<em>Just Mercy</em> author Bryan Stevenson gives two lectures at SMU Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016

Bryan Stevenson

Just Mercy author Bryan Stevenson gives two lectures at SMU Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016

This story is updated from a version that was published Aug. 17, 2016.

Attorney and author Bryan Stevenson'Just Mercy' book cover, whose intimate account of politics and error in the U.S. criminal justice system became SMU’s 2016 Common Reading, visits the Hilltop on Thursday, Oct. 13. The Common Reading Public Lecture begins at 4:30 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Also on Thursday, at 8 p.m., Stevenson will deliver the Jones Day Lecture in SMU’s 2016-17 Tate Distinguished Lecture Series.

Students who wish to attend the Tate Lecture can go to the basement of McFarlin Auditorium at 7 p.m. with their SMU IDs for possible free seating on a first-come, first-served basis.

> Visit the SMU Reads website: smu.edu/smureads

Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of the criminal justice system.

> Follow Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative on Twitter: @eji_org

Bryan Stevenson

Author and attorney Bryan Stevenson will give a free lecture at SMU Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016.

One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Stevenson into a tangle of conspiracy, political machinations, and legal brinksmanship — and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice. His telling of the McMillian case is captured in Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.

The story is “[e]very bit as moving as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so … a searing indictment of American criminal justice and a stirring testament to the salvation that fighting for the vulnerable sometimes yields,” wrote David Cole of The New York Review of Books in his review.

And Stevenson is “doing God’s work fighting for the poor, the oppressed, the voiceless, the vulnerable, the outcast, and those with no hope,” wrote legal writer and novelist John Grisham, author of A Time to KillThe Client and The Innocent Man.

> Learn more at SMU’s Common Reading website: smu.edu/commonreading

October 13, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News|

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson is topic of SMU’s 2016 Common Reading discussion Sunday, Aug. 21

Bryan Stevenson'Just Mercy' book cover was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of the criminal justice system.

One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Stevenson into a tangle of conspiracy, political machinations, and legal brinksmanship — and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice.

“Presumptions of guilt, poverty, racial bias, and a host of other social, structural, and political dynamics have created a system that is defined by error, a system in which thousands of innocent people now suffer in prison,” Stevenson writes. His telling of the McMillian case is captured in Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, and his book will be discussed by faculty, staff members and new SMU students as the 2016 Common Reading on Sunday, Aug. 21, before Opening Convocation.

The story is “[e]very bit as moving as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so … a searing indictment of American criminal justice and a stirring testament to the salvation that fighting for the vulnerable sometimes yields,” wrote David Cole of The New York Review of Books in his review.

And Stevenson is “doing God’s work fighting for the poor, the oppressed, the voiceless, the vulnerable, the outcast, and those with no hope,” wrote legal writer and novelist John Grisham, author of A Time to KillThe Client and The Innocent Man.

Stevenson will visit the Hilltop on Thursday, Oct. 13, for a free and open Common Reading Public Lecture at 4:30 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium. On the same night, at 8 p.m., he will deliver the Jones Day Lecture in SMU’s 2016-17 Tate Distinguished Lecture Series. Watch for more information in a future SMU Forum post and at the Common Reading website.

> Learn more at SMU’s Common Reading website: smu.edu/commonreading

August 17, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News|

SMU prepares for 2013 Commencement May 17-18

Baccalaureate 2012 photo by Guy Rogers III

SMU observes its 98th Commencement May 17-18 with events for students, faculty, alumni and the entire community.

Former U.S. Senator from Texas Kay Bailey Hutchison will speak at the all-University ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 18, to be held on the University’s historic Main Quad. She will also receive an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from the University in recognition of her distinguished career in public service and support of higher education, especially in the areas of science and engineering. SMU expects to award approximately 1,500 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.

The ceremony will be simulcast live at smu.edu/livevideo

Follow SMU’s 98th Commencement weekend on Twitter at #SMUgrad2013

In 1993, Hutchison became the first woman to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate. She was re-elected three times. She also joined Margaret Chase Smith as one of only two women in Senate history to be elected to Republican leadership. As Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, she was the fourth-highest ranking Republican senator.

Hutchison served as the Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the Appropriations Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice and Science. She also chaired the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee and served on Defense Appropriations for 16 years.

Throughout her career in the U.S. Senate, Hutchison worked to improve and expand higher education opportunities for students. She has championed advancements in science, technology, engineering and math education and helped thousands of Texans earn college degrees who could not have otherwise gained access to higher education. Through her efforts, research at Texas universities has grown to make the state among the top three for university research in the nation.

Hutchison’s efforts also helped bring more than $20 million in federal funds for research projects to SMU. Some of the projects that have been funded through her efforts include the Infinity Project, a math- and science-based engineering and technology education initiative; various NASA and national defense projects; high-tech visual equipment development; and biotechnology projects. In addition to science, technology, engineering and math projects, Hutchison has established the Ray and Kay Bailey Hutchison Scholarship at SMU’s Dedman School of Law and the Hutchison Legal Resource Learning Center.

Read more about Kay Bailey Hutchison from SMU News

The University will also confer honorary degrees upon four other individuals in recognition of distinguished contributions in their fields:

  • James Robert (Bob) Biard will receive the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, for his outstanding contributions in the field of optoelectronics. Biard received the world’s first patent for the light-emitting diode (LED) during his career with Texas Instruments.
  • Swanee Hunt will receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, for her efforts toward world peace and gender parity. Hunt, former U.S. ambassador to Austria, is founder and president of the Institute for Inclusive Security, which trains women peace builders around the globe.
  • Francis Christopher Oakley will receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, for his distinguished contributions to higher education as a scholar and administrator. Oakley is the Edward Dorr Griffin Professor of the History of Ideas and president emeritus of Williams College, where he led establishment of the tutorial form of instruction.
  • Bryan A. Stevenson will receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, for his efforts to achieve social equity through criminal justice reform. Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair treatment in the legal system.

Read more about the 2013 honorary degree recipients

In addition, nine retiring faculty members will be recognized during Saturday’s Commencement Convocation:

  • William Beauchamp, associate professor of French, Dedman College
  • David Blackwell, William B. Hamilton Chair in Earth Sciences, Dedman College
  • Robert C. Davis, associate professor of mathematics, Dedman College
  • Margaret (Maggie) H. Dunham, professor of computer science and engineering, Lyle School of Engineering
  • Charles (Charley) Helfert, associate professor of theatre, Meadows School of the Arts
  • Robin W. Lovin, Cary M. Maguire University Professor of Ethics and former dean of Perkins School of Theology
  • Bijan Mohraz, professor of civil and environmental engineering, Lyle School of Engineering.
  • Laurence (Larry) Scholder, professor of art, Meadows School of the Arts
  • Linda Brewster Stearns, professor of sociology, Dedman College

The weekend’s activities include the Baccalaureate service Friday, May 17, in McFarlin Auditorium. The service will be followed by Rotunda Recessional, a tradition in which seniors march through the Rotunda of Dallas Hall, marking the end of their undergraduate years and the beginning of their lifelong association with SMU as alumni.

More information at the SMU Registrar’s Commencement homepage

Some major events at a glance:

(Above, photo from Baccalaureate 2012 by Guy Rogers III.)

May 14, 2013|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|
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