alumni news

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

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