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

2015-03-03T14:44:21+00:00 March 3, 2015|Calendar Highlights, News, Year of the Student|

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
2015-01-15T13:45:23+00:00 January 15, 2015|Calendar Highlights, Save the Date|

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

2014-05-07T12:27:08+00:00 May 7, 2014|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|

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

2014-04-30T17:26:14+00:00 April 29, 2014|Calendar Highlights, 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

2014-04-30T16:02:17+00:00 April 28, 2014|Calendar Highlights, News|
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