Harold Stanley

Common Reading 2012: Anatomy of a financial disaster

'The Big Short' book coverBy the time the public learned of the 2008 U.S. stock market crash, it had been happening for more than a year. Author and journalist Michael Lewis sought out a relatively obscure handful of Wall Street hedge-fund managers – minor players even in their own companies – to answer the questions of who knew about the oncoming financial disaster and why they were unable, or unwilling, to stop it.

The result was The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, originally published in 2010. SMU has chosen Lewis’ work as the class of 2016’s first-year Common Reading Experience – the book every member of the Fall 2012 incoming class will read and discuss.

In an e-mail announcing the selection, Associate Provost Harold Stanley cited Lewis’ ability to “[weave] the stories of some lesser-known players in the financial crisis to illustrate … specific examples of corporate greed run amok as well as certain intrinsic ills of Wall Street in general.”

SMU News: Tate Distinguished Lecture Series presents Michael Lewis

Lewis is perhaps best known for his sports writing; his best-sellers include The Blind Side and Moneyball. Yet his knowledge of Wall Street culture comes from an insider’s perspective. His first book, Liar’s Poker, was an autobiographical account of his disillusioning experiences at the investment bank Salomon Brothers during the “greed is good” era of the 1980s. The Big Short describes the Wall Street players who created the arcane credit default swap market that bet against the subprime mortgage bubble and made millions as families lost their homes.

“[Lewis] has accessibly and expertly described a broken financial system that rewards bad decisions and fraudulent alchemy … then shifts the inevitable losses to the strapped U.S. taxpayer,” wrote Chuck Leddy in his Boston Globe review.

NPR: Michael Lewis on “How a Few Made Millions Betting Against the Markets”

Since its beginning in 2004, the Common Reading Experience has brought SMU faculty, staff and new students together for an introduction to the intellectual experiences of college life. Incoming first-year students receive the Common Reading book during summer AARO sessions and discuss it at informal gatherings led by SMU faculty and staff members and student leaders at the beginning of the fall term.

Past SMU Common Reading books include Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman, How to Be Good by Nick Hornby, The Devil’s Highway by Luís Alberto Urrea, Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama, Zeitoun by Dave Eggers and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

The selection committee is now seeking faculty and staff leaders for the discussion event that has become one of the first shared experiences for new students during their first week on the Hilltop. Each discussion leader will receive a free copy of the book.

To volunteer, contact Diana Grumbles, senior lecturer in English and director of first-year writing.

Join SMU’s Common Reading group at Facebook

Faculty-staff campaign reaches 50 percent participation

Faculty-staff campaign kickoffSMU’s Second Century Campaign has reached 50 percent giving participation among all faculty and staff members, according to a statement released by the Campaign Steering Committee for Faculty and Staff.

The faculty-staff campaign also exceeded its 25 percent annual participation goal, according to its website.

The Offices of the President and Legal Affairs set the pace with 100 percent participation, with Development and External Affairs close behind at 95 percent. The Lyle School of Engineering leads among individual schools and colleges with 78 percent participation.

“We look forward to engaging each of you now and over the life of the campaign as we invest in students, faculty and the unique SMU experience,” wrote Harold Stanley and Julie Wiksten (’78, ’92), co-chairs of the Campaign Steering Committee for Faculty and Staff, in an e-mail sent Sept. 8.

Visit the Faculty & Staff Giving homepage
See photos from the campuswide kickoff celebrations
Watch the campaign video
View current participation rates for all schools and areas
Find your Red Pony honoring your gift
Make a gift to the faculty-staff campaign

Faculty-staff campaign opens with campuswide celebration Sept. 3

faculty-staff-campaign-600.jpg

The faculty and staff component of SMU Unbridled: Campaign for the Second Century will begin with campuswide events Sept. 3, culminating in an all-University celebration at 4 p.m. in the Umphrey Lee Center Ballroom hosted by President R. Gerald Turner.

Faculty and staff gifts received by Sept. 3, 2009, will be counted in the participation competition that will jump-start the campaign. At the 4 p.m. kickoff, the school or administrative unit with the highest rate of participation this fiscal year to date will be announced.

Harold Stanley and Julie Wiksten, co-chairs of the Campaign Steering Committee for Faculty and Staff, mailed letters and pledge forms to each faculty and staff member.

SMU is seeking the same levels of participation for faculty and staff as for alumni: 25 percent annual participation and 50 percent cumulative participation over the life of the campaign.

The Campaign Steering Committee includes representatives from 13 areas of the University, which includes all seven schools plus Athletics; Business and Finance; Central University Libraries; Development and External Affairs; President’s Office, Provost/Academic Affairs and Legal Affairs; and Student Affairs.

As a campaign co-chair, “I have heard strong statements of commitment and connection to SMU from faculty and staff members across the board,” says Stanley, the Geurin-Pettus Distinguished Chair in American Politics and Political Economy in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. “My own take is that this is a great place to work and a great community. It’s important to help SMU become the great university it can be.

“Other donors can take as testimonial the enthusiasm with which our faculty and staff members give back. That spirit will have meaning above and beyond a dollar amount.”

Wiksten (’78, ’92), executive director of auxiliary services in the Division of Business and Finance, lived in the Park Cities as a child and has worked at SMU for 31 years. In addition, she earned two degrees from the University – a bachelor’s in urban studies and sociology and a Master of Liberal Arts. “I’m motivated by my connections to the University,” she says. “I’ve dedicated so much of my life to SMU that it seems a wise investment to put my money into making SMU the best it can be.”

Faculty and staff members can expect creative fund-raising initiatives within each area, she adds. “We’re going to see lots of ways to participate that will encourage friendly competition and enthusiasm for reaching our goals.”

Giving is strictly voluntary, and gifts to any area on campus – including endowment, operating funds and the President’s Partners program – are counted toward the campaign. Donors may also choose to support one of the campaign priorities: Student Scholarships, Faculty and Academic Excellence or Campus Experience.

The Second Century Campaign officially launched Sept. 12, 2008, with the goal of raising $750 million by 2013 to support student quality, faculty and academic excellence and the campus experience.

Visit smu.edu/fs for more information about the campaign, the Campaign Steering Committee for Faculty and Staff, and the kickoff events schedule.

Save the date: Faculty-staff campaign kickoff is Sept. 3

Campaign kickoff balloon drop

Faculty and staff participation in SMU’s Second Century Campaign will receive a major boost Sept. 3, when the University’s faculty and staff campaign kicks off with campuswide events culminating in an all-University celebration at 4 p.m. hosted by SMU President R. Gerald Turner.

Harold Stanley and Julie Wiksten, co-chairs for the Campaign Steering Committee for Faculty and Staff, will send letters and pledge forms to each faculty and staff member in the next few days. Gifts received or pledged by Sept. 3, 2009, will be counted in the faculty and staff participation competition. At the 4 p.m. kickoff, the school or administrative unit with the highest annual participation percentage to date for FY10 will be announced.

Campaign organizers are seeking the same levels of participation for faculty and staff as for alumni: 25 percent annual participation and 50 percent cumulative participation over the life of the campaign.

Giving is voluntary, and gifts to any area on campus – endowment, operating funds or the President’s Partners program – are counted toward the campaign. Donors may also select any one of the campaign priorities: Student Scholarships, Faculty and Academic Excellence or Campus Experience.

The Second Century Campaign officially launched Sept. 12, 2008, with the goal of raising $750 million by 2013 to support student quality, faculty and academic excellence and the campus experience.

Watch your e-mail for the latest information, and visit smu.edu/fs for more information about the campaign, the Campaign Steering Committee for Faculty and Staff, and the kickoff events schedule.

Tune In: A former president’s surprise visit

George W. Bush visit, Feb. 24, 2009George W. Bush made a surprise visit to SMU Feb. 24, 2009. The former president answered questions in Harold Stanley‘s political science class, talked with students around campus and dropped in on the Crum Basketball Center. Watch a video compiled by Anna Martinez of SMU News. video

Former President Bush makes surprise visit to SMU classroom

Former President George W. Bush at SMUThirty SMU students in Professor Harold Stanley‘s American government course got a special lesson Feb. 24 from the man at the pinnacle of political decision-making for the past eight years – the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush.

Stanley, the Geurin-Pettus Professor of American politics and political economy in SMU’s Dedman College, took advantage of the fact that Mr. Bush is back in Dallas to arrange the surprise visit for his class on the American Political System.

When the class was assembled, SMU President R. Gerald Turner walked in the room behind Stanley. Turner said, “Does everyone recognize the 43rd President of the United States?” as Mr. Bush walked in. Students applauded, “but you could tell they were just shocked,” Turner said.

Mr. Bush began his remarks by talking about leadership, Stanley said. “The students were free to ask about anything and everything. They were interested in his plans for the presidential library and institute, his views on the current economic crisis, the stimulus plans, whether he had seen ‘W,’ whether he thought about the framers of the Constitution while he was president, and a wide range of other issues.”

In response to a question about the forthcoming Bush Institute, the former president said he hoped it would promote values such as freedom through speakers, debates and other forums involving people from around the world. He said he hoped young people with various points of view would become involved with the Institute.

Read more from SMU News

By | 2009-02-25T10:21:29+00:00 February 25, 2009|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |

Calendar Highlights: Nov. 7, 2008

For your health: Flu shots are now available every Wednesday in the Memorial Health Center, 9-11 a.m. and 1:30=3:30 p.m., while supplies last. No appointment is necessary.

Vote buttonsFaculty Club Distinguished Luncheon: Political Science Professors Cal Jillson, Dennis Simon and Harold Stanley offer their analysis of the 2008 presidential election at noon Nov. 12 in the Faculty Club. Cost is $12 for Faculty Club members, $15 for nonmembers. RSVP by Nov. 7 to Dee Powell, 8-3012,

Hamilton Visiting Scholar in Geophysics: Noted geophysicist Richard W. Carlson of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution for Science, will lecture on “A History of Earth Formation” at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 in the Crum Auditorium, Collins Executive Education Center. The lecture is presented by the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

Learning to lead: Hunt Oil CEO and SMU trustee Ray L. Hunt will share his insights with students in President R. Gerald Turner‘s 2008 Leadership Summit at 5 p.m. Nov. 12 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum.

Levine Endowed Lecture: Zev Garber, professor of Jewish studies at Los Angeles Valley College, will speak on “Faith After Auschwitz: Jewish and Christian Responses to the Holocaust” at 7:30 pm Nov. 12 in McCord Auditorium, Dallas Hall.

'Mustang' book coverInto the wild: Author Deanne Stillman will discuss the storied history and current plight of the Western wild horse – as well as her latest book, Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American WestNov. 13 in DeGolyer Library. Reception at 6 p.m., lecture and book signing at 6:30 p.m. Sponsored by SMU’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies and DeGolyer Library. The event is free; registration is required. Register online or contact Ruth Ann Elmore, 8-3684.

Perkins Interdisciplinary Dialogue: Associate Professor of History of Christianity Edwin Sylvest will moderate a conversation on how La Guadalupe plays a central role in the emergence and practice of Latino Catholic religiosity. “Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe: Mother of God, Mother of the Americas, Our Cosmic Mother” is scheduled for Nov. 13 in the Umphrey Lee Faculty Dining Room. Light dinner at 6:30 p.m., discussion follows 7-8:30 p.m. To register, contact Carolyn Douglas.

Got talent? The SMU Staff Association presents its 9th annual talent show noon-1:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. An art and photography exhibit will open at 11:30 a.m. in the prefunction area. The show is free; lunch is $12 per person. RSVP for lunch by Nov. 7; submit payment to Nancy Skochdopole, 100E Blanton Student Services Building.

General Education Review committee named

The Office of the Provost has named all members of SMU’s General Education Review Committee. The office plans to establish a website on which faculty and staff members can track the Commitee’s progress and provide feedback.

“The members have all agreed to participate in this important venture on behalf of, and in consultation with, the entire University community,” said Provost Paul Ludden in an e-mail to SMU faculty and staff.

The General Education Review is a key objective of SMU’s Centennial Strategic Plan 2006-2015. The review will examine how the University’s general education requirements “prepare students for citizenship and leadership roles in an educated society.” Copies of the Centennial Strategic Plan 2006-2015 may be picked up in SMU’s libraries.

The committee membership:

Dennis Cordell, Dedman College General Education, Co-Chair
Thomas Tunks, Associate Provost, Co-Chair
Shelley Berg, Dance
Denise DuPont, Foreign Languages and Literatures
Vicki Hill, Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center
Robert Krout, Music Therapy
Monnie McGee, Statistical Science
Mark McPhail, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs
Rachael Morgan, student representative
Ellen Pryor, Associate Provost
Miguel Quiñones, Management and Organizations
Gale Roid, Teaching and Learning
Nina Schwartz, English
Harold Stanley, Political Science
Susan Strobel-Hogan, Residence Life and Student Housing
Brian Stump, Earth Sciences
Alisa Rata Stutzbach, Hamon Arts Library
David Willis, Mechanical Engineering
Jo Geisler, staff support
Michael Tumeo, staff support

Calendar Highlights: Oct. 17, 2008

Elemental music: Guest conductor Nicolás Pasquet of the Liszt Hochschule in Weimar, Germany, leads the Meadows Symphony Orchestra in “The Elements: Water” – a program featuring Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, Debussy’s La Mer and Premiere Rhapsody, Weber’s Concertino for Clarinet and Orchestra, and Smetana’s The Moldau. The program debuts at 8 p.m. Oct. 17 and repeats Oct. 19 at 3 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $7 each for faculty, staff and students. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 8-2787 (8-ARTS).

Seymour Island, AustraliaElection reflection: SMU Political Science Professors Cal Jillson, Dennis Simon and Harold Stanley will survey the political landscape and analyze the 2008 primary and general election campaigns in “Road to the White House 2008,” presented by SMU’s Godbey Lecture Series. The series begins Oct. 20 and repeats on consecutive Mondays through Nov. 10. Lecture at 11 a.m., lunch at noon each day at Maggiano’s North Park Center. Cost is $163 for members, $193 for nonmembers. Register online or call 8-2532.

Darwin Year preview: Earth Sciences Professor Louis Jacobs will discuss his fossil research in places ranging from St. Bart’s to Seymour Island, Antarctica, in the Godbey Lecture Series‘ “Islands and Life” – a preview of SMU’s 2009 event “Darwin’s Evolving Legacy.” The program takes place Oct. 22 in the Texana Room, DeGolyer Library. A 5:30 p.m. wine reception precedes the 6 p.m. lecture. Tickets are $45 for members and $70 for nonmembers. Register online or call 8-2532. (Top right, Seymour Island as photographed by graduate student researcher and blogger Chris Strganac.)

Make a racket: The Stanford Championships tennis tournament comes to SMU Oct. 22-Oct. 26 in the Turpin Tennis Center. Eight legendary names in men’s tennis, including Boris Becker, Jim Courier and Mark Philippoussis, compete for the title and $150,000 in prize money. In addition, Anna Kournikova will compete in Mixed Doubles matches. Tickets are available at www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com or call 877-332-TIXX (8499).

Coming of age: The Hughes-Trigg Student Center celebrates its 21st birthday with a “responsible celebration” Oct. 23. Stop by the Student Center for cake, fun and games.

M.L.S. information session: Learn more about SMU’s Master of Liberal Studies program at an information session 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 in Human Resources Training Room #208, Expressway Tower, 6116 N. Central Expy. Refreshments will be provided. RSVP to the M.L.S. program.

Lar Lubovitch Dance CompanyIn McFarlin Auditorium:

  • Oct. 17-18: TITAS presents the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company (bottom right) in its 40th anniversary tour at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For tickets, call TITAS at
  • Three honored for distinguished service during Commencement 2008

    National Archivist Allen Weinstein at SMU's 93rd Commencement

    Three faculty members were honored with SMU’s annual Distinguished University Citizen Award at the Faculty Breakfast held May 17 before Commencement. The 2008 recipients:

    • Lynn Jacobs, Wellness
    • Jeffery Kennington, Engineering Management, Information and Systems
    • Harold Stanley, Political Science

    The award, given by the Provost’s Office, honors three faculty members each year for service and activities that benefit students and the University’s academic mission. “It’s a chance to say ‘thank you’ to people who have given so much of themselves to SMU,” says Ellen Jackofsky, associate provost for faculty and administrative affairs. “The recipients truly have distinguished themselves as good University citizens.”

    SMU awarded nearly 2,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees as part of this year’s graduation celebration. Dr. Allen Weinstein (above), the noted historian who oversees the nation’s presidential libraries, spoke at the all-University ceremony.

    Read text of Weinstein’s Commencement speech.
    See a video. video
    Download the address to your iPod. iPod download
    More from Commencement 2008.

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