Chaplain’s Office

Hurricane Harvey: How to help and where to seek support at SMU

A letter to the SMU community offers a comprehensive list of ways to help, and places to seek support, as Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath unfold on the Texas Gulf Coast.

President R. Gerald Turner shared this message with University faculty, staff and students on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017:

Dear SMU community,

We have watched with alarm and sadness since Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast on Friday, leaving widespread suffering, loss and destruction in its wake.

Our deepest sympathy goes to all who are feeling the impact of this disaster, including those in our SMU community who have loved ones, homes and other connections in the affected regions.

If you need support

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Student Life Joanne Vogel sent a message yesterday regarding campus resources that support students, including confidential counselors at SMU Counseling Services (214-768-2277) and the Chaplain’s Office (214-768-4502). Through SMU’s Caring Community Connections (CCC) program, faculty, staff, students and family members can submit concerns about students’ well-being in order to connect them with help. The CCC form is online.

For faculty and staff members, SMU’s Employee Assistance Program (1-877-704-5696) provides confidential counseling and referral services, including for dependents.

If you would like to help

SMU has reached out to Rice University and the University of Houston to offer assistance. In addition, many in our SMU community are offering prayers, support and donations to those who have been affected. I believe our community will continue to find ways to help as needs evolve in Dallas and across the state.

Among these efforts, the SMU Student Senate is raising funds for disaster relief, with the goal of providing a significant donation to the relief effort from the SMU community. The students’ “Help 4 Houston” effort will last for four days – from August 29 to September 2, 2017. Donations to the SMU Student Disaster Relief Fund may be made at smu.edu/helpforhouston.

In the days and weeks ahead, SMU’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will continue to monitor this unprecedented disaster, as well as state and local relief efforts and needs. If faculty or staff members receive assistance requests from departments or programs at other colleges or universities, we ask that you notify the EOC, which is tracking SMU’s efforts. Please email the Office of Risk Management.

The SMU community stands with our Gulf Coast neighbors, students, alumni, colleagues and loved ones. We will continue to send our prayers and support.

Sincerely,

R. Gerald Turner
President

> Make a gift to the SMU Student Senate’s “Help 4 Houston” disaster-relief effort: smu.edu/helpforhouston

SMU Athletics is offering free tickets and concessions for the Sept. 2 SMU-Stephen F. Austin game to Texans displaced by the hurricane. Find additional details at SMUMustangs.com.

Former White House press secretary Mike McCurry to speak at SMU on ‘Civil Dialogue in the Age of Trump’ Thursday, March 2, 2017

Mike McCurryFormer Bill Clinton White House press secretary Mike McCurry, now a professor at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., will speak at SMU on “Faith, Politics and Civil Dialogue in the Age of Trump: Can the Center Hold?” at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 2, in the Vester Hughes Auditorium, Caruth Hall, Lyle School of Engineering.

The lecture is free and open to the public and will be followed by a Q&A session. The event is sponsored by SMU’s Center for Faith and Learning.

McCurry was Clinton’s press secretary from 1995-98, during the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He now dedicates himself to the study and promotion of civil, inclusive dialogue among people who disagree, both in church and in politics.

“As White House press secretary during the period leading up to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, Mike McCurry was on the front lines of an administration dealing with scandal and a hostile press,” said Center for Faith and Learning director Matthew Wilson. “In this time of heightened tension and increasingly angry divisions along political, religious, and cultural lines, Mike McCurry will share his insights on how to disagree civilly and to find common ground even in the face of profound differences.”

> Visit SMU’s Center for Faith and Learning online

Statement on SMU student Jaein (Jaime) Shim

Updated Friday, Sept. 30, 2016.

SMU Student Life sent the following e-mail message to faculty and staff on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, regarding the death of student Jaein (Jaime) Shim:

Jaein 'Jaime' ShimThe SMU community is saddened to learn of the death of SMU student Jaein “Jaime” Shim, who passed away earlier today, Thursday, September 29, 2016. Jaime was a senior at SMU, a President’s Scholar, and a member of the SMU Honors Program. He was 21 years old, from Seoul, Republic of Korea, and studying towards Bachelor’s degrees in English and Political Science through Dedman College.

While the Division of Student Affairs is making every effort to identify those who were close to Jaime and to offer help, it is possible that as others learn of his death, there may be friends among them who will experience a tough time over the coming weeks. Students affected by this loss may need resources in dealing with their grief. Whatever the case, we are here to help.

If a student should contact you, or if you believe a student might be in need of support or resources, below is a list of departments that can help:

  • Dean of Student Life, 214-768-4564
  • Counseling Services, 214-768-2277
  • Office of the Chaplain, 214-768-4502
  • Residence Life and Student Housing, 214-768-2407
  • For emergency help, please call the SMU Police at 214-768-3333

If you or another faculty or staff member in your office or department need support or resources, the SMU Employee Assistance Program, through the Human Resources Department, is available 24 hours a day. The phone number to call is 877-704-5696.

Strength and support are found in community, and the SMU community stands ready to support you.

Sincerely,

Pamela D. Anthony, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs

Joanne E. Vogel, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
Dean of Student Life

The University released the following statement shortly after noon Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016:

We are deeply saddened to report the death of an SMU student, who was found deceased in Barr Pool about 9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 29.

Preliminary indications are that no foul play was involved, but an investigation is being conducted by SMU Police with assistance from the Dallas County Medical Examiner.

Counseling is being provided to students and will continue to be available through SMU Counseling Services and the Office of the Chaplain.

Our prayers and thoughts are with the family and other loved ones at this time.

Helping students with stress during the holiday and exam season

SMU students in Fondren Science BuildingAs SMU enters both the holiday and exam seasons, Interim Provost Harold Stanley is asking that all University community members watch for signs of stress in themselves and in students.

Dr. Stanley asked that each faculty and staff member “be aware of signs of stress in yourself and those around you” in an e-mail message dated Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015.

“In particular, I ask that you be aware of signs of stress among students, especially first-year students as they are experiencing their first set of final exams,” he added.

He also reminded the University community that “[s]tudents who feel overwhelmed by the stress of the season and finals can visit the offices at the Memorial Health Center, currently located at Perkins Hall, just to the north of Perkins Chapel.”

In addition, Dr. Stanley urged faculty and staff members to visit SMU’s Caring Community Connections homepage for information on identifying and helping students who may be in crisis. The confidential system “will allow us to identify students about whom we are concerned so that we are able to provide them with appropriate information, support, and advice,” he wrote.

He encouraged all to become familiar with SMU’s Guide for Faculty and Staff for Recognizing and Responding to Students in Distress, available online.

Dr. Stanley also issued the University’s traditional call for faculty and staff members to “reach out to an individual who is separated from family and friends at this time and invite them to share some of your traditions and goodwill.”

Many SMU resources are available to help University community members stay healthy and safe during the holiday and exam season, including these:

How to help students with stress during 2014 holidays, exams

SMU students in Fondren Science BuildingAs SMU enters both the holiday and exam seasons, SMU Provost Paul Ludden is asking that all University community members watch for signs of stress in themselves and in students.

Ludden asked that each faculty and staff member “be aware of signs of stress in yourself and those around you” in an e-mail message dated Monday, Nov. 17, 2014.

“In particular, I ask that you be aware of signs of stress among students, especially first-year students as they are experiencing their first set of final exams,” he added.

In addition, Ludden urged faculty and staff members to visit SMU’s Caring Community Connections homepage for information on identifying and helping students who may be in crisis. The confidential system “will allow us to identify students about whom we are concerned so that we are able to provide them with appropriate information, support, and advice,” he wrote.

He encouraged all to become familiar with SMU’s Guide for Faculty and Staff for Recognizing and Responding to Students in Distress, which is available online at this link.

Ludden also asked faculty and staff members to “reach out to an individual who is separated from family and friends at this time and invite them to share some of your traditions and goodwill.”

Many SMU resources are available to help University community members stay healthy and safe during the holiday and exam season, including these:

SMU celebrates human rights heroes and the anniversary of its Civil Rights Pilgrimage on Thursday, April 10, 2014

Jerry Mitchell and Joanne Bland

Civil rights icons Jerry Mitchell and Joanne Bland hold a conversation at SMU as part of the University’s 10th anniversary celebration of its Civil Rights Pilgrimage program. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 10 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater.

SMU celebrates civil and human rights at two events on Thursday, April 10 – awarding the Robert O. Cooper Peace and Justice Fellowship to a veteran of the civil rights movement and the William K. McElvaney Peace and Justice Award to an SMU student, as well as marking the 10th anniversary of the University’s annual Civil Rights Pilgrimage (CRP).

The CRP anniversary celebration begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater. The program, which is free and open to the public, will feature a conversation between civil rights activist and “Bloody Sunday” survivor Joanne Bland and Jackson (Mississippi) Clarion-Ledger investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell. Mitchell’s work has been instrumental in the cold-case convictions of men responsible for some of the most heinous crimes of the civil rights era, including the assassination of NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers in 1963 and the firebombing death of NAACP leader Vernon Dahmer in 1966.

Earlier in the day, Bland received the Robert O. Cooper Peace and Justice Fellowship at an event hosted by SMU’s Office of the Chaplain. At the same ceremony, SMU student Melissa Maguire received the William K. McElvaney Peace and Justice Award.

Bland has been actively involved in the civil rights movement since 1961, when as an 8-year-old child she attended a voting rights meeting presided over by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. She joined other children and teenagers in the civil rights movement as a member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. She was only 11 on March 7, 1965, when she was severely beaten and driven back across the Edmund Pettus Bridge by police determined to stop a group making a voting rights march from Selma to the state capital in Montgomery.

Bland is co-founder and director of the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute in Selma, and is well known to SMU civil rights pilgrims who meet with her as they travel across the south every spring to learn about the tragedies and triumphs of the American civil rights movement. An Army veteran, Bland has told her personal story at conferences and workshops across the country, including at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Melissa Maguire

Melissa Maguire

Melissa Maguire received the McElvaney Award for her personal commitment and leadership to the causes of human rights, human welfare and social justice. She was a student coordinator for the 2014 SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage, co-chaired the presentation of The Vagina Monologues in February by SMU’s Women’s Interest Network, and has travelled to Holocaust sites in Poland with SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program.

Maguire is an SMU senior majoring in English, Spanish and human rights with minors in women and gender studies, history and psychology. She is a member of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, the Women’s Interest Network and Order of Omega. Upon graduation, Maguire plans to enter the non-profit sector.

Written by Denise Gee

> Read the full story from SMU News

Students and stress: How to help during 2013 holidays, exams

SMU students in Fondren Science BuildingAs SMU enters both the holiday and exam seasons, SMU Provost Paul Ludden is asking that all University community members watch for signs of stress in themselves and in students.

“We ask each of you to be aware of signs of stress in yourself and those around you. In particular, I ask that you be aware of signs of stress among students, especially first-year students as they are experiencing their first set of final exams,” wrote Provost Ludden in an e-mail message dated Friday, Dec. 6, 2012.

He also asked faculty and staff members to “reach out to an individual who is separated from family and friends at this time and invite them to share some of your traditions and goodwill.”

The message included helpful tips and University resources for staying healthy and safe. In addition, Ludden urged faculty and staff members to visit SMU’s Caring Community Connections homepage for information on identifying and helping students who may be in crisis.

Advice and resources for a safer and more stress-free season follow under the cut.

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Students and holiday stress: Coping and helping

Students in Dallas Hall RotundaAs SMU enters both the holiday and exam seasons, the Office of Student Affairs is asking that all University community members be aware of signs of stress in themselves and those around them.

“The holiday season brings with it a combination of special events and sources of stress – exams, final papers and other projects. At this time in particular, I want to remind you of SMU resources to help you with everything from tutoring and test preparation to coping with anxiety and caring for your health and safety,” wrote Vice President for Student Affairs Lori White in an e-mail message to students dated Nov. 28, 2012.

The message included helpful tips and University resources for staying healthy and safe. In addition, White urged students to visit SMU’s Live Responsibly homepage for additional information.

Advice and resources for a safer and more stress-free season follow under the jump.

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Chaplain’s Office presents 2012 Peace & Justice honors April 25

Rev. Bruce Buchanan, recipient of SMU's 2012 Robert O. Cooper Peace and Justice FellowshipRev. Bruce Buchanan, associate pastor of community ministries in Dallas’ First Presbyterian Church, will receive SMU’s 2012 Robert O. Cooper Peace and Justice Fellowship during an 11:30 a.m. lunch and reception Wednesday, April 25, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.

He will deliver the Cooper Fellowship Lecture, “The Art of Turning Corners,” at noon.

Rev. Buchanan is responsible for program and policy design and oversight for First Presbyterian’s downtown social ministries, including The Stewpot. He oversees the daily operation of the soup kitchen for the homeless, as well as the church’s community casework services and its year-round educational programs for inner-city children, including a college scholarship incentive program. He has overseen the development of a dental and a medical clinic, supported the creation of an arts program, and developed the annual Stewpot Talent Show.

His service to Dallas and North Texas includes work with The Homeless Consortium for the City of Dallas, the Texas Homeless Network, Interfaith Community Ministries Network, Dallas Area Service to the Homeless, and Shelter Ministries of Dallas.

Rev. Buchanan received a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary and B.A. degrees in history and political science from Wagner College, both in New York City.

SMU senior Shirin Tavakoli, recipient of the 2012 McElvaney Peace and Justice AwardSMU senior Shirin Tavakoli will receive the 2012 William K. McElvaney Peace and Justice Award during the event. Tavakoli, who majors in political science, international studies and human rights with a minor in history, helped establish a campus chapter of the Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals through DNA evidence and reforming public policy to prevent future injustice. The Tower Center Undergraduate Research Fellow’s human rights work includes participation and leadership with the SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage and the University’s Amnesty International chapter.

The Robert O. Cooper Peace and Justice Fellowship was founded in 1992 upon Cooper’s retirement as SMU Associate Chaplain. It was created with gifts from Cooper’s friends, co-workers in the chaplaincy, The Dallas Peace Center and Northaven United Methodist Church.

The William K. McElvaney Peace and Justice Award was established in 1993 by friends of McElvaney to honor his lifelong commitment to peace, justice and civil rights on the occasion of his retirement from SMU’s Perkins School of Theology. The award recognizes the peace and justice work of one or more SMU students and provides a stipend to be used in the advancement of peace and justice activities.

> Visit SMU’s Office of the Chaplain and Religious Life online

Chaplain Rankin to deliver 2012 Willson Lecture March 28

Rev. Dr. Stephen Rankin, SMU chaplainRev. Dr. Stephen Rankin, SMU chaplain, will speak on “Imagining a 21st-Century University” as the next event in the 2012 Willson Lecture Series Wednesday, March 28.

The noon lecture in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum is preceded by a reception at 11:30 a.m. A light lunch will be provided.

The Willson Lecture Fund was established in 1957 to fund a lecture during SMU’s Religious Emphasis week. The Willson Lecture Series is sponsored by the Office of the Chaplain and Religious Life and focuses on issues of religion and faith. For more information, contact Katie Lewis, 214-768-4502.

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