Commencement

SMU Guildhall hosts 2015 Spring Exhibition Friday, May 15

Paul Bettner

Paul Bettner, co-creator of Words with Friends and founder of Playful Corp, will speak at a graduation reception for The Guildhall at SMU’s Cohort 21.

The Guildhall at SMU hosts its bi-annual graduate exhibition showcasing video games developed by graduating students on Friday, May 15, 2015. The 2015 Spring Exhibition will honor Cohort 21: 26 master’s degree candidates who specialize in art creation, level design and programming.

The Exhibition will take place in Building 2 of the SMU-in-Plano campus at 5232 Tennyson Parkway. All of the following events are open to the public:

  • 2:30-4 p.m. – Open play session of 2D and 3D games developed by Guildhall students
  • 4-5 p.m. – Cohort 21 Honors presentations and awards
  • 5-6 p.m. – Cohort 21 Capstone team games presentations

An invitation-only reception for Cohort 21 and their friends and family will conclude the day’s events.

> Find more SMU Guildhall events on Facebook

Paul Bettner, CEO and founder of the McKinney, Texas-based game development studio Playful Corp, will be the honorary keynote speaker at the Cohort 21 graduate reception.

Bettner has been creating interactive entertainment for 20 years. In 2008, he co-founded Newtoy, Inc. with his brother David to create the hit social game Words with Friends. Before that, he worked with Microsoft Game Studios, where he helped create blockbuster hits Halo Wars and Age of Empires.

In 2012, Bettner founded Playful Corp. Their first announced title, Lucky’s Tale, is a platforming adventure game designed exclusively for virtual reality. Bettner and his team are also in active development on Creativerse, currently gaining fans through early access on the Steam gaming site.

> Visit The Guildhall at SMU online: guildhall.smu.edu

SMU hosts 2015 Honorary Degree Symposia Friday, May 15

Three international leaders who will receive honorary degrees at SMU’s 100th May Commencement will participate in symposia on the main campus Friday, May 15. All symposia are free and open to the public.

The symposia will feature 2015 honorees Meave Leakey, a renowned anthropologist whose research in Africa has revealed important clues to humans’ earliest ancestors; Irene Hirano Inouye, who helped build the Japanese American National Museum and is founding president of the U.S.-Japan Council; and Helen LaKelly Hunt, a donor-activist, author and SMU alumna whose life focus has been to empower women and educate people about the value of healthy, intimate relationships. All three will receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, during the Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16.

> The history of honorary degrees at SMU, including honorees by name, year and degree

Meave Leakey

“Human Evolution in the East African Rift Valley:
A Symposium Honoring Meave Leakey”
Friday, May 15, 2-4 p.m.
McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall

Leakey, one of the world’s most distinguished paleoanthropologists, is a research associate at the National Museums of Kenya, director of Plio-Pleistocene research at the Turkana Basin Institute, Nairobi, and research professor in anthropology at Stony Brook University, New York. In 2002 she was named a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. Leakey is a foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and an honorary fellow of the Geological Society of London.

David Pilbeam, curator of paleontology at Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, will moderate the symposium.

Leakey will speak on “Human Evolution in the East African Rift Valley.” Also presenting will be Frank Brown, dean and distinguished professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Utah, who will speak on “Time and the Physical Framework in the Turkana Basin, Kenya;” and Kay Behrensmeyer, curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, who will speak on “Faunal Context of Human Evolution in the East African Rift Valley.” Thure Cerling, Distinguished Professor of Geology and Geophysics and Biology at the University of Utah, will speak on “Floral Context of Human Evolution – as Represented by Geochemical Signatures;” and Bonnie Jacobs, professor of earth sciences in SMU’s Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, will speak on “Floral Context of Human Evolution – as Represented by Plant Fossils.”

Irene Hirano Inouye

“Celebrating the American Experience and U.S.-Japan Relations:
Irene Hirano Inouye, Her Life, Works and Achievements”
Friday, May 15
Reception, 3-3:30 p.m.
Panel Discussion and Remarks, 3:30-5 p.m.
Hillcrest Appellate Courtroom and Classroom, Underwood Law Library 

Inouye is a leader in international relations who, while still in her 20s, began tailoring her career toward service as director of a Los Angeles medical clinic providing affordable care for poor and uninsured women. She helped build the Japanese American National Museum, which opened in 1992, and became the founding president of the U.S.-Japan Council in 2008.

Panel participants are Admiral Patrick M. Walsh, U.S. Navy (ret.), Tower Center senior fellow and former commander of the Pacific Fleet; Anny Wong, research fellow in the Tower Center and a member of the board of the Japan-America Society of Dallas-Fort Worth; and moderator Hiroki Takeuchi, associate professor and director of the Tower Center’s Sun & Star Program on Japan and East Asia. Inouye will deliver closing remarks and will be available for questions.

The symposium is free, but registration is required; email the Tower Center to RSVP. More information is available at the Tower Center website.

Helen LaKelly Hunt

“A Revolutionary Approach to Conflict Resolution:
A Symposium Honoring Helen LaKelly Hunt”
Friday, May 15
Panel presentation 10:30 a.m.-noon, Smith Auditorium, Meadows Museum
Lunch and remarks, noon-1:30 p.m., Jones Room, Meadows Museum 

Hunt is a donor-activist, author and SMU alumna who has been recognized for both her work for healthy marriages and family and her efforts in helping to build the global women’s funding movement. She is the founder of The Sister Fund, a private foundation that supports women’s social, political, economic and spiritual empowerment. Hunt has helped establish several other organizations, including Dallas Women’s Foundation, New York Women’s Foundation, Women’s Funding Network and Women Moving Millions. Her books include Faith and Feminism: A Holy Alliance, as well as seven books on intimate relationships and parenting co-authored with her husband, Harville Hendrix.

Hunt and Hendrix will discuss the new science of relationships with panelists David Chard, dean of SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human DevelopmentRita Kirk, director of SMU’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public ResponsibilityLorelei Simpson Rowe, associate professor and graduate program co-director in SMU’s Department of Psychology and an expert in couples relationships; and Michelle Kinder, executive director of the Momentous Institute.

Please RSVP for the lunch to Family Wellness Dallas.

Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Learn more about SMU’s Commencement ceremonies, events and traditions at smu.edu/commencement

SMU to honor three global leaders with honorary degrees during its 100th Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 16, 2015

SMU has chosen three extraordinary women to receive honorary degrees at its 100th Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 16, 2015.

The honorees are Meave Leakey, standard-bearer of a family of anthropologists whose research in Africa has revealed important clues to humans’ earliest ancestors; Irene Hirano Inouye, who helped build the Japanese American National Museum and is the founding president of the U.S.-Japan Council; and Helen LaKelly Hunt, a donor-activist, author and SMU alumna whose life focus has been to empower women and educate people about the value of healthy, intimate relationships. All three will receive from SMU the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Information about symposia presented by the honorary degree recipients will be released at a later date.

“One of the great privileges for SMU is conferring honorary degrees upon recipients who have excelled in their fields and contributed to society in diverse ways,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “They show our students how to change the world through education, service and philanthropy – and also illustrate the value of lives well-lived.”

> The history of honorary degrees at SMU, including honorees by name, year and degree

Meave LeakeyMEAVE LEAKEY has established herself as one of the most visible and distinguished scientists in a highly competitive profession through her field and laboratory research in paleoanthropology. Her research interests focus on East African mammalian evolution over the past 30 million years, with emphasis on primate and human evolution. Together with colleagues, Leakey has described new species of early apes, monkeys and human ancestors, including Australopithecus anamensis, the earliest known australopithecine (an extinct genus of early African hominids), and Kenyanthropus platyops (also extinct, the species name means “flat-faced man of Kenya”). These findings provide evidence of diversity in the human fossil record 3.5 million years ago.

Having retired as head of the Department of Palaeontology at the National Museums of Kenya, Leakey is now a research associate in the museum’s Palaeontology Division. She also is a research professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Stony Brook, New York, and director of Plio-Pleistocene research at the Turkana Basin Institute, Nairobi. In 2002, she was named a National Geographic “Explorer-in-Residence” in honor of the 50-year relationship between the National Geographic Society and the Leakey family.

Leakey is author of numerous groundbreaking scientific publications in prestigious journals and the author of several monographs documenting her research in Turkana. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including two honorary degrees from Stony Brook University and the University College of London, and was a recipient of the Academy of Achievement Award in 2004. In 2011 she was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Geological Society of London. In 2013 she was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., as a Foreign Associate, and the same year she became a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences.

Leakey received a B.S. in zoology and marine zoology from the University of North Wales in 1965 and a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of North Wales in 1968.

Irene Hirano Inouye IRENE HIRANO INOUYE became the executive director of T.H.E. (To Help Everyone) Clinic in Los Angeles at the age of 27. Founded by medical volunteers, T.H.E. aspired to bring affordable healthcare to poor and uninsured women. In 1988, she was appointed president and CEO of the Japanese-American National Museum (JANM), which opened in 1992. She would develop it as one of the preeminent resources in America on the immigrant experience. Its high-profile exhibitions, community connections, research projects and eventual affiliation with the Smithsonian have helped the museum build a reputation for excellence while encouraging young people to acknowledge and connect with their Japanese-American heritage. Inouye has played a foundational role in getting the World War II Japanese internment camp experience into history textbooks, and in gaining public attention for exceptional Japanese-Americans.

Inouye became the founding president of the U.S.-Japan Council (USJC) in 2008, the same year she married U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. The USJC builds upon her work at the Japanese American National Museum and seeks to create networks of Japanese-Americans at the top levels of business, government, education, and the non-profit sector. After the 2011 tsunami in Japan, she became the guiding force in the Tomodachi Initiative, which supports Japan’s recovery from the disaster as a joint project of the USJC and the American embassy in Tokyo.

Inouye currently serves as chair of the board of the Ford Foundation, and she previously chaired the board of the Kresge Foundation. She also serves on the executive boards of Independent Sector, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Smithsonian Institution, the American Association of Museums, and the President’s Committee.

Inouye earned two degrees in Public Administration from USC: her B.S. in 1970 and her M.P.A. in 1972.

Helen LaKelly Hunt HELEN LaKELLY HUNT is a donor-activist, author and SMU alumna who has been recognized for both her work for healthy marriages and family and her efforts in helping to build the global women’s funding movement. She is the founder of The Sister Fund, a private foundation that supports women’s social, political, economic and spiritual empowerment. Hunt has helped establish several other organizations, including Dallas Women’s Foundation, New York Women’s Foundation, Women’s Funding Network and Women Moving Millions.

Her books include Faith and Feminism: A Holy Alliance, as well as seven books on intimate relationships and parenting co-authored with her husband, Harville HendrixTheir joint publications have sold more than two million copies and have been translated into more than 50 languages. With Hendrix, Hunt helped to develop Imago Relationships International, a nonprofit organization formed as a guide for transforming relationships and building better marriages. Imago Therapy is practiced by more than 1,900 therapists in more than 20 countries. Over the last two years, they have been disseminating in South Dallas and West Dallas “Safe Conversations” skills through a program called Family Wellness Dallas!

In recognition of her leadership in the women’s funding movement, Hunt has received Gloria Steinem’s Women of Vision Award from the Ms. Foundation for Women, the Equity Leadership Award from Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW), the National Creative Philanthropy Award from the National Network of Women’s Funds, and the Laura Parsons Pratt Award for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of Women and Children from the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies. In addition, Hunt has been an Honoree of the Center for the Elimination of Violence in the Family and has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Hunt received three degrees from SMU: a B.A. in Secondary Education in 1971, an M.L.A. in 1976 and an M.A in Counseling in 1979. Hunt earned a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary in 2004, her focus of study being the religious foundations of American Feminism.

> Learn more about SMU’s Commencement ceremonies, events and traditions at smu.edu/commencement

Former President George W. Bush will deliver address at SMU’s 2015 Commencement Saturday, May 16

George W BushGeorge W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, will deliver the address at SMU’s Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 16, in Moody Coliseum on the main campus.

“This Commencement is especially noteworthy because 2015 is the 100-year anniversary of SMU’s opening. So it is fitting that we should hear from a president who led our nation and the world during historic times and is a valued member of the campus community,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner.

SMU expects to award more than 2,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees in the University-wide ceremony.

This is the first time that an SMU Commencement speaker has returned for a second presentation. Mr. Bush’s first Commencement speech at SMU was in 1999, when he was governor of Texas.

George W. Bush has been a long-time member of the SMU family through his marriage to Laura, an SMU alumna, who is currently a member of the SMU Board of Trustees. However, since his 2007 decision to locate his Presidential Center at SMU, he has become an active member of the University community, attending events and visiting classes.

“The Presidential Center and SMU are enjoying numerous partnerships through joint programming and faculty research as well as internships for SMU students,” Turner said. “Through the Center, more than 700,000 people have visited SMU, most of whom never before would have come to our campus. We are grateful for the resources and benefits of the Presidential Center and President Bush’s participation as Commencement speaker during this special time.”

George W. Bush received his bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School. After a successful career in business, including as an owner of the Texas Rangers, he was elected governor of Texas in 1994. When he was re-elected in November 1998, he became the first governor in Texas history to be elected to consecutive four-year terms. He is the author of two New York Times number one bestsellers, Decision Points and 41: A Portrait of my Father.

Following the University-wide Commencement, SMU’s schools and departments will hold individual ceremonies throughout the day to present degrees and honor graduates.

Written by Patricia Ann LaSalle

> Read more from SMU News

Calendar Highlights: The Spring 2015 term at a glance

Dallas Hall steps from a 3rd-story windowWelcome back! SMU’s 2015 Spring Term begins Friday, Jan. 16 – a few important dates at a glance:

  • Friday, Jan. 16: First day of classes for the 2015 Spring Term
  • Monday, Jan. 19: Martin Luther King Day (University closed). SMU celebrates MLK Day of Service 8 a.m.-1 p.m. – learn more at smu.edu/volunteer
  • Wednesday, Jan. 21: Spring 2015 General Faculty Meeting
  • Monday-Sunday, March 9-15: Spring Break
  • Friday, April 3: Good Friday (University closed)
  • Monday, April 13: Honors Convocation and Awards Extravaganza
  • Friday, April 17: Founders’ Day
  • Monday, May 4: Last day of classes for Spring 2015
  • Tuesday, May 5: Reading Day
  • Wednesday-Tuesday, May 6-12: Final examinations (no exams scheduled on Sunday)
  • Friday, May 15: Baccalaureate
  • Saturday, May 16: All-University Commencement and school/department diploma ceremonies

SMU celebrates 99th Commencement May 17, 2014

commencement-procession-faculty-mace-howard-lantern

SMU will celebrate the academic accomplishments of more than 2,100 students at its 99th annual Commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 17, in Moody Coliseum.

This year’s Commencement speaker, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, is noted for his work to improve the quality of life in the city. He has created new strategies for growing the arts through the Mayor’s Business Arts Initiative, has used his visibility as mayor to organize a campaign against domestic violence and has put Dallas in the spotlight by taking a leading role with the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Read more on Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings

Guests are urged to arrive early as seating in the coliseum is limited to four guests per student. Additional seating will be available for a simulcast of the event at Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports. The ceremony also will be broadcast outside Moody Coliseum on Mustang Plaza, and there will be a webcast of the ceremony online at smu.edu/live.

The University’s 2014 honorary degree recipients are Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson, Methodist historian Richard P. Heitzenrater and SMU law professor Joseph W. McKnight. Each will be included in a symposium in his or her honor, all of which are free and open to the public.

> Learn more about the honorary degree recipients and symposia

The Baccalaureate Service will be at 8 p.m. Friday, May 16, in McFarlin Auditorium. Like the Commencement ceremony, it will be webcast live.

The traditional Faculty Breakfast begins at 7:45 a.m. in the Miller Event Center’s Champions Club, Moody Coliseum. If you are serving as a faculty marshal, you are encouraged to report to your assigned location by 7:50 a.m.

> RSVP for the Faculty Breakfast and Commencement procession

Retired and current faculty will assemble in academic dress no later than 8:40 a.m. in the Miller Champions Club. The procession begins moving at 8:50 a.m.

Compiled by Gary Shultz, SMU News

Visit the SMU Registrar’s May Commencement homepage: smu.edu/commencement

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will deliver address at SMU’s 99th Commencement May 17, 2014

Mike-Rawlings-02Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will deliver the address at SMU’s 99th all-University Commencement. The ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 17, in Moody Coliseum.

The ceremony, including Rawlings’ address, will be broadcast live at smu.edu/live.

Elected mayor in June 2011, Rawlings immediately took on a broad agenda of citywide improvements. He has created new strategies for growing the arts through the Mayor’s Business Arts Initiative, has used his visibility as mayor to organize a campaign against domestic violence and has put Dallas in the spotlight by taking a leading role with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which will meet in Dallas June 20-23, 2014.

With the launch of GrowSouth, Rawlings outlined a comprehensive strategy designed to boost the economic impact of southern Dallas. GrowSouth already has been a catalyst for new economic investment, job creation and public-private partnerships. In 2012, The Dallas Morning News praised Rawlings, saying, “After only six months, Rawlings has accomplished more for southern Dallas than many of his predecessors managed in their entire terms.”

Rawlings has adopted four DISD schools in southern Dallas in areas primed for growth and also is working closely with Commit!, an education collaborative for Dallas-area schools. SMU partners with Rawlings on the Mayor’s Summer Reading Club, which provides incentives to keep children reading over the summer months, as well as the Mayor’s Intern Fellows Program, an eight-week, paid summer internship program for students from public and charter high schools in Dallas.

“Mike Rawlings has a passion for improving the quality of life in Dallas,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He is using his platform as mayor to work for more livable neighborhoods, increased economic opportunity throughout the city and strong public education for Dallas children. We prepare our graduates to become world changers, and I can’t think of a better example for them than Mayor Rawlings.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

SMU names three honorary degree recipients for 2014

Three outstanding individuals, including a current and a former SMU professor, will receive honorary degrees at the University’s 99th Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 17, in Moody Coliseum.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson and Methodist historian Richard P. Heitzenrater will receive honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees. SMU law professor Joseph W. McKnight will receive the honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Each of the honorary degree recipients will be featured in symposia scheduled for Thursday, May 15 and Friday, May 16. All are free and open to the public.

SMU expects to award more than 2,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees to students at May Commencement.

“Conferring honorary degrees is an important and time-honored Commencement tradition,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “This year’s recipients’ achievements are outstanding examples of what we hope our students will strive to accomplish when pursuing their professional endeavors.”

Journalist and author Isabel WilkersonWhile writing for The New York Times, Wilkerson became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism and the first African-American, male or female, to win the Pulitzer for individual reporting. Her award-winning book, The Warmth of Other Suns, is a definitive history of the Great Migration of African-Americans from the rural South to urban centers in the North and West. For her achievements as a journalist and contributions to understanding of the African-American experience, SMU will confer upon Wilkerson the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Methodist historian and theologian Richard P. HeitzenraterHeitzenrater is recognized as the world’s leading authority on John Wesley and early Methodism. His book,Wesley and the People Called Methodists, has been translated into seven languages. He served on the faculty of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology for 16 years and in 2010 retired from the faculty of Duke University Divinity School. He is best known for breaking the secret code of Wesley’s personal diaries, making them available to the world. For his scholarly achievements and his service to SMU, the University will confer upon Heitzenrater the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

SMU Law Professor Joseph W. McKnightMcKnight has made historic contributions to scholarship in legal history and to law reform in Texas. He retires this year from SMU’s law faculty after serving for six decades. The author of six books, he directed the Texas Family Code project, which achieved important reforms, and was principal drafter of the Texas Matrimonial Property Act, recognizing property rights of married women. For his dedicated service to SMU, his distinguished scholarship and his leadership in the legal community, the University will confer upon McKnight the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

The honorary degree symposia

• McKnight will be featured in a symposium from 3-5 p.m. Thursday, May 15, in the Underwood Law Library. “A Celebration of Joseph Webb McKnight, his Contributions to Texas Law, to Legal History, and to the SMU Dedman School of Law” will include speakers Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht; Chief Justice for the Fifth District Court of Appeals Linda B. ThomasJosiah M. Daniel, III, Esq., of the law firm of Vinson & Elkins; Professor Joshua C. Tate of the SMU Dedman School of Law; and Peter Winship, the James Cleo Thompson, Sr. Professor of Law in the Dedman School of Law. Dedman Law Interim Dean Julie Forrester will serve as emcee for the event.

• Wilkerson will participate in a symposium from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Friday, May 16, in the Pavilion of Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall. The symposium, “Literature for Real: Journalism, the American Canon, and the Evolving American South,” will include keynote speaker Farah Jasmine Griffin, professor of English/Comparative Literature/African American Studies, Columbia University, and author of Who Set You Flowin’? and Harlem Nocturne. A discussion will include remarks from Wilkerson and feature panelists Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor of The Atlantic Monthly and author of The Beautiful StruggleBrittney Cooper, assistant professor of women’s and gender and Africana studies, Rutgers University, and columnist for Salon.com; Daina Ramey Berry, associate professor of history, University of Texas at Austin, and author of Swing the Sickle for the Harvest is RipeWalton Muyumba, associate professor of English at the University of North Texas and author of The Shadow and the Act: Black Intellectual Practice, Jazz Improvisation, and Philosophical Pragmatism; and moderator Karen Thomas, SMU professor of practice in journalism and Dallas Morning News writer.

• Heitzenrater will be featured in a symposium at 3 p.m., Friday, May 16, in the Great Hall of Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall. The symposium, “Grace Works: Reflections on Divine Grace, Human Works, and John Wesley – Celebrating the Scholarly Contributions of Richard P. Heitzenrater,” will include remarks by SMU Perkins School of Theology Dean William B. Lawrence and will feature panelists Ted A. Campbell, associate professor of Church History, Perkins School of Theology, and an ordained United Methodist minister and clergy member of the Texas Annual Conference; Sharon Grant, adjunct faculty in the Religion and Philosophy Department at University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, and an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church; Tamara Lewis, instructor in Church History, Perkins School of Theology, and an ordained United Methodist minister and clergy member of the Tennessee Annual Conference; and Andrew C. Thompson, assistant professor of Historical Theology & Wesleyan Studies at Memphis Theological Seminary and an ordained United Methodist minister and clergy member of the Arkansas Annual Conference. Heitzenrater will bring a response to the panel. In addition, an exhibition honoring Heitzenrater will be featured in the Entry Hall of Bridwell Library.

> Read the full story from SMU 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.)

2013 honorary degree recipients take part in symposia May 17

Two of SMU’s five 2013 honorary degree recipients will participate in public symposia in their honor during Commencement week. Both events are scheduled for Friday, May 17, and both are free and open to the entire community.

The five individuals who will receive honorary SMU degrees on Saturday each have made distinguished contributions in their fields:

  • James R. BiardJames 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), now ubiquitous in devices ranging from digital clocks and remote controls to television screens and traffic lights. He holds more than 75 patents for his inventions. Biard is an adjunct professor of electrical engineering at Texas A&M.
  • Swanee HuntSwanee Hunt will receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, for her efforts toward world peace and gender parity. Hunt was ambassador to Austria during the Balkan War and helped host programs aimed at stabilizing the neighboring Balkan states. She is founder and president of the Institute for Inclusive Security, which trains women peace builders around the globe. She also is a lecturer in public policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
  • Kay Bailey HutchisonKay Bailey Hutchison will receive the degree of Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa, for her distinguished career in public service and support of higher education. Hutchison is the first woman to represent Texas in the United States Senate, serving from 1993 to 2012. During her years in the Senate, she expanded higher education opportunities for thousands of Texans and championed advancements in science, technology, engineering and math education. Hutchison helped bring to SMU more than $20 million in federal research funds.
  • Francis Christopher OakleyFrancis 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. He has written 13 books and served as president of the American Council of Learned Societies.
  • Bryan A. StevensonBryan 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. Stevenson also is a professor of clinical law at New York University School of Law.

Bob Biard will participate in an 11 a.m. symposium in his honor Friday, May 17, in the Huit-Zollars Seminar Room, Embrey Engineering Building. The public seminar will describe the events leading up to the invention of the first LED by Biard and Gary Pittman at Texas Instruments in 1962. (Pittman received a B.S. degree in chemistry with honors from SMU in 1953.) Also included will be a discussion of continuing developments in semiconductor light-emitting devices leading to the Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser (VCSEL).

Francis Oakley will participate in a symposium in his honor at 1:30 p.m. on Friday in the Texana Room, DeGolyer Library. The symposium is open to the public, and Oakley will respond to remarks made by Charles Curran, SMU’s Elizabeth Scurlock University Professor of Human Values; Texas A&M Professor Cary Nederman, an expert in medieval political thought; Bruce Basington, Regents Professor at West Texas A&M; and Willard Spiegelman, SMU’s Dwaine E. Hughes, Jr., Distinguished Professor of English, who was one of Oakley’s undergraduate students. A reception will follow at the home of Jeremy Adams, Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor in the William P. Clements Department of History.

Swanee Hunt will be featured at an invitation-only luncheon and symposium in her honor from noon to 3 p.m. Friday in the Dedman School of Law’s Karcher Auditorium, Storey Hall. The symposium is titled “Demand Abolition” and will address the topics of sex trafficking and prostitution.

> More about SMU’s 2013 Commencement from SMU News
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