Commencement speakers

AT&T CEO Randall L. Stephenson to address SMU students during 103rd Commencement May 19, 2018

Randall L. Stephenson, ATT CEORandall L. Stephenson, chairman and chief executive officer of AT&T, will be the featured speaker during SMU’s 103rd all-University Commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 19, 2018 in Moody Coliseum.

Since rising to the position of CEO in 2007, Stephenson has guided AT&T through a number of major milestones, including the ongoing acquisition of Time Warner, the 2015 acquisition of DIRECTV, and the purchase of Mexican wireless companies to create a North American network.

Stephenson also has led AT&T’s breakthrough “It Can Wait” campaign – an awareness program educating drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. The program has amassed more than 19 million pledges of support.

“We are honored to have a pioneering business and technology leader of Mr. Stephenson’s stature as featured speaker at Commencement,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He is a striking example of what can be accomplished when someone possesses a clear vision of where they want to go. I know he will inspire each of our graduating students to form their own grand vision of what they want to accomplish in their lives with the knowledge they’ve acquired at SMU.”

AT&T contributed $2.5 million to SMU in 2016 to endow the AT&T Center for Virtualization and fund its research into the fast, reliable cloud-based telecommunications necessary for global activity. SMU and AT&T have also partnered with other organizations to create the Payne Stewart SMU Golf Training Center at the Trinity Forest Golf Club, which will become home to the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson this year and annually host NCAA invitational tournaments and additional high-profile professional and amateur events.

Stephenson began his career with Southwestern Bell Telephone in 1982 in Oklahoma. He served as the company’s senior executive vice president and chief financial officer from 2001 to 2004, and from 2004 to 2007 as chief operating officer. He was appointed to AT&T’s board of directors in 2005.

Stephenson is a member of the PGA TOUR Policy Board and National Chairman of the Boy Scouts of America. He received his B.S. in accounting from the University of Central Oklahoma and his Master of Accountancy from the University of Oklahoma.

SMU expects to award more than 2,500 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees in the University-wide ceremony. The University’s individual schools and departments will host diploma ceremonies throughout the day.

— Written by Kenny Ryan

> Keep up with the latest SMU Commencement information at smu.edu/commencement

Bush Center president, CEO Kenneth A. Hersh to speak at SMU’s 2017 December Commencement Convocation

Kenneth A. HershKenneth A. Hersh, president and CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, will be the featured speaker during SMU’s December Commencement Convocation at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, in Moody Coliseum.

> Watch the SMU December Commencement Convocation live via Facebook Live

As chief executive of the Bush Center, Hersh leads the institution that oversees the George W. Bush Institute and houses the George W. Bush Library and Museum. In addition to his work at the Bush Center, Hersh is the co-founder and advisory partner of NGP Energy Capital Management, a deputy chief investment officer for The Carlyle Group’s natural resources division, and sits on the board of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club.

Hersh also serves on the Board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Council of the American Enterprise Institute, the Dallas Citizens Council, and the World Economic Forum. He also sits on the Dean’s Council of the Harvard Kennedy School. In 2014, he was recognized as Master Entrepreneur of the Year for the Southwest Region by Ernst & Young during its Entrepreneur of the Year program, and in 2017 received the Oil & Gas Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

> More ceremony information in SMU Forum

Hersh is active in non-profit causes through The Hersh Foundation. He serves on the boards of the Communities Foundation of Texas, Baylor Health Care System Foundation, and the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues.

Hersh was born and raised in Dallas. After graduating from St. Mark’s, he attended Princeton University, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1985 with a degree in politics. In 1989, Mr. Hersh earned his MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, where he graduated as an Arjay Miller Scholar.

SMU expects to award more than 700 degrees at its University-wide Commencement ceremony.

> Visit the SMU Registrar’s December Commencement Convocation homepage