Mike Rawlings

Coverage of July’s Dallas police ambush is the topic of SMU’s 2016 Sammons Lecture in Media Ethics, Wednesday, Oct. 19

SMU’s 2016 Rosine Smith Sammons Lecture in Media Ethics will focus on the events of July 7, 2016, when a gunman killed four Dallas police officers and a DART officer during a Black Lives Matter protest march downtown.

The 17th annual lecture, “Making Sense of a Tragedy in Real Time: Media Coverage of the Dallas Ambush,” will be a panel discussion featuring Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Dallas Morning News editor Mike Wilson and Emmy-winning CBS 11 journalist Steve Pickett.

The event takes place at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19 in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. Admission is free, and tickets are not required. The Sammons Lecture Series is presented by the Division of Journalism in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.

Steve Pickett, CBS 11 NewsSteve Pickett is a two-time Emmy Award-winning journalist for CBS 11 News. He has spent 20 of his 34 years in broadcast news in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. He was on air with live reporting the night of the Dallas police ambush shootings. He has been recognized nationally for his coverage of public education, with heavy focus on the Dallas Independent School District. The Press Club of Dallas acknowledged his coverage of Hurricane Katrina. He also was embedded with members of the Texas National Guard in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Pickett has worked in newsrooms in Portland, Oregon; Fresno, California; Oklahoma City; and Wichita Falls. He is a native Oklahoman and a graduate of The University of Oklahoma.

Dallas Mayor Mike RawlingsMike Rawlings was elected mayor of Dallas in 2011 and again in 2015. He is a native of Borger, Texas, and a graduate of Boston College. Following his first election he launched GrowSouth, his signature initiative to spur economic development south of the Trinity River. He has also sought to improve public education and led a campaign against domestic violence, Dallas Men Against Abuse. On the evening of July 7 when four Dallas Police Department officers and one DART officer were killed in an ambush, Mayor Rawlings worked closely with Dallas Police Chief David Brown to assess and end the situation as well as keeping media and the public informed.

Mike Wilson, Dallas Morning NewsMike Wilson is editor of The Dallas Morning News, responsible for news coverage in print and online. Wilson began his career at the Miami Herald where he worked as a writer and editor. He joined the St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times) in 1994, working 18 years as a writer, editor and, finally, managing editor. His staff won two Pulitzer Prizes during his tenure. In 2013 he moved to ESPN as founding managing editor of Nate Silver’s data journalism website, FiveThirtyEight. Wilson graduated from Tufts University. He has written two books, Right on the Edge of Crazy, about the U.S. downhill ski team, and The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison, about the founder of Oracle Corporation.

> Read more from SMU Meadows

SMU to host regional U.N. conference on Texas climate extremes Sept. 17, 2015

Stock photo of drought-stricken landscapeTexas is a place of legendary weather extremes. Droughts, floods, extreme heat and bitter cold are a fact of life for its residents. How will people adapt to these climate issues and their impact on water supply, infrastructure, public resources and vulnerable populations?

SMU will host a major conference on climate extremes in Texas and the Dallas-Fort Worth area that will focus on impacts, solutions and collaborative strategies the public and private sectors can use to prepare for such issues – and what individuals can do to help address the underlying issues.

The University’s Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity, along with sponsors and community partners, will present the half-day program — an official conference of COP21 Paris, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change scheduled for December 2015. The SMU event is part of a series of preliminary sessions called “FACTS: French Ameri-Can Climate TalkS,” which are being organized by the Embassies of France in both Canada and the United States.

> Find a complete schedule at the conference website: climateextremes.com

The conference focus is purposely inclusive of both the global and local scenes related to climate extremes. The Consul General of France in Houston, Sujiro Seam, and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will open the conference. Climate extremes experts will deliver brief talks in two panel discussions moderated by Dallas journalist Lee Cullum.

A featured panelist is Bruce McCarl, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University, who was part of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Lunch will include the introduction of a new research paper by Hunt Institute Director Eva Csaky on the topic of climate extremes, “The Inclusive Economy;” brief remarks by Trammell S. Crow, founder of Earth Day Texas; and keynote speaker Patrick Caron, director general in charge of research and strategy at CIRAD, a French agricultural research and international cooperation organization.

Watch the SMU Climate Extremes Conference live smu.edu/live beginning at 8:45 a.m. Central time Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. The conference video will be archived after its conclusion.

SMU celebrates 99th Commencement May 17, 2014

commencement-procession-faculty-mace-howard-lantern

SMU will celebrate the academic accomplishments of more than 2,100 students at its 99th annual Commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 17, in Moody Coliseum.

This year’s Commencement speaker, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, is noted for his work to improve the quality of life in the city. He has created new strategies for growing the arts through the Mayor’s Business Arts Initiative, has used his visibility as mayor to organize a campaign against domestic violence and has put Dallas in the spotlight by taking a leading role with the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Read more on Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings

Guests are urged to arrive early as seating in the coliseum is limited to four guests per student. Additional seating will be available for a simulcast of the event at Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports. The ceremony also will be broadcast outside Moody Coliseum on Mustang Plaza, and there will be a webcast of the ceremony online at smu.edu/live.

The University’s 2014 honorary degree recipients are Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson, Methodist historian Richard P. Heitzenrater and SMU law professor Joseph W. McKnight. Each will be included in a symposium in his or her honor, all of which are free and open to the public.

> Learn more about the honorary degree recipients and symposia

The Baccalaureate Service will be at 8 p.m. Friday, May 16, in McFarlin Auditorium. Like the Commencement ceremony, it will be webcast live.

The traditional Faculty Breakfast begins at 7:45 a.m. in the Miller Event Center’s Champions Club, Moody Coliseum. If you are serving as a faculty marshal, you are encouraged to report to your assigned location by 7:50 a.m.

> RSVP for the Faculty Breakfast and Commencement procession

Retired and current faculty will assemble in academic dress no later than 8:40 a.m. in the Miller Champions Club. The procession begins moving at 8:50 a.m.

Compiled by Gary Shultz, SMU News

Visit the SMU Registrar’s May Commencement homepage: smu.edu/commencement

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will deliver address at SMU’s 99th Commencement May 17, 2014

Mike-Rawlings-02Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will deliver the address at SMU’s 99th all-University Commencement. The ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 17, in Moody Coliseum.

The ceremony, including Rawlings’ address, will be broadcast live at smu.edu/live.

Elected mayor in June 2011, Rawlings immediately took on a broad agenda of citywide improvements. He has created new strategies for growing the arts through the Mayor’s Business Arts Initiative, has used his visibility as mayor to organize a campaign against domestic violence and has put Dallas in the spotlight by taking a leading role with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which will meet in Dallas June 20-23, 2014.

With the launch of GrowSouth, Rawlings outlined a comprehensive strategy designed to boost the economic impact of southern Dallas. GrowSouth already has been a catalyst for new economic investment, job creation and public-private partnerships. In 2012, The Dallas Morning News praised Rawlings, saying, “After only six months, Rawlings has accomplished more for southern Dallas than many of his predecessors managed in their entire terms.”

Rawlings has adopted four DISD schools in southern Dallas in areas primed for growth and also is working closely with Commit!, an education collaborative for Dallas-area schools. SMU partners with Rawlings on the Mayor’s Summer Reading Club, which provides incentives to keep children reading over the summer months, as well as the Mayor’s Intern Fellows Program, an eight-week, paid summer internship program for students from public and charter high schools in Dallas.

“Mike Rawlings has a passion for improving the quality of life in Dallas,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He is using his platform as mayor to work for more livable neighborhoods, increased economic opportunity throughout the city and strong public education for Dallas children. We prepare our graduates to become world changers, and I can’t think of a better example for them than Mayor Rawlings.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

Tune In: How J. Erik Jonsson transformed Dallas

Hundreds of Dallas’ leading public servants, including Mayor Mike Rawlings and DISD Superintendent Mike Miles, joined emerging leaders at SMU on Thursday, Feb. 6 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Mayor J. Erik Jonsson’s citizen-led “Goals for Dallas.”

Jonsson, a founder of Texas Instruments, became mayor of Dallas in 1964, shortly after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Already a strong advocate for education, he worked to improve morale and the image of the city throughout his term.

Jonsson’s “Goals for Dallas” initiative spurred the construction of DFW Airport, the Dallas Convention Center, the New Museum of Fine Arts and Dallas City Hall. The program helped establish public school kindergartens, citywide family planning, the University of Texas at Dallas, several branch libraries and neighborhood parks.

The sold-out event, “Goals for Dallas: The Impact of Ethical Leadership,” was sponsored by SMU’s Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility and was held in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom of SMU’s Umphrey Lee Center.

Maguire Ethics Center Director Rita Kirk spoke with KTXD’s “The Texas Daily” about “Goals for Dallas” on its 50th anniversary. Click the YouTube screen to watch, or open this link to see the KTXD Goals for Dallas segment in a new windowvideo

> Read more about SMU’s “Goals for Dallas: The Impact of Ethical Leadership” from SMU News

SMU, partners announce plans for golf facility in Southern Dallas

Officials from SMU, AT&T, and Dallas with members of The First Tee

Officials from SMU, AT&T and Dallas join members of The First Tee and professional golfer Lee Trevino.

Calling it  “a game-changing investment for the GrowSouth initiative generating enormous economic impact,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has announced plans for a public private effort between the City of Dallas, AT&T and SMU to develop a 400-acre former landfill site in Southern Dallas into a world-class sports facility.

The facility would include an 18-hole championship golf course, a nine-hole short course, an administrative/teaching facility for The First Tee of Greater Dallas, a world-class practice facility, a practice academy for the SMU golf teams and recreational trails.

“The proposed Trinity Forest project would not only become one of the nation’s finest golf and outdoor trail facilities in the United States, it would serve as a powerful catalyst bringing economic opportunity to Southern Dallas and the Trinity project, potentially generating more than $32 million annually in economic impact,” said Mayor Rawlings. “Just as importantly, it would change the lives of children through The First Tee’s character and leadership-development programs and other charitable endeavors.”

Joined by Dallas City Council members, Mayor Rawlings unveiled the ambitious, three-year proposed plan at a news conference at Dallas City Hall. At his side were representatives from AT&T, SMU, the PGA TOUR, the Salesmanship Club, and The First Tee, a non-profit youth development program created by the World Golf Foundation that uses golf to teach important values to young people. World Golf Hall of Fame member (and Dallas native) Lee Trevino also was on hand to pledge his support. PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem participated via a teleconference.

The project would be built on a currently unusable landfill owned by the City of Dallas. The site is located in the Trinity Forest near the Trinity River Audubon Center, just 10 minutes south of downtown Dallas.  Upon approval by the Dallas City Council, the project would be expected to get under way in spring 2013, with completion estimated by spring 2016.

A not-for-profit entity – involving major donors, supporters, sponsors and/or participants – would be formed to manage and operate the golf course.

Ron Spears, AT&T senior executive vice president, said AT&T plans to donate $2.5 million toward the development of the trails project.

“Dallas is our corporate home, and we are constantly seeking ways to enhance our community and participate as a corporate citizen,” said Spears. “We are proud to work with the City of Dallas, support charitable organizations and be involved in the economic development of Southern Dallas. We’re also happy to play a role in expanding the trails system in the Trinity Forest.”

SMU President R. Gerald Turner added that SMU looks forward to a partnership with The First Tee.

“As an educational institution, we’re especially pleased to give the young people of The First Tee the opportunity to interact with collegiate players and to encourage their aspirations for college. Likewise, our SMU students will learn and benefit from those interactions,” said Turner.

Mayor Rawlings thanked both AT&T and SMU for their support of the proposed project. “AT&T and SMU together have made a very significant commitment to the City of Dallas,” said Mayor Rawlings. “We’ve known for a long time that Southern Dallas holds the most promise and greatest potential for growth. The best news is that our great hardwood forest and natural ecosystem, which provide the perfect backdrop for a premier sports facility, would be preserved for future generations.”

The City would fund a maximum of $12 million limited to preliminary site work, environmental remediation, wetland and floodplain mitigation, and public infrastructure improvements.

Founded in 2003, The First Tee of Greater Dallas provides comprehensive teaching to over 1,100 youth participants each year in six program locations with introductory programming to over 25,000 elementary school students through The First Tee National School Program.

“The young people involved with The First Tee are going to be absolutely thrilled to call this Trinity Forest golf center their new home,” said Chuck Walker, managing director of The First Tee of Greater Dallas. “What an incredible backdrop to grow our programs so even more young people can gain exposure to the powerful character-building lessons that golf teaches.”

The proposed Trinity Forest site would also include plans for an area dedicated to highlighting the careers of prominent professional golfers from the Dallas area, including Byron Nelson and Lee Trevino.

PGA Hall of Famer Lee Trevino and SMU President R. Gerald Turner

Professional golfer Lee Trevino (left in photo) with Dallas Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins, City Councilwoman Vonciel Jones Hall, and SMU President R. Gerald Turner.

Trevino, who resides in Dallas, closed the program with memories of his childhood days learning the game of golf at the City of Dallas’ Tenison Park Golf Club, located in East Dallas.

“As a golfer who has played the best courses in the world, nothing could make me happier than seeing this very smart investment being made right here in our backyard. This is the big shot in the arm that Southern Dallas has needed, and it’s going to change the face of our city,” said Trevino. “And as a native Dallasite who learned to play while caddying as a kid, I’m truly thrilled to know that The First Tee will be there to expose a lot of kids — just like me — to the wonderful game of golf and the lifelong lessons it teaches.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

Dallas mayor, leaders meet at SMU to discuss education May 7

'Block to Boardroom' mastheadDallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will join North Texas leaders in a public discussion on the community’s ethical role in supporting public education Monday, May 7, 2012 at SMU.

As Mike Miles prepares to take over as DISD superintendent, “From Your Block to the Boardroom” is designed to spark a conversation about the community’s role in supporting excellence in education. The event is co-hosted by SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility, and Center on Communities and Education.

Simmons Dean David Chard will moderate the panel, which will include the Rev. Gerald Britt, vice president of CitySquare’s public policy and community program development; Florencia Velasco Fortner, CEO of Dallas Concilio; Torrence H. Robinson, Fluor Foundation senior director of community affairs; Bill McKenzie, Dallas Morning News columnist; and Todd Williams, executive director of Commit!.

“Our efforts with schools need to be sustained, and we hope that our dialogue at SMU can be the first in a series of discussions to determine how the community can make a difference and bolster the education of all students,” Chard says.

Maguire Center Director Rita Kirk will provide the ethical framework for the discussion. “We expect our school administrators and elected officials to hold the public trust and represent the best interests of our children, but what do we expect of our neighbor or local business, or even ourselves?” she says. Kirk will join Regina Nippert, executive director for SMU’s Center on Communities and Education, and Mayor Rawlings in underscoring the vital importance of supporting public education.

The panel discussion, including breakfast, takes place 7:30-9:30 a.m. at the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center. Tickets are $50 for the public, $25 for SMU employees, and are available online at block2boardroom.eventbrite.com.

> Read more from SMU News

SMU celebrates a Centennial Homecoming Nov. 3-6, 2011

SMU Centennial bookcoverSMU celebrates its 2011 Centennial Homecoming Nov. 3-6 with milestones and memories.

The festivities begin Thursday, Nov. 3, with the 2011 Distinguished Alumni Awards. In addition to the Mustangs’ football game against Tulane, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will serve as grand marshal of the Homecoming Parade beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, to celebrate the role Dallas leaders played in establishing SMU in 1911. WFAA-TV anchor Shelly Slater will serve as parade emcee.

This year the parade, which also will include Peruna IX and the Mustang Band, will feature a new viewing zone on Hillcrest Avenue with seating, an announcer and entertainment before the parade. Special outreach is being made to SMU neighbors to join the festivities, which will include a family fun area on the Boulevard.

Pigskin Revue, SMU’s oldest Homecoming tradition, will mark its 77th anniversary Friday, Nov. 4, in Umphrey Lee Center. The celebration includes a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. on the Center’s second-story patio, followed by the talent show at 8 p.m. in the Mack Ballroom.

Another Homecoming high point is the launch of the commemorative book SMU: Unbridled Vision (cover pictured at right), featuring more than 200 new photos of the Hilltop.

“As we celebrate the 100th year of our founding, it’s a pleasure to show our appreciation to the city of Dallas for competing to be the site of SMU in 1911 and for providing a supportive community through the years. SMU and Dallas have grown and prospered together, and we value that partnership,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “That’s why it’s especially gratifying to honor Mayor Rawlings as grand marshal and to add a special parade viewing area and activity section for families on the Boulevard.”

> Find a list of events at SMU News
>  Order your copy of SMU: Unbridled Vision online