A Whole New Era for SMU

This year campus feels different. Yes, the improvements being made on campus are hard to miss, and so are the changes to the menu in Arnold, but the real difference is the student body’s renewed confidence in our football program. The past few years haven’t exactly been the best for our team, but it’s already apparent that this season we can expect great improvements from SMU football.

We love our team

The arrival of Chad Morris signaled a new, better direction for our team. The former offensive coordinator for Clemson, Coach Morris seemed excited to be at SMU from the moment he got here. He brought with him some new staff, but more importantly, new energy for the football program. In his first few weeks at SMU, along with recruiting he spent time at other SMU events: he was at the welcome for the basketball team after they beat UConn away, stopped by the sorority houses in February, and went above and beyond to make sure campus felt his arrival and sensed his commitment to our team. Yes he just got here, but it’s hard not to notice the impact Chad Morris’s presence has had on our campus.

Our team has also improved in some pretty marked ways over past several months. The football players seem more cohesive; at the games they seem to genuinely enjoy themselves, playing or not, they can be spotted all over campus together on their hoverboards, jetting from class to class. It’s been a pleasure to watch them play with a confidence I haven’t seen since I started at SMU two years ago. Matt Davis has done a wonderful job leading the team as quarterback, the offense and defense have both stepped up in big ways thus far, and everyone who has a big hand our games in other areas: the band, the cheerleaders, the Pom squad, and the fans have this football season’s experience–even with only two games played so far–distinct from any other I can remember.

-Tammy Winter


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A Perfect Saturday

Katie Maiers White Rock Lake

A picture of the lake before I began paddle boarding.

Is summer truly over in Dallas? Nope. I refuse to admit it. As excited as I am for fall, I hate saying goodbye to the warm days of summer, and I especially hate saying goodbye to endless hours in/on the water. But let’s face it: Dallas weather will keep us warm for a bit longer, and even though it’s the middle of September, lake days haven’t disappeared just yet.

This past Saturday, I spent the day paddle boarding at White Rock Lake with SMU Outdoor Adventures. Outdoor Adventures (OA) is a program within the Department of Recreational Sports here at SMU. They sponsor a variety of trips and workshops for students to essentially get outdoors and explore all that nature has to offer. Whether you want to go skydiving, backpacking, or anything in between, the OA supplies equipment, an opportunity to meet other students, and a guaranteed good time.

On Saturday morning, our group of nine participants and two trip leaders headed out to the lake with a trailer of kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and materials to cookout what would be one of the most well-deserved lunches of my life. Although I’m not an ultra athletic person, I had paddle boarded a few times before in my hometown of Austin, Texas, but my previous experiences were nothing like this.

This trip was different. Yes, the current was stronger than we anticipated and I ended up paddling on my knees rather than standing up (I wanted to actually propel myself forward more than I wanted to stand; doing both was not possible), but this trip was so much better than anything I had done before. I was totally at peace, and I continuously thought about how happy I was to be on the water (Hoku’s “Perfect Day” might have been referenced a few times; I hummed it proudly). I had an opportunity to simply enjoy the day, and the best part was that I got to bond with many students whom I had never met before. We encouraged each other, we ate more chips and burgers than we care to admit together, and when we got back to Dallas and watched our football team grab a win against UNT, we somehow managed to make the day even better.

I’m sure that fall will bring more incredible Saturdays to come, but this one will be tough to beat!

-Katie Maiers

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Football; Our First Big Win with Chad Morris!

Chad Morris getting dunked by our football players!

Chad Morris getting dunked by our football players!

Excitement is really building at SMU! My last blog post featured the hiring of Coach Chad Morris and this one is about his first win at SMU. On Saturday, September 12th, the SMU football players walked off their buses and headed down the boulevard for the Mustang Walk. The Mustang Walk is something the team does before every home game. It gives the fans a chance to interact with the players prior to the game and it gets everyone excited for the game. The Mustang Walk ends at the stadium where the players head in and get prepared for the game. Just sitting in the stands, I could feel everyone’s excitement as they entered the stadium that afternoon. The energy was incredible.

SMU played the University of North Texas and in remembrance of 9/11, the players wore new blue helmets with an American flag on the Mustang. This day also marked the end of a 665-day streak since the Mustangs last won in Ford Stadium. SMU won 31-13 that day. As someone that gets to work with these players every day in the training room, I can tell you that I have never seen them more excited than they were after the game on Saturday. One of our wide receivers even dunked Coach Morris with Powerade after the game.

To celebrate, some of the training staff headed to Whataburger after the game and you wouldn’t believe who we saw pulling through the drive through: none other than Coach Morris himself with his wife Paula!

Less than 24 hours later, the team was back in the weight room and on the field practicing to get ready for their game on September 19th against TCU. The win over UNT was the first of many more wins to come. This was the motivational video played for the team before beating UNT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2Ef31sSr5E If this doesn’t get you excited for the new era of SMU football and Coach Morris, then I’m not sure what will!

Pony Up and Beat TCU!

At the football game!

At the football game!

By: Sarah Lynn Woodruff

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Robin Roberts Tate Lecture

The Tate Lecture Series hosted at SMU brings prestigious speakers to campus that are either industry leaders, political figures, or influential thinkers who have experiences to share that are unmatched throughout the world. Most recently, I was able to attend the Robin Roberts Tate Lecture, which was both an entertaining and humbling experience. Roberts is a co-anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America, an athlete, and a cancer survivor. Her story opened my eyes to the potential future challenges, but also encouraged me to remember that the power of an optimistic outlook can carry you through even the toughest of times.

Carissa Laughlin (far left, student ambassador), Jacob Conway, and Emily Hegi (student ambassador)

Carissa Laughlin (far left, student ambassador), Jacob Conway, and Emily Hegi (student ambassador)

Roberts shared personal stories, including the first time she reported for a sports news show on live television, and the time where she met the Queen of England. Her spirit was infectious, as she kept the crowd laughing the entire time. Even through the conversations about fighting cancer, Roberts was positive and candid. Roberts mentioned that although she does not agree with people who say cancer is the best thing that ever happened to them (because she said it definitely was not), that cancer did help her to prioritize and balance family time and relationships with her busy career.

I am a senior here at SMU graduating this May. Attending this Tate Lecture encouraged me to reflect on all of the other similar opportunities I have had as an SMU student over my four years. I was able to attend the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Institute opening, the opening of the new Residential Commons buildings, a dinner with the SMU Board of Trustees, and much more. SMU provides these unparalleled opportunities for its students across all majors and interests, and I believe this is something that makes SMU unique to all other universities.

By Carissa Laughlin

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Approaching the Semester’s End

As the spring semester winds to an end, one obstacle lies in the way of students returning home, starting internships, and even graduating: final exam week. During this week, students will spend time visiting with their professors and studying in the various libraries on campus in order to prepare for the semester’s end. After the semester, many students will begin internships set up through SMU’s MustangTrak, which allows them to experience a new job setting and build up one’s credentials for after graduation. For those who are graduating, this is a bittersweet time; the senior class will close a chapter in their lives and finally enter the real world!

Enjoying a Mavericks game!

Enjoying a Mavericks game!

Getting through finals isn’t an awful time at SMU because of the amenities that SMU provides for its students. There’s still fun activities going on. Every night at SMU’s Fondren Library, a “midnight breakfast” is catered for the students who are studying away during the night. The library staff makes us pancakes and waffles with all the toppings and, most importantly, hot coffee! SMU also provides puppies to play with during finals week to relieve stress and provide a break for students who are focusing on exams. Students even find time to explore Dallas during this busy season. Just the other day, we attended a Mavs game at American Airlines Center after having a great dinner at Victory Tavern.

Although exam week is a burden for most college students, SMU goes out of their way in order to help us succeed. And we just have to remember that summer is just a few weeks away!

By Adam Melson

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Spring Internships and the Allure of Employment

School is fun. While the work may be difficult at times, the other side of the scale containing the opportunity for increased knowledge, lifelong friendships, and a foundation for the future far outweighs the stress of finals. In some ways I wish it could go on forever, but as with many things in life once the end is near the anticipation of what lies ahead tends to consume us. So it has been with “real world” work – a job, a more adult life, and financial independence (for better or worse). It is an itch that I was growing increasingly anxious to scratch, and while I have done some summer internships before, this spring I finally got the chance to do one instead of school.

pwc logo

Within accounting this is actually a pretty common path. The program is set up so that seniors can do an internship with a firm the second semester of their senior year in addition to two condensed accounting classes that only last for a month. Since you can get 6 hours of credit for the internship, it is actually possible to remain a full-time student throughout this process. Most accounting majors take advantage of it, and while being away from school for part of senior year can be frustrating, the experience is a great taste of what the future holds. The frequent full time job offers that come out of it aren’t too shabby either!

In my internship I was put right onto a team in a firm’s forensic advisory office and learned a ton about business that I simply wouldn’t have been able to get from a classroom environment. However, without the foundation that came from my courses I don’t believe I would have been ready to absorb nearly as much. The internship really made me appreciate the classes and my time in school; it is a synergistic relationship that I believe has done a fantastic job of preparing me for life after college.

cox school

I have signed a job offer and will be working for the same firm after completing my education, but first I have one more year of classes. I am returning to SMU next fall, this time as a graduate student, to complete the Master’s in Accounting Program. I am excited to get started there as well, and while I can’t say that the allure full-time employment won’t remain in the back of my mind, I do know that I am going to make the most of my time in the MSA program. It has a lot to offer, and I know it will prepare me well. Also, like I said before… school is fun. Why not stop to enjoy it for a while?

By Ryan Herrscher

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SMU in Brussels

When I started my first semester at SMU, there were two things that topped my list of “Things I Must Accomplish In College.” Yes, I wanted to discover my career path and have the best four years of my life; but without exception, I was determined to study abroad and learn another language. Thanks to the French Department here at SMU, I’m currently spending a semester in Brussels, Belgium and having the best experience of my life.

Here in Brussels, I’m a student with a program called Internships in Francophone Europe (IFE). Available in Brussels, Paris, and Strasbourg, IFE is a fairly small program that focuses on cultural integration, and fortunately for me, it also has a great relationship with the French Department here at SMU. This semester-long program consists of 5 weeks of courses that are all taught in French, one week of vacation time to travel, and then an interest-specific internship that continues until the end of the semester. Each student is also required to write a 30 page research paper in French which, contrary to my initial belief, is actually much more fun (did I just say “fun” with “research paper?”) than it might sound. I’m currently half-way finished with my internship with the Brussels branch of the International Federation for Human Rights where I work with communications between human rights organizations and the European Union.

Outside of the Belgian Federal Parliament (I'm second row, on the right)

Outside of Parliament (I’m second row, on the right)

Throughout the 3 months that I’ve spent in Europe, I’ve visited 7 countries, immensely improved my second language of French only to begin to learn another (Dutch), and eaten more Belgian waffles and fries than I care to admit. Aside from the numbers, however, I’ve learned more about myself and the world than I ever thought possible. I’ve always known that studying abroad would be an incredible experience, but I never expected it to change me as much as it has.

Even though I often find myself missing Dallas Hall Lawn and the incredible people that I left at SMU, I’m always grateful for this opportunity that SMU has provided for me. Aside from receiving academic credits from the other side of the world, I’m receiving an experience of a lifetime that I know will help me change the world.

By Katie Maiers

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Sopranos Anonymous

This coming Friday, I have the opportunity to partake in something completely unconventional and absolutely awesome. I will be performing in an operetta written and directed by one of SMU’s very own Vocal Performance Graduate students. She presented her piece of work to the Opera Director within Meadows, and he has allowed her to cast it, direct it, and now we will be performing it! The performance is free and is located in the Meadows lobby. It’s quite the perfect opportunity both for the student body to enjoy a musical work of art that is accessible to them as well as for us to perform for our peers. The operetta incorporates several very well known arias and musical theater pieces. It’s entitled “Sopranos Anonymous” because it is set up as a support group for the typical soprano ‘diva.’

887588_10152781002792963_1100450943205344587_o (2)

It is not often that you get to play into the stereotypes of your major in front of an audience in a completely ironic and comedic work of art. It is extraordinary fun and great exposure and experience for us young singers. I am proud to be performing in one of my friend’s own works of art, and am more thankful every day to Meadows and SMU for opportunities like this one.

By Shannon Conboy

Posted in Campus Life, Meadows School of the Arts | Leave a comment

ESPN College Game Day

This past month, College Game Day came to SMU, and it was one of the best days for SMU basketball. The day started at 8AM bright and early on a Saturday when they aired the show at our very own Moody Coliseum. As soon as I arrived, we were given free grilled cheese (who doesn’t love a good grilled cheese), and I got to take a picture with our live mascot Peruna. They also handed out tons of spirit items such as game day hats and posters.

ESPN Game day

Then SMU and its biggest fans filled the coliseum to support our basketball team. T-shirts were thrown throughout the whole event, and I actually caught one, which was a first for me. The day continued with a half court shot contest where an SMU student won $18,000 right at the buzzard. It is the second time this season that State Farm has given out $18,000.


The day continued with the big game that night against UCONN. SMU basketball ended up winning 73-55 making the college game day one for the books.

GAme day 2

By Kelsey Buttrell

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A New Era For SMU Football

On December 1st, 2014, Chad Morris was named the new SMU Head Football Coach. Coach Morris comes to the Hilltop after five seasons as the offensive coordinator for Clemson. Morris brings a new level of excitement to the team, something we haven’t seen in a while. In just 64 days, Coach Morris and his staff were able to attract a strong initial recruiting class of 22 Texas guys. I can’t even begin to imagine what he will be able to do with an entire year of recruiting. There are however a few things everyone should know about Coach Morris and his staff before our first football game at home against Baylor on September 4th, so here they are:

Athletics Football Head Coach Chad Morris Announcement

1. Everything is fast paced. Have you seen #Tempo or the amount of Red Bull Coach Morris drinks?
2. “You never answer the phone on the first ring and you never show anybody that you’re tired” – Coach Morris
3. This coaching staff knows that there are a lot of players within a $10 tank of gas so they want to keep recruiting within Texas and especially within DFW.
4. Coach Morris has a “you’ve got to kill me to beat me attitude” and is ready to overcome in obstacles or challenges that are put in his way.
5. Lastly, Coach Morris WILL turn this football program around. He hasn’t taken a break from recruiting or working on the playbook since he arrived on campus. Coach Morris said it best himself, “You’re going to see an exciting brand of football. We’re going to be on of the biggest turnarounds in college football before this is over with.”

Spring practice begins after spring break. I can’t wait to see all the hard work that these players and coaches have put in this off-season in the weight room and on the field pay off. It’s a new era of Pony Football and I hope you all will be there to support Coach Morris and our SMU football team this fall!

SMU Football Schedule

Check out www.ponyuptempo.com and use the hashtag #PonyUpTempo on social media throughout the season to track SMU’s success!

By Sarah Woodruff

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