Kenny Ryan

SMU’s Center for Presidential History to host panel on Trump’s first 100 days Thursday, April 27, 2017

White House, line drawingSMU’s Center for Presidential History will look back at the victories, defeats and head-scratchers from President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office during a panel discussion at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 27, 2017 in the Mack Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

The panel will feature perspectives from SMU faculty members specializing in history and communications, as well as from the CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center and the deputy editorial page editor of The Dallas Morning News.

A light coffee will precede the event at 6:30 p.m. The event is free; RSVPs are required. Free passes will be emailed to registered guests before the event. Seating is limited, and not guaranteed.

> RSVP for “Assessing Trump’s First 100 Days” at Eventbrite

“The first 100 days is crucial for setting the tone of a presidency,” said Center for Presidential History Director Jeffrey Engel. “You shouldn’t look so much to measure accomplishments, but rather style and efficiency, which is all the more intriguing when we have an administration with historically limited levels of experience.”

> See video from the SMU CPH’s March 2017 event, “Hope or Alarm in the Age of Trump”

The panelists include:

 — Kenny Ryan

> Visit SMU’s Center for Presidential History online: smu.edu/cph

Dallas Police Chief David Brown receives SMU’s 2017 J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award

“I’m [here] because of J. Erik Jonsson”: Retired Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown shared a personal story of how the iconic Dallas mayor impacted his family’s lives as he accepted the Jonsson Ethics Award from SMU’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility March 21, 2017.

A version of this story was originally posted Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, and updated Monday, March 20, 2017.

Retired Dallas Chief of Police David O. Brown, who in July 2016 helped lead the city through the anguished days following the ambush shooting deaths of five police officers, received the 2017 J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award from SMU’s Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at a luncheon on March 21, 2017, at the Belo Mansion.

“Chief David Brown has demonstrated by his words and his actions all of the leadership qualities we had in mind when the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award was created,” said Bobby Lyle, SMU trustee and Maguire Ethics Center board member. “He has led our community with courage and integrity during our brightest days and our darkest hours. He has set standards for public and community service that we would all do well to emulate. I can think of no one more deserving of this prestigious award that bears the name of one of Dallas’ most admired leaders.”

Brown, a Dallas native who was born and raised in South Oak Cliff, is a 33-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department and the department’s longest-serving chief in modern times. He was sworn in as Dallas’ 28th police chief in May 2010, commanding a department with more than 4,000 employees and an annual operating budget of $426 million dollars. Brown has announced he will retire Oct. 4, 2016.

Building and maintaining strong, transparent relationships with the community has been Brown’s focus since he took the top position. During his tenure, Brown transitioned the department to a community-policing focused organization and implemented policies and training to ensure citizen and officer safety. He also expanded several community outreach programs and youth centered programs.

Brown implemented policies and training to ensure citizen and officer safety during interactions, and emphasized the importance of de-escalation training for his officers. Under Brown’s leadership, the Dallas Police Department reduced the use of deadly force by more than 40 percent and reduced excessive force complaints by more than 80 percent.

“This award recognizes those who face hard decisions and whose mettle is tested,” said Rita Kirk, Maguire Center director. “Chief Brown personifies the struggle of leaders trying to do the right thing during periods of intense pressure. Our community is stronger because of his leadership, particularly in the wake of recent events. His actions during those days not only reflected the character of our community to other cities around the world who watched, but also left us united, stronger, and more hopeful that we will overcome any obstacle to make this a better city for all our citizens.”

Brown is the 20th recipient of the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award. Past honorees include Terry J. Flowers, Lyda Hill, Gail Griffin Thomas, Nancy Ann & Ray Hunt, Walter J. Humann, Ruth S. Altshuler, Bob Buford, Ronald G. Steinhart, Michael M. Boone, Zan W. Holmes Jr., Roger Staubach, Caren Prothro, Tom Luce, Ron Anderson, Jack Lowe Jr., William T. Solomon, Stanley H. Marcus, Charles C. Sprague and Curtis W. Meadows Jr.

— Kenny Ryan

Luisa del Rosal named executive director of SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies, Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center

Luisa Del Rosal, executive director, Tower Center for Political Studies and Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center, SMULuisa del Rosal ’08, former director of strategy and international affairs with the Cox School of BusinessLatino Leadership Initiative, has been named executive director of SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies and its Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center. She began her duties on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016.

“Luisa del Rosal is a leader in higher education with the ideal background and combination of skills to build the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center,” says Jim Hollifield, director of the Tower Center. “An SMU graduate and dual national, Luisa has a deep and intuitive understanding of the vital relationship between Texas and Mexico in all of its dimensions and complexities. We are delighted that she has returned to the Tower Center and Dedman College to assume this critical leadership role.”

Del Rosal was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and lived there until she moved to Dallas to attend SMU. She holds dual bachelor’s degrees in political science and sociology, with a minor in Italian, as well as a master’s in higher education policy and leadership. She is bilingual in her native Spanish and English, and proficient in Italian.

“I am honored to return to the Tower Center for Political Studies as its executive director and to serve as the founding executive director of the newly established Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center,” Del Rosal says. “Leading these centers enables me to contribute to the regional, national and global reach of SMU.”

“The centers will help shape important regional and national conversations on topics such as education, trade and energy – topics that impact our communities every day,” she added. “As research policy centers, they’ll be places not of rhetoric, but of facts and idea sharing. The unique missions of each will influence policy questions and carry out the critical goals of engaging and mentoring the students who will become our next generation of leaders.”

In her new position, Del Rosal will have strategic and operational responsibility for both centers, including staff oversight, programming strategy and execution, board coordination and ensuring all activities are aligned with the centers’ missions.

“Luisa will add a great deal to the knowledge base of those two centers,” says Thomas DiPiero, dean of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. “She has tremendous international experience, she’s worked a great deal with people in public policy and in Mexico, and she has the diplomatic skill set that will allow the two centers to thrive under her leadership.”

The primary mission of the Tower Center is to promote the study of politics and international affairs and to stimulate an interest in ethical public service among undergraduates. Announced earlier this year, the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center seeks to understand and explore the political, cultural, economic and business relationship between Texas and Mexico. The center focuses on the key areas of research and policy that include border issues, energy, human capital and education, immigration and trade.

Prior to working for the Cox School, Del Rosal was director of programs and external relations for the Tower Center.

— Kenny Ryan

Willard Spiegelman poem featured in new collection inspired by Thomas Jefferson

Book cover of 'Monticello in Mind'SMU’s campus centerpiece, Dallas Hall, has inspired a poem published alongside the works of Pulitzer Prize winners in the poetry anthology Monticello in Mind: Fifty Contemporary Poets on Jefferson (University of Virginia Press).

That’s Jefferson as in Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States.

What’s the connection between Dallas Hall and one of America’s founding fathers? It doesn’t take Nicolas Cage and a map hidden on the back of the Declaration of Independence to find out.

“When the founders of SMU went to Chicago to find an architect for their first building, they said they wanted Dallas Hall to look like The Rotunda at the University of Virginia (which was designed by Jefferson), but of course bigger,” says Willard Spiegelman, Hughes Professor of English in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

The author of the Dallas Hall-inspired poem explains, “My first thought was, ‘Jefferson went to the prairie.’”

The poem, titled Prairie Rotunda, is one of 50 poems featured in Monticello in Mind. An excerpt is below:

The Monticello ladies politely call him, still,

“Mister Jefferson,” spokesman for sanity.

And on north Texas plains, more arid

than his “little mountain” landscape, we too have

something of his legacy, in stone and Kansas brick.

— Kenny Ryan

> Visit SMU’s Department of English homepage: smu.edu/english

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan to visit SMU Feb. 25, 2016

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Kay RyanFormer U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan will present a reading of her poetry at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, following a 6 p.m. reception in room 131 of SMU’s Dedman Life Sciences Building.

The event is cohosted by SMU English Professor Willard Spiegelman, the SMU Department of English and the Gilbert Lecture Series.

“Ryan will be reading from her poetry, presumably a mix of recent and earlier work,” Spiegelman says. “She is very engaging, humorous and compatible in an approachable way. She has a wonderful stage presence.”

In addition to serving as the nation’s 16th Poet Laureate from 2008-2010, Ryan has won a Pulitzer Prize and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011 – a prestigious distinction.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the SMU Department of English at 214-768-2945.

— Kenny Ryan

SMU students host first Refugee and Forced Migration Symposium Jan. 28-29, 2016

David W Haines

David W. Haines

A renowned expert in refugee resettlement and a Syrian refugee living in Dallas are featured speakers in SMU’s first Refugee and Forced Migration Symposium.

“Whose Protection? Interrogating Displacement and the Limits of Humanitarian Welcome” will also feature presentations from SMU graduate students. It is open to the public Thursday and Friday, Jan. 28-29, in 144 Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall.

Delivering the symposium’s keynote address is George Mason University Professor David W. Haines, a renowned expert on refugee resettlement in the United States. Haines’ lecture, “Remembering Refugees,” is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28 in 144 Simmons Hall, preceded by a 30-minute reception at 5 p.m.

Ghada Mukdad

Ghada Mukdad

SMU Anthropology Graduate Student Shay Cannedy and four of her peers organized the symposium, which continues from 3-5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, also in 144 Simmons, with remarks from Syrian refugee Ghada Mukdad and presentations from SMU graduate students.

Mukdad, who was stranded in the United States when the outbreak of civil war prevented her from returning home in 2012, will speak about the conflict in Syria and her own legal struggles to gain official refugee status. Ghada is the founder of the Zain Foundation, a global human rights advocacy group, and an advisory board member of the Syrian Civil Coalition, which advocates for the victims of Syria’s refugee crisis.

Cannedy and fellow graduate students Katherine Fox, Sara Mosher, Ashvina Patel and will each present a lecture based on their own research into refugee issues around the world, from Thailand to San Francisco.

“Given current large-scale refugee movements in Europe and the Syrian refugee controversies in Texas, we thought a symposium would be a good way to open discussion on the topic and bring forth something from our own research,” Cannedy says. “A lot of countries are rethinking their migration policies and how we treat asylum seekers, so it’s on the forefront of people’s minds right now.

“Some people view refugees and migrants as more of a security issue than a human rights issue,” Cannedy adds. “But the new Canadian administration, for example, emphasizes making a compassionate welcome rather than closing borders, so we’ll be talking about how different migration policies impact the lives of people who come into contact with them.”

— Kenny Ryan

> Read the full story from SMU News

Moby Dick-inspired card game by SMU professor and students exposes subversive humor in Melville’s classic novel

'DICK, the card game' box setThe upcoming movie In the Heart of the Sea promises to offer a potentially Oscar-worthy take on the whale hunt that inspired Henry Melville’s Moby Dick. For folks who still giggle at the title, there’s another way to enjoy that classic novel this winter: DICK, the card game, from the mind of SMU English Professor Tim Cassedy.

Moby Dick is really, really funny,” Cassedy says. “You can downplay the irreverence and read the book as a very earnest story about American ruggedness and Ahab’s will and vengeance, and it is those things. But if you go into it knowing Melville is often kidding, it reads completely differently.”

DICK, the card game, exposes that humor.

In a concept familiar to anyone who’s played Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity, DICK is a humorous game of “complete the sentence.” Each turn, one player serves as a judge and asks their fellow players to submit cards that complete the sentence on one of the prompt cards, which contain phrases such as:

“Oh yeah? Well I graduated from the University of _______!” or, “Ted Cruz caused a stir today when he called a press conference to denounce ______.”

The player whose response card most tickles the judge’s fancy wins the round.

> Read more about DICK, the card game in the SMU Campus Weekly

What sets DICK apart from its play-on-words peers is that the response cards all contain quotes from Moby Dick. This is where it quickly becomes apparent that Moby Dick is, indeed, rife with toilet humor.

“Humor is something everyone can relate to – especially low-brow humor,” says co-developer Chelsea Grogan. “It makes Moby Dick accessible, and not this ivory tower we make it out to be.”

Potential response cards include: “An eruption of bears,” “Immaculate manliness” and “A sort of badger-haired old merman.”

Cassedy, Grogan and Jenna Peck came up with DICK while Grogan and Peck (recent SMU graduates) were students in one of Cassedy’s spring classes. They debuted the game at a conference of English professors from across Texas, where it was a hit. DICK, the card game is now selling in select bookstores around the country and online at whysoever.com.

— Kenny Ryan

SMU Prof. George Holden to speak at congressional briefing on corporal punishment in public schools Nov. 18, 2015

George Holden, SMU Professor of Psychology

George Holden, SMU Professor of Psychology

SMU Professor and Psychology Department Chair George Holden will speak before a congressional briefing titled “Spare the Rod: Protect the Child” from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18 in Washington D.C.

Holden, a leading expert on parenting, discipline and family, will participate in a panel designed to tackle the ongoing phenomena of corporal punishment in schools – which is still legal in 19 states, including Texas, though outlawed in Dallas and the state’s other metropolitan areas.

“There’s very limited research about the impact of corporal punishment in schools, but what research is available is focused on how much it’s used and to whom its used on,” Holden says. “It’s mostly used on minority students and students with disabilities.”

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Democrat from Florida, is hosting the briefing, which will be attended by congressional staffers. Hastings’ goal, says Holden, is to introduce a bill that will outlaw corporal punishment and paddling of children in schools.

Holden believes this is the second recent attempt to pass such a bill. In 2011, New York Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy introduced a bill called the “Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act,” which failed to make it out of committee.

The 19 states where corporal punishment in schools is still legal are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming.

– Kenny Ryan

2015 Kimbilio Litfest will introduce African-American fiction writers’ organization to SMU Thursday, Oct. 15

Kimbilio Fiction logoLiterature fans and aspiring authors in SMU’s Dallas neighborhood have an opportunity to get acquainted with an African-American fiction writer’s group, founded by a University faculty member, that hosts an annual retreat at SMU-in-Taos.

The inaugural Kimbilio Litfest tour stops on the main campus from 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015, in 131 Dedman Life Sciences Building. The event is sponsored by the SMU Department of English.

2015 Kimbilio Litfest banner

“This is our first opportunity to introduce Kimbilio to Texas,” says Professor of English and Creative Writing Director David Haynes, who started Kimbilio in 2012. “These are some really extraordinary writers and readers, and we’re really excited to present this emerging national organization to Dallas and the SMU community.”

> Learn more about Kimbilio at kimbiliofiction.com

October’s guest authors include these literary lights:

  • Reginald Dwayne Betts is the author of two books and one poetry collection. Jailed at a young age, Betts spent his late teen years in solitary confinement. While in prison, he corresponded with any poet who would write him back. Once released, he earned an undergraduate degree from Maryland and then a Masters degree in writing from Warren Wilson College. He’s now in his third year at Yale Law. [More about Reginald Dwayne Betts at the Poetry Foundation]
  • Sanderia Faye is a Kimbilio Fellow and author of Mourner’s Bench (University of Arkansas Press, September 2015). Her work has appeared in various literary journals and in Arsnick: The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Arkansas. Faye is also a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas-Dallas. [Sanderia Faye at sanderiafaye.com]
  • Ravi Howard is the author of two novels, Driving the King (Harper, 2015) and Like Trees, Walking (Amistad, 2007), which received the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and was a finalist for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction. Howard has recorded commentary for NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and his work has appeared in The New York Times, Massachusetts Review, and Salon. [Ravi Howard on Facebook: Ravi.Howard]
  • LaToya Watkins is a Kimbilio Fellow who has has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference and Kimbilio Fiction. Her stories have appeared in online and print publications including Joyland Magazine, Lunch Ticket: Antioch, Los Angeles, Kweli Journal, Ruminate Magazine and Potomac Review. Most recently, she was awarded a 2015 Pushcart Prize for short fiction. [LaToya Watkins on Twitter: @LaToyaSWatkins]
  • Rosalyn Story is a Dallas resident, Kimbilio Fellow, classical violinist, journalist and author of both fiction and nonfiction. A member of the violin section of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, she divides her time between performing and writing magazine and journal articles on the visual and performing arts. She has also penned three books – including Wading Home, which was adapted as an opera through a collaboration between SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and the cities of Dallas and New Orleans. [More about Rosalyn Story at GoodReads.com]

Written by Kenny Ryan

> Visit SMU’s Department of English online: smu.edu/english

2015 SMU Stanton Sharp Lecture explores Texas’ hidden Civil War history, Wednesday, Oct. 14

2015 SMU Sharp Lecture, 'A War That Could Not End at Appomattox,' Gregory P. DownsWhen Texans study the history of the Civil War in grade school, they learn it ended when General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox on April 8, 1865, and that Texas played a relatively small role in the conflict.

Historian Greg Downs argues these lessons are wrong on both counts in his new book, After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War. He will challenge the traditional teachings during a lecture, Q&A and book signing at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015, in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

“Greg Downs wants to challenge the idea the Civil War reached a neat and tidy end in April of 1865,” says History Chair Andrew Graybill. “What Greg does well is extend the geographical scope to the West. A big focus of his book is Texas, which was one of the last Confederate states to surrender.”

> More on the Stanton Sharp Lectures and Symposium

During Reconstruction, 50,000 Union Army troops were deployed to Texas, which proved the most difficult of the former Confederate states to subdue. At any given time between 1866 and 1870, 40 to 50 percent of the Union troops stationed in the south were garrisoned in Texas.

“People in Texas were still being bought and sold after Appomattox,” Downs says. “Texans still thought slavery would stay. Army officers were imprisoned and murdered in Texas. In some ways, the Civil War was just beginning in Texas as it was ending elsewhere in the South.”

Written by Kenny Ryan

> Visit SMU’s William P. Clements Department of History online: smu.edu/history

Load More Posts