alumni news

Luisa del Rosal named executive director of SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies, Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center

Luisa Del Rosal, executive director, Tower Center for Political Studies and Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center, SMULuisa del Rosal ’08, former director of strategy and international affairs with the Cox School of BusinessLatino Leadership Initiative, has been named executive director of SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies and its Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center. She began her duties on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016.

“Luisa del Rosal is a leader in higher education with the ideal background and combination of skills to build the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center,” says Jim Hollifield, director of the Tower Center. “An SMU graduate and dual national, Luisa has a deep and intuitive understanding of the vital relationship between Texas and Mexico in all of its dimensions and complexities. We are delighted that she has returned to the Tower Center and Dedman College to assume this critical leadership role.”

Del Rosal was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and lived there until she moved to Dallas to attend SMU. She holds dual bachelor’s degrees in political science and sociology, with a minor in Italian, as well as a master’s in higher education policy and leadership. She is bilingual in her native Spanish and English, and proficient in Italian.

“I am honored to return to the Tower Center for Political Studies as its executive director and to serve as the founding executive director of the newly established Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center,” Del Rosal says. “Leading these centers enables me to contribute to the regional, national and global reach of SMU.”

“The centers will help shape important regional and national conversations on topics such as education, trade and energy – topics that impact our communities every day,” she added. “As research policy centers, they’ll be places not of rhetoric, but of facts and idea sharing. The unique missions of each will influence policy questions and carry out the critical goals of engaging and mentoring the students who will become our next generation of leaders.”

In her new position, Del Rosal will have strategic and operational responsibility for both centers, including staff oversight, programming strategy and execution, board coordination and ensuring all activities are aligned with the centers’ missions.

“Luisa will add a great deal to the knowledge base of those two centers,” says Thomas DiPiero, dean of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. “She has tremendous international experience, she’s worked a great deal with people in public policy and in Mexico, and she has the diplomatic skill set that will allow the two centers to thrive under her leadership.”

The primary mission of the Tower Center is to promote the study of politics and international affairs and to stimulate an interest in ethical public service among undergraduates. Announced earlier this year, the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center seeks to understand and explore the political, cultural, economic and business relationship between Texas and Mexico. The center focuses on the key areas of research and policy that include border issues, energy, human capital and education, immigration and trade.

Prior to working for the Cox School, Del Rosal was director of programs and external relations for the Tower Center.

— Kenny Ryan

Calendar Highlights: Mustang Must-do’s for April 15, 2016

Sing Song: Sing Song, the annual musical theater performance competition for SMU students hosted by SMU Program Council, is Friday, April 15 at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium. The performances are centered on this year’s theme of “Twisted Tales” – featuring an updated take on traditional fairy tales. Tickets are available online.

Campaign Finale: SMU gathers Friday, April 15 to unveil a new campus monument recognizing major donors and to dedicate the new Crain Family Centennial Promenade, it will mark the finale to the University’s historic $1.15 billion Second Century Campaign. The community is invited to attend the ceremony at 6 p.m. on the South Plaza, near the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, followed by a festive celebration.

TEDx

Inside SMU: Inside SMU, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 16 in Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall, is a full morning of topical discussions delivered by SMU faculty and students. The plenary session at 9 a.m. features Darwin Payne ’68, SMU historian and professor emeritus of communications, sharing “Ten Stories You Should Know about SMU.”

Meadows World Music Ensemble: Take a musical trip around the world with the World Music Ensemble spring concert. The performances will feature Arabic, Celtic, Indian and Greek music, and much more. Special guest artist Poovalur Sriji, a world-renowned virtuoso on the mridangam (Indian barrel drum), will perform his composition Jamming Saints. The event will be held on Sunday, April 17 from 6-8:30 p.m. in the Bob Hope Theatre and is free and open to the public.

Christianity in 2050: The Department of Religious Studies presents Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of History at the Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University. On Tuesday, April 19 from 4-5 p.m. in Dedman Life Sciences Building, room 131. Dr. Jenkins will discuss revolutionary religious change worldwide. For centuries, Christianity has had its strongest centers in Europe and North America, but the world now finds itself in rapid transformation. Christianity is growing rapidly in the Global South, especially in Africa and Asia, while traditional Western religion is under threat from secularization. Meanwhile, Christians find themselves in competition with other religions, including Islam. So what will Christianity look like in 2050? The event is free and open to the public.

Titans: Author Leila Meacham will give a free lecture and book signing for her new novel, Titans, on Thursday, April 21 in Mack Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center. An author’s reception will be held from 1-11:30 a.m. Tickets to the reception can be purchased for $30 (includes signed book and lunch). A complimentary light buffet will be served at 11:30 a.m. The lecture and book signing will begin at noon. No RSVP is required for the lecture.

New Visions, New Voices 2016 showcases student work, alumni involvement March 30-April 3

Rehearsal for New Visions, New Voices new play festival at SMU 2016

Rehearsal for the 2016 New Visions, New Voices Play Festival

Now in its 22nd season, the New Visions, New Voices play writing festival brings the raw stories, language and characters of graduating SMU Meadows theatre students to the stage.

The full-length plays written by students are presented as staged readings, without costumes or sets. The students are partnered with either an alumnus or a Meadows faculty member who directs the student’s play and provides mentorship. Each performance is followed up with a discussion between the audience, playwright, director and actors.

All performances will take place in the Greer Garson Theatre at the Owens Art Center from March 30 to April 3, 2016.

Students involved in the production learn an invaluable set of skills while seeing their own writing come to life. “One of the most important things New Visions has helped me develop is creative discipline. If I wish to be a creative professional, I can’t just make things when inspiration strikes. I need to show up every day, and be there waiting for inspiration when it finally decides to show up,” says Jeremy Arata, whose piece will be showcased on Sunday, April 3.

Here is this year’s dynamic line-up:

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 – 8:00 p.m.Tough Love by Holly Settoon, Directed by Jacob Nice ’15

The play looks at the lives of three young people who meet in a teen detention center somewhere in the American heartland, all of whom are struggling to survive the boredom, emptiness and anarchy of their time in the system.

Thursday, March 31, 2016 – 8:00 p.m.: Filth by Isaac Young, Directed by Alia Tavakolian ’12

In a tiny Virginia town, a young woman struggles to keep the family farm afloat. But between the memories that haunt her and the introverted ways that make her unable to keep a job in town, she’s going to lose everything. That is, until a man needs her farm for his low-budget porn films – and offers to make her a star. Based on an unbelievable true story, the play is a tale of survival in the face of tragedy. Adult language and situations; not suitable for children and pre-teens.

Friday, April 1, 2016 – 8:00 p.m.: Finale by Dylan Guerra, Directed by Samantha Rios ’13

If they can survive the Dolphin Apocalypse, how bad can graduation be? When the seam of the universe opens, four best friends and one uninvited guest find themselves sucked into an alternate world on the eve of their college graduation. Secret loves are revealed, lies are uncovered, milkshakes are shaken and tickets to the Sunday Church Carnival are sold. Will they make it home in time to graduate, or will they become insignificant casualties in the bloody uprising by man’s favorite mammal? Adult language and substances.

Saturday, April 2, 2016 – 2:00 p.m.: Siren’s Song by Sasha Davis, Directed by Kristen Kelso ’14

Eager to escape the ghettos of Detroit, Wren studies to get into any college far away. When tragedy destroys her plans for a future with Thomas, she disappears into her grief for a decade, until awkward, funny Arthur drops into her life. The play considers the questions of lost love, new love, and self-love: which one is the hardest to accept?

Saturday, April 2, 2016 – 8:00 p.m.: Knew You by Laura Dupper, Directed by Jenna Hannum ’15

What is love? What makes it spark between one couple, and fade between another? In Knew You, James and Ellie ask the questions people have been asking for centuries. They fall in love as they interview friends and dissect classic romances for a school project. But as they fall out of love, will they find the answers they need or will love stay as elusive and enigmatic as ever?

Sunday, April 3, 2016 – 2:00 p.m.: Tiber by Jeremy Arata, Directed by Associate Professor of Theatre Sara Romersberger

At a minor way-station in space, seven strangers find themselves gathered on the 25th anniversary of the Ceasefire. Old wounds and new griefs arise as former enemies and feuding family members confront one another. When the life and communication systems fail, everyone’s lives are threatened. The group will have to pull together – but can they forgive to survive?

Tickets are free for each showing. For more information, call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

Parade, service projects highlight SMU Dream Week 2016

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at SMU in 1966.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at SMU in 1966.

Fifty years after Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke on the campus of SMU, the visionary civil rights leader’s visit will be celebrated by the University community as part of the Jan. 15-21 Dream Week activities surrounding Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“This is an opportunity for us as an SMU community to join the rest of the country in celebrating and commemorating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” says Director of Multicultural Student Affairs Creston Lynch. “Whether it’s participating in the MLK Day of Service, parade, or any of the week’s programs, there are plenty of chances to reflect in different ways on the issues relating to social justice and equity that Dr. King stood for.”

Headlining the list of SMU Dream Week activities is an appearance by Black Lives Matter founder Alicia Garza, who will speak about the origins of the social justice movement at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Hughes-Trigg Commons.

DREAM WEEK SCHEDULE

FRIDAY, JAN. 15
SMU presents Dallas Civil Rights Museum with memorabilia from 1966 MLK campus appearance

A contingent of SMU representatives, including Student Body President Carlton Adams, Association of Black Students President D’Marquis Allen and former Student Senate Chair Charles Cox, who introduced King before his speech at SMU, will present a transcript of the speech and a photo from the event to the Dallas Civil Rights Museum at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center.

More about the presentation

SATURDAY, JAN. 16
SMU Participates in Dallas’ 34th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration

SMU President R. Gerald Turner will participate in the MLK Community Center’s annual fundraiser by telling the story of how King was invited and came to speak at SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium on March 17, 1966.

Ticket Information: See “Celebration” at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center Dallas

MONDAY, JAN. 18
SMU Participates in the Dallas Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Parade

Starting Point: 10 a.m. at the intersection of Holmes St. and Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd.
About: SMU administrators, faculty and students will participate in the annual Dallas parade and celebration. Led by the Mustang Band, participants will include former SMU Student Senate Chair Charles Cox, who introduced King when he spoke at the University 50 years ago, and SMU President R. Gerald Turner. Alumni of SMU’s annual spring break Civil Rights Pilgrimage, members of the SMU Student Senate, incoming SMU Vice President for Student Affairs Pamela Anthony, SMU Vice President for Development and External Affairs Brad Cheves and SMU student athletes and coaches also will join the parade.

Dallas MLK Parade Route

More about SMU at the Dallas Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade

MLK Day of Service

About: SMU students, faculty and staff will join others across the country in a national day of service. Opportunities include building fun and educational environments for children at SPARK!, organizing and restocking a Brother Bill’s Helping Hand grocery store that provides free food to more than 300 families per week, building ramps at homes of those with physical disabilities and helping prepare items for the Dallas region’s homeless. Brunch and transportation provided. Co-sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and Community Engagement and Leadership.

Read more about SMU’s MLK Day of Service

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 20
Commemorative Unity Walk on SMU campus 

Starting Point: Noon at Hughes-Trigg Commons, 3140 Dyer St., Dallas, 75205
About: SMU President R. Gerald Turner and student leaders will lead the annual Unity Walk, a demonstration of the University’s support of Martin Luther King Jr.’s work. All members of the SMU community are invited to join the walk, which will begin at Hughes-Trigg Student Center, continue around Bishop Boulevard and return to Hughes-Trigg. The time together is a demonstration of commitment as a university to the work of Dr. King.

An Evening with Alicia Garza

About: Alicia Garza is co-founder of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. At 5:30 p.m. at Hughes-Trigg, she will talk about the process of creating and spreading the hash tag that branded the movement, the controversy behind it, and her personal experiences in the social justice movement.

THURSDAY, JAN. 21
Film Screening: Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin

About: “Brother Outsider” examines the life of Bayard Rustin, King’s right-hand man and chief organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Rustin had a significant influence on the civil rights movement, but rarely served as a public spokesman due to his homosexuality and involvement in an interracial relationship. Sponsored by SMU’s Women and LGBT Center at 1:30 p.m. at Hughes-Trigg.

Moby Dick-inspired card game by SMU professor and students exposes subversive humor in Melville’s classic novel

'DICK, the card game' box setThe upcoming movie In the Heart of the Sea promises to offer a potentially Oscar-worthy take on the whale hunt that inspired Henry Melville’s Moby Dick. For folks who still giggle at the title, there’s another way to enjoy that classic novel this winter: DICK, the card game, from the mind of SMU English Professor Tim Cassedy.

Moby Dick is really, really funny,” Cassedy says. “You can downplay the irreverence and read the book as a very earnest story about American ruggedness and Ahab’s will and vengeance, and it is those things. But if you go into it knowing Melville is often kidding, it reads completely differently.”

DICK, the card game, exposes that humor.

In a concept familiar to anyone who’s played Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity, DICK is a humorous game of “complete the sentence.” Each turn, one player serves as a judge and asks their fellow players to submit cards that complete the sentence on one of the prompt cards, which contain phrases such as:

“Oh yeah? Well I graduated from the University of _______!” or, “Ted Cruz caused a stir today when he called a press conference to denounce ______.”

The player whose response card most tickles the judge’s fancy wins the round.

> Read more about DICK, the card game in the SMU Campus Weekly

What sets DICK apart from its play-on-words peers is that the response cards all contain quotes from Moby Dick. This is where it quickly becomes apparent that Moby Dick is, indeed, rife with toilet humor.

“Humor is something everyone can relate to – especially low-brow humor,” says co-developer Chelsea Grogan. “It makes Moby Dick accessible, and not this ivory tower we make it out to be.”

Potential response cards include: “An eruption of bears,” “Immaculate manliness” and “A sort of badger-haired old merman.”

Cassedy, Grogan and Jenna Peck came up with DICK while Grogan and Peck (recent SMU graduates) were students in one of Cassedy’s spring classes. They debuted the game at a conference of English professors from across Texas, where it was a hit. DICK, the card game is now selling in select bookstores around the country and online at whysoever.com.

— Kenny Ryan

SMU honors 2015 DAA, Emerging Leader Award winners on the Hilltop’s 100th birthday, Thursday, Sept. 24

The Rev. Dr. Michael Waters

The Rev. Dr. Michael Waters ’02, ’06, ’12 will receive the 2015 Emerging Leader Award at SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony during its Centennial Homecoming celebration.

SMU will honor four leaders in philanthropy, business and civic life with the highest honor the University can bestow upon its graduates. The 2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner and ceremony begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24 on the Main Quad.

The 2015 Distinguished Alumni are Bess Fraser Enloe ’60, teacher, arts leader and volunteer; Donald F. Jackson ’63, financial counselor and former professor in SMU’s Cox School of Business; and Billie Ida Williamson ’74, one of the first woman partners in Ernst & Young LLP and Dallas civic leader.

The Rev. Dr. Michael Waters ’02, ’06, ’12, founder and senior pastor of Dallas’ Joy Tabernacle African Methodist Episcopal Church, will receive the University’s Emerging Leader Award. The honor recognizes the outstanding achievements of an alumnus or alumna who has graduated in the last 15 years.

> Read more about SMU’s 2015 Distinguished Alumni and Emerging Leader

For more information, visit SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Awards homepage or call 214-768-4468.

Find a list of past DAA recipients at the SMU Alumni site

Wading Home opera marks an SMU Meadows-guided community collaboration between Dallas and New Orleans

'Wading Home' photoTo observe the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, SMU is participating in a community collaboration that commemorates the event in music. Wading Home, an opera set against the backdrop of the historic storm, opens for a one-night-only free performance at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015 in Dallas City Performance Hall, 2520 Flora Street. The show was performed in New Orleans on Sept. 12-13 at Loyola University’s Roussel Hall.

The story of a young musician’s struggle to find his missing father in the chaotic aftermath of the hurricane, Wading Home is based on the novel of the same name by Dallas author and violinist Rosalyn Story. The opera, composed by Dallas musician Mary Alice Rich, is produced in collaboration with several Meadows School of the Arts faculty members and students, as well as community members from Dallas and New Orleans.

The opera is a dream project for Meadows Professor of Voice Barbara Hill Moore, who is serving as producer and music director. The stage director is Meadows Director of Opera Hank Hammett, and the conductor is Constantina Tsolainou, former head of choral activities at the Meadows School.

“I am intensely proud of the amazing gifts of time, talent, and love of the human family and spirit, shared without compensation by SMU faculty, staff, students and alumni in this collaborative project with Loyola University and the people of New Orleans,” says Hill Moore. “The three performances of Wading Home are a community collaboration shared by Texans, Louisianans, New Yorkers, South Africans and a host of people from around the globe with the people of New Orleans and of Dallas.”

Baritone and Meadows alumnus Donnie Ray Albert (M.M. ’75) sings the role of the lost father, Simon. Other leading roles in the Dallas performance include established opera singers and Meadows alumni Leon Turner (M.M. ’92) as Julian, Simon’s musician son, and Bronwen Forbay (Artist Diploma ’04) as Velmyra, Julian’s former love who helps him reconnect with his Louisiana roots and his lost father. Also sharing the stage is Quintin Coleman (M.M. ’15, Performer’s Diploma ’17) as Julian’s trumpeter friend Grady, with whom Julian has lost touch during the years he has been performing around the globe as a famous jazz musician. Dance alumnus Jamal Story (B.F.A. Dance Performance and B.A. Corporate Communications ’99) will also perform.

The SMU Meadows new music ensemble SYZYGY, led by Meadows Director of Chamber Music and three-time Grammy winner Matt Albert, will play live. Also onstage for the Dallas performance will be the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas.

The performances have been produced with support from the Dallas-based organization The Black Academy of Arts and Letters (TBAAL), with funding from the Meadows School of the Arts and the Bruce R. Foote Memorial Scholarship Foundation.

> Read the full story from the SMU Meadows homepage

Ellen K. Solender, SMU alumna and professor emerita, endows new chair in women and the law

Ellen K. Solender, SMU Professor Emerita of Law

Ellen K. Solender, SMU Professor Emerita of Law

Ellen Karelsen Solender, SMU law alumna and professor emerita, is giving $2 million to the Dedman School of Law to fund the Ellen K. Solender Endowed Chair in Women and the Law.

The Solender Chair will support a Dedman Law faculty member to encourage research, teaching and advocacy in legal education and the legal profession, aimed at advancing equality for all women.

The gift provides $1.5 million for endowment and $500,000 for operational support until the endowment matures.

“Professor Solender’s decision to endow a chair in women and the law could not come at a better time,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “This faculty position underscores Dedman Law’s commitment to empowering women to assume positions of influence in their professions. Hers is a gift that will have continuing impact.”

“As only the second woman to receive tenure at the law school, Professor Solender has been a trailblazer in legal education, said Jennifer Collins, Dedman Law’s Judge James Noel Dean and professor of law. “She has dedicated her career to promoting equity and mentored countless women along the way.  This gift will allow the law school to continue Professor Solender’s important work on issues that will advance the rights of women, ensure gender equality, and train lawyers to pursue these goals.”

Solender points to a number of significant events over the last 100 years that raised hopes for gender equality, citing the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote in 1920, the right of women to serve on Texas juries in 1954, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.

“My mother worked for the passage of the 19th Amendment and thought she would see equality in her lifetime. I thought I would see it in mine,” Solender said. “Now I worry whether my granddaughter and my great-great nieces will see equality in their lifetimes. I now realize these were only milestones on a longer journey to equality. These issues are so important to me, it is my hope that this endowed chair could be a catalyst and hopefully speed up the journey to equality for women.”

Solender entered what was then known as SMU School of Law in 1968 at the age of 44. She had earned a bachelor’s degree at Oberlin College and worked for AT&T’s Bell Labs before joining The Wall Street Journal after she and her husband, the late Robert L. Solender, moved to Dallas. Active with the League of Women Voters, Solender believed government officials were not taking her questions seriously, and she entered law school to improve her credentials.

She earned her J.D. in 1971 and joined the law school’s staff shortly after graduation. In 1973 she joined the law faculty, and in 1977 she became the second woman in the history of the law school to receive tenure. She also co-authored the Research Methods/Legal Writing Manual with the late Alan R. Bromberg, University Distinguished Professor of Law. Solender retired in 1994 as professor emerita of law.

> Read the full story from SMU News

Tune In: Peruna Paint Project promotes the value of college

SMU students and alumni took time for their community as part of the Peruna Paint Project at Dallas’ Lee A. McShan Elementary School on Saturday, April 11, 2015.

The ongoing project – in which University community members paint colorful murals using SMU themes – was created to encourage local elementary- and secondary-school students to think about college and to inspire them toward future opportunities.

Click the YouTube screen to watch the Mustang Minute video by Myles Taylor of SMU News, or visit this link to watch the Peruna Paint Project in a new windowvideo

> Check out more videos at the Mustang Minute blog

Calendar Highlights: April 29, 2015

Meet-up flyer - no borderEngaged Learning Meet-Up: Engaged Learning invites SMU community members to their Engaged Learning Meet-Up event on Thursday, April 30, at 6 p.m., in the Hughes-Trigg Commons. Held each April, the event is designed to introduce new Engaged Learning projects. To learn more about the event and new projects, visit the Engaged Learning webpage.

Dedman College Research Colloquium: SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences invites SMU community members to the second “Dedman Faculty Research Colloquium” on Thursday, April 30, in McCord Auditorium, Dallas Hall. The event will begin with a brief welcoming reception from 4:45-5 p.m., followed by a presentation from three senior faculty sharing aspects of their research. The three professors include: Rajani Sudan, Associate Professor of English, Pamela Corley, Associate Professor of Political Science, and Pia Vogel, Professor of Biological Sciences.

Meadows Museum Panel Discussion: Celebrating the Meadows Museum 50-year history, a Meadows Museum Panel Discussion will take place Saturday, May 2, from 2-4 p.m., in the Bob and Jean Smith Auditorium. Lee Cullum, host of KERA’s CEO, will moderate a conversation about the history of the Meadows Museum with important figures instrumental to the formation and growth of the institution. This event is free and open to the public. While no registration is required, space is limited and seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, call 214-768-4677.

Dancing in the Park: As part of the Meadows Community Series, Meadows dance students present “Dancing in the Park” on Sunday, May 3, 12 p.m., at Klyde Warren Park. The event includes Meadows dance students hosting a creative movement class for children in grades K-6, followed by excerpts of their original works created for the Meadows School’s Sharp Show senior showcase. For more information, call 214-768-2718.

Tate Lecture Series: For the final Tate Lecture of the 2014-15 season, Nate Silver will visit SMU on Tuesday, May 5. Silver is an American statistician and writer who analyzes both baseball and elections. For more information, visit the Tate Lecture Series webpage. 

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