academic ceremonies

May Commencement 2018: Events at a glance

SMU May Commencement Convocation 2017, Francis Collins at the podium, 2018 events illustration

SMU celebrates its 103rd May Commencement Convocation May 18-19, 2018, with events for the entire University community. Mark this post for major Commencement Week events at a glance:

Reminder: Moody Coliseum clear-bag policy in effect

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

Moody Coliseum clear-bag policy for SMU May Commencement: A guide for guests

Clear handbag conforming to Moody Coliseum clear-bag policy

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

As SMU gears up for the 103rd May Commencement Convocation, don’t forget that the Moody Coliseum clear-bag policy is in effect for the ceremony. The policy’s safety rules restrict items that may be carried into the venue.

The only bags permitted in Moody will fit these specifications:

  • 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. 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 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)
  • Weapons

No outside food or drink is permitted in Moody Coliseum.

Note: Graduation candidates are not allowed to bring clear bags, food or drinks into Moody Coliseum, Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports, or the Crum Executive Education Center. A small clutch is permissible.

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

Nobel laureate Barry C. Barish to receive honorary SMU doctorate during 103rd Commencement, May 19, 2018

Barry C. BarishNobel laureate Barry Clark Barish, Ph.D., Linde Professor Emeritus of Physics at the California Institute of Technology and a leading expert on cosmic gravitational waves, will receive an honorary doctoral degree during SMU’s 103rd all-University Commencement ceremony. The event begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 19, 2018, in Moody Coliseum.

Barish shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017 for his work in establishing the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the first observations of gravitational waves – disturbances in the fabric of space and time predicted by Albert Einstein based on his General Theory of Relativity.

He will receive the Doctor of Science degree, honoris causa, from SMU during the ceremony.

On Friday, May 18, Dr. Barish will give a free public lecture on campus. “Einstein, Black Holes and Gravitational Waves” will begin at 3 p.m. in Crum Auditorium, Collins Executive Education Center, on the SMU campus. The lecture will be preceded by a reception at 2:15 p.m. Free parking will be available in the University’s Binkley and Moody garages, accessible from the SMU Boulevard entrance to campus.

RSVP online to attend the Barry Barish Public Lecture

“Dr. Barry Barish has changed the way we see the universe with his work,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “His accomplishments as an experimental physicist have broken new ground and helped to confirm revolutionary theories about the structure of our cosmos.”

“Conferring an honorary degree is an important tradition for any university,” said SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven C. Currall. “For SMU, this year’s decision takes on special meaning, as the University is the home of a highly-regarded Department of Physics deeply involved in research ranging from variable stars to the Higgs boson. Dr. Barish and his record of world-changing accomplishment represent the very best of his field. He’s an outstanding example of what all our graduates can aspire to as they begin their own professional endeavors.”

Einstein predicted in 1916 that gravitational waves existed, generated by systems and regions such as binary stars and black holes and by events such as supernovae and the Big Bang. However, Einstein thought the cosmic waves would be too weak to ever be detected. Barish’s work at LIGO resulted in the first observation on Earth of these cosmic ripples on Sept. 14, 2015 — emanating from the collision of two black holes in the distant universe.

Barish was the principal investigator for LIGO from 1994 to 2005 and director of the LIGO Laboratory from 1997 until 2005. He led LIGO from its funding by the National Science Board of the National Science Foundation (NSF) through its final design stages, as well as the construction of the twin LIGO interferometers in Hanford, Washington, and Livingston, Louisiana.

In 1997, Barish established the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), an organization that unites more than 1,000 collaborators worldwide on a mission to detect gravitational waves, explore the fundamental physics of gravity, and develop gravitational-wave observations as a tool of astronomical discovery. Barish also oversaw the development and approval of the proposal for Advanced LIGO, a program that developed major upgrades to LIGO’s facilities and to the sensitivity of its instruments compared to the first-generation LIGO detectors. Advanced LIGO enabled a large increase in the extent of the universe probed, as well as the discovery of gravitational waves during its first observation run.

Bookmark SMU Live for the May Commencement livestream: smu.edu/live

After LIGO, Barish became director of the Global Design Effort for the International Linear Collider (ILC)—an international team that oversaw the planning, design, and research and development program for the ILC—from 2006 to 2013. The ILC is expected to explore the same energy range in particle physics currently being investigated by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), but with more precision.

Barish joined Caltech in 1963 as part of an experimental group working with particle accelerators. From 1963 to 1966, he developed and conducted the first high-energy neutrino beam experiment at Fermilab. This experiment revealed evidence for the quark substructure of the nucleon (a proton or neutron) and provided crucial evidence supporting the electroweak unification theory of Nobel Laureates Sheldon Glashow, Abdus Salam and Steven Weinberg.

Following the neutrino experiment, Barish became one of the leaders of MACRO (Monopole, Astrophysics and Cosmic Ray Observatory), located 3,200 feet under the Gran Sasso mountains in Italy. The international collaboration set what are still the most stringent limits on the existence of magnetic monopoles. Magnetic monopoles are the magnetic analog of single electric charges and could help confirm a Grand Unified Theory that seeks to unify three of nature’s four forces — the electromagnetic, weak, and strong forces — into a single force. The MACRO collaboration also discovered key evidence that neutrinos have mass.

In the early 1990s, Barish co-led the design team for the GEM (Gammas, Electrons, Muons) detector, which was one of two large detectors scheduled to run at the Superconducting Super Collider near Waxahachie. Congress canceled the accelerator in 1993 during its construction — but major elements of the GEM design and many members of its team were integrated into LHC detector projects at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Barish became Caltech’s Ronald and Maxine Linde Professor of Physics in 1991 and Linde Professor Emeritus in 2005. From 2001 to 2002, he served as co-chair of the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel subpanel that developed a long-range plan for U.S. high-energy physics. He has served as president of the American Physical Society and chaired the Commission of Particles and Fields and the U.S. Liaison committee to the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP). In 2002, he chaired the NRC Board of Physics and Astronomy Neutrino Facilities Assessment Committee Report, “Neutrinos and Beyond.”

Barish was born in 1936 in Omaha, Nebraska, to Jewish immigrants from a part of Poland that is now part of Belarus. He grew up in the Los Angeles area and earned his B.A. degree in physics and his Ph.D. in experimental physics from the University of California-Berkeley in 1957 and 1962. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Barish is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Physical Society.

In 2002, Barish received the Klopsteg Memorial Lecture Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers. His honors also include the 2016 Enrico Fermi Prize from the Italian Physical Society, as well as the Henry Draper Medal, the Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research, the European Physical Society’s Giuseppe and Vanna Cocconi Prize, and Fudan University’s Fudan-Zhongzhi Science Award (all in 2017).

Barish holds honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Bologna, the University of Florida, and the University of Glasgow.

> Visit the SMU Commencement homepage: smu.edu/commencement

SMU’s 2018 Honors Convocation and Hilltop Excellence Awards take place Monday, April 16

Honors Day Convocation - Jodi Cooley, Bob Kehoe and studentsSMU’s annual celebration of high achievement in academics and community life takes place during the 2018 Honors Convocation and Hilltop Excellence Awards on Monday, April 16.

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 Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

> Coming April 16: 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 2018 Honors Convocation award and honors recipients

Maria Dixon HallThis year’s convocation speaker is Maria Dixon Hall, senior adviser to the SMU Provost, associate professor in the Division of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs in Meadows School of the Arts, and adjunct associate professor of homiletics in Perkins School of Theology. Appointed in August 2016 as Senior Advisor to the Provost for Cultural Intelligence, Dixon Hall is charged with oversight of the University’s efforts to ensure that all members of the SMU community are equipped to effectively create, collaborate, and work on solutions to change the world. In this role, she is responsible for development and implementation of the University’s new cultural intelligence curriculum and training program.

As director of mustangconsulting, Dixon Hall heads a staff of some of SMU’s best and brightest communication students. The group serves a global client list that includes corporate, nonprofit, and religious organizations such as Southwest Airlines (Dallas), The Dance Theatre of Harlem (New York), the Ugandan American Partnership Organization (Kampala/Dallas), The Lydia Patterson Institute (El Paso), and Carry the Load (Atlanta/Dallas).

A graduate of the Culverhouse School of Business at the University of Alabama, Dixon Hall earned her Master of Divinity and Master of Theology from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, as well as a Ph.D. in organizational communication and religion from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Find more information on Honors Convocation

Retired and current faculty members who have RSVP’ed for the ceremony 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 approximately 5:30 p.m. A reception will immediately follow the ceremony on the Main Quad.

Participating faculty members must RSVP online by Thursday, April 12, 2018. 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 2018 Hilltop Excellence Awards. The ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center. 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 Term 2018 at a glance

Southeast quad and Doak Walker Plaza

Welcome to Spring Term 2018! Here are a few important SMU dates at a glance:

By | 2018-01-18T13:21:17+00:00 January 18, 2018|Categories: Calendar Highlights, News|Tags: , , |

Tune In: Happy holidays from SMU

SMU wishes you the happiest of holidays with scenes from a season of joy. Gary Shultz of SMU News has created a page full of images and video from the 2017 Celebration of Lights, December Commencement Convocation, and SMU Football’s trip to the DXL Frisco Bowl.

Here’s a sample: Student musicians perform songs of the season and President R. Gerald Turner reads the Christmas story from the New Testament during Celebration of Lights. Tap the YouTube screen to watch, or click here to open SMU’s 2017 Celebration of Lights video in a new windowvideo

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

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