R. Gerald Turner

SMU rises to 56 in U.S. News & World Report rankings; five-place increase is one of nation’s best

SMU rose to its highest ranking among the nation’s universities in the 2017 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges, released online Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. The University tied with the University of Texas-Austin with the second-highest ranking in the state.

Among 310 institutions classified as national universities, SMU ranks 56, up from 61 a year ago. The increase was one of the five largest among the top 100 universities.

Since 2008, SMU’s 11-place increase is one of the four largest among schools in the top 60. In other ranking categories, SMU ranks 32 as one of the best national universities for military veterans.

For the rankings, U.S. News considers measures of academic quality, such as peer assessment scores and ratings by high school counselors, faculty resources, student selectivity, graduation rate performance, financial resources and alumni giving. SMU ranks 24 among all national universities in alumni giving at 25 percent.

“It is gratifying for SMU to be recognized for its positive movement among the best national universities,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The ranking is an example of the momentum of the Second Century Campaign and the University’s Centennial Celebration.

“We appreciate external recognition of our progress and believe it’s valid, but we also know that rankings do not portray the whole picture of an institution and its strengths. We encourage parents and students to visit the institutions they are considering for a firsthand look at the academic offerings, the campus environment and the surrounding community to best gauge a university.”

The rankings of 1,374 institutions, including national universities, liberal arts colleges, regional colleges and regional universities, are available now online and on newsstands Friday, Sept. 23. Find the “Best Colleges 2017” guidebook in stores Tuesday, Oct. 4.

2016-09-15T15:16:34+00:00 September 13, 2016|News|

$10 million gift will establish Brierley Institute for Customer Engagement in SMU’s Cox School of Business

Marci Armstrong, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs at SMU Cox - Albert Niemi, Dean of the SMU Cox School of Business - Harold (Hal) Brierley

Hal Brierley (right) with Cox Dean Albert Niemi and Cox Associate Dean Marci Armstrong.

The nation’s first academic institute devoted to the study of customer engagement will be based in SMU’s Cox School of Business thanks to a $10 million gift from Diane and Harold (Hal) Brierley.

A pioneer in database marketing and customer loyalty programs, Hal Brierley is perhaps best known as the only consultant for the launch of American Airlines’ AAdvantage program, the nation’s first frequent traveler program. The Brierley Institute for Customer Engagement will support a critical and growing business need: capturing customer attention in what Brierley has described as “a time-starved, social media-obsessed environment.”

The gift – among the largest in the history of the Cox School – will be formally announced at a ceremony on the SMU campus in the James M. Collins Executive Education Center at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14.

“It is an honor for SMU and the Cox School of Business to serve as home of the Brierley Institute for Customer Engagement,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “We are grateful for the Brierleys’ foresight and their generous gift to establish endowments and provide operational funding that will support curricular innovation, graduate scholarships and faculty leadership to address the issue of building and maintaining customer relationships.”

Hal Brierley

Hal Brierley

The ceremony will be followed by a 5 p.m. panel discussion, also in the Collins Center, focusing on customer engagement insights for the future. Panelists will include John Deighton, Baker Foundation Professor and Harold M. Brierley Professor Emeritus of Business Administration at Harvard Business School; Karen Katz, CEO & President of Neiman Marcus; Suzanne Rubin, former president of American Airlines AAdvantage program; Hal Brierley; and Marci Armstrong, SMU Cox associate dean of graduate programs. SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven Currall will host the panel discussion.

“This gift will greatly enrich our marketing concentration, provide extra funding and create depth,” said Cox Dean Albert Niemi. “The Brierley name is magic in customer engagement. Hal will have an office here and serve as an executive-in-residence. He’ll be engaged in the classroom with our students. Both his gift and his presence will strengthen the program.”

“It’s more than serendipity when the right program comes to the right University,” said Currall. “Our existing course offerings within the Cox School are a strong foundation for the new Brierley Institute, and we look forward to partnerships with other disciplines across campus, which will multiply the Institute’s value to our students and faculty members.”

“I look forward to having Dallas and SMU viewed as a center of excellence in customer relationship management,” said Hal Brierley. “I’m pleased that SMU Cox has stepped up to create effective curricula to teach tomorrow’s marketers the techniques that are essential to design and manage successful customer loyalty programs. The Brierley Institute will take an active role in advancing the techniques employed by consumer brands for their current and future customer engagement efforts.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

2016-09-14T15:43:59+00:00 September 12, 2016|News|

SMU honors fallen 9/11 first responders with honor guard, bell ceremony at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 9, 2016

Scene at the SMU flagpole on Sept. 11, 2001

Scene at the SMU flagpole on Sept. 11, 2001.

The SMU Police Department and first responders from the surrounding community will commemorate the 15th anniversary of 9/11 with a solemn ceremony honoring the police officers and firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty during the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

University police officers, along with members of the Highland Park and University Park Police and Fire Departments, will participate in a combined honor guard and bell ceremony for the fallen. The ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, at the flagpole on the Main Quad. The event is free and open to the public.

To symbolize the first responders’ devotion to duty, the bell ceremony includes a special signal of three rings, three times each, representing the end of duty and a return to quarters. The signals ring out that “those who have selflessly given their lives for the good of their fellow man, their tasks completed, their duties well done … are going home.”

The remembrance will also feature remarks from SMU President R. Gerald Turner and Police Chief Rick Shafer and a benediction by University Chaplain Stephen Rankin, as well as bagpipe performances of “Amazing Grace” and “America the Beautiful.”

“We welcome the community to come and help us remember those who gave their lives while protecting those they served,” said Chief Shafer.

The remembrance ceremony is one of several opportunities for campus community members, both in-person and virtual, to reflect on and remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001:

> Christina Rancke and Osama Bin Laden’s death
> Journal entries written by the SMU community 15 years ago

2016-09-08T15:48:44+00:00 September 8, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News, Tune In|

Willard Spiegelman receives Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award at 2016 Fall General Faculty Meeting

Willard Spiegelman, Hughes Professor of English in Dedman College, was honored as the 2015-16 United Methodist Church University Scholar/Teacher of the Year at SMU’s 2016 Fall General Faculty Meeting Wednesday, Aug. 24.

The first meeting of the entire faculty for the 2016-17 academic year featured the Spring 2016 Faculty Senate report, the presentation of regalia to newly tenured faculty, and President R. Gerald Turner’s updates on initiatives ranging from cultural intelligence to continuing education.

(more…)

2016-09-01T17:51:32+00:00 August 31, 2016|For the Record, News|

Statement from SMU President R. Gerald Turner on SMU Police Officer Mark McCullers

SMU released the following statement from President R. Gerald Turner on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016:


SMU Police Officer Mark McCullersToday it was confirmed that the body of missing SMU Police Officer Mark McCullers was located Wednesday in Dallas. As our community grieves this profound loss, we are deeply grateful to those who searched for Officer McCullers since he was swept away by Turtle Creek floodwaters July 5 while working off-duty as a private security guard at a Highland Park construction site. The search teams’ efforts now have brought comfort and relief to his many loved ones and friends.

We continue to hold in our thoughts and prayers Officer McCullers’ wife, Tiffany, and six children. Officer McCullers was a beloved member of our University community, a skilled and dedicated officer and a proud U.S. Marine veteran. He served as a member of the SMU Police Department Patrol Division since February 2015. As was noted at his July 28 memorial service at McFarlin Auditorium, Mark was passionate about sharing his knowledge of personal security with students and other campus community members.

We thank the many heroic men and women who searched in difficult conditions for Officer McCullers, including members of the Highland Park Department of Public Safety, Dallas Fire-Rescue, the Dallas Police Department, University Park Police Department and Texas Parks & Wildlife.

I also want to extend profound thanks to SMU Police Chief Richard Shafer and all members of the SMU Police Department. As many of you know, SMU Police Department officers and staff served tirelessly and gave selflessly of their time and skills since search efforts began. At the same time, they continued to serve and protect our campus community, demonstrating an extraordinary level of professionalism and dedication.

Chief Shafer asked that I forward the following statement from him: “I am proud of the SMU Police Department for their continued efforts to find Officer McCullers. They never gave up. They supported and aided other agencies throughout the search, and they provided care and support to Mark’s family. It was fitting that Officer McCullers was found by his SMU Patrol Sergeant, Keith McCain. We all are grateful he is coming home.”

If you are not already aware, the McCullers family has established the Officer Mark McCullers Memorial Account. Donations may be made at any Wells Fargo bank to account number 9976436577, or online on PayPal at www.paypal.me/OfficerMarkMcCullers.

For SMU staff, faculty or family members who are in need of confidential support or resources, please contact the SMU Employee Assistance Program, which is offered through the Human Resources Department. Call 1-877-704-5696.

Students in need of confidential support or resources may contact SMU Counseling Services, 214-768-2277. The SMU Chaplain’s Office, 214-768-4502, also is available to provide confidential support to campus community members.

Thank you to those across North Texas and around the country who have sent their prayers to our community. They have supported us through this time and will continue to do so.

R. Gerald Turner
SMU President

2016-08-30T10:31:54+00:00 August 25, 2016|News|
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