R. Gerald Turner

Tune In: Watch SMU’s 103rd Opening Convocation live, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017

President R. Gerald Turner will deliver the opening address, “World Changers Shaped Here,” at SMU’s 103rd Opening Convocation. The ceremony beings at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017 in McFarlin Auditorium.

SMU Board of Trustees Chair Michael M. Boone ’63, ’67 , Faculty Senate President Paul Krueger and Student Body President David Shirzad will also give remarks. The Meadows Convocation Chorus, directed by Pamela Elrod Huffman, will provide music, accompanied by Sarah England.

The entire Convocation will be streamed over the internet via smu.edu/live. Click or tap the screen below to watch. The broadcast begins one hour before the ceremony starts.

> Download a PDF of the 103rd SMU Opening Convocation program

Save the date: SMU Fall 2017 General Faculty Meeting, Wednesday, Aug. 23

SMU President R. Gerald Turner will address the University faculty at the Fall 2017 General Faculty Meeting Wednesday, Aug. 23 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. The meeting will begin at 3:45 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Theater, after a reception beginning at 3 p.m. in Centennial Hall and the Theater foyer.

Newly tenured faculty will receive their regalia during the meeting. In addition, 2017-18 Faculty Senate President Paul Krueger will give the Senate’s report. Provost Steven Currall will also address the meeting and announce the winner of the 2016-17 Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church.

SMU trustee David B. Miller ’72, ’73 to receive Methodist Health System Foundation’s 2017 Folsom Leadership Award

David B. MillerThe Dallas-based Methodist Health System Foundation has named business and community leader and SMU trustee David B. Miller ’72, ’73 as the 2017 Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award recipient.

The award will be presented at a dinner on Wednesday, October 25 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Hilton Anatole Hotel’s Grand Ballroom. Established in 2005, the honor recognizes individuals whose demonstrated commitment and excellence in community leadership emulate the achievements of the late Dallas Mayor Robert S. Folsom.

Methodist Health System Foundation President James M. Johnston said, “David Miller clearly exemplifies Bob Folsom’s legacy as a revered community leader, serving Dallas with integrity, humility and respect. Like Mr. Folsom, David’s dedication and involvement with SMU, his dynamic leadership as a successful entrepreneur/business leader, as well as his care, concern and generosity toward others who are less fortunate, have made a lasting impact on Dallas and beyond. This year is particularly poignant because of the passing of Mr. Folsom in January. We hope to make this a special celebration as we pay tribute to Mr. Folsom as well.”

Miller, co-founder and managing partner of EnCap Investments, L.P., said, “I am humbled and honored to receive this significant award as Bob Folsom was a role model for many of us, and he was a true servant leader.”

A two-time SMU graduate, Miller earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from Edwin L. Cox School of Business. He has served on the SMU Board of Trustees since 2008 and also serves as chairman of the Cox Executive Board. He is a recipient of Distinguished Alumni Awards from both the University and the Cox School. In 2009, Miller was honored with the Silver Anniversary Mustang Award by the SMU Lettermen’s Association.

In 2016, Methodist Health System provided more than $149 million in unreimbursed charity care, a growing portion of total care provided in North Texas. The Folsom dinner, recognized as one of Dallas’s largest fundraising events, has raised more than $15 million net to benefit Methodist Health System’s programs and services.

Co-chairs for the event include Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt, Lottye and Bobby B. Lyle, The Honorable Jeanne L. Phillips and Gail and R. Gerald Turner.

Past Folsom Leadership Award recipients include Robert S. Folsom (2005), Nancy Ann Hunt (2006), Troy Aikman (2007), Laura Bush (2008), the late Norman Brinker (2009), Pat and Emmitt Smith (2010), Trevor Rees-Jones (2011), Mike Boone (2012), Rev. Mark Craig (2013), Bobby B. Lyle (2014), Jack Lowe, Jr. (2015), and R. Gerald Turner (2016).

> Read the full story from SMU News

Michael H. Hites, Ph.D., named SMU Chief Information Officer effective July 17, 2017

Michael H. HitesMichael H. Hites, Ph.D., an executive with 17 years of experience leading large-scale computing operations for university-based research and innovation, has been named SMU’s Chief Information Officer. He will begin his new duties on July 17, 2017.

“We are delighted that Dr. Hites will be joining us as our Chief Information Officer,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner.  “His experience and leadership will be invaluable as we dramatically increase the utilization of advanced computing in our research and institutional programs.”

Currently, Hites is senior associate vice president for administrative IT services and CIO with the University of Illinois System. He also serves as an adjunct associate professor of computer science at the University of Illinois-Chicago. He brings to SMU experience with innovation and research, teaching and learning, enterprise infrastructure, fundraising, governance, strategic planning and budgeting, process improvement, new product development, 24/7 operations, and data warehousing and analytics, among other areas.

As SMU CIO, Hites will report directly to President Turner. He will lead the Office of Information Technology, including the Academic Technology, Infrastructure, Applications Support, Project Management, Customer Service, and Information Security teams.

In addition, Hites will oversee the University’s high-performance computing initiatives, including the ManeFrame II supercomputer: SMU’s fourth-generation upgrade, which boasts a six-fold increase in computing power with a theoretical peak performance of more than 600 teraflops.  When installation is competed this summer, ManeFrame II will rank among the top academic supercomputers in the nation.

As the UI System’s senior associate VP for administrative IT services and CIO since 2012, Hites is responsible for a $28 million recurring budget and 220 employees. He also leads an executive team in planning, strategy, analysis, and operations of enterprise IT services for approximately 81,000 students and 25,000 employees across UI’s Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), Chicago (UIC) and Springfield (UIS) campuses.

His accomplishments in this role include the development of faculty-focused IT governance structures that balance membership between academic and administrative leadership, as well as the implementation of an annual enterprise resource planning (ERP) upgrade process that saves the system millions of dollars compared to peer organizations.

He has collaborated on the planning and installation of a new shared research-computing cluster at UIC and helped implement a single-username and -password system in a highly-distributed environment with multiple password directories. In addition, his department created a researcher-focused financial and compliance portal to streamline processes for innovators, as well as developed strategies for administrative IT services that favor saving time for students and faculty and providing faster services and data for stakeholders.

“I am looking forward to helping achieve SMU’s 2016-2025 strategic plan, ‘Launching SMU’s Second Century: Shaping Leaders for a Changing World,’” Hites said.  “Being the CIO at SMU gives me the opportunity to work side-by-side with students, faculty and staff to foster research, improve interdisciplinary education, and partner with the city of Dallas.”

Hites began his career at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago in 1996, where he served as assistant to the dean for computing (1996-97), assistant dean for computing and research assistant professor (1997-98), and director, Computing and Network Services (1998-2000). He also served as chief technology officer from 2000-03.

He continued his career at New Mexico State University (NMSU) from 2003-08, starting as vice provost for information and technology services and CIO (2003-06). As vice president for planning and IT and CIO from 2006-08, he worked with deans, directors, students, faculty, executive leadership, and the Board of Regents to plan, implement and measure IT programs and services across NMSU’s five-campus system, as well as assisting other governmental and educational entities in New Mexico.

His 10-year career with the University of Illinois System included service as executive CIO (2011-12) and associate vice president for administrative IT services (2008-12).

Hites received his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Arizona in 1989. He earned an M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1992 and his Ph.D. in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology in 1997.

Dr. Hites was selected after a nationwide search coordinated by a campus committee chaired by James E. Quick, associate vice president for research and dean of graduate studies. He replaces Joe Gargiulo, SMU’s first CIO, who will retire this summer.

“A 21st-century university depends on information technology,” Quick said. “Dr. Hites’ background, which includes both outstanding IT and faculty experience, position him to lead the engagement of IT in SMU’s efforts to enhance its academic quality and stature.”

Kenechukwu (K.C.) Mmeje named SMU Vice President for Student Affairs

Kenechukwu K.C. MmejeKenechukwu (K.C.) Mmeje, assistant vice president and dean of students at Loyola University Chicago, has been named Vice President for Student Affairs at SMU effective Monday, July 17, 2017.

“Strength of character and a commitment to students shines through in interactions with Dr. Mmeje,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “His experience at urban, private universities in Chicago and Los Angeles also set him apart as a candidate for this important position at SMU. We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Mmeje to the Hilltop in Dallas.”

In his new duties, Mmeje (pronounced MAY-jay) will oversee areas including the Office of the Dean of Student Life; Residence Life; women’s, LGBT, multicultural, volunteer and leadership programs; student activities; student conduct; the Hegi Family Career Development Center; campus ministries; health and wellness programs, including the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center; the Hughes-Trigg Student Center and the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports.

As assistant vice president and dean of students at Loyola University Chicago since September 2014, Mmeje has been responsible for several functional areas that support Loyola’s academic mission and promote a vibrant campus life, including the Office of the Dean of Students, Off-Campus Student Life, Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution, Student Activities & Greek Affairs, Leadership Development and Second Year Experience, Student Diversity & Multicultural Affairs, and the Student Government of Loyola Chicago (SGLC). He has almost 15 years of progressively responsible student affairs experience in judicial affairs, crisis management, retention and academic support services, and student advocacy and support.

In addition, he oversees Loyola’s Behavioral Concerns Team and co-chairs the Threat Assessment Team. He also co-chairs the Loyola Experience Implementation Committee, which is responsible for ensuring alignment of the institution’s academic and co-curricular programs through ongoing collaborations that include New Student Convocation, Welcome Week, and Student Support and Retention Initiatives, among others.

“I am excited to join the SMU community,” Mmeje said. “Throughout the search process, I was struck by the passion and enthusiasm with which everyone I met described their love and tremendous pride for SMU. I look forward to partnering with the outstanding professionals in the Division of Student Affairs, faculty and academic leaders to offer a seamlessly integrated curricular and co-curricular experience that supports the holistic development of each student. I am eager to meet the SMU student community and to begin working on their behalf.”

Mmeje began his career in student life and development at the University of Vermont in Burlington, where he served as assistant director of the Office of Judicial Affairs from 2003-04. He served the University of Southern California (USC) as assistant director of student judicial affairs and community standards (2004-05), and as student affairs advisor and special projects coordinator for the vice president of student affairs (2005-06).

From 2006-10, Mmeje was director of the USC Scholars Program, a funded outreach and retention initiative serving local underrepresented, first-generation, and low- to moderate-income transfer students. In this role, he collaborated with faculty to develop, implement and assess programs that facilitated the academic and social success of these students at USC. In addition, he provided regular training for academic advisors on how to better serve the university’s transfer population, as well as admissions and financial aid counseling for students and their parents and guardians.

His eight-year career with Loyola University Chicago included service as associate dean of student life (2010-13) before his promotion to assistant vice president, Student Life, in July 2013. Concurrently with his other duties, he also served as interim director of the Department of Residence Life from 2015-16.

Mmeje received his B.A. degree in sociology and Black studies from the University of California-Santa Barbara. He earned a Master of Education degree in higher education student affairs administration from the University of Vermont and his Ed.D. in educational leadership from USC. In addition, he holds a Certificate in Management and Leadership in Education from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

His wife, Natasha, is a health educator and currently serves as assistant director of Loyola’s Wellness Center for Health Promotion. She also is a trained medical advocate for survivors of sexual assault in the State of Illinois. They have two daughters, Ayana and Savannah.

Mmeje was selected after a nationwide search coordinated by a campus committee chaired by Harold W. Stanley, vice president for executive affairs. He replaces the late Pamela D. Anthony, who died Jan. 17, 2017, after a battle with cancer. Joanne Vogel, SMU associate vice president and dean of student life, currently serves as vice president ad interim.

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