Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., the director of the National Institutes of Health who may be best known for leading the Human Genome Project (HGP), was the featured speaker – and a featured singer – during SMU’s 102nd all-University Commencement ceremony, which took place May 20, 2017 in Moody Coliseum.
“You need to be prepared for dramatic change,” Collins told the graduates. “Whatever the field, you can’t imagine what it will look like in 10 or 20 years Your path will not always be smooth. Doors you were counting on may not open. Do you have the strength & foundation to deal with that?”
Dr. Collins – whose own personal research efforts led to the isolation of the genes responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington’s disease and Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome – received the Doctor of Science degree, honoris causa, from SMU during the ceremony.
Also receiving honorary degrees Saturday were Francis Halzen, Nancy Nasher and E.P. Sanders. Halzen’s work in particle physics detection has taken the study of neutrinos beyond the Milky Way galaxy and into deep space, leading to new understanding of astronomical phenomena including black holes, supernovas and galaxy formation. Nasher, a business leader, lawyer and philanthropist, has dedicated her professional and personal life to the betterment of Dallas. Sanders is an internationally respected New Testament scholar responsible for major contributions to studies of Jesus and the Apostle Paul and their relationships to the Judaism of their day. He is credited with prompting the re-evaluation of prejudicial views of Judaism that often characterized earlier biblical scholarship, resulting in improved Jewish-Christian relations.
“Never be so confident in yourself that you can’t see what’s around you. Be a skeptic,” Collins said. “Clarify your definition of success. You’ve succeeded, but at what? What is it we’re attaching ourselves to? Are you spending your time on ‘résumé virtues’ or ‘eulogy virtues’? Résumé virtues won’t help you with relationships. They may distract you from thinking deeply about character, about life & its meaning.”
Collins concluded his Commencement address with a song, which brought the graduates, faculty and family members to their feet.
SMU students, faculty and staff celebrated the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on Thursday, Jan. 26, with the 2017 Unity Walk. The annual procession is part of Dream Week at SMU, which also included participation in Dallas’ annual MLK Day Parade on Jan. 16 and the University’s yearly MLK Day of Service on Jan. 28.
The more than 2,000 students, faculty and staff members in SMU’s Residential Commons are using the power of community to celebrate the winter holidays and to prepare for a successful finals season.
A new video by SMU News’ Myles Taylor show how each residential college is celebrating its bonds, from a Ware Commons gourmet treat-tasting to a rooftop dinner sponsored by Loyd Commons donors Paul and Penny Loyd. [Watch in a new window]
The University is sharing its holiday spirit on social media, too. Follow the #HilltopHolidays hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the SMU website – and use it share your own media and memories from campus celebrations.
The SMU Guildhall hosts its biannual graduate exhibition showcasing video games developed by graduating students on Friday, May 13. The 2016 Spring Exhibition will honor Cohort 23: master’s degree candidates who specialize in art creation, level design, production and programming.
The day’s schedule is as follows, and all events take place at SMU-in-Plano, Building 2, 5232 Tennyson Parkway. The public is welcome to attend each event, and admission is free:
2:30-4 p.m. Exhibition of student games
4-5 p.m. Honors Awards
5-6 p.m. Capstone team games presentations
Both Cohort 23 Capstone games have debuted on Steam Greenlight, a community service of the Steam online gaming platform that allows gamers to vote on new content. Both Guildhall games will be made available for download and play through Steam if they receive enough votes. Follow the links below each game description to learn more and vote:
Gravitas is a first-person physics-based puzzle game in which the player manipulates gravity in order to navigate the realm of a mad artist known as “The Curator.” In a revolutionary art gallery built in space using groundbreaking technology, the player character receives a special glove that can control gravity and must use the new power to explore this world.
The Guildhall game creators, collectively known as Space Shark Studios, chose to build a puzzle game because it allowed them to focus on a single core mechanic and polish it to an extremely high quality. They built Gravitas in Unreal Engine 4 over a span of six months.
The production of Gravitas gave Space Shark Studios the opportunity to work within a simulated game development environment with all of its ups and downs. Throughout the project, they learned to communicate effectively as a team of 13, as well as develop within a very constrained timeline.
Scrapped is a single player, third-person 3D platformer developed in Unreal Engine 4.8.1. It stars Robot C-23 (get it?), who must solve his way out of a dangerous junkyard after inadvertently failing a quality inspection.
After being tossed out like garbage and trapped within an expansive scrapyard, the “quantum force”-powered robot encounters a robotic light bug named Fritz. Using Fritz’s glowing guidance, C-23 must repel and attract across hazards, dodging saws and swinging over bottomless pits to make their way across the perilous terrain. With each force-powered leap or slide, C-23 and his friend draw closer to a new home.
The student team, Get Out Alive Games, designed Scrapped with the intention of constructing a short yet extremely professional and polished experience. Over the course of six months, they learned to work with an industry-sized team, gained experience developing a professionally focused project, and formed an understanding of pipeline process and interdisciplinary collaboration.
Other Guildhall cohorts will also put new games up for public play-testing. Watch SMU Forum for additional information on these titles:
Knightly Burden (Cohort 26)
Azimuth (Cohort 25)
For the Family (Cohort 25)
Iron Games (Cohort 25)
Velocirapture (Cohort 25)
Exhibition Day will conclude with the Guildhall’s graduation reception and presentation of degrees to students receiving the Master of Interactive Technology degree in digital game development. This year’s keynote speaker is Kate Edwards, executive director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and one of Fortune magazine’s “10 Most Powerful Women” in the game industry.
Edwards is also the founder and principal consultant of Geogrify, a Seattle-based consultancy for content culturalization, where she uses her expertise as an applied geographer, writer, and corporate strategist. As Microsoft’s first Geopolitical Strategist in the Geopolitical Strategy team she created and managed, she was responsible for protecting the company against political and cultural content risks across all products and locales. Since leaving Microsoft, she has provided guidance to many companies on a wide range of geopolitical and cultural issues and she continues to work on a variety of game franchises. Kate is also a regular columnist for MultiLingual Computing magazine.
In October 2013, Fortune magazine named her as one of the 10 most powerful women in the game industry. In December 2014 she was named by GamesIndustry.biz as one of their six People of the Year in the game industry.
Two SMU teams were among the five student firms selected to present their concepts in McCord Auditorium Monday, Nov. 16. The students competed for the 2015 regional Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, sponsored by the international Entrepreneurs’ Organization. The GSEA is a global competition for student entrepreneurs who actively run a business.
Both SMU teams are past winners of the University’s Big iDeas Pitch Contest. Eddie Allegra, Miguel Quimbar, Jack Reynolds and BioLum Sciences won in 2014 with their smartphone-based asthma detection system. The Fiddler rooftop wind turbine designed by Jonah Kirby, Cameron Buller, Alec Siems, Brendan Celii and Luke Oglesbee came up victorious in the 2015 competition.
But Allegra, who has a personal history of living with asthma, hasn’t let the accolades obscure a higher purpose: “I want someone to come up to me and tell me how much better their life is because of what I’ve done,” he tells Myles Taylor of SMU News in this video.