James A. Baker III

James A. Baker III to receive 2012 Tower Center Medal of Freedom

James A Baker IIIFormer U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III, will receive the Medal of Freedom from SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies during formal ceremonies at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 in McFarlin Auditorium. The Tower Center Medal of Freedom is presented every two years to an individual, or individuals, who have furthered the cause of freedom throughout the world.

This event is free to all SMU students, faculty and staff, but tickets are required. Students, faculty and staff should come to the McFarlin basement at 5 p.m. to receive two complimentary tickets per SMU ID. Business casual attire is suggested.

“James Baker is one of our country’s most accomplished statesmen and has provided strong, diplomatic leadership and a collaborative approach to politics throughout his career,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner.  “He led policies and progress that secured our nation’s presence on the world stage. We are proud to present him with the Tower Center Medal of Freedom.”

Baker’s public service and scholarship extend from the Cold War through the Arab Spring. He served in senior government positions under three different American presidents – Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. Baker is honorary chairman of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University and a senior partner in the law firm of Baker Botts.

Baker continues to wield influence on various national and international issues. At a recent conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Baker commented on America’s national debt crisis:

“A broad bipartisan agreement is going to be necessary if we’re going to be able to stabilize our debt,” Baker said. “It is critical that Americans of goodwill, Republicans, Democrats and independents alike push our elected officials to make the compromises necessary to get on a sustainable economic track. The alternative of political gridlock and a diminished place for the United States in the global economic arena is unacceptable.”

The Tower Center, located within SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, supports teaching and research programs in international and domestic politics with an emphasis on global studies and national security policy. Additionally, it educates undergraduates in international relations, comparative politics and political institutions.

Tower Center Medal of FreedomThe Tower Center Medal of Freedom recognizes individuals who have contributed to the advancement of democratic ideals and to the security, prosperity and welfare of humanity. This year’s event chairs are Gene Jones, Linda Gibbons and Nancy Halbreich.

Written by Christina Voss

> Read the full story at SMU News

Calendar Highlights: Oct. 15, 2012

Comini Lecture: The Meadows School of the Arts presents Dana Leibsohn, Priscilla van der Poel Professor of Art of Smith College, in the Comini Lecture Series on Thursday, Oct. 18. Leibsohn will focus on the work of Antonio de Margo contemporary conceptions of style and materiality to discuss what constitutes a “good colonial object” in regards to art from Spanish America. The lecture begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Bob Smith Auditorium, Meadows Museum and is free and open to the public.

Women’s rights in the Muslim world: A panel of notable females will speak about women’s rights in the Muslim world at SMU Thursday, Oct. 18. “Giving Voice to Muslim Women” is presented by the University’s Embrey Human Rights Program, and featured panelists include Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Sahar Aziz, and Shahnaz Bukhari – all scholars who are well versed in Muslim traditions. Barbara Harlow will moderate the discussion that begins at 7:30 p.m., preceded by a 7 p.m. reception. The event will be in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall, and is free and open to the public.

Weekday Boulevard: The SMU Mustangs will face Houston on Thursday, Oct. 18. The game kicks off at 7 p.m. in Ford Stadium. Pony up!

Artist and activist: The Meadows School of the Arts continues its Visiting Artist Lecture Series with Lillian Ball on Friday, Oct. 19. Ball is an artist and environmental activist who will speak on her various projects – including her work Leap of Faith, which combines different art mediums to voice issues on a wetland preservation project. Ball combines her backgrounds in anthropology, ethnographic film and sculpture to craft her unique work. The lecture begins at 1 p.m. in the Greer Garson Screening Room, Owen Arts Center.

Dazzle the darkness: Meadows School of the Arts will host its first choral concert of the season Sunday, Oct. 21, featuring the Meadows Concert Choir, Meadows Chorale and Diva Dolce (a select women’s ensemble and the newest vocal group in Meadows). The theme of the concert is the soul’s search for healing light amidst darkness and sorrow, and is inspired by Madeline L’Engle’s poem A Ring of Endless Light. The Chorale will also perform with the Meadows Symphony Orchestra, providing a night of musical enchantment. The concert begins at 3 p.m. in the Owen Arts Center. Admission is free; the Meadows choirs are asking instead that you make a donation to the North Texas Food Bank.

2011-12 Tate Lecture season begins Sept. 6

James A. Baker III, Fareed Zakaria and David GergenFormer U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III and journalist Fareed Zakaria will offer their insights on current events and international politics Sept. 6 in the first event of the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series‘ 2011-12 season.

Baker, honorary chair of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, headed the U.S. Department of State during the administration of George H.W. Bush. Previously he served as chief of staff in Ronald Reagan’s first administration and as Secretary of the Treasury in the second Reagan administration. Zakaria is editor-at-large of TIME magazine and host of CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.” The two will participate in a discussion moderated by news analyst, former White House adviser and longtime Tate Series favorite David Gergen.

The lecture is sold out. All SMU community members are invited to attend the Tate Lecture Series Student Forum with the speakers at 4:30 p.m. on lecture day in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. Doors open at 4 p.m. Seats may be reserved online, and reserved seats are guaranteed until 4:15 p.m.

This year’s Tate Lecture line-up, announced at The Daily Beast founder Tina Brown‘s lecture May 11, includes former U.S. Secretary of Defense and 24th chancellor of the College of William & Mary Robert M. Gates, former eBay president and CEO Meg Whitman, astrophysicist and PBS “NOVA scienceNOW” host Neil deGrasse Tyson, broadcaster Katie Couric, Aspen Institute president and CEO and Teach For America chair Walter Isaacson, columnist Charles Krauthammer, and journalist Bill Moyers.

Learn more about this season’s Tate lecturers and the Tate Student Forum series for the community at smu.edu/tateseries.

Tate Distinguished Lecture Series announces schedule for 2011-12 season

Fareed ZakariaSMU’s 30th season of the Tate Distinguished Lecture Series has been posted online and features prominent names such as Fareed Zakaria, Meg Whitman, Bill Moyers and (in something of an unofficial school tradition) a return appearance by moderator David Gergen.

One Fall 2010 speaker is yet to be announced. All lectures take place at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium.

The upcoming season features these speakers:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011 – Senior statesman and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and Newsweek International editor and CNN analyst Fareed Zakaria (pictured) will be joined by returning moderator David Gergen, former presidential advisor and CNN senior political commentator.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011Meg Whitman (pictured), former president and CEO of eBay and recent runner-up for the Governorship of California.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011Neil DeGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and host of PBS’ popular program NOVA Science Now, a program dedicated to examining our current role and position in active scientific frontiers and pursuits.
  • Meg Whitman

  • Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012Dambisa Moyo, international economist and best-selling author of How the West Was Lost and Dead Aid, named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine in 2009.
  • Thursday, Mar. 1, 2012Michael Pollan, best-selling author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and a major contributor to the 2008 Academy Award-nominated documentary, “Food, Inc.”
  • Tuesday, Mar. 27, 2012 – President and CEO of The Aspen Institute Walter Isaacson, chair of Teach for America and a noted biographer.
  • Tuesday, May 1, 2012 – Pulitzer-winning columnist and Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer and former Johnson Administration press secretary and journalist Bill Moyers.

For more information, visit the Tate Distinguished Lecture Series website.

Gergen, Nunn discuss election-year issues in Tate Forum

The next U.S. president must make the most of common interests to restore leadership at home and abroad, two political veterans told students at SMU Sept. 16.

“We’ve got to get over this notion that you punish people by not talking to them. You’ve got to have dialogue,” said Sam Nunn, former U.S. Senator and chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Forces, at the Turner Construction/Wachovia Student Forum. Former White House adviser David Gergen questioned Nunn before an audience of SMU and local high school students in a preview of their Tate Distinguished Lecture, which also featured former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III.


Baker, Nunn and Gergen open Tate season Sept. 16

David Gergen, James A. Baker III, and Sam NunnForeign policy and national security will be up for discussion as James A. Baker III and Sam Nunn open SMU’s 2008-09 Tate Lecture Series season Sept. 16. Baker, former U.S. Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush, and Nunn, former U.S. senator and chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Forces, will participate in a talk moderated by news analyst, former White House adviser and longtime Tate Series favorite David Gergen.

The lecture is sold out. All SMU community members are invited to attend the Turner Construction/Wachovia Student Forum with the Tate speakers at 4:30 p.m. on lecture day in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. Doors open at 4 p.m.

Learn more about this season’s Tate lecturers and the Tate Student Forum series for the community at smu.edu/tate.