Perkins School of Theology

Celebration of Lights opens SMU’s holiday season Monday, Nov. 27, 2017

SMU Celebration of Lights 2016

As Thanksgiving Break ended, SMU ushered in the holiday season with one of its most beloved annual traditions: the Celebration of Lights. Sponsored by the SMU Student Foundation, the 2017 ceremony took place Monday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m. on the Main Quad.

The ceremony features thousands of decorative lights, luminarias lining the sidewalks, seasonal songs performed by student musicians, and SMU President R. Gerald Turner reading the Christmas Story. The public was invited to attend and to share cookies and hot chocolate with the campus community before the ceremony began.

The festivities continue with other beloved traditions:

  • Advent Worship ServiceSMU’s Perkins School of Theology celebrates its Advent Worship Service on Thursday, Dec. 7, at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. in Perkins Chapel. Both services, under the theme “Ero cras…I shall come tomorrow,” will feature the Seminary Singers, directed by Simon Hill ’17 and accompanied by Hannah Cruse. The 8 p.m. service will include a special performance by the Orpheus Chamber Singers, led by founder and Artistic Director Donald Krehbiel ’83. Readers for the service will be Perkins faculty and staff members including Charles L. Aaron, associate director, Intern Program; Carlos F. Cardoza Orlandi, director, Doctor of Ministry Program; Laura Figura, coordinator of student life; Craig C. Hill, dean; Tamara E. Lewis, assistant professor of the history of Christianity; Evelyn Parker, associate dean for academic affairs and Susanna Wesley Centennial Professor of Practical Theology; Margot Perez-Greene, associate dean for enrollment management; and Mark W. Stamm, professor of Christian worship.
  • All-University Holiday Celebration: President and Mrs. Turner invite all SMU faculty and staff members to their annual holiday reception Wednesday, Dec. 13, from 3:30-5 p.m. in the Martha Proctor Mack Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.
  • December Commencement Convocation: SMU celebrates its 2017 December Commencement Convocation Saturday, Dec. 16, at 10 a.m. in Moody Coliseum. Retired and current faculty members will assemble for procession in academic dress no later than 9:40 a.m. in the Miller Champions Club. The ceremony will be livestreamed at smu.edu/live beginning at 9:45 a.m.

Bishop Michael McKee ’78 named 2017 Distinguished Alumnus by Perkins School of Theology

Bishop Michael McKeeMichael McKee, SMU trustee and resident bishop of the Dallas Area of The United Methodist Church, has been named the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology. He will be honored during the annual awards banquet on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017 at 5 p.m. in the Great Hall of Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall.

Bishop McKee was selected for the award by the Perkins Alumni/ae Council for his demonstrated effectiveness and integrity in service to the church, continuing support and involvement in the goals of Perkins School of Theology and SMU, distinguished service in the wider community and exemplary character.

A native of Fort Worth, Bishop McKee’s service to The United Methodist Church, to Southern Methodist University, and to Perkins School of Theology has spanned almost five decades and has influenced the denomination at the local, regional, national, and global levels.

“Bishop McKee is an outstanding choice for the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award,” said Perkins Dean Craig C. Hill. “Throughout his ministry, he has been a faithful servant of both The United Methodist Church and Perkins School of Theology, and I — like so many others — have come to rely on his judgment and to count on his assistance.”

“There is no better partner in the work of our school,” Dean Hill said.

In his nomination letter, Dr. John Robbins — senior pastor of Memorial Drive United Methodist Church in Houston — cited Bishop McKee’s extraordinary and courageous leadership through the years.

“He served the local church with distinction with every congregation he led experiencing significant growth,” he said. “His strong leadership created an exceptional level of respect from his clergy colleagues, as well as countless lay people. He has never shied away from challenges or conflicts that might impede his ability to share the Gospel message through the spoken word and hands-on efforts,” Dr. Robbins said. “Because of that and many other accomplishments, he is more than deserving of this prestigious honor.”

A member of the SMU Board of Trustees since 2012, he has been a member of the Perkins Executive Board since 2004 and currently serves as its chair. He was a member of the Perkins Dean Search Committee in 2016 and was co-chair of the successful Second Century Campaign, which increased financial aid and faculty chair endowments at Perkins School of Theology.

Bishop McKee is president of the Board of the denomination’s General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA), a member of the Council of Bishops Executive Committee and is immediate past-president of the South Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops. In addition to SMU, he serves on the Boards of Trustees of the Texas Methodist Foundation, Southwestern University, and Methodist Health System, Dallas

Elected to the episcopacy by the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church in 2012, he previously served for 15 years as senior minister of First UMC in Hurst, Texas. He was appointed as senior minister of Overton Park UMC, Meadowbrook UMC in Fort Worth, and First UMC in Joshua. Bishop McKee also served as associate pastor of First UMC in Fort Worth and Richland Hills UMC.

A clergy member of the Central Texas Annual Conference prior to his election to the episcopacy, he was ordained Deacon in 1975 and Elder in 1979. He served as chair of the annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry, was elected delegate to the General Conference in 2008 and 2012, and was an alternate delegate in 2004. In addition, he was a delegate to South Central Jurisdictional Conferences each quadrennium from 2004-2012.

Bishop McKee received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin (1973), a Master of Theology from Perkins School of Theology of Southern Methodist University (1978), and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Texas Wesleyan University (2005). He is married to Joan (Craig) McKee and they have two adult children: Erin McKee Chidsey, son-in-law Darin, and grandsons Knox and Ford, Los Angeles, California; and Meredith McKee, who lives in Dallas.

> Buy tickets for the SMU Perkins awards banquet online

SMU scholars lead Community Conversation on renaming schools named for Confederate generals, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017

SMU Community Conversations - Dallas Public Schools Named After Confederates

As Dallas addresses the challenges of dealing with its Confederate monuments, SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and Perkins School of Theology host a Community Conversation on the proposed renaming of four Dallas public schools currently named for Confederate generals.

The Dallas Independent School District Board voted in September to focus on renaming four Dallas ISD elementary schools named for Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Albert Sidney Johnston and William Cabell. The SMU panelists will provide perspective and historical context surrounding the naming of Dallas ISD schools.

“Community Conversations: SMU Scholars Discuss Dallas Public Schools” will take place 6-7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30, 2017 in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall.

Panelists include:

The discussion will be moderated by Ted A. Campbell, professor of church history in Perkins School of Theology. The event is free and open to the public.

> RSVP for “SMU Community Conversations” online

Eighteen SMU faculty members retire with emeritus status in 2016-17

Eighteen distinguished faculty members with a combined total of nearly 585 years of SMU service retired with emeritus status in the 2016-17 academic year.

The professors, and their dates of service:

• Thomas E. Barry, Professor Emeritus of Marketing, Cox School of Business, 1970-2017

• Janis Bergman-Carton, Professor Emerita of Art History, Meadows School of the Arts, 1991-2017

Edward Biehl, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1962-2017

Gordon Birrell, Professor Emeritus of World Languages and Literatures, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1974-2017

Dolores M. Etter, Professor Emerita of Electrical Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering, 2008-2016

 Richard F. Gunst, Professor Emeritus of Statistical Science, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1971-2017

 C. Michael Hawn, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Church Music, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1992-2017

• Debora Hunter, Professor Emerita of Art, Meadows School of the Arts, 1976-2017

Alireza Khotanzad, Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering, 1984-2017

 Ndiva Kofele-Kale, Professor Emeritus of Law, Dedman School of Law, 1989-2017

• Robert Krout, Professor Emeritus of Music, Meadows School of the Arts, 2004-2017

• Patricia Mathes, Texas Instruments Chair of Reading and Professor Emerita of Teaching and Learning, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, 2003-2017

 Sherry L. Smith, University Distinguished Professor Emerita of History, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1999-2017

 Willard Spiegelman, Hughes Professor Emeritus of English, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1971-2017

 Steve Sverdlik, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1982-2017

• Martin Sweidel, Professor Emeritus of Music, Meadows School of the Arts, 1986-2016

 John Walther, Professor Emeritus of Earth Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1994-2017

 Ronald Wetherington, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1964-2017

Three professors honored with 2017 Tunks Distinguished University Citizen Awards

Three faculty members were honored with SMU’s 2017 Thomas W. Tunks Distinguished University Citizen Award at the Faculty Breakfast held Saturday, May 20 before Commencement. This year’s recipients are:

The award, given by the Office of the Provost, honors three faculty members each year for service and activities that benefit students and the University’s academic mission and “who have demonstrated outstanding citizenship through dedicated service to the University and its governance.”

Formerly the Distinguished University Citizen Award, the honor was renamed in 2014 for Tunks, a professor of music education, former associate provost and founding Faculty-in-Residence in the University’s Residential Commons.

Four distinguished SMU scholars named 2017 Ford Research Fellows

Four outstanding SMU professors were honored for their scholarship and research with 2017 Ford Research Fellowships. The awards were presented during the Board of Trustees meeting Thursday, May 4.

This year’s recipients are Stephanie Al Otaiba, Teaching and Learning, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development; Jeffrey Kahn, Dedman School of Law; Zhong Lu, Earth Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; and Bruce Marshall, Perkins School of Theology.

Established in 2002 through a $1 million pledge from trustee Gerald J. Ford, the fellowships help SMU retain and reward outstanding scholars. Each recipient receives a cash prize for research support during the year.

Stephanie Al Otaiba is the Patsy and Ray Caldwell Centennial Chair in Teaching and Learning in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. Her research interests include school-based literacy interventions, response to intervention, learning disabilities, diverse learners, and teacher training. She has published more than 110 journal articles and book chapters and has also developed reading curricular materials. Her research has been supported by several federally funded grants from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences and Office of Special Education Programs, and from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Jeffrey Kahn is a professor in Dedman School of Law whose areas of expertise include U.S. constitutional law, administrative law, Russian law, human rights and counterterrorism. His latest research focuses on the right to travel and national security law; his most recent book, Mrs. Shipley’s Ghost: The Right to Travel and Terrorist Watchlists, critically examines the U.S. government’s no-fly list. Professor Kahn’s work on Russian law has been noted by name by the editors of The New York Times and published in various law reviews, as well as the peer-reviewed journals Post-Soviet Affairs and Review of Central and East European Law. Professor Kahn is a founding member of the Advisory Board of SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Education Program and a Fellow of the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies.

Zhong Lu is the Shuler-Foscue Endowed Chair and director of graduate studies in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. His geophysics research focuses on the use of satellite-borne radar to detect subtle changes in the earth’s surface preceding volcanic eruptions. He also researches volcano deformation, earthquake deformation mapping, fault geometry and modeling, and ground-water basin analysis. His work with InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar) includes underground nuclear explosion monitoring, landslide monitoring and water-level changes of wetlands. Professor Lu has been awarded more than $3 million in grants from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. Geological Service, and the U.S. Forest Service.

Bruce Marshall is the Lehman Professor of Christian Doctrine in Perkins School of Theology. He ranks among the top scholars in the world who conduct research and write about the most enduring and debated of Christian beliefs – namely, the doctrine of the Trinity. His research and writing focus on this doctrine, as well as the relationship between Christianity and Judaism. He is also an expert on the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas and has lectured widely throughout the United States and abroad on topics ranging from Trinitarian theology to Christology. Professor Marshall has written two books and more than 90 articles, book chapters, and reviews, and is a frequent speaker in both national and international venues.

Five receive 2017 Faculty Senate Outstanding Staff Awards

The SMU Faculty Senate honored five staff members for outstanding performance with 2017 Faculty Senate Outstanding Staff Awards. The honors were presented during the Senate’s last meeting of the 2016-17 academic year on Wednesday, May 3.

This year’s winners:

  • James Dees, Graduate Student Administration, Lyle School of Engineering
  • Pamela Goolsby, Events and Facilities, Perkins School of Theology
  • Teresa Janicki, World Languages and Literatures, Dedman College
  • Carolyn Jeter, Executive Assistant to the Provost and VP for Academic Affairs, Office of the Provost
  • Sandra Oswalt, Sponsored Projects, Office of Research and Graduate Studies

In addition to the glass trophies presented to each honoree, they received gifts ranging from season tickets to art books to museum memberships, donated by SMU Athletics, the SMU Bookstore, SMU Dining Services, Meadows Museum and the Meadows School of the Arts.

Perkins School of Theology announces degree concentrations in Church Management, Social Innovation to begin in Fall 2017

SMU Perkins Chapel with blue foxgloves, 2015, by Hillsman S. Jackson - LRSMU’s Perkins School of Theology has added two new degree concentrations – in partnership with Cox School of Business and Meadows School of the Arts – designed to strengthen future clergy in the area of church management and to equip those pursuing nontraditional forms of ministry that encourage social innovation.

The Church Management and Social Innovation and Nonprofit Engagement (SINE) concentrations will be available beginning Fall 2017 to Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and Master of Arts in Ministry (M.A.M.) students.

The Concentration in Church Management is an 18-credit-hour interdisciplinary graduate-level concentration that will provide world-class business education to students in tandem with critical theological preparation. Courses offered by the Cox School, which was ranked No. 6 globally for quality of faculty in 2016, will focus on the needs of nonprofit managers in areas including organizational leadership, staff and volunteer management, membership generation, cross-cultural management and targeted marketing.

“This concentration is both badly needed and highly distinctive,” said Perkins Dean Craig Hill. “It leverages SMU’s considerable strengths in both theological and business education to provide a program that addresses needs of church bodies in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”

Offered in partnership with the Meadows School’s Division of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs, the Concentration in Social Innovation and Nonprofit Engagement is designed primarily for students who do not intend to work as pastors in a local church setting, but in nontraditional ministries. The 15-credit-hour interdisciplinary graduate-level concentration will focus on innovative approaches to addressing social issues and the needs arising from technological, demographic and societal changes. Through courses including social entrepreneurship and innovation, business and professional communication, financing for the social good, and others, students will learn how to form effective, practical and sustainable responses to these emerging challenges.

“Perkins students enrolled in the Social Innovation and Nonprofit Management concentration will be able to apply intellectual rigor and spiritual integrity to communication theory, and to practice research, strategy, consulting and advocacy in light of critical theological inquiry,” Dean Hill said. “Many of our students, including those who pursue ordination, find themselves on the cutting-edge of nontraditional ministries within communities across the United States. Perkins and Meadows are committed to equipping leaders not only for current societal realities but also to face future challenges.”

“Students receiving a theological education with either of these concentrations will be better prepared to lead churches, non-profits, and other ministry settings,” said Bishop Michael McKee, episcopal leader of the North Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, member of the SMU Board of Trustees and chair of the Perkins Executive Board. “SMU and Perkins will be providing a better-prepared person for service in our rapidly changing culture.”

> Read the full story at the Perkins School of Theology website

Duke theologian, researcher and administrator Craig C. Hill named dean of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology

Craig C. Hill, dean of Perkins School of Theology, SMUCraig C. Hill, a Duke University leader in theological education with strengths in practice, research and church relations, has been appointed the new dean of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology, effective July 1, 2016.

Current Perkins Dean William B. Lawrence announced in September 2015 that he will retire from the position on May 16 and take a leave of absence during the 2016-17 academic year, possibly returning to SMU as professor of American church history after that time.

Since 2010, Dr. Hill has served as executive director of the Doctor of Ministry and Master of Christian Practice programs at Duke, as well as research professor of theological pedagogy.

He previously served the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., where he held several positions: professor of New Testament, executive director of academic outreach, director of the Wesley Ministry Network, co-director of the dual degree program with The American University and director of the Master of Theological Studies degree program.

> Learn more about the SMU Perkins decanal search committee

“Dr. Hill’s broad achievements as a scholar and pastoral leader make him well-equipped to guide and strengthen the next century of theological higher education at SMU,” said Steven C. Currall, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Theology was one of the first subjects taught when SMU opened in 1915, and today Perkins School of Theology remains central to the mission and character of the University. Dr. Hill will further cement the close relationship between Perkins and The United Methodist Church, as well as with other faith-based organizations in the region, nationally, and around the world. We are delighted that Dr. Hill will join the academic leadership of SMU as dean of the Perkins School of Theology.”

“Perkins School of Theology has from the beginning sought, in the words of Charles Wesley, to ‘unite…knowledge and vital piety,’ to pursue the highest standard of theological scholarship, not simply for its own sake, but for the benefit of the Church,” said Dr. Hill. “I was delighted to discover one of the school’s earliest mottos: ‘Take the School of Theology to the Church.’ My own career has been defined by that same goal, so I feel incredibly privileged to join the Perkins community as it seeks faithfully to fulfill its mission in its second century of service to the Church.”

From his experience at theology schools of other distinguished universities, Dr. Hill brings a broad overview of best practices and evolving challenges in different regions of the nation and world. These positions include those at seminaries in Moscow, Russia; Seoul, Korea; and the University of Cambridge, England. In the United States, he has been a visiting professor at Howard University Divinity School and at Indiana University and was a Henry Luce Fellow at Yale Divinity School. Based on his experience at Duke University, Dr. Hill will bring insights into how theological education aligns with other academic programs in a global research university with a liberal arts tradition, such as SMU.

“Trends in theology education, the growing need for outreach to underserved communities and the importance of preparing ministers for new challenges and opportunities – all demand the balance of theological practice and reflection that Dr. Hill will bring to his leadership of Perkins,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner.

Among Dr. Hill’s church positions, he served as director of Christian Education at First United Methodist Church, Meriden, Connecticut; as chaplain at Christ Church College, University of Oxford; as associate pastor at First United Methodist Church, Peoria, Illinois; and as associate pastor at Woodside United Methodist Church, Springfield, Illinois.

“In a very competitive field, Dr. Craig Hill stood out for a number of reasons,” said Samuel S. Holland, chair of the search committee and dean of SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. “He has served in various executive positions at Duke Divinity School and Wesley Theological Seminary, in other words both in a theological school embedded in a research university and at an independent institution. He brings an international perspective to SMU. In all, he will provide ecumenical breadth and theological depth that Perkins School of Theology will need going forward.”

Dr. Hill is the author of numerous scholarly articles and the forthcoming book, The Greatest Among You: Reclaiming a New Testament Perspective on Status and Ambition. His previous books include In God’s Time: The Bible and the Future and Hellenists and Hebrews: Reappraising Division within the Earliest Church.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in religion from Illinois Wesleyan University, a Master of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a Ph.D. from the University of Oxford (Christ Church College).

Review Craig C. Hill’s curriculum vitae

Highland Park UMC establishes Umphrey Lee Professorship in Methodist History to honor SMU’s centennial

One of SMU’s oldest neighbors has given the University a lasting 100th birthday present.

A $1.5 million gift from Highland Park United Methodist Church (HPUMC) will endow the Umphrey Lee Professorship in Methodist History, as well as support the HPUMC Future Church Leaders Program, in SMU’s Perkins School of Theology. The announcement of the gift fell on the date of the SMU Centennial – Sept. 24, 2015 – allowing the University to celebrate its longstanding relationship with the church that held its first service on the SMU campus in 1916.

“Our church history dates back to the founding of SMU, but our relationship is more than just an overlapping of time and geography,” said Rev. Paul Rasmussen ’04, HPUMC senior pastor, during the University’s Centennial Convocation. “It is our privilege to endow this professorship and to support the growth of future church leaders as we prepare for future generations of congregants. The Perkins School of Theology is our partner in so many ways, and remains at the heart of the SMU tradition of outreach in the community and the world.”

The gift includes $1 million to establish the faculty position in the Perkins School of Theology, and $500,000 to support educational opportunities for individuals aspiring to serve in church leadership roles. Recipients of “future leaders” funding may include students enrolled in graduate, undergraduate, certificate or continuing education programs or courses across the University, with students identified and recommended by HPUMC.

“When it comes to Umphrey Lee, it’s hard to know where SMU ends and Highland Park United Methodist Church begins, because Rev. Lee served us both for so many years,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Our HPUMC neighbors are part of the SMU family and we feel a special sense of pride that this gift will support us in teaching the rich Methodist history that we share and help to prepare future church leaders.  It’s a wonderful way to celebrate our combined centennials.”

Lee arrived at SMU in 1915, the first year classes were held on the Hilltop, and was elected the first student body president. He received his master’s degree as a member of SMU’s first graduating class in 1916. He served as pastor of HPUMC for 13 years, as SMU’s fourth president for 15 years (including during the World War II years) and as its chancellor after he stepped down as president. Over his lifetime he wrote 10 scholarly books on topics including Methodist history, the relationship between church and state, and pacifism in the context of the historic church.

“Umphrey Lee was a scholar of Methodist history who believed that the liberal arts should make students think about their responsibilities in society, and that a successful experience at Southern Methodist University would help instill personal and social values,” said Perkins Dean William B. Lawrence. “This gift from the congregation that Rev. Lee loved to the University that he also loved is a wonderful tribute to a man whose influence on SMU was transformational.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

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