memorials

SMU remembers legendary swim coach George “Mac” McMillion

Known to most on the Hilltop as “Coach Mac,” legendary SMU swimming coach George McMillion has died. McMillion’s passing on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 came just days after the dedication of the new Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center and Barr-McMillion Natatorium last week.

McMillion was the head coach of the SMU men’s swimming team from 1971-88 after a standout career as a student-athlete and 14 years as an assistant coach. His impact on the SMU swimming program helped inspire the construction of the new center and led to his name being attached to the facility.

“I will always be grateful to have had the opportunity to be involved with SMU swimming while attending SMU,” said former SMU swimmer and a lead donor to the Aquatics Center, Bruce Robson. “Coach Mac made an impact on my life and the lives of so many others. His influence will continue to be felt at SMU for years to come.”

Another lead donor, Steve Lindley, said, “I always admired Coach Mac’s commitment and dedication to and passion for SMU, its swimming and diving programs, and especially his swimmers. You can’t put a value on this. Not only was he a very successful coach, but he was truly interested in and positively impacted all the people he touched. I am also very thankful to all those that helped make the new Aquatic Center and Natatorium a reality. This was Coach Mac’s vision and it is certainly a very fitting legacy to him.”

SMU President R. Gerald Turner echoed Lindley’s sentiments.

“Coach Mac’s legacy as a student-athlete, mentor and coach will live on has an enduring legacy at SMU and in the world of swimming,” Turner said. “His accomplishments at SMU are legendary, but it’s the positive impact he had on those around him that will forever define his greatness.”

Former SMU swimmer and lead donor Dr. Jody Grant said McMillion built on a history of winning at SMU.

“Coach Mac added to the outstanding swimming tradition established by Coach Red Barr many years ago,” he said. “It’s been an honor to be associated with the program over the years. Coach Mac will be greatly missed by all of us in the swimming community, but what he helped build here at SMU will live on forever.”

SMU Director of Athletics Rick Hart said McMillion was revered by the SMU swimming community.

“The Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center is a reality because his commitment and love of SMU swimming and diving inspired others to give back,” Hart said. “While we are saddened by his passing, and I will personally miss visiting with him on Thursday mornings, we take solace in knowing that the Barr-McMillion Natatorium will serve as a fitting tribute and a legacy to his influence and impact on our program.”

SMU men’s swimming coach Eddie Sinnott said McMillion’s relationships spread far and wide.

“Coach Mac was a fixture on the SMU campus for over six decades, as a student, athlete, teacher, coach administrator and alum,” Sinnott said. “He impacted literally thousands of lives, both young and old, throughout his time on the Hilltop.”

As a student, McMillion was captain of the 1954 SMU team, winning seven Southwest Conference individual championships. McMillion also helped the Mustangs to team championships in 1953 and 1954. He returned to SMU to become an assistant coach for 14 years, then succeeded Coach A.R. Barr in 1971. That same year, McMillion was honored as the Collegiate and Scholastic Swimming Trophy recipient, which is presented annually to an individual or organization which, in the estimation of the recipient’s peers, has contributed in an outstanding way to swimming as a competitive sport and healthful recreational activity.

McMillion led the program to eight consecutive Southwest Conference Championships and was named SWC Coach of the Year four times. He coached 78 All-Americans and 15 NCAA Champions, while his teams earned 14 NCAA top-10 finishes.

“Coach Mac was a big influence on my life and coaching career,” said head women’s swimming coach Steve Collins. “I came to SMU in the fall of 1977 to work as a graduate assistant with the SMU men’s team to learn from George McMillion. During the course of my career, Coach Mac was a mentor and a friend whom I will miss dearly.”

On the international level, McMillion mentored 10 Olympians, including five Olympic medalists – Steve Lundquist, Ricardo Prado, Rich Saeger, Jerry Heidenreich and Ronnie Mills. His Mustang swimmers earned a combined six gold, two silver and two bronze medals.

McMillion was inducted into the SMU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011, the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Texas Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame in 2009.

The Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center and Barr-McMillion Natatorium honors SMU swimming and diving’s tradition of excellence.

“Our dream of building an Aquatics Center has been realized, and I am so grateful that he was able to see the finished product shortly before his death,” Collins added. “His legacy will live on and be honored in the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center and Barr-McMillion Natatorium, and through the lives of the many people touched as a teacher, swim coach and friend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the McMillion family.”

Memorial gifts may be made to The Coach George McMillion Men’s Swimming Endowment Fund at SMU, online at www.smu.edu/giving or by mail to SMU Gift Administration; PO Box 402; Dallas, TX  75275-0402.

“From the Learn to Swim Program to the Olympic gold medal, he helped young men and women reach their goals, while helping them develop into the people they ultimately became. His legacy will forever be remembered in the hearts of those he touched. He has run his race, and he has won,” Sinnott concluded.

Memorial service for Prof. Dennis Simon scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday, April 3, 2017 in Perkins Chapel

The SMU community will gather to remember the life of Associate Professor of Political Science Dennis Simon at 2 p.m. Monday, April 3, 2017 in Perkins Chapel.

Dr. Simon died Sunday, Feb. 12 in Dallas after a long illness. An SMU faculty member since 1986, he was a recognized expert on the American presidency, national elections, women and the political glass ceiling, and the politics of change in the United States.

> SMU News: SMU mourns the death of Professor Dennis Simon

The family requests that memorial gifts go to the SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage, of which Dr. Simon was a faculty leader.

Tap the YouTube screen to see Dr. Simon speak on the Civil Rights Pilgrimage at TEDxSMU 2014, or click here to see Dennis Simon’s TEDxSMU talk in a new windowvideo

By | 2017-03-30T12:41:51+00:00 March 30, 2017|Categories: News, Save the Date|Tags: , , |

SMU mourns the death of Prof. Dennis Simon, founding member of the Tower Center for Political Studies and leader of SMU’s Civil Rights Pilgrimage

Dennis SimonSMU Associate Professor of Political Science Dennis Simon died Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017 in Dallas after a long illness. An SMU faculty member since 1986, he was a recognized expert on the American presidency, national elections, women and the political glass ceiling, and the politics of change in the United States.

Passionate about his students and his work, he continued to teach and present lectures on the presidential elections to the SMU community through fall of 2016.

“Dennis Simon’s legacy at SMU will not be forgotten,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He was both a brilliant scholar and devoted teacher, talents he bridged with a sense of humor that never wavered. Dr. Simon invested his time, commitment and his passion for political science with his students, fellow scholars and the community. His influence will live on in the many lives he touched.”

The Texas House of Representatives “gaveled out” its regular session Tuesday, Feb. 14, in Simon’s memory on a motion by State Rep. Morgan Meyer. Services for Simon are pending.

Simon was quick to say that his proudest and most impactful work came in guiding since 2008 both undergraduate and graduate students on SMU’s annual Civil Rights Pilgrimage to historical sites across the south.  The 7-8 day bus trip occurs during Spring Break every year, creating an immersive learning experience that “pilgrims” describe as life changing.

During Simon’s 31 years as an SMU faculty member, he received nearly every teaching award offered by the University, including the “M” Award, the Willis Tate Award and President’s Associate Award. In 2005 he received the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Award, given to just four professors each year for their commitment to student learning. Known for his mentorship and dedication to teaching, he used U.S. elections as a living laboratory, teaching his popular course, “Presidential Elections,” every four years.

Simon’s other teaching and research interests included presidential-congressional relations, public opinion, electoral behavior and research methodology.  His research appeared in leading journals such as the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, and the Journal of Politics.  He was the recipient of the Pi Sigma Alpha award given by the Southern Political Science Association for his study of national forces in state legislative elections, and twice the Miriam Irish award given by the Southern Political Science Association for his study (with Assoc. Prof. Barbara Palmer) of the emergence of women in U.S. electoral politics.  His most recent book, with co-author Palmer, Women and Congressional Elections: A Century of Change (Lynne Reinner Publishers) was published in May of 2012. The book’s first edition was published in 2006.

Simon’s recent research projects included “The Perilous Experiment,” a historical and quantitative study tracing the evolution of popular and legislative leadership in the American presidency and “Southerners in the United States House of Representatives,” a history of electoral and ideological change in the South since 1930, supported by a grant awarded by the Dirksen Congressional Center. He earned his B.A. from Wittenberry University in Springfield, Ohio, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the department of political science at Michigan State University. Before joining SMU, Simon was an assistant professor of political science at the University of Minnesota.

Simon was a founding member of SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, where he served as a member of the Tower Center Faculty Advisory Board and as a senior fellow. The Tower Center was created in 1992 to promote the study of politics and international affairs and stimulate an interest in ethical public service.

“He was a dedicated supporter of our center, serving us in a variety of ways,” said the Hon. Dan Branch, chair of the Tower Center Board of Directors and former member of the Texas House of Representatives. “Most of all, he was a devoted mentor to our students.”

Simon also joined the faculty of SMU’s Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) program when he arrived in in 1986, teaching courses such as “Politics and Film,” and “The American Presidency” to hundreds of graduate students in the predominantly evening program. He began teaching “The Politics and Legacies of the Civil Rights Movement,” to both MLS students and undergraduates in 2008, combining it with an existing trip organized through the SMU Chaplain’s Office to historic sites in civil rights history. Simon never tired of sharing with an audience the “power of place” he said came with combining a semester-long course with personal experiences shared at the sites of civil rights violence and struggle.

> Watch Dennis Simon’s 2012 Maguire Public Scholar lecture at YouTube video

Dennis Simon, Civil Rights PilgrimageWith his Chaplain’s Office partner, Ray Jordan, and student leaders chosen each year, the trip featured stops at sites Simon described as “ground-zero,” in the civil rights movement, such as Little Rock High School, the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s home in Montgomery. History came alive at each spot, thanks to Simon’s friendships with original participants he called “foot soldiers” in the civil rights movement, who shared their recollections with students, sometimes hopping aboard the bus to lead tours.

The class and trip, sponsored by the Embrey Human Rights Program and SMU’s Office of the Chaplain and Religious Life, are now a core requirement of SMU’s human rights undergraduate major and the human rights emphasis in SMU’s Master of Liberal Studies program. Each year students share their thoughts and memories of the trip on an online blog.

> Read blog postings from the 2015 Civil Rights Pilgrimage on the 50th anniversary of the 1965 voting rights march

“I will always be thankful to Dr. Simon for showing us all what it looks like to not only celebrate the light, but to be the light in situations where it seems like the darkness might swallow us up,” said Michelle Anderson ’15, who served as student leader of the pilgrimage in 2015. “I’m missing our fearless leader already. Keep marching, pilgrims.” Anderson is pursuing a Ph.D. in media studies with a focus in transitional justice at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Simon also generously shared his expertise with the news media, serving as an expert on the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama, the impact of the John F. Kennedy assassination, the changing role of women in politics, and trends in presidential and mid-term elections. He regularly presented lectures to the community and served as a panel member at lecture series throughout the Dallas area.

See Dennis Simon’s last lecture, shared with the community Nov. 12 as a wrap-up of the 2016 presidential election

“The qualities that made Dennis a fine person – intelligence, enthusiasm, and honesty – made him an extraordinary teacher and mentor to his students,” said Joe Kobylka, SMU associate professor of political science and Simon’s longtime friend. “His passion for studying American politics and change electrified his lectures and infused his students with his enthusiasm. When that happens, education ensues, and Dennis was a master educator. I learned from him, as a student and then a colleague. I will draw on those lessons daily.”

> Find more of Dennis Simon’s work at SMU News

SMU mourns the death of VP for Student Affairs Pamela D. Anthony

Pamela D. Anthony, SMU vice president for student affairs, died on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, after a battle with cancer. Arrangements for funeral and campus memorial services are pending with the family.

“Dr. Anthony was a leader in the field of student affairs who devoted her career to students’ well-being and academic and personal growth,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “At SMU, she served as a mentor to many while focusing on students’ campus life and educational experiences, including in the areas of health and wellness, multicultural affairs and residential life. We grieve this profound loss of a friend and colleague, and we offer our condolences and prayers to Dr. Anthony’s family and loved ones.”

Dr. Anthony became vice president for student affairs at SMU on February 1, 2016. She oversaw areas including the Office of the Dean of Student Life; Residence Life; women’s, LGBT, multicultural, volunteer and leadership programs; student activities; student conduct; campus ministries; health and wellness programs; career services; the Hughes-Trigg Student Center and the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports. In fall 2016 she led the dedication and opening of the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center.

In a May interview, Dr. Anthony said, “When I think about this work, I feel very called to work with students, to develop students and to make sure that they’re having a good experience in college.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

By | 2017-01-23T10:48:14+00:00 January 18, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

SMU mourns the loss of Professor Jeremy duQuesnay Adams

Jeremy duQuesnay AdamsDistinguished SMU Professor of History Jeremy duQuesnay Adams, beloved by generations of students, honored by colleagues worldwide and the inspiration for a character in the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, died May 2, 2016 at the age of 82.

A memorial service is scheduled for Friday, May 6, at 11:00 a.m. in Perkins Chapel.

More than 40 years ago, Adams and his wife, Bonnie Wheeler of SMU’s Department of English, came to SMU, where they invented SMU’s interdisciplinary Medieval Studies Program with colleagues across the University and the Dallas area. Through the years, Adams’ courses on medieval history played a central role in the expansion and growing reputation of this program, which now offers a popular undergraduate minor and major and a master’s degree. Adams also taught at and directed SMU study-abroad programs in France and Spain and, most frequently, in the SMU-in-Oxford program in England.

In 1999, Adams led a project for his course on “Millennialism Through the Ages” that resulted in a student-created University time capsule. The capsule, filled with 300 items representing life at SMU and in the world at large during the turn of the millennium, remains buried on campus to this day and is scheduled to be opened in the year 3000.

“[W]ho can resist the theatrical and passionate lectures by Jeremy Adams?” wrote alumna Claire Aldridge Heck ’84 in a testimonial during SMU’s Year of the Faculty in 2014. She loved his classes so much that “I took my children to the south of England and climbed around ancient sites just hoping to inspire them as he had inspired me.”

As former colleague Irina Dumitrescu says, “Jeremy duQuesnay Adams was one of the truest intellectuals I’ve ever known. The past was a living place for him: he spoke of Charlemagne or any given Pippin as though he had just lunched with them earlier in the week. His conversation was peppered with quotations in Latin, French, and half a dozen other languages, but he did it warmly, giving you the feeling you probably understood exactly what he was talking about. He taught and inspired generations of students, and his colleagues, too. He was a gentleman in the very best sense of the word: elegant, good-humoured, wickedly funny in the most dignified possible way.”

In 2012, Adams was honored with the first Centennial Professorship established in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. The gift that endowed the professorship came from many friends and former students, especially Adams’ former students Stephen and Kathryn Hedges Arata. Their generosity reflected the lasting impact Adams has made with generations of SMU students. “Jeremy Adams created a sense of academic curiosity and desire for learning that I possess to this day,” Kathryn Arata said when the Adams Centennial Professorship was announced. “Now that Stephen and I are in a position to pay back (actually pay forward) the gifts he gave us, we wanted to do something that would be close to Jeremy’s heart. He is passionate about his subject, and we have given this endowment to ensure that his passion will continue to light the fires of academic curiosity in students for years to come.”

Adams lectured and wrote widely on early medieval European thought and society. He loved the Latin language and the vital complexity of the human past. He was a frequent participant in the national Great Courses program and was often featured in films for the History Channel. He was a member of various professional societies, the Signet Society (Cambridge, Massachusetts), and the Elizabethan Club (New Haven, Connecticut).

In 2005, a group of Adams’ colleagues and former students in medieval history created Medieval Paradigms, a two-volume festschrift to honor Adams. The two books contain more than 25 essays by as many contributors, each exploring different facets of medieval life and culture.

Its editor, Stephanie Hayes-Healy, then of Trinity College Dublin, wrote, “Jeremy belongs to a generation of trail-blazing academics who pushed historical scholarship into a three-dimensional world, a world complete with the complexities of human existence, and with a consciousness of the artificial nature of imposed boundaries, especially those among separate academic disciplines. Historians of his generation, armed with respect for but a healthy mode of criticism of those who came before them, went to work on reconstructing the past as much as possible with the newly broadened choice of analytical tools and structures at their disposal. Jeremy’s creative insight as a scholar and a teacher served him well over the years, and have served his students as well.” This serious honor was preceded by a playful pseudo-academic set of essays produced in 1974, when Adams was leaving Yale for SMU. Lamentationes Ieremiae (Lamentations of Jeremy, the Latin name of the book of Lamentations in the Bible), edited by distinguished scholars James J. O’Donnell and Stuart Jenks, can be found on the Georgetown University website.

Professor Adams was born in New Orleans on Oct. 1, 1933. His father, Philip Rhys Adams, long Director of the Cincinnati Art Museum, was from a family dedicated to the ministry before and after they crossed the Atlantic to Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere. His mother, Marie Rose Françoise Constance le Mercier du Quesnay, Vicomtesse de Jumécourt, was the daughter of a French family long settled in Louisiana. Jeremy, their eldest child, was raised in New Orleans and in Columbus, Ohio. He was schooled at the Columbus Academy, and the Jesuit High School in New Orleans, attended Georgetown College and graduated from Harvard College (Adams House) in 1955.

His mentors were his cousin Edwin Reischauer (whose famous survey of East Asian History, fondly called ‘Rice Paddies,’ was as notable as his Sunday family dinners in Belmont of roast beef and rice); historian Crane Brinton; historian Myron Gilmore, son-in-law of Alfred North Whitehead; and historian Giles Constable. After retiring as Captain from his service in the U.S. Army Artillery, he taught at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. He subsequently returned to Harvard for graduate school and completed his Ph.D. in History in 1967. A tutor in Dunster House at Harvard, Adams then taught at Yale, where he also served as a resident fellow of Calhoun College. He came to Southern Methodist University from 1974 and dedicated his life to teaching SMU students both in Dallas and abroad.

One of Adams’ Harvard classmates and Yale colleagues was Erich Segal, who would later gain fame as a novelist and the author of Love Story. Segal was a credited screenwriter on the Beatles’ hit animated feature, Yellow Submarine. Adams’ long and lyrical full name – Jeremy Yvon duQuesnay Adams – as well as his classical erudition, inspired the author to base the character of the Beatles’ mentor on his old friend. As Adams recently summarized the Odyssey-based plot, “The heroes take a yellow submarine to rescue the people of Pepperland who have been imprisoned undersea by the Blue Meanies, an army of cruel, wicked creatures. The heroes are the Beatles, whose powerful music frees the people; they are led by Young Fred, the very old mayor of Pepperland, and assisted in many surprising ways by Jeremy Hillary Boob, PhD [né Jeremy Y. duBoob]. ‘Ad hoc, ad loc, et quid pro quo / so little time, so much to know.’ Jeremy helps put the Blue Meanies to rout by pirouetting on one toe and singing, “All You Need is Love.”

Adams received numerous honors during his distinguished academic career. At Yale, he received the DeVane Medal of that university’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter and the national Danforth Foundation’s E. Harris Harbison Award for Gifted Teaching. At SMU, he was awarded the Perrine Prize from SMU’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter and was named an Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor. He received several Outstanding Professor Awards, as well as the “M” Award, SMU’s highest award for distinguished service. He was the author or editor of seven books and numerous academic articles.

Professor Adams is survived by his wife Bonnie Wheeler of Dallas (with whom he renewed wedding vows this past Sunday, May 1); his daughter Constance Adams of Houston, Texas, and her daughters Mathilde and Valerie; by his son Charles Scott of Prince George, British Columbia, and his children and their families; by numerous beloved godchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins; and by his students.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Medieval Studies Program at SMU (PO Box 750402; Dallas 75275-0402).

Simmons School creates scholarship fund honoring Peter Gifford

Peter Gifford portraitSMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development has established the Peter B. Gifford Memorial Scholarship Fund in memory of their colleague and friend.

During his 41-year SMU career, Gifford served as assistant professor of physical education (1973-80) and then as associate professor and chair of the Department of Health and Physical Education (1980-92) within Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

In 1990, he became director of the SMU Wellness program within the Office of Student Affairs and served in that position for 17 years. From 2007 to 2012 he served as chair of the Applied Physiology and Wellness Department within the Simmons School. He passed away Nov. 5, 2014 at the age of 69.

Gifford was instrumental in creating both the Wellness and the Applied Physiology and Sports Management programs at SMU. He received a Rotunda Outstanding Professor Award in 2013.

To make a gift in memory of Peter Gifford, visit the SMU Giving site and choose the Peter B. Gifford Memorial Fund from the drop-down menu.

SMU mourns death of Law Professor Sarah McQuillen-Tran

Sarah McQuillen-TranSarah McQuillen-Tran didn’t let a second battle with leukemia keep her from her class in property law. During Fall 2012 mid-terms, she taught 80 first-year SMU law students via Skype from her hospital bed in Baylor University Medical Center.

The University community is invited to a service celebrating her life at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 15, 2014 at Highland Park United Methodist Church. A potluck lunch will follow the service.

Tran, an assistant professor in SMU’s Dedman School of Law, died Friday, Feb. 28 at the age of 34. The family requests that memorials be made to the Tran Children Development Fund.

> Texas Lawyer: SMU property law professor teaches from hospital bed

Born in Leidschedam, Holland, Sarah went to school in England and Saudi Arabia, and attended high school in the United States and Philippines. After graduating from high school, she spent a year volunteering in the Philippines, India and Nepal before matriculating at the University of California-Berkeley. After graduating from Berkeley with a degree in civil engineering, she and her college sweetheart, Thuan Tran, joined the Peace Corps and served in Guinea, West Africa. They were married in Oakland, California in 2004.

After graduating magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, Tran clerked for The Hon. Timothy Belcher Dyk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. She also worked for the Energy Group at the Jones Day law firm.

Tran joined the SMU law faculty in January 2011 as an assistant professor specializing in intellectual property and regulatory and environmental law. A nationally recognized legal scholar, she published articles in several leading U.S. law journals. During the 2012-13 academic year, she served as a Fellow in SMU’s Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute.

Sarah is survived by her husband, Thuan, and their two children, FarrahSophia and Jimi Owen; her mother, Jacqueline Conci, and husband Michael Conci, of Auburn, California; and her father, Roland McQuillen, and wife Gabrielle Kelly-McQuillen, of Ireland. She is also survived by her brother Paul and his partner, Heather; her brother Mark; and her sister, Kathy, and husband Mo and their daughter.

> Read more from the SMU Dedman School of Law website

SMU mourns loss of Lyle School University Distinguished Professor Jeff Kennington

Jeffery L. (Jeff) Kennington, Lyle EMIS facultyJeffery Lynn Kennington, P.E., devoted his entire career to SMU as a professor, researcher and department chair in Lyle School of Engineering. And he continued to teach in the Department of Engineering Management, Information and Systems until early Fall 2013, when cancer affected his ability to speak.

Dr. Kennington died Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 at his Dallas home. He was 68 years old.

“His wit, experience, and presence will be missed throughout the school and particularly in the classroom,” said Lyle Dean Marc Christensen. “Jeff was an accomplished scholar, Distinguished Professor, an award-winning teacher, great citizen of the university, and good friend and colleague to the SMU-Lyle family.”

The family requests memorials be made to the Jeff Kennington Tribute Fund, SMU Lyle School of Engineering, PO Box 750339, Dallas TX 75275-0339.

Dr. Kennington joined the SMU faculty in 1973 as an engineering professor and researcher with an expertise in operations research, which uses advanced mathematical modeling to help make decisions. His work focused on telecommunications design, network flows and integer programming. He became a full tenured professor in 1984 and served as chair of the Department of Operations Research and Engineering Management from 1980-89 and of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering from 1989-94.

He wrote (with fellow SMU professor Richard V. Helgason) Algorithms for Network Programming (John Wiley and Sons) and co-authored or edited more than 70 book chapters and journal articles. He supervised 29 Ph.D. and Doctor of Engineering students and served as the principal investigator for nearly $3.9 million in research grants, including 16 grants from the Office of Naval Research and six from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

Dr. Kennington served as editor for Operations Research, Networks, and INFORMS Journal on Computing, as well as on the editorial boards of Computational Optimization and Applications and Telecommunications Systems. His professional activities included service as president of the Dallas chapter of Sigma XI and on committees of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) and its predecessors, the Operations Research Society of America (ORSA) and The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS).

In 2005, Dr. Kennington was named a fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. In 2010, he received the title of University Distinguished Professor.

Dr. Kennington’s awards included SMU’s United Methodist Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award in 2003, the Distinguished University Citizen Award in 2008, and the “M” Award – the University’s highest honor for service – in 2012. In 2004, he was named an Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor by SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence and received membership in its Academy of Distinguished Teachers. In 2012, he received the Mentor Supereminence Award from the SMU Faculty Club, recognizing a faculty member for exceptional mentoring of University faculty and students.

Born in New Boston, Arkansas, Dr. Kennington grew up in Malvern. He received his B.S. degree in industrial engineering from the University of Arkansas in 1968, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in industrial engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1970 and 1973.

Dr. Kennington is survived by his wife, Carolyn; his daughter, Catherine; his son, Charles; his mother, Frances Pickens Kennington; a brother, Richard Kennington; and one grandchild.

Memorial service set for Assistant Registrar Gretchen Voight

SMU will hold a memorial service honoring Assistant Registrar for Academic Ceremonies Gretchen Voight at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 29th, 2012 in Perkins Chapel.

Voight, a resident of Irving, Texas, died Friday, March 23, after a brief illness. A native of Port Neches, Texas, Gretchen was the elder child of Donna and Ranny Voight.

Gretchen joined SMU in 2006 as the assistant registrar for academic ceremonies. She managed all aspects of the University’s five academic ceremonies, including Opening Convocation, December Graduation, Honors Day Convocation, the Baccalaureate Service and the Commencement Convocation, as well as other special University events. She was also active in the Staff Association, serving as its president in 2010-11 and founding its book club in 2011.

Gretchen is survived by her parents, along with her younger sister and brother-in-law, Robyn and Travis Lovett, as well as countless friends who were blessed to know her.

Written by Cherri Gann

By | 2012-03-29T20:38:11+00:00 March 28, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Gov. Bill Clements remembered as SMU alumnus and supporter

Bill and Rita Clements at SMU-in-TaosFormer Texas Governor William P. Clements Jr., a longtime major supporter of SMU academic programs, died May 29, 2011 in Dallas. He was 94 years old.

Clements’ relationship with SMU began in the mid-1930s, when he was an engineering student. Through the years he and his wife, Rita, have contributed more than $21 million for some of SMU’s highest academic priorities, including support for his special interest in the Southwest.

“Bill Clements’ generosity and guidance have made a significant impact on academic programs throughout SMU, with major gifts supporting engineering, theology, mathematics and history,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “By endowing the Clements Department of History, including a new Ph.D. program, and the Clements Center for Southwest Studies, he enabled students ranging from undergraduates to doctoral fellows to learn more about the history and cultures of this region. Bill and Rita Clements also made it possible for SMU to acquire, rebuild and offer academic programs at SMU-in-Taos, located on the site of historic Fort Burgwin in northern New Mexico. This facility has given generations of students and faculty a tremendous and unique resource for teaching, learning and research.

“Earlier, as chair of SMU’s Board from 1967-73 and again from 1983-86, Bill Clements led the formation of an endowment committee resulting in dramatic increases in market value. He led funding of the campus master plan that continues to guide our academic offerings, and with an eye for detail in bricks and mortar, he preserved the continuity of SMU’s Collegiate Georgian architecture.

“All this he accomplished with his typical no-nonsense approach and direct style of communication. His legacy as a business leader, public official and supporter of SMU will stand the test of time. He was a member of the SMU community for more than 70 years and he will be greatly missed.”

A memorial service honoring the life of Governor Clements will be held 4 p.m. Thursday, June 2 at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church.

Gifts to SMU in memory of Governor Clements can be directed to the William P. Clements Jr. Memorial Fund. Visit the SMU Giving homepage for information on how to make a gift to SMU.

> Read more on Gov. Clements and his more than 70-year relationship with SMU

Above, Bill and Rita Clements at the 2009 opening of new student housing they helped to provide for the SMU-in-Taos campus on the grounds of Fort Burgwin, New Mexico. Photo by Hillsman S. Jackson.

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