memorials

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.

December 11, 2013|News|

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

March 28, 2012|News|

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.

June 1, 2011|News|

Students, faculty remember Law Professor Daniel Shuman

SMU Law Professor Daniel ShumanDaniel Shuman, M.D. Anderson Foundation Endowed Professor of Health Law in SMU’s Dedman School of Law, will be remembered for his work as a renowned legal scholar, but he was much more to his students.

“He was a caring mentor to so many of us, right up to even the last week of his life,” says Clarence Wilson, who recently achieved a scholarship with Shuman’s help. Shuman, 62, died Tuesday, April 26, 2011 of multiple system atrophy, a rare neurological disorder.

SMU’s Health Law Association (HLA) has announced that it will raise money for a plaque to serve as a lasting tribute to Shuman’s dedication.

Shuman was the inaugural M.D. Anderson Foundation Endowed Professor of Health Law at the law school and a member of the faculty for more than 33 years teaching torts, evidence, law and social science and mental health law.

“The Law School family has suffered a great loss and our thoughts and prayers are with the Shuman family right now,” says Law Dean John B. Attanasio.

Shuman was a nationally and internationally respected scholar in two separate fields, says colleague and HLA advisor Thomas Mayo, associate professor of law. “Early in his career he did groundbreaking empirical research on the attitudes and behaviors of juries, and he followed that with the best research and writing on law and psychiatry anyone has ever done. His productivity and quality were at the highest levels for an incredible three decades.”

Earlier this year, Shuman received the 2011 Manfred S. Guttmacher Award from the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The recognition – shared with psychiatrist Liza Gold – honors their book, Evaluating Mental Health Disability in the Workplace: Model, Process, and Analysis (Springer, 2009), as an “outstanding contribution to the literature of forensic psychiatry.” The award will be presented during the APA’s annual meeting May 14-18 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

“Institutionally, he shaped the present and future course of the law school as the long-time chair of the faculty appointments committee, and he was extremely helpful to the development of our young faculty,” Mayo adds. “Students adored him.”

One of those is Juris Doctor candidate Isaac Haas, who says, “Professor Shuman was passionate about teaching his students to look beyond mere memorization and understanding of the law and consider the consequences of the decisions we make as a community about right and wrong. And while he was a brilliant scholar and writer, what set him apart as a teacher was the interest that he took in me and so many others.

“Very rarely would I ever leave a conversation with Professor Shuman without him asking about my other classes, job prospects, wife or son,” Haas says. “I am incredibly grateful for the time I spent with him, and with his wife, Emily, as a student, teaching assistant and friend.”

The family has requested that memorials be made to the Texas Voice Project for Parkinson Disease.

To contribute to the HLA’s memorial gift for Shuman, contact Alex Berk.

Written by Denise Gee

May 2, 2011|News|

Lewis Binford’s legacy of change and innovation

Lewis BinfordLewis R. Binford, SMU Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, died April 11, 2011 in Kirksville, Missouri. During his 40-year career as an archaeologist, Binford transformed scientists’ approach to archaeology, earning a legacy as the “most influential archaeologist of his generation,” according to Scientific American.

Binford first gained attention in 1962 as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago when he wrote a path-breaking article in American Antiquity proposing that archaeologists abandon their emphasis on cataloguing artifacts and instead study what the artifacts revealed about prehistoric cultures. The proposition launched what is now known as “New Archaeology.”

“Lewis Binford led the charge that pushed, pulled and otherwise cajoled archaeology into becoming a more scientific enterprise,” says David Meltzer, Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory in SMU’s Dedman College. “The impact of his work was felt not only here in America, but around the world. Much of how we conceptualize and carry out archaeology in the 21st century is owed to Lew’s substantial legacy.”

From Alaska to Australia, Binford conducted research throughout the world, focusing much of his attention on the archaeology of hunting and gathering. He spent 20 years in remote areas of Africa, Alaska and Australia conducting research on cultural patterns of contemporary hunter-gatherers and reviving the practice of ethnoarchaeology – the study of living societies to better understand societies of the past.

Cover of Lewis Binford's 'Constructing Frames of Reference: An Analytical Method for Archaeological Theory Building Using Ethnographic and Environmental Data Sets'He wrote 18 books and more than 130 articles, book chapters and reviews. His most recent book, Constructing Frames of Reference: An Analytical Method for Archaeological Theory Building Using Ethnographic and Environmental Data Sets (University of California Press, 2001), is considered a landmark in the study of hunter-gatherer populations.

His honors included membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the Huxley Memorial Medal from the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, the Montelius Medal from the Swedish Archaeological Society and the Centennial Medal from the Portuguese Archaeological Society. He received in 2006 the Society for American Archaeology‘s Lifetime Achievement Award.

The International Astronomical Union named an asteroid for Binford in 2010 in honor of his contributions to the improvement of the study of archaeology. Read more from the SMU Forum, Aug. 27, 2010.

Binford earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology in 1957 from the University of North Carolina and a master’s degree in 1958 and Ph.D. in 1964 from the University of Michigan. He served on the faculties of the University of Chicago, the University of California at Santa Barbara and the University of California at Los Angeles before joining the faculty at the University of New Mexico. He remained a member of the faculty there from 1968 through 1991 when he joined SMU.

“Any time a university can add a National Academy of Science-quality person to its faculty is a major gain for the university and the region,” says James Brooks, who played an important role in bringing Binford to SMU. Brooks is SMU provost emeritus and chair of SMU’s Institute for Study of Earth and Man. “Binford brought distinction to SMU, to Dallas and the Southwest.”

Binford is survived by his wife, Amber Johnson, and his daughter, Martha Binford. Funeral arrangements are pending.

April 13, 2011|News|
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