Highland Park UMC establishes Umphrey Lee Professorship in Methodist History to honor SMU’s centennial

William Lawrence

Highland Park UMC establishes Umphrey Lee Professorship in Methodist History to honor SMU’s centennial

One of SMU’s oldest neighbors has given the University a lasting 100th birthday present.

A $1.5 million gift from Highland Park United Methodist Church (HPUMC) will endow the Umphrey Lee Professorship in Methodist History, as well as support the HPUMC Future Church Leaders Program, in SMU’s Perkins School of Theology. The announcement of the gift fell on the date of the SMU Centennial – Sept. 24, 2015 – allowing the University to celebrate its longstanding relationship with the church that held its first service on the SMU campus in 1916.

“Our church history dates back to the founding of SMU, but our relationship is more than just an overlapping of time and geography,” said Rev. Paul Rasmussen ’04, HPUMC senior pastor, during the University’s Centennial Convocation. “It is our privilege to endow this professorship and to support the growth of future church leaders as we prepare for future generations of congregants. The Perkins School of Theology is our partner in so many ways, and remains at the heart of the SMU tradition of outreach in the community and the world.”

The gift includes $1 million to establish the faculty position in the Perkins School of Theology, and $500,000 to support educational opportunities for individuals aspiring to serve in church leadership roles. Recipients of “future leaders” funding may include students enrolled in graduate, undergraduate, certificate or continuing education programs or courses across the University, with students identified and recommended by HPUMC.

“When it comes to Umphrey Lee, it’s hard to know where SMU ends and Highland Park United Methodist Church begins, because Rev. Lee served us both for so many years,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Our HPUMC neighbors are part of the SMU family and we feel a special sense of pride that this gift will support us in teaching the rich Methodist history that we share and help to prepare future church leaders.  It’s a wonderful way to celebrate our combined centennials.”

Lee arrived at SMU in 1915, the first year classes were held on the Hilltop, and was elected the first student body president. He received his master’s degree as a member of SMU’s first graduating class in 1916. He served as pastor of HPUMC for 13 years, as SMU’s fourth president for 15 years (including during the World War II years) and as its chancellor after he stepped down as president. Over his lifetime he wrote 10 scholarly books on topics including Methodist history, the relationship between church and state, and pacifism in the context of the historic church.

“Umphrey Lee was a scholar of Methodist history who believed that the liberal arts should make students think about their responsibilities in society, and that a successful experience at Southern Methodist University would help instill personal and social values,” said Perkins Dean William B. Lawrence. “This gift from the congregation that Rev. Lee loved to the University that he also loved is a wonderful tribute to a man whose influence on SMU was transformational.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

October 1, 2015|News|

Perkins dean search committee named; open faculty-staff forums scheduled for Sept. 14, 2015

SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs ad interim Harold W. Stanley has named the members of the search committee for the next dean of Perkins School of Theology.

Dean William B. Lawrence has announced that he will retire from the position on May 16, 2016 and take a leave of absence during the 2016-17 academic year, possibly returning to SMU as professor of American church history after that time.

Samuel S. Holland, dean of SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, chairs the Perkins Dean Search Committee. The committee members include:

  • Rev. Richie Butler ’93, senior pastor, St. Paul United Methodist Church, Dallas
  • Dodee Frost Crockett ’75, ’03, managing director, Crockett, McBride & Associates, member of the Perkins Executive Board
  • Bishop Michael McKee, SMU trustee, Resident Bishop of the North Texas Annual Conference
  • Rev. Paul Rasmussen ’04, senior pastor, Highland Park United Methodist Church
  • Kay Prothro Yeager, community volunteer and civic leader, member of the Perkins Executive Board
  • Chris Anderson, Sacred Music, Perkins School of Theology
  • William Jennings Bryan III, associate dean for student affairs, Perkins School of Theology
  • Carlos Cardoza-Orlandi, World Christianities and Mission Studies, Perkins School of Theology
  • Kate Carté Engel, History, Dedman College
  • Steven Lindquist, Religious Studies, Dedman College
  • Natalia Mirandiuc, Christian Theology, Perkins School of Theology
  • Peter Moore, professor of mathematics, senior associate dean and associate dean for general education, Dedman College
  • Evelyn Parker, Susanna Wesley Chair of Practical Theology, associate dean for academic affairs, Perkins School of Theology
  • Rev. Dr. Stephen Rankin, SMU chaplain
  • Abraham Smith, New Testament, Perkins School of Theology
  • Pavielle Chriss, Master’s degree candidate, Perkins School of Theology
  • Geoffrey Moore, doctoral candidate, Religious Students, Dedman College

Dr. Ann Die Hasselmo, senior consultant of Academic Search, Inc., will serve as consultant to the Search Committee. She has worked with SMU on several previous academic searches, including the most recent dean searches for Dedman College and Meadows School of the Arts as well as the current searches for the provost and the vice president for student affairs.

Dean Holland has invited all Perkins faculty and staff members to meet with members of the Search Committee and Dr. Hasselmo. Two open forums have been scheduled for Monday, Sept. 14, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in 121 Prothro Hall in the Theology Quad.

September 2, 2015|For the Record, News|

SMU announces two new gifts for endowed faculty positions

Two new gifts to SMU totaling $3.5 million will create two new endowed faculty positions in two schools.

A gift of $2.5 million, made through the Texas Methodist Foundation, will establish the Susanna Wesley Centennial Chair in Practical Theology in Perkins School of Theology. A gift of $1 million from two SMU alumni will establish the Janet and Craig Duchossois Endowed Professorship in Management and Organizations in Cox School of Business.

The new gifts were announced Friday, Nov. 14. 2014 at a campus event honoring donors of endowed faculty positions.

“Increasing the number of endowed faculty positions at SMU is a major goal of our Second Century Campaign,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “These two new gifts for faculty positions in the theology and business schools move us closer to our goal of achieving 110 endowed faculty positions by the end of the campaign in December 2015. We are grateful to all of the donors who have helped us add to the strength of the SMU faculty by supporting this goal.”

Perkins Chapel at Southern Methodist UniversityThe Susanna Wesley Centennial Chair in Practical Theology honors the woman referred to as “the mother of Methodism.” Her sons, John and Charles Wesley, led a revival within the 18th-century Anglican Church that sparked the emergence of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the American colonies. Historians point to her “practical theology” as a source of inspiration for her sons.

The Texas Methodist Foundation, which conveyed the gift, provides grant and stewardship services that advance The United Methodist Church and Christian ministries.

The chair’s “Centennial” designation represents a gift that includes operational funds to provide immediate impact while the endowment matures. The Wesley Chair commitment includes endowment funding of $2 million and annual operating support of $100,000 for the first five years. These operating funds will make it possible to fill the chair in the next academic year.

“The discipline of practical theology helps students reflect on and formulate conclusions about the various fields of theological inquiry as they relate to one’s practice of ministry,” said Perkins School Dean William Lawrence. “Perkins School of Theology graduates are facing an ever-changing world of ministry opportunities. Helping students think theologically in ministry settings is essential for successful pastors and Christian workers.”

SMU Cox School of BusinessThe Janet and Craig Duchossois Endowed Professorship in Management and Organizations is designed to strengthen the Cox School of Business in an area of increasing importance to corporations and other types of institutions.

“The Department of Management and Organizations in the Cox School offers students tools to succeed in a globally competitive environment,” said Cox Dean Al Niemi. “The increased faculty strength provided by this new professorship will enable more students to develop skills that help prepare them for future leadership in the business world.”

Janet and Craig Duchossois earned B.B.A. degrees from SMU’s business school in 1966 and 1967, respectively. Craig also earned an M.B.A. degree from SMU in 1968. he is CEO of The Duchossois Group, Inc., which deals in commercial and residential access control. Mr. Duchossois was honored in 2002 with the Cox School’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Janet previously owned an interior design and home furnishings business..

The Wesley Centennial Chair and the Duchossois Endowed Professorship bring the total to 40 endowed faculty positions established during SMU’s Second Century Campaign. SMU now has 102 fully endowed faculty positions toward its goal of 110, which includes positions previously endowed throughout the University’s history.

> Read the full story from SMU News

November 20, 2014|News, Year of the Faculty|

Thomas DiPiero named SMU’s new Dedman College dean

Thomas DiPiero, June 2014-1The next dean of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences is a multidisciplinary scholar whose academic interests range from French literature to the psychoanalysis of race and gender.

Thomas DiPiero has been named to lead the largest of SMU’s seven colleges and schools, as well as to professorships in the Departments of English and World Languages and Literatures. He will join the University on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014.

Currently, DiPiero is dean of humanities and interdisciplinary studies in the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering and professor of French and of Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester, New York. He replaces William Tsutsui, who resigned in May to become president of Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas.

DiPiero received both his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Romance studies from Cornell University, in 1984 and 1988 respectively. He earned a B.A. degree in French and an M.A. in Romance languages and literatures from The Ohio State University in 1978 and 1980.

“I am honored and exhilarated to have been named dean of Dedman College,” DiPiero said. “Dedman College is the academic heart of SMU, home to world-class, innovative teaching and research about the natural world, its people, their creations and institutions. The college’s departments, programs, and centers are leading the way in creating new knowledge and new fields of inquiry, and I am tremendously eager to work with faculty, students, and staff to extend the intellectual boundaries of our work and the geographic reaches of our discoveries.”

“I am excited about Dedman College’s future under the leadership of Dr. DiPiero,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The College, which is the heart of an SMU education, will benefit from his interdisciplinary approach to the humanities and sciences, as well as from his passion for research and teaching. He’s a great fit for Dedman College and for SMU.”

“Dr. DiPiero has an outstanding reputation for working across boundaries to bring the humanities and sciences together,” said Paul Ludden, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “He also established a strong record of promoting both graduate and undergraduate students during his time at the University of Rochester. The students of Dedman College and the broader University will be well served by his leadership and experience.”

Ludden also expressed thanks to Peter Moore, senior associate dean and associate dean for academic affairs in Dedman College, for serving as interim dean during the search. “Dr. Moore is a consummate professional, and his work in an interim role is helping Dedman College maintain its momentum as we prepare for Dr. DiPiero’s arrival.”

DiPiero is the author or co-editor of three books: White Men Aren’t (Duke University Press, 2002); Illicit Sex: Identity Politics in Early Modern Europe, edited with Pat Gill (University of Georgia Press, 1997); and Dangerous Truths and Criminal Passions: The Evolution of the French Novel 1569-1791 (Stanford University Press, 1992). He served as editor of the Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies (University of Pennsylvania Press) from 2005-13, and has written several book chapters, as well as numerous journal articles.

DiPiero previously served as a visiting faculty member at SMU-in-Taos in 2011 and as a guest lecturer for SMU’s Gilbert Lecture Series in 2008.

“Tom DiPiero will bring a superb combination of gifts to his new position as dean of Dedman College,” said William Lawrence, dean of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology and search committee chair. “He has excelled as an interdisciplinary and international leader in higher education, with creative initiatives in the sciences as well as the humanities. Our search committee was tremendously impressed with his qualifications, and we are thrilled with his appointment.”

Dedman College has 307 full-time faculty members, including 19 endowed professorships. About half of SMU’s undergraduates pursue majors in Dedman College through 39 baccalaureate degree programs, and minors in more than 50 areas. Nineteen graduate programs in Dedman College lead to a master’s degree, and 13 programs lead to a doctor of philosophy degree.

> Read the full story from SMU News

June 10, 2014|News|

A Monday Celebration of Lights kicks off SMU’s 2013 holiday season

SMU holiday lights at night on the Main Quad

The holiday season goes into high gear at SMU with a rare weekday observance of one of the University’s most beloved annual traditions. Celebration of Lights 2013 is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2 on the Main Quad.

The celebration features than 100,000 decorative lights, luminarias lining the sidewalks, musicians performing songs of the season, and SMU President R. Gerald Turner reading the Christmas story from the New Testament. Refreshments will be served. Check out slideshows and video of past Celebration of Lights ceremonies, courtesy of SMU News. Photos

Other highly anticipated holiday events:

• On Thursday, Dec. 5, SMU’s Perkins School of Theology celebrates its Advent/Christmas Worship Service  at 4 p.m and 8 p.m. in Perkins Chapel with the theme “…A child shall lead.” Children of Perkins faculty and staff members will join Dean William Lawrence and Associate Dean Evelyn Parker as readers for the services. The program also features music from the Perkins Seminary Singers directed by C. Michael Hawn; Meadows School of the Arts’ women’s ensemble, Diva Dolce (4 p.m.), directed by Robert Ward; the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas’ Women’s Youth Chorus (8 p.m.) directed by Kelly Pfaffenberger; and Perkins organist Christoper Anderson. Admission is free; food and cash donations for the North Texas Food Bank will be accepted in the chapel narthex at the entrance. For more information, contact Teresa Rosado, 214-768-2502.

• President and Mrs. R. Gerald Turner will host their annual All-University Holiday Party from 3:30-5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, in the Martha Proctor Mack Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

• The Guildhall at SMU hosts its Winter Exhibition on Friday, Dec. 20, at SMU-in-Plano. Graduating students in art creation, level design, production and programming will show their work, and attendees will have the opportunity to play games designed by students in multiple cohorts.

• The University celebrates its 2013 December Commencement Convocation at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, in Moody Coliseum. Retired and current faculty members will assemble for procession in academic dress no later than 9:45 a.m. in the Blanton Student Services Building lobby. Prior to the ceremony, a faculty breakfast will be served beginning at 8:45 a.m. in the Blanton Building. RSVP online for the faculty breakfast and processional and learn more about the ceremony.

November 25, 2013|Calendar Highlights, News|
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