SMU trustees approve new Human Rights major to begin Spring 2012

Board of Trustees

SMU trustees approve new Human Rights major to begin Spring 2012

SMU Embrey Human Rights Program logoSMU has become the first university in the South, and only the fifth in the country, to offer an academic major in human rights. Approved Sept. 9 by the University’s Board of Trustees, the Bachelor of Arts in human rights degree comes five years after creation of the Embrey Human Rights Program at SMU.

The undergraduate degree program officially begins in Spring 2012, but most SMU students will be allowed to apply past or current courses toward the degree, says Embrey Human Rights Program Director Rick Halperin. The human rights major will offer two interdisciplinary tracks: one on gender and human rights, the other on public policy and human rights.

“I have always believed that if you appealed to the better nature in people, and then offered them opportunities to put their passion into practice, that this degree would be a natural,” Halperin says. “It is beyond my comprehension that programs like this do not exist throughout this country, but at least it now exists here.”

The only other U.S. universities to offer human rights majors are Bard College and Columbia University/Barnard College in New York, the University of Dayton in Ohio and Trinity College in Connecticut.

The new major is the result of Dallas philanthropist Lauren Embrey‘s travel with Halperin’s study group to Polish Holocaust sites in December 2005. Embrey, then enrolled in SMU’s Master of Liberal Arts program, returned from the trip determined to share her life-changing experience. In the six years since the trip, sisters Lauren and Gayle Embrey and the Embrey Family Foundation have committed substantial financial support for the Embrey Human Rights Program, which began in 2006, and the minor, which followed in 2007.

“The human rights major at SMU creates the ability to educate and broaden awareness, to challenge prevailing world views and to promote a rights-based society that minimizes injustice,” Lauren Embrey says. “We are also proud that the program can be seen as a model for other human rights education programs, and that it offers varied programming open to the community beyond SMU.”

The Embrey Foundation’s vision “will allow the major to be a signature program for SMU and for Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences,” says Dean William Tsutsui. “It not only will prepare students to understand human rights issues around the world, but also will equip them with the skills necessary to make a real difference and effect meaningful change,” he says. “The graduates of this important and timely new major will be the leaders of the next generation of global human rights advocates.”

So far 200 students have either formally declared the minor or are taking courses toward declaring the minor in the fastest growing program at SMU. Halperin, a nationally known human rights activist and former two-time chair of Amnesty International, says many students already have expressed interest in pursuing the new major, which will consist of 30 hours of traditional coursework, a minor in a related field and 12 hours of a foreign language.

> Read the full story from SMU News
> Visit the Embrey Human Rights Program homepage

September 16, 2011|News|

Caren H. Prothro to lead SMU Board of Trustees

Caren ProthroCivic and philanthropic leader Caren H. Prothro, a leader in the arts and higher education, will become chair of the SMU Board of Trustees beginning with its Sept. 10, 2010 meeting. She was unanimously elected to the two-year term by her fellow trustees in May.

“I am honored for the opportunity to serve as chair during one of the most dynamic and forward-looking times in SMU’s development,” Prothro said. “Thanks to the strength of our students, faculty, staff and administration, SMU is a rising national university with local and global impact. I look forward to working with our outstanding Board of Trustees in helping SMU continue to improve student quality, faculty and academic excellence, and the campus experience.”

Prothro has been a member of the SMU Board of Trustees since 1992 and served as vice chair from 1998-2000. She currently is a co-chair of SMU’s Second Century Campaign and its Leadership Council. She serves on several trustee committees, including the Academic Policy, Planning and Management Committee and the Buildings and Grounds Committee. As trustee chair, she also serves on the executive boards of each of SMU’s schools and its libraries. In addition, she serves on the boards of SMU-in-Taos and the University’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility.

“Caren Prothro will lead our Board during a unique period in our history, as we prepare to commemorate the Centennial of SMU’s founding in 2011 and of its opening in 2015,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “During this period, we will be continuing our successful Second Century Campaign, for which Mrs. Prothro serves as a co-chair. And our Centennial will help us focus attention on the incredible progress of the University in fulfilling the vision of its founders. Most importantly, she will provide leadership and guidance going forward.”

> Read more from SMU News

September 8, 2010|News|

Trustees honor outgoing chair Carl Sewell

prothro-sewell-turner-10june2010.ashx.jpgDallas business leader Carl Sewell was honored at the May meeting of the SMU Board of Trustees with a resolution recognizing his leadership of University advancements during his four-year term as board chair.

Sewell joined the SMU Board of Trustees in 1996. He served on numerous standing committees of the board and as vice chair from 2004-06, chair-elect from 2005-06 and board chair from 2006-10, concluding his term at the May meeting. He remains a board member, co-chairing the Trusteeship Committee and serving on committees for Academic Policies and Planning, Athletics, and Executive/Personnel/ Compensation.

A 1966 graduate of SMU, Sewell is chair of Sewell Automotive Companies and a national leader in the automotive industry.

As chair of the Board of Trustees, “Mr. Sewell has led by sharing his experience, skills and thoughtful insight into Board policy-making, but also through his generous financial support which has materially aided the University in achieving a leadership role in higher education in the Southwest and becoming a nationally recognized university,” the resolution states.

In photo: Carl Sewell (center), with SMU Board Chair Caren Prothro and SMU President R. Gerald Turner, accepts a resolution honoring him for his four years of service to the University as board chair.

> Read more from SMU News.

June 21, 2010|News|

Deadline for Student Trustee applications is April 15

SMU’s Board of Trustees is seeking student applicants to serve in a variety of positions. Interested students can apply online; the 2009 deadline is at noon April 16.

One student each year serves as the Student Member of the Board of Trustees, a full voting member of the Board. Eight students also serve as Student Members of the Board Standing Committees. In addition, the Student Trustee chairs a committee of the Student Representatives and the Student Body President. This committee enhances the effectiveness of the Representatives within their committees and facilitates communication between the Board of Trustees and the university community.

“Serving as the Student Member of the SMU Board of Trustees has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” says current Student Trustee Lamar Dowling, a senior music major in Meadows School of the Arts. “Very few universities in the nation allow a student to sit on their board, and even fewer have a student as a full voting member. SMU provides this special opportunity, which demonstrates the board’s commitment to making this a better university for students.”

“I have had the opportunity to serve along with titans of the business, philanthropic and political world and learn from their amazing experiences,” he adds. “I even attended dinner at the White House with former President and Mrs. George W. Bush. This position has provided me with wonderful learning experiences and countless opportunities, all of which I am happy to be passing along to another student this May.”

April 6, 2009|News|

Second Century Campaign announcement set for Sept. 12

Dallas Hall panoramic

The entire SMU community is invited to meet at the Moody Coliseum Mustangs for a celebration launching the University’s Second Century Campaign. The festivities begin at 11:45 a.m. Sept. 12, followed by lunch in Moody Coliseum Plaza.

SMU President R. Gerald Turner, the Board of Trustees and the Campaign Executive Committee will announce the campaign goal at the event.

RSVP online and learn more at the Second Century Campaign home page.

September 5, 2008|News, Save the Date|
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