SMU reserves one Monday each April to celebrate the achievements of students, faculty, staff members, trustees and administrators in the two ceremonies. The Honors Convocation recognizes academic achievement at the University and department levels.
This year’s convocation speaker is Jo Guldi, assistant professor of history in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. A native Dallasite, Guldi studies the history of Great Britain and the British Empire, landscape history, legal history, property law, infrastructure, digital methods, international development, and agrarian studies. As a digital and data historian, she also oversees the lecture series “Data is Made Up of Stories: University-wide Futures From the Digital Humanities,” offered through the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute. Among other things, the series illustrates how text mining is used across different disciplines – from digital mapping of the transatlantic slave trade to an app that captures the inspiration for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Guldi is the designer of Paper Machines, a free, open-source software toolkit that allows users to visualize large amounts of text for historical and political analysis over time and space, without requiring special computational resources or technical knowledge. She is the author of Roads to Power: Britain Invents the Infrastructure State (2012, Harvard University Press) and co-author with David Armitage of The History Manifesto (2014, Cambridge University Press), currently being translated for publication in six languages. She graduated from Harvard with an A.B. degree in literature, earned her Ph.D. in history from the University of California-Berkeley and was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital History at the University of Chicago. She was also a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows and served a fellowship in the metaLAB (at) Harvard. Prior to joining SMU, she served as an assistant professor of history at Brown University.
Retired and current faculty members will assemble for Honors Convocation in academic dress no later than 5:10 p.m. on the third floor of McFarlin Auditorium. The faculty procession will begin at 5:30 p.m. A reception will immediately follow the ceremony on the Main Quad.
Later, the University will present several awards for excellence – including its highest honor, the “M” Award – during the 2017 Hilltop Excellence Awards. The ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater. Hilltop Excellence Awards honorees will be listed in SMU Forum the day after the ceremony.