Commencement speaker

SMU’s 2017 Commencement: Events at a glance

Commencement graduate shot

SMU celebrates its 102nd May Commencement Convocation May 19-20, 2017, with events for the entire SMU community. Mark this post for major Commencement Week event links at a glance:

Reminder: Moody Coliseum clear-bag policy in effect

Watch the Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies live at smu.edu/live

NIH director Francis S. Collins to deliver address at SMU’s 102nd Commencement May 20, 2017

Francis S. CollinsFrancis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., the director of the National Institutes of Health who may be best known for leading the Human Genome Project (HGP), will be the featured speaker during SMU’s 102nd all-University Commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Moody Coliseum.

Dr. Collins – whose own personal research efforts led to the isolation of the genes responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington’s disease and Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome – will receive the Doctor of Science degree, honoris causa, from SMU during the ceremony. The entire event, including Collins’ address, will be live streamed at smu.edu/live.

“We are honored to have a pioneering scientist and national leader of Dr. Collins’ stature as featured speaker at Commencement,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “His life is testament to a strong, unwavering commitment to the search for scientific knowledge paired with deep religious faith. He has much to share with us.”

As NIH director, Collins oversees the work of the largest institutional supporter of biomedical research in the world, spanning the spectrum from basic to clinical research. He was appointed by President Obama in 2009 and was asked to remain in the position by President Trump in January 2017. As director, he has helped launch major research initiatives to advance the use of precision medicine for more tailored healthcare, increase our understanding of the neural networks of the brain to improve treatments for brain diseases, and identify areas of cancer research that are most ripe for acceleration to improve cancer prevention and treatment.

While director of NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute, he oversaw the HGP, a 13-year international effort to map and sequence the 3 billion letters in human DNA. HGP scientists finished the sequence in April 2003, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of James Watson and Francis Crick’s seminal publication describing the double-helix structure of DNA. It remains the world’s largest collaborative biological project and one of the most significant scientific undertakings in modern history.

As an innovative evolutionary geneticist and a devout Christian, Collins also has gained fame for his writings on the integration of logic and belief. His first book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, became a New York Times bestseller in 2006. Since then, he has written The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine (2011) and edited a selection of writings, Belief: Readings on the Reason for Faith (2010).

Born in Staunton, Virginia, and raised on a small family farm in the Shenandoah Valley, Collins was home schooled until the sixth grade and attended Robert E. Lee High School in his hometown. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Virginia in 1970.

In 1974, Collins received his Ph.D. degree in physical chemistry from Yale University, where a course in molecular biology triggered a major change in career direction. He enrolled in medical school at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he earned his M.D. degree in 1977. From 1978 to 1981, Collins completed a residency and chief residency in internal medicine at North Carolina Memorial Hospital. He then returned to Yale as a Fellow in Human Genetics at the university’s medical school from 1981 to 1984.

Dr. Collins joined the University of Michigan in 1984 as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, a position that would eventually lead to a Professorship of Internal Medicine and Human Genetics. Collins heightened his reputation as a relentless gene hunter with an approach he named “positional cloning,” which has developed into a powerful component of modern molecular genetics.

In contrast to previous methods for finding genes, positional cloning enabled scientists to identify disease genes without knowing the functional abnormality underlying the disease in advance. Collins’ team, together with collaborators, applied the new approach in 1989 in their successful quest for the long-sought gene responsible for cystic fibrosis. Other major discoveries soon followed, including isolation of the genes for Huntington’s disease, neurofibromatosis, multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1, the M4 type of adult acute leukemia, and Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome.

In 1993, Collins joined NIH to become director of the National Center for Human Genome Research, which became NHGRI in 1997. As director, he oversaw the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium and many other aspects of what he has called “an adventure that beats going to the moon or splitting the atom.”

An elected member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Collins was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2007 from President George W. Bush. He received the National Medal of Science in 2009.

SMU expects to award more than 1,600 degrees at its University-wide Commencement ceremony. The University’s individual schools and departments will host diploma ceremonies throughout the day.

SMU celebrates 2016 December Commencement Saturday, Dec. 17

December Commencement 2013, blue mortarboards

The SMU community will celebrate 2016 December Commencement Convocation on Saturday, Dec. 17. Retired Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown will give the address.

> Read more about Chief Brown from SMU News

Ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. in Moody Coliseum with a student and faculty procession. Doors to the staging area in Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports will open at 8 a.m. Processional groups begin forming at 9:15 a.m.; doors close at 9:40 a.m.

Prior to the ceremony, there will be a faculty breakfast at 8:45 a.m. in the Miller Champions Club, Moody Coliseum. The faculty should assemble in academic dress no later than 9:45 a.m. in the Champions Club.

> Watch the December Commencement livestream at smu.edu/live

The December Commencement Convocation is a formal ceremony open to degree candidates from all of SMU’s schools and professional programs. All participants must wear academic regalia; students without regalia will be directed to the SMU Bookstore to rent a cap and gown. No honor ribbons or other decorations or adornments may be worn to this ceremony, including messages or images on mortarboards.

Find complete rules for regalia at the University Registrar’s homepage

The ceremony lasts about two hours. No guest tickets are required, and free parking will be available throughout the campus. Limited concession service will be available in Moody Coliseum beginning at 8 a.m.

Commencement participants and guests should not bring the following prohibited items to the Coliseum, including but not limited to animals (except licensed service animals), backpacks, binocular cases, briefcases, camera bags, cans, cinch bags, computer bags, coolers, diaper bags, fanny packs, firearms, glass bottles, guns, inflated balloons, knives of any size and type, laser pointers, luggage, noisemakers, purses larger than a small clutch, radios, seat cushions with zippers, pockets or compartments, selfie sticks, signs, stun guns, throwing objects, umbrellas (unless threat of rain or raining), and weapons.

All bags must be clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and may not exceed 12 x 6 x 12 inches. Bags may be one-gallon clear plastic resealable storage bags. Small clutch purses with or without straps, no larger than 8.5 x 5.5 inches, are permitted. The clutch does not have to be clear and may be carried separately or within an approved plastic bag. Items that are medically necessary are evaluated individually.

> More information for students and guests at SMU’s December Commencement homepage

Retired Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown to give address at SMU’s 2016 December Commencement Saturday, Dec. 17

Dallas Police Chief David O. BrownRetired Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown, who earned national acclaim for his leadership in a citywide crisis, will present the address during SMU’s December Commencement at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016 in Moody Coliseum.

A Dallas native and a 33-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, Chief Brown gained national attention for his handling of a gunman’s July ambush of five police officers who died working to protect participants in a downtown Dallas protest march.

Brown, who retired Oct. 4, was sworn in as Dallas’ 28th police chief in May 2010, commanding a department with more than 4,000 employees and an annual operating budget of $426 million dollars.

Building and maintaining strong, transparent relationships with the community was Brown’s focus since becoming chief. During his tenure, Brown transitioned the department to a community policing-focused organization and implemented policies and training to ensure citizen and officer safety. He also expanded several community outreach programs and youth centered programs.

Brown implemented policies and training to ensure citizen and officer safety during interactions, and emphasized the importance of de-escalation training for his officers. Under Brown’s leadership, the Dallas Police Department reduced the use of deadly force by more than 40 percent and reduced excessive force complaints by more than 80 percent.

Chief Brown holds a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in business administration and is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy, FBI National Executive Institute, Senior Management Institute for Police, the National Counter-Terrorism Seminar in Tel Aviv, Israel, and the United States Secret Service Dignitary Protection Seminar in Washington, D.C. He also holds Master Peace Officer and Police Instructor certifications from the State of Texas.

In March 2017, Chief Brown will receive the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award from SMU’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility.

> Read the full story from SMU News

Tech and civic leaders Richard and Mary Templeton to deliver SMU’s 101st Commencement Address Saturday, May 14, 2016

Richard and Mary Templeton family

(l. to r.) Nephew William Templeton, Richard Templeton, Mary Templeton, son Jim Templeton and daughter Stephanie Templeton.

Technology and civic leaders Richard and Mary Templeton will share the delivery of the SMU Commencement address at an all-University ceremony in Moody Coliseum at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 14. The ceremony, including the commencement address, will be broadcast live at smu.edu/live.

“Richard and Mary Templeton’s lives reflect an exceptional commitment to community service and a determination to squarely face and adapt to unanticipated life changes,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Their message will both inspire and guide our students at this important stage of their lives.”

> Find complete information on SMU Commencement 2016: smu.edu/commencement

Richard Templeton, a member of the SMU Board of Trustees, is president and CEO of Texas Instruments, and Mary Templeton is a financial analyst and computer scientist. Their $2 million gift in 2014 established the Mary and Richard Templeton Centennial Chair in Electrical Engineering, providing for a $1.5 million endowment and $500,000 in operational support. The couple has three children, Stephanie, John and Jim – who is a 2014 graduate of SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering.

Mary Templeton is a philanthropist and community volunteer who had a 14-year career with General Electric Company (GE) before moving to Dallas. She has served on the boards of trustees for her alma mater, Union College, the University of Dallas, John Paul II High School, Ursuline Academy of Dallas Foundation, the Southwest Region Boys and Girls Club of America, AT&T Performing Arts Center and the Dallas Arboretum. Mrs. Templeton is a member of the Advisory Council of The Catholic Foundation. In 2011 she received the 29th Catholic Foundation Award for her support of Catholic education.

With more than 30 years of experience in the semiconductor industry, Richard Templeton has been chairman of the board at TI since 2008, and president and CEO since 2004. In addition to his TI duties, Mr. Templeton serves on the board of the Semiconductor Industry Association, the board of directors of Catalyst, and the board of trustees for Southwestern Medical Foundation. He is also a member of the Business Roundtable. In addition to serving as an SMU trustee, he also serves on the executive boards for the Lyle School of Engineering and the Cox School of Business.

The TI Foundation’s partnership with SMU includes supporting programs to enhance diversity and innovation in engineering education. The TI Foundation endowed the Texas Instruments Distinguished Chair in Engineering Education and the directorship of the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education in the Lyle School in 2008. Members of TI leadership have served on SMU’s board of trustees and provided guidance to other University committees and groups for decades.

> Read the full story from SMU News

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