community involvement

Central University Libraries’ 2015 Food for Fines program continues through Wednesday, Dec. 16

Stock photo of canned foodsSMU’s Central University Libraries (CUL) is once again giving students, faculty and staff members an opportunity to help the community – and possibly save some cash as well.

During the 2015 Food for Fines program, CUL will accept food donations for the North Texas Food Bank in return for waiving library fines.

For every donation of a can or package of nonperishable food, SMU faculty, staff members and students will receive a $2 credit toward fines for overdue materials from Fondren Library Center and the Hamon Arts Library.

Learn more about the North Texas Food Bank

To collect your credits, just bring food donations to either of these libraries through Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. All SMU community members are welcome to participate – even those who have no library fines to cancel. Last year, the SMU community donated 374 cans, equaling $748 in waived library fines.

The Food for Fines program began in 2000 as a way for students to reduce or eliminate library fines while also giving back to the community. “The initiative encourages students to take a look around their dorm rooms to see if they do have any books that might well be overdue,” said Gillian McCombs, dean and director of Central University Libraries. “It is easy to forget these deadlines when you are powering away on a research paper during finals.”

Visit SMU’s Central University Libraries online

Waiver credits do not apply to lost book replacement charges or processing fees. Credit only applies to overdue book fines currently assessed; no future credit can be applied. Overdue fines cannot be waived if they have already been sent to the Bursar’s Office for collection.

“Every year we see students show enthusiasm for the program,” said Sam Cavanaugh, front desk receptionist at Fondren Library. “Last year we had several students bring in cans that amounted to more than their library fines. It’s great to see students giving back.”

— Emily Hooper

SMU dance students and Dallas Chamber Symphony perform live to silent classic Metropolis at Dallas VideoFest Oct. 13, 2015

Metropolis banner - SMU Dance, Dallas Chamber Symphony, Dallas Video Fest

Fourteen SMU dancers, all first-year students, will perform with the Dallas Chamber Symphony during a very special presentation of director Fritz Lang’s 1927 dystopian masterpiece, Metropolis.

During a screening of the 82-minute silent film classic, the students will provide an interactive dance performance choreographed by Associate Professor Christopher Dolder, with a new score by Austin-based film composer Brian Satterwhite performed live by the Dallas Chamber Symphony. The event is part of opening-night festivities for the 2015 Dallas VideoFest and begins Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. at Dallas City Performance Hall, 2520 Flora Street, in downtown Dallas.

> Learn more about the Dallas VideoFest at videofest.org

Often named as the first science fiction epic in film history, Metropolis is especially vivid in its portrayal of the disruptive effects of technological innovation and the social and economic stratifications it creates, as well as of civil liberties issues such as free speech, privacy and surveillance.

Metropolis is one of the great achievements of the silent era, a work so audacious in its vision and so angry in its message that it is, if anything, more powerful today than when it was made,” wrote the late Roger Ebert in a 1985 review.

> Learn more about Metropolis at IMDb

“Audiences have always been able to relate to these themes as new advances create new groups of haves and have-nots,” Dolder says. “Even today, 90 years later, they remain fresh and relevant.”

The film’s camera work, design and special effects are still haunting and evocative, and the staging of both crowd scenes and lead actors is “strikingly balletic [in] the repetitive synchronism of the working poor, as well as [its] portrayals of dance and artificial intelligence,” as noted in a Dallas Chamber Symphony release.

These elements and more make Metropolis fertile ground for a multidisciplinary collaboration between high art and high tech, Dolder says. “The trick for us will be to create a cohesive experience, where the new score and the dance element serve and enhance the film without distracting,” he adds.

> Christopher Dolder talks about Metropolis with KERA’s “Art & Seek”

The film’s otherworldly atmosphere is enhanced not only by the music, set and dancers, but also by the strategic projection of video elements from the film, isolated onto the dancers and set, Dolder says. He created and painted the intricate series of risers on which his students will perform – and made a point not to ask for their help, he adds.

“When we started this project, I told them I was going to treat them as professional dancers helping to create a new work,” he says. “In return, I expected them to prepare and conduct themselves in the same way.”

The approach has worked, Dolder says. “These first-year students may be the best class of dancers we’ve had – and we’ve consistently attracted talented, intelligent classes,” he says.

> Metropolis preview by Michael Granberry in The Dallas Morning News

“Each year, we try and accomplish something new, and more daring,” says Richard McKay, the DSC’s artistic director and conductor. “It is our ensemble’s adventurous culture that has motivated [us] to start the season with Metropolis – by far, the most complex and expansive production we have ever created.”

Individual tickets are available for $19-$55 each, $15 for students. VIP tickets can be purchased for $75, which will include a pre-event cocktail reception backstage with the artists, starting at 7 p.m. An after party will be hosted by Proof + Pantry, across the street from the theater, with complimentary appetizers for all patrons who would like to meet the composer and performers. Get tickets and more information online at DCSymphony.org, or call 214-449-1294.

> Find event information and purchase tickets at the Dallas Chamber Symphony website,

Texas churches help SMU mark its centennial with ringing of bells

United Methodist churches across Texas honored the SMU centennial by ringing their bells at noon on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015 — the 100th anniversary of the first day of classes on the Hilltop.

The bells rang 10 times, once for each decade of SMU’s existence, followed by celebratory peals. In addition, members of SMU’s Carillon Guild performed 100 mathematical sequences from the University carillon in the cupola atop Fondren Science Building.

The commemoration ceremony began at 10 a.m. with a change ringing ceremony, a celebratory bell tradition that dates to the Middle Ages. In “change ringing,” the bells produce a series of mathematical patterns called “changes” rather than a conventional melody.

The following 30 United Methodist churches participated in the bell ringing:

  • Chinn’s Chapel UMC, Lewisville
  • Custer Road UMC, Plano
  • First UMC Celina
  • First UMC Coppell
  • First UMC Dallas
  • First UMC Frisco
  • First UMC Gainesville
  • First UMC Grand Prairie
  • First UMC Irving
  • First UMC Lancaster
  • First UMC Richardson
  • First UMC Sherman
  • First UMC Sulphur Springs
  • First UMC Terrell
  • First UMC Tom Bean
  • First UMC Wichita Falls
  • Forestburg UMC
  • Grace UMC, Sherman
  • Highland Park UMC
  • Lovers Lane UMC
  • New Covenant UMC, Mesquite
  • Paradise UMC
  • Pleasant Valley UMC, Sachse
  • Plymouth Park UMC, Irving
  • Poetry UMC, Terrell
  • Ridgewood Park UMC, Irving
  • Saint Jo UMC
  • Whitewright/Marvin UMC
By | 2015-10-02T10:57:02+00:00 October 2, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

Wading Home opera marks an SMU Meadows-guided community collaboration between Dallas and New Orleans

'Wading Home' photoTo observe the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, SMU is participating in a community collaboration that commemorates the event in music. Wading Home, an opera set against the backdrop of the historic storm, opens for a one-night-only free performance at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015 in Dallas City Performance Hall, 2520 Flora Street. The show was performed in New Orleans on Sept. 12-13 at Loyola University’s Roussel Hall.

The story of a young musician’s struggle to find his missing father in the chaotic aftermath of the hurricane, Wading Home is based on the novel of the same name by Dallas author and violinist Rosalyn Story. The opera, composed by Dallas musician Mary Alice Rich, is produced in collaboration with several Meadows School of the Arts faculty members and students, as well as community members from Dallas and New Orleans.

The opera is a dream project for Meadows Professor of Voice Barbara Hill Moore, who is serving as producer and music director. The stage director is Meadows Director of Opera Hank Hammett, and the conductor is Constantina Tsolainou, former head of choral activities at the Meadows School.

“I am intensely proud of the amazing gifts of time, talent, and love of the human family and spirit, shared without compensation by SMU faculty, staff, students and alumni in this collaborative project with Loyola University and the people of New Orleans,” says Hill Moore. “The three performances of Wading Home are a community collaboration shared by Texans, Louisianans, New Yorkers, South Africans and a host of people from around the globe with the people of New Orleans and of Dallas.”

Baritone and Meadows alumnus Donnie Ray Albert (M.M. ’75) sings the role of the lost father, Simon. Other leading roles in the Dallas performance include established opera singers and Meadows alumni Leon Turner (M.M. ’92) as Julian, Simon’s musician son, and Bronwen Forbay (Artist Diploma ’04) as Velmyra, Julian’s former love who helps him reconnect with his Louisiana roots and his lost father. Also sharing the stage is Quintin Coleman (M.M. ’15, Performer’s Diploma ’17) as Julian’s trumpeter friend Grady, with whom Julian has lost touch during the years he has been performing around the globe as a famous jazz musician. Dance alumnus Jamal Story (B.F.A. Dance Performance and B.A. Corporate Communications ’99) will also perform.

The SMU Meadows new music ensemble SYZYGY, led by Meadows Director of Chamber Music and three-time Grammy winner Matt Albert, will play live. Also onstage for the Dallas performance will be the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas.

The performances have been produced with support from the Dallas-based organization The Black Academy of Arts and Letters (TBAAL), with funding from the Meadows School of the Arts and the Bruce R. Foote Memorial Scholarship Foundation.

> Read the full story from the SMU Meadows homepage

SMU faculty to help lead immigration history conference at Dallas’ Old Red Museum Sept. 19, 2015

Immigrants going through San Angelo, Texas - early photograph, Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photography Collection

A photo by M.C. Ragsdale ca. 1885-90 of immigrants passing through San Angelo, Texas. From the Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photography Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU.

The challenging task of teaching a controversial subject to middle- and high-school students will be the focus of an upcoming immigration conference featuring several University faculty members.

SMU and the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture are partnering with Humanities Texas and the Texas Historical Commission to present a conference on the history of U.S. immigration from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015 at the museum.

“Issues surrounding immigration are at the forefront of public discourse these days,” said Zac Harmon, executive director of the Old Red Museum. “Statistics and beliefs are strongly held but are often mistaken for facts. This conference will provide documented, factual information for teachers, politicians and other citizens who really want to understand the issue. We are grateful to the Philip R. Jonsson Foundation for sponsoring this first of what we hope will become an annual conference.”

Conference participants can choose to hear two of six speakers scheduled during the morning session. Lunch and a keynote address by Margaret Spellings, president of the George W. Bush Presidential Center and former secretary of education (2005-09), will follow.

Afternoon breakout sessions will provide teachers with lesson plans, materials and strategies to help them make history come alive for students of all grade levels. Teachers attending both sessions can earn six Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits.

Topics and speakers include:

  • “D/FW Becoming an Immigrant Gateway” – Caroline Brettell, University Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Ruth Collins Altshuler Director of SMU’s Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute
  • “Gone To Texas: Immigration to the Lone Star State in the 19th Century” – Gregg Cantrell, Emma and Ralph Lowe Chair of Texas History, TCU
  • “Immigration and the Changing Face of America” – Neil Foley, Robert and Nancy Dedman Chair in History, Dedman College
  • “Visualizing the Changing Landscape of U.S. Immigration” – Kyle Walker, assistant professor of population and urban geography, TCU
  • “Managing Migration in an Era of Globalization” – James F. Hollifield, Ora Nixon Arnold Professor of International Political Economy and director of SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies
  • “Immigration and the Changing Demography of Liberal Democracies” – Gary Freeman, professor of government, University of Texas-Austin

Registration, which includes a continental breakfast, lunch, parking, materials and access to the exhibit area, is $25 and can be completed online at www.oldred.org. For information, contact Shannon Page at the Old Red Museum, 214-757-1927.

Written by Kenny Ryan

2015 Common Reading author Emily St. John Mandel to speak at SMU Wednesday, Sept. 9

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, North American coverEmily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven, the 2015 SMU Common Reading selection, will present a free lecture at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9, at McFarlin Auditorium. The entire community is invited to attend.

Station Eleven is set 20 years after a virus has killed almost all humanity. The main characters are a traveling troupe of actors and musicians who bring performances of Shakespeare to the small and struggling human settlements that remain. The novel tells the story of the global disaster in real time and of its survivors 20 years later.

Community members, alumni, book lovers and book clubs are invited to join SMU Reads, a program that encourages reading and supports literacy in the Dallas community. SMU Reads participants can take part in other events planned by the University’s SMU Reads partner, the Dallas Public Library.

By registering to take part in SMU Reads, you will receive regular e-mails informing you about special events and gatherings. In addition, you also will qualify to purchase Station Eleven at a 10 percent discount through the SMU Barnes & Noble bookstore.

Upcoming events include survivalist training at REI, urban emergency preparedness from Dallas County health leaders at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library and a pop-up performance of King Lear performed by Shakespeare Dallas.

Partners in SMU Reads include Big D Reads, Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, Dallas Public Library, Dallas Social Venture Partners, Deep Vellum, Friends of the SMU Libraries, Highland Hotel, Highland Park Library, Highland Park Literary Festival, Richardson Public Library, Shakespeare Dallas, SMU Alumni Relations, the SMU Barnes and Noble Bookstore, University Park Public Library, Well Read Women of Dallas, and Wild Detectives.

For more details about events and to preregister for Mandel’s lecture visit smu.edu/smureads.

Written by Nancy George

> Visit the SMU Common Reading website

Meadows School to explore community engagement and the arts with Ignite Arts Dallas

Clyde Valentin, director of arts and urbanism and Ignite Arts Dallas in SMU's Meadows School of the Arts

Clyde Valentín, director of the arts and urbanism initiative in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, will lead Ignite Arts Dallas.

SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts has launched a new initiative to focus on the intersections of arts and community engagement among Meadows School students, the University campus, the city of Dallas and the arts at large.

Under the leadership of Clyde Valentín, director of the Meadows School’s arts and urbanism initiative, Ignite Arts Dallas will integrate artistic practices with community engagement in Dallas and other communities across the country.

“Over the past several years the Meadows School has increasingly focused on the intersection of the arts and social engagement,” said Sam Holland, Algur H. Meadows Dean of the Meadows School. “Ignite Arts Dallas will bring together under one umbrella our existing programs in these areas, like the annual Meadows Prize, and spark new ideas for programs that will position the Meadows School and Dallas as a national model for art as civic practice.”

The Meadows Prize invites internationally recognized artists and scholars to interact with Meadows students and create a lasting work in Dallas, and students and faculty from throughout the school’s 11 disciplines are involved with projects that support diverse communities in the city. The 2015 winners of the Meadows Prize residency are the Detroit-based artist collective Complex Movements and Lear deBessonet, director of The Public Theater’s Public Works program in New York City.

A second major project of Ignite Arts Dallas, titled P3, will present non-traditional, multidisciplinary performance art work exploring the themes of racial and cultural equity, religion, immigration and the environment. An inaugural gift of $225,000 from the Embrey Family Foundation will enable P3 to showcase four works in Dallas between fall 2015 and fall 2017. The works will feature international, national and local artists working in collaboration with SMU students and community members. P3 also plans to commission a work from a local artist to be developed and produced in Dallas in spring 2017.

“The P3 series is designed to ‘seed’ a pipeline where creators of mid-size performance art projects begin to make Dallas a regular location for the development and presentation of work,” said Valentín, who served as executive director of the New York City-based Hip-Hop Theater Festival before coming to SMU in October 2013. “It is also a vital way to reach into the community and collaborate with organizations such as the AT&T Performing Arts Center, the South Dallas Cultural Center, Dallas Video Fest and others, while offering our students experiences beyond the classroom and the campus.”

The third major program of Ignite Arts Dallas will be the Dallas Arts Project, which will help bring work created in Dallas to completion and will advocate for exporting it to other communities. Through myriad cultural collaborations and interactions, Valentín and Meadows School faculty members and students will work to enhance Dallas’s existing arts and culture ecosystem and encourage people to think of Dallas’s culture in new ways while connecting that cultural energy to other creative communities around the country.

“Our vision for Ignite Arts Dallas is to engage in deep relationships with the broader Dallas community and to introduce students to the arts’ critical role in social engagement,” said Valentín. “Our tagline is ‘people, place, purpose,’ the main ingredients that create meaningful change, with the arts serving as a connector between various sectors that build community. The arts have the ability to shape the narrative of progress for Dallas and other urban centers across the country. Through our work with exemplary artists, cultural organizers and artistic scholars, we will contribute to a vision of our cities where the arts are integrated into our communities and where the modern urban fabric is built on a foundation of equity and sustainability.”

Written by Victoria Winkelman

> Read the full story at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts website

 

SMU’s 2015 Common Reading explores the end, and beginning, of civilization with Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, North American coverSMU’s incoming class of 2019 will read and discuss the first work of speculative fiction chosen for the University’s Common Reading program – Emily St. John Mandel’s acclaimed fourth novel, Station Eleven.

Mandel’s book explores a post-apocalyptic America in which a deadly strain of influenza has wiped out 99 percent of the world’s population, mere days after A-list actor Arthur Leander has died of a heart attack during a performance of King Lear. Leander’s fellow cast members who survive the pandemic band together as the Traveling Symphony, bringing music and theatre to the small and struggling human settlements that remain. The novel tells the story both of the global disaster in real time and of its survivors 20 years later.

A New York Times best-seller and 2014 National Book Award finalist, Station Eleven received the Arthur C. Clarke Award for best science fiction novel of the year in May 2015. George R.R. Martin (A Song of Ice and FireGame of Thrones) chose it as his favorite book of 2014, calling it “beautifully written, and wonderfully elegiac.”

“This is a book not as much about apocalypse as it is about our human society, particularly the objects and technology we live with but take for granted on an everyday basis,” said Associate Provost Harold Stanley in an e-mail to faculty and staff members dated Thursday, April 16, 2015. “…[T]he book enables readers to consider how art can create meaning and value in the most constrained of human circumstances.”

Station Eleven is the third work of fiction chosen for the University’s Common Reading since the program began in 2004. The first, How to Be Good by Nick Hornby, was the Common Reading book in 2007; We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulaweyo ’07 was the 2014 selection.

Past SMU Common Reading books also include Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman (2004), Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich (2005), The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman (2006), The Devil’s Highway by Luís Alberto Urrea (2008), Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama (2009), Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (2010), The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (2011), The Big Short by Michael Lewis (2012), and The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore (2013).

The Common Reading Selection Committee is now seeking leaders for the pre-Convocation reading discussion on Sunday, Aug. 23. Discussion leaders will receive a free copy of the book. Active and emeritus professors from all SMU schools are invited to take part, as well as University staff members.

In addition, St. John Mandel will give a public lecture for the entire community at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9, in McFarlin Auditorium.

To volunteer as a discussion leader, or for more information on this year’s selection, contact David Doyle.

> Watch for more information at SMU’s Common Reading homepage: smu.edu/commonreading

Statistician and data-journalism pioneer Nate Silver to speak in SMU’s Tate Distinguished Lecture Series May 5, 2015

Nate Silver, SMU Tate speaker

Statistician, author and blogger Nate Silver – who has earned a national spotlight with his innovative analyses of political polling – will deliver the next Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture of 2015. Silver gives the Jones Day Lecture at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 5 in McFarlin Auditorium.

Follow Nate Silver on Twitter: @NateSilver538

Before his work in politics, Silver established his credentials as an analyst of baseball statistics. He developed the acclaimed sabermetric system PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm), which predicts player performance, career development, and seasonal winners and losers.

He first gained national attention during the 2008 presidential election, when he correctly predicted the results of the primaries and the presidential winner in 49 states. In 2012, he called 50 of 50 states. The accuracy of Silver’s analyses and predictions, and the innovative ways in which he arrived at them, led TIME Magazine to name him one of The World’s 100 Most Influential People in April 2009. In 2013, he was listed at #1 on Fast Company magazine’s list of The 100 Most Creative People in Business.

In 2010, Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog was licensed for publication by The New York Times. The site won Webby Awards for Best Political Blog from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences in 2012 and 2013.

> Learn more about Nate Silver’s work at FiveThirtyEight.com

The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver

Today, Silver is pioneering the new field of data journalism with the new FiveThirtyEight, recently relaunched in partnership with ESPN. The new format allows Silver to cover a wider range of topics, including politics, sports, science and travel. He also appears as an ESPN on-air commentator.

Silver’s first book, The Signal and the Noise, reached the New York Times best-seller list and was named the #1 best nonfiction book of 2012 by Amazon.com, as well as winning the 2013 Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science. Silver has also contributed chapters to several books in the Baseball Prospectus series, including Mind Game, Baseball Between the Numbers, and It Ain’t Over ‘til It’s Over.

Silver earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Chicago in 2000. Since then, he has received four honorary doctorates.

Tuesday’s evening lecture is sold out, but SMU students may attend for free with their University ID if seats become available. They may meet in the basement of McFarlin Auditorium at 7 p.m.

Silver will answer questions from University community members and local high school students in the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 5 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. The Forum is free, but seating is limited. SMU faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend; RSVP online to ensure a place.

To ask Silver a question via Twitter, send a tweet to @SMUtate with the hashtag #SMUtate.

> Visit SMU’s Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series homepage

Tune In: Peruna Paint Project promotes the value of college

SMU students and alumni took time for their community as part of the Peruna Paint Project at Dallas’ Lee A. McShan Elementary School on Saturday, April 11, 2015.

The ongoing project – in which University community members paint colorful murals using SMU themes – was created to encourage local elementary- and secondary-school students to think about college and to inspire them toward future opportunities.

Click the YouTube screen to watch the Mustang Minute video by Myles Taylor of SMU News, or visit this link to watch the Peruna Paint Project in a new windowvideo

> Check out more videos at the Mustang Minute blog

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