Former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison receives honorary degree from SMU President R. Gerald Turner.

Former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison delivered the commencement address and received an honorary degree at SMU’s Spring 2013 Commencement Convocation on Saturday.

Hutchison spoke about entrepreneurial spirit and a “can-do” attitude as important legacies from the graduates’ time at SMU: “Class of 2013, the best of your life is yet to come, and you are ready!”

President R. Gerald Turner conferred approximately 1,500 undergraduate and graduate degrees upon students from all of SMU’s schools and professional programs. This year’s spring ceremony fell midway through the University’s centennial celebration, which marks the university’s founding in 1911 and its opening in 1915.

The ceremony was staged in front of SMU’s first building – Dallas Hall – on the historic Main Quad. Against a campus backdrop of oak trees and red brick buildings, students and faculty marched to the quad in their academic regalia, accompanied by processional music.

“Commencement allows us to celebrate our SMU graduates’ achievements and look forward with them to the future. By awarding honorary degrees, we also recognize individuals who have made important contributions to academia and society,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner.

In addition to  Hutchison, a technology entrepreneur, a former U.S. ambassador, a distinguished scholar and a criminal justice reform activist also received honorary degrees for distinguished contributions in their fields.

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