R. Gerald Turner

University honors award winners, 25-year staff members at 2017 Staff Celebration and Convocation

25-year SMU staff members, 2017 Staff Celebration and Convocation, SMU

SMU honored staff members celebrating 25 years or more of service during its 2017 Staff Celebration and Convocation.

President R. Gerald Turner and University Registrar John Hall ’71, ’73, ’79 helped to honor 12 staff members who are celebrating their 25th year at the University at the 2017 Staff Celebration and Convocation Thursday, Oct. 5. The ceremony also recognized staff members honored in the annual President’s Award and Loretta O’Reilly Hawkins Award programs.

It has taken every SMU staff member to achieve the milestones the University has marked in recent years, Turner told the crowd. From rising admissions standards and record fund-raising numbers, to the installation of the ManeFrame II supercomputer and the service and management of four home football games in September, “there’s no way in the world that happens without all of you – and I thank you.”

Deanie Kepler ’70, director of parent and family programs, received the 2017 Loretta O’Reilly Hawkins Award, established to recognize and reward outstanding performance among University employees. Anna Marzillo, assistant director of International Student and Scholar Services, was finalist.

The SMU Staff Association announced the winners of the 2017 President’s Awards:

  • Shannon Lunt, Gretchen C. Voight New Employee Excellence Award
  • Mary Tays, Continuing Excellence Award
  • Lisa Tran, Outstanding Leadership Award

The event also honored the following staff members who have celebrated 25th SMU anniversaries:

  • Sherry Aikman (30-year staff member)
  • Joe Arnold (celebrated anniversary in 2016)
  • Ronny Jepsen (celebrated anniversary in 2016)
  • Yvette Castilla
  • Nazario Del Rio
  • Tammy Dyer
  • Lorinda Lamb
  • Pamela Morgan
  • Susan Strobel Hogan
  • Alan Pushin
  • Gloria Watson
  • Carolyn Yates

Reminder: Staff Celebration and Convocation, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017

President R. Gerald Turner has invited the entire SMU community to the University’s relaunched staff recognition day on Thursday, Oct. 5. 2017.

The new Staff Celebration and Convocation, created by the SMU Staff Association (SMUSA) in collaboration with the Office of Operational Excellence, will take place at 10:30 a.m. in McFarlin Auditorium. A reception with light refreshments will precede the ceremony at 10 a.m.

> RSVP for the Staff Celebration and Convocation at smu.edu/SMUSA

The event is for all staff members, and President Turner will give his traditional State of SMU address as the keynote. University Registrar John Hall, SMU’s longest-serving staff member, is the featured speaker.

Staff members who have achieved 25 years of service to SMU will be honored, as well as the 2017 President’s Award and Loretta O’Reilly Hawkins Award recipients. The ceremony with also recognize staff members who have continued their SMU service beyond 25 years, and previous President’s and Loretta Hawkins Award recipients.

> Visit the SMU Staff Association online

Jody and Sheila Grant pledge $1.5 million to SMU’s Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center

Robson and Lindley Aquatics Center, artist's rendering

Former varsity swimmer Joseph M. “Jody” Grant ’60 met his wife, Sheila Peterson Grant, while they were both SMU students. Now they have provided $1.5 million to help fund the University’s new Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center.

With their gift, they’ve also created the Sheila and Jody Grant Challenge, which encourages other donors to give the remaining $1.5 million to complete the Center’s $22 million funding goal. The 42,000-square-foot facility, soon to be home to the University’s internationally recognized men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, will be dedicated Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, during SMU Homecoming.

Jody and Sheila Grant

Jody and Sheila Grant

“As community business and philanthropic leaders, Jody and Sheila Grant know the importance of reaching the finish line and completing worthy goals,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Their generosity is inspirational and helps get us closer to completing funding for the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center and providing a place where our student athletes can continue the championship legacy of SMU swimming and diving.”

Jody Grant attended SMU on a swimming scholarship. He earned four individual Southwest Conference swimming championships and was twice named to the All-America team.

“SMU’s swimming program has been near and dear to my heart since Coach Red Barr recruited me many years ago to swim for the Mustangs,” said Dr. Grant. “I am honored to support this new facility, which will be home for the swimming program that was so meaningful to me.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

Staff Celebration and Convocation scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017

The SMU Staff Association, in collaboration with the Office of Operational Excellence, has created a new Staff Celebration and Convocation program honoring SMU staff excellence. The ceremony is for all SMU staff members and will take place at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017 in McFarlin Auditorium.

President R. Gerald Turner will give his traditional State of SMU address as the keynote during the event. University Registrar John Hall, SMU’s longest-serving staff member, will be the featured speaker.

Staff members who have achieved 25 years of service to SMU will be honored, as well as the 2017 Presidential and Loretta Hawkins Award recipients. The ceremony with also recognize staff members who have continued their SMU service beyond 25 years, and previous Presidential and Loretta Hawkins Award recipients.

A reception with light refreshments will precede the ceremony at 10 a.m. For more information, visit the SMU Staff Association website.

President Turner issues SMU statement on DACA program

SMU President R. Gerald Turner has issued a statement regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, including a number of University resources for students needing support.

The Trump Administration announced its intention to end the DACA program in six months. Congressional action will be required to set a new policy regarding childhood arrivals – undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors by their parents.

President Turner shared this message via e-mail dated Friday, Sept. 8, 2017:

Dear SMU community,

The federal government announced this week that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will end in six months, unless Congress takes action. DACA offers temporary legal protection to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. Nearly 200,000 young people in Texas are enrolled in DACA, including valued members of our campus community.

SMU joins universities across the country that are deeply concerned by the uncertainty of this situation. While debate on this issue continues, SMU’s mission remains unchanged. We seek to recruit, retain and graduate academically and creatively gifted students from diverse backgrounds, and we seek to provide these students with the opportunity to become society’s innovators, leaders and informed citizens. We know that all SMU students and graduates have within themselves the ability to be world changers who make significant contributions to our increasingly global society.

SMU will watch closely as Congress considers this issue. We are focused on supporting students and maintaining a welcoming, respectful environment in which all can pursue their academic goals. In addition, SMU will continue to act in accordance with University policies and state and federal laws, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which protects the privacy of students’ records and information.

Any student needing support may contact Student Affairs’ Caring Community Connections program online. Faculty, staff, family members and other students also may submit any concerns about students’ well-being to this program.

Additional SMU resources include:

·         Office of International Student & Scholar Services, 214-768-4475

·         Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, 214-768-4580

·         Confidential counselors at Counseling Services, 214-768-2277, and the Chaplain’s Office, 214-768-4502

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has frequently asked questions about this week’s decision online.

We will continue to carefully monitor this important issue. I ask all campus community members to continue your important work of shaping and becoming world changers in an environment that emphasizes individual dignity and worth.

Sincerely,

R. Gerald Turner
President

By | 2017-09-08T14:26:00+00:00 September 8, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Hurricane Harvey: How to help and where to seek support at SMU

A letter to the SMU community offers a comprehensive list of ways to help, and places to seek support, as Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath unfold on the Texas Gulf Coast.

President R. Gerald Turner shared this message with University faculty, staff and students on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017:

Dear SMU community,

We have watched with alarm and sadness since Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast on Friday, leaving widespread suffering, loss and destruction in its wake.

Our deepest sympathy goes to all who are feeling the impact of this disaster, including those in our SMU community who have loved ones, homes and other connections in the affected regions.

If you need support

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Student Life Joanne Vogel sent a message yesterday regarding campus resources that support students, including confidential counselors at SMU Counseling Services (214-768-2277) and the Chaplain’s Office (214-768-4502). Through SMU’s Caring Community Connections (CCC) program, faculty, staff, students and family members can submit concerns about students’ well-being in order to connect them with help. The CCC form is online.

For faculty and staff members, SMU’s Employee Assistance Program (1-877-704-5696) provides confidential counseling and referral services, including for dependents.

If you would like to help

SMU has reached out to Rice University and the University of Houston to offer assistance. In addition, many in our SMU community are offering prayers, support and donations to those who have been affected. I believe our community will continue to find ways to help as needs evolve in Dallas and across the state.

Among these efforts, the SMU Student Senate is raising funds for disaster relief, with the goal of providing a significant donation to the relief effort from the SMU community. The students’ “Help 4 Houston” effort will last for four days – from August 29 to September 2, 2017. Donations to the SMU Student Disaster Relief Fund may be made at smu.edu/helpforhouston.

In the days and weeks ahead, SMU’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will continue to monitor this unprecedented disaster, as well as state and local relief efforts and needs. If faculty or staff members receive assistance requests from departments or programs at other colleges or universities, we ask that you notify the EOC, which is tracking SMU’s efforts. Please email the Office of Risk Management.

The SMU community stands with our Gulf Coast neighbors, students, alumni, colleagues and loved ones. We will continue to send our prayers and support.

Sincerely,

R. Gerald Turner
President

> Make a gift to the SMU Student Senate’s “Help 4 Houston” disaster-relief effort: smu.edu/helpforhouston

SMU Athletics is offering free tickets and concessions for the Sept. 2 SMU-Stephen F. Austin game to Texans displaced by the hurricane. Find additional details at SMUMustangs.com.

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.”

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