16

December Commencement 2013, blue mortarboards

The SMU community will celebrate 2017 December Commencement Convocation on Saturday, Dec. 16. Kenneth A. Hersh, president and CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, will give the address.

The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. in Moody Coliseum with a student, faculty and platform party procession. Guests can enter Moody Coliseum starting at 8:30 a.m. Student line-up begins at 8:30 a.m. in Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports. Processional groups begin forming at 9:15 a.m.; doors close at 9:40 a.m. In order to attend the ceremony, faculty must RSVP (online form here). The faculty should assemble in academic dress no later than 9:40 a.m. in the Champions Club.

On Friday, Dec. 15, undergraduate candidates will participate in Rotunda Recessional. Candidates should wear SMU regalia and begin lining up at 5:15 p.m. at the flagpole on the Main Quad. Hot cider will be served.

> Watch the December Commencement Convocation livestream at smu.edu/live

The December Commencement Convocation is a formal ceremony open to degree candidates from all of SMU’s schools and professional programs. All participants must wear academic regalia; students without regalia will be directed to the SMU Bookstore to rent a cap and gown. No honor ribbons or other decorations or adornments may be worn to this ceremony, including messages or images on mortarboards.

Find complete rules for regalia at the University Registrar’s homepage

The ceremony lasts about two hours. No guest tickets are required, and free parking will be available throughout the campus. Limited concession service will be available in Moody Coliseum beginning at 8:30 a.m. No outside food or drink is allowed in Moody.

Commencement participants and guests should not bring the following prohibited items to the Coliseum, including but not limited to animals (except licensed service animals), backpacks, banners, binocular cases, briefcases, camera bags, cans, cinch bags, computer bags, coolers, diaper bags, fanny packs, firearms, flags, glass items, guns, inflated balloons, knives of any size and type, laser pointers, luggage, noisemakers, purses larger than a small clutch, radios, seat cushions with zippers, pockets or compartments, selfie sticks, signs, stun guns, throwing objects, umbrellas (unless threat of rain or raining), and weapons.

All bags must be clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and may not exceed 12 x 6 x 12 inches. Bags may be one-gallon clear plastic resealable storage bags. Small clutch purses with or without straps, no larger than 8.5 x 5.5 inches, are permitted. The clutch does not have to be clear and may be carried separately or within an approved plastic bag. Items that are medically necessary are evaluated individually.

> More information for students and guests at SMU’s December Commencement homepage

Tune In: Watch SMU’s 103rd Opening Convocation live, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017

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.

> Download a PDF of the 103rd SMU Opening Convocation program

Tune In: NIH Director Francis Collins serenades graduates at SMU Commencement 2017

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.

> Find the full story at SMU News

SMU’s 2017 Commencement: Events at a glance

Commencement graduate shot

SMU celebrates its 102nd May Commencement Convocation May 19-20, 2017, with events for the entire SMU community. Mark this post for major Commencement Week event links at a glance:

Reminder: Moody Coliseum clear-bag policy in effect

Watch the Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies live at smu.edu/live

Reminder: Moody Coliseum clear-bag policy in effect for May Commencement

Clear handbag

An example of the type of bag allowed into Moody Coliseum under gameday safety rules. The clear-bag policy is in effect for May Commencement as well.

As faculty, staff members, students, parents and visitors prepare for SMU’s 102nd May Commencement Convocation, don’t forget that Moody Coliseum’s clear-bag safety policy is in effect for the ceremony and restricts items that may be carried into the venue.

The only bags permitted will be those made of clear plastic, vinyl or PVC which 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. The clutch does not have to be clear and may be carried separately or within an approved plastic bag.

The Office of the Registrar has distributed reminders about the policy to graduating seniors and their families. Items that are medically necessary and do not fit the clear-bag policy will be evaluated individually.

Things that visitors normally carry in pockets can still come into the coliseum in pockets – such as keys and cell phones.

The following items are prohibited from entering Moody Coliseum:

  • Animals (except licensed service animals)
  • Backpacks
  • Banners
  • Binocular cases
  • Briefcases
  • Camera bags
  • Cans
  • Cinch bags
  • Computer bags
  • Coolers
  • Diaper bags
  • Fanny packs
  • Firearms
  • Flags
  • Glass bottles
  • Guns
  • Inflated balloons
  • Knives of any size and type
  • Laser pointers
  • Luggage
  • Noisemakers
  • Purses larger than a small clutch
  • Radios
  • Seat cushions with zippers, pockets or compartments
  • Selfie sticks
  • Signs
  • Stun guns
  • Throwing objects
  • Umbrellas (unless threat of rain or raining)
  • Weapons

> Find more information on guest security, prohibited items and May Commencement

SMU’s 2017 Honors Convocation and Hilltop Excellence Awards take place Monday, April 17

Honors Convocation 2016SMU’s annual celebration of high achievement in academics and community life takes place during the 2017 Honors Convocation and Hilltop Excellence AwardsMonday, April 17.

The 20th annual Honors Convocation begins at 5:30 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium, and the Hilltop Excellence Awards ceremony takes place at 7:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater.

> Coming April 17: Watch Honors Convocation live on the web at smu.edu/live

SMU reserves one Monday each April to celebrate the achievements of students, faculty, staff members, trustees and administrators in the two ceremonies. The Honors Convocation recognizes academic achievement at the University and department levels.

Read the full list of SMU’s 2017 Honors Convocation award and honors recipients

Jo GuldiThis year’s convocation speaker is Jo Guldi, assistant professor of history in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. A native Dallasite, Guldi studies the history of Great Britain and the British Empire, landscape history, legal history, property law, infrastructure, digital methods, international development, and agrarian studies. As a digital and data historian, she also oversees the lecture series “Data is Made Up of Stories: University-wide Futures From the Digital Humanities,” offered through the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute. Among other things, the series illustrates how text mining is used across different disciplines – from digital mapping of the transatlantic slave trade to an app that captures the inspiration for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Guldi is the designer of Paper Machines, a free, open-source software toolkit that allows users to visualize large amounts of text for historical and political analysis over time and space, without requiring special computational resources or technical knowledge. She is the author of Roads to Power: Britain Invents the Infrastructure State (2012, Harvard University Press) and co-author with David Armitage of The History Manifesto (2014, Cambridge University Press), currently being translated for publication in six languages. She graduated from Harvard with an A.B. degree in literature, earned her Ph.D. in history from the University of California-Berkeley and was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital History at the University of Chicago. She was also a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows and served a fellowship in the metaLAB (at) Harvard. Prior to joining SMU, she served as an assistant professor of history at Brown University.

Find more information on Honors Convocation

Retired and current faculty members will assemble for Honors Convocation in academic dress no later than 5:10 p.m. on the third floor of McFarlin Auditorium. The faculty procession will begin at 5:30 p.m. A reception will immediately follow the ceremony on the Main Quad.

Participating faculty members may RSVP online by Thursday, April 13, 2017. Faculty members with questions regarding the procession can e-mail ceremonies@smu.edu or call 214-768-3417.

Later, the University will present several awards for excellence – including its highest honor, the “M” Award – during the 2017 Hilltop Excellence Awards. The ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater. Hilltop Excellence Awards honorees will be listed in SMU Forum the day after the ceremony.

Follow SMU Student Activities @SMUStuAct for live updates from the ceremony, and share your Twitter and Instagram posts from the Hilltop Excellence Awards with the #HilltopExcellence hashtag.

Learn more about the Hilltop Excellence Awards from SMU Student Life

Calendar Highlights: Spring 2017 at a glance

Dallas Hall steps from a 3rd-story windowWelcome to SMU’s 2017 Spring Term – here are a few important dates at a glance:

By | 2017-01-25T12:44:23+00:00 January 25, 2017|Categories: Calendar Highlights|Tags: , , |

SMU celebrates 2016 December Commencement Saturday, Dec. 17

December Commencement 2013, blue mortarboards

The SMU community will celebrate 2016 December Commencement Convocation on Saturday, Dec. 17. Retired Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown will give the address.

> Read more about Chief Brown from SMU News

Ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. in Moody Coliseum with a student and faculty procession. Doors to the staging area in Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports will open at 8 a.m. Processional groups begin forming at 9:15 a.m.; doors close at 9:40 a.m.

Prior to the ceremony, there will be a faculty breakfast at 8:45 a.m. in the Miller Champions Club, Moody Coliseum. The faculty should assemble in academic dress no later than 9:45 a.m. in the Champions Club.

> Watch the December Commencement livestream at smu.edu/live

The December Commencement Convocation is a formal ceremony open to degree candidates from all of SMU’s schools and professional programs. All participants must wear academic regalia; students without regalia will be directed to the SMU Bookstore to rent a cap and gown. No honor ribbons or other decorations or adornments may be worn to this ceremony, including messages or images on mortarboards.

Find complete rules for regalia at the University Registrar’s homepage

The ceremony lasts about two hours. No guest tickets are required, and free parking will be available throughout the campus. Limited concession service will be available in Moody Coliseum beginning at 8 a.m.

Commencement participants and guests should not bring the following prohibited items to the Coliseum, including but not limited to animals (except licensed service animals), backpacks, binocular cases, briefcases, camera bags, cans, cinch bags, computer bags, coolers, diaper bags, fanny packs, firearms, glass bottles, guns, inflated balloons, knives of any size and type, laser pointers, luggage, noisemakers, purses larger than a small clutch, radios, seat cushions with zippers, pockets or compartments, selfie sticks, signs, stun guns, throwing objects, umbrellas (unless threat of rain or raining), and weapons.

All bags must be clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and may not exceed 12 x 6 x 12 inches. Bags may be one-gallon clear plastic resealable storage bags. Small clutch purses with or without straps, no larger than 8.5 x 5.5 inches, are permitted. The clutch does not have to be clear and may be carried separately or within an approved plastic bag. Items that are medically necessary are evaluated individually.

> More information for students and guests at SMU’s December Commencement homepage

Your invitation to Opening Convocation: Take part Sunday, Aug. 21

Guarding the University seal in the Dallas Hall Rotunda, SMU Opening Convocation 2010, photo by Jake Dean

SMU alumni guard the University seal in Dallas Hall during the Rotunda Passage at SMU Opening Convocation. | Photo credit: Jake Dean

Take part in one of SMU’s oldest traditions at the University’s 102nd Opening Convocation at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21 in McFarlin Auditorium. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven Currall will give the address.

Participating faculty members must assemble in academic regalia no later than 5 p.m. in the Perkins Administration Building. Faculty marshals will greet you and lead the faculty procession.

The ceremony will be preceded by the Rotunda Passage, a processional march through Dallas Hall for the incoming Class of 2020.

The festivities will be broadcast live by streaming video at smu.edu/live. Streaming is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.

For more information, visit the Registrar’s site at smu.edu/convocation.

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