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 Maria Dixon Hall, senior adviser to the SMU Provost, associate professor in the Division of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs in Meadows School of the Arts, and adjunct associate professor of homiletics in Perkins School of Theology. Appointed in August 2016 as Senior Advisor to the Provost for Cultural Intelligence, Dixon Hall is charged with oversight of the University’s efforts to ensure that all members of the SMU community are equipped to effectively create, collaborate, and work on solutions to change the world. In this role, she is responsible for development and implementation of the University’s new cultural intelligence curriculum and training program.
As director of mustangconsulting, Dixon Hall heads a staff of some of SMU’s best and brightest communication students. The group serves a global client list that includes corporate, nonprofit, and religious organizations such as Southwest Airlines (Dallas), The Dance Theatre of Harlem (New York), the Ugandan American Partnership Organization (Kampala/Dallas), The Lydia Patterson Institute (El Paso), and Carry the Load (Atlanta/Dallas).
A graduate of the Culverhouse School of Business at the University of Alabama, Dixon Hall earned her Master of Divinity and Master of Theology from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, as well as a Ph.D. in organizational communication and religion from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Later, the University will present several awards for excellence – including its highest honor, the “M” Award – during the 2018 Hilltop Excellence Awards. The ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.
– Kathleen Tibbetts
Randall L. Stephenson, chairman and chief executive officer of AT&T, will be the featured speaker during SMU’s 103rd all-University Commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 19, 2018 in Moody Coliseum.
Since rising to the position of CEO in 2007, Stephenson has guided AT&T through a number of major milestones, including the ongoing acquisition of Time Warner, the 2015 acquisition of DIRECTV, and the purchase of Mexican wireless companies to create a North American network.
Stephenson also has led AT&T’s breakthrough “It Can Wait” campaign – an awareness program educating drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. The program has amassed more than 19 million pledges of support.
“We are honored to have a pioneering business and technology leader of Mr. Stephenson’s stature as featured speaker at Commencement,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He is a striking example of what can be accomplished when someone possesses a clear vision of where they want to go. I know he will inspire each of our graduating students to form their own grand vision of what they want to accomplish in their lives with the knowledge they’ve acquired at SMU.”
AT&T contributed $2.5 million to SMU in 2016 to endow the AT&T Center for Virtualization and fund its research into the fast, reliable cloud-based telecommunications necessary for global activity. SMU and AT&T have also partnered with other organizations to create the Payne Stewart SMU Golf Training Center at the Trinity Forest Golf Club, which will become home to the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson this year and annually host NCAA invitational tournaments and additional high-profile professional and amateur events.
Stephenson began his career with Southwestern Bell Telephone in 1982 in Oklahoma. He served as the company’s senior executive vice president and chief financial officer from 2001 to 2004, and from 2004 to 2007 as chief operating officer. He was appointed to AT&T’s board of directors in 2005.
Stephenson is a member of the PGA TOUR Policy Board and National Chairman of the Boy Scouts of America. He received his B.S. in accounting from the University of Central Oklahoma and his Master of Accountancy from the University of Oklahoma.
SMU expects to award more than 2,500 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees in the University-wide ceremony. The University’s individual schools and departments will host diploma ceremonies throughout the day.
— Written by Kenny Ryan
The following message was emailed to parents January 10. If you do not currently receive SMU emails but would like to get them, please fill out this form with your contact information.
Dear SMU Parent,
As SMU prepares for the spring term, we are reminding students to take precautions against the flu and help prevent its spread by getting a flu shot as soon as possible, if they have not yet already done so.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases of flu are increasing in Texas and across the country. While reports indicate that this flu season’s vaccine may be less effective than in previous years, getting vaccinated continues to offer the best protection against the flu. We are closely monitoring flu advisories and reports from Dallas County and the CDC.
A flu shot and additional precautions
Because flu can spread by contact with people who are ill, we recommend that students get a flu shot at a local pharmacy, clinic or physician’s office to develop protection against the flu before the spring term begins, if they did not already get vaccinated this fall at campus clinics or during winter break.
At SMU’s Dr. Bob Smith Health Center, flu shots are available to students at no cost, while supplies last. The Health Center is currently open during its normal operating hours, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Students are asked to bring their SMU IDs to the Health Center. Update: Appointments are not required for flu shots.
We are reminding students to take additional precautions when they return to campus, including to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, and to get plenty of rest to keep the immune system working at its best. Students also are reminded to be aware of flu symptoms.
More information about the flu is on the SMU website, at smu.edu/flu, including campus resources and guidelines for preventing and treating the flu.
We look forward to continuing to provide services that support your student’s health and well-being in 2018.
The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center staff
SMU wishes you the happiest of holidays with scenes from a season of joy. Gary Shultz of SMU News has created a page full of images and video from the 2017 Celebration of Lights, December Commencement Convocation, and SMU Football’s trip to the DXL Frisco Bowl.
Here’s a sample: Student musicians perform songs of the season and President R. Gerald Turner reads the Christmas story from the New Testament during Celebration of Lights. Tap the YouTube screen to watch, or click here to open SMU’s 2017 Celebration of Lights video in a new window.
The SMU community will celebrate 2017 December Commencement Convocation on Saturday, Dec. 16. Kenneth A. Hersh, president and CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, will give the address.
The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. in Moody Coliseum with a student, faculty and platform party procession. Guests can enter Moody Coliseum starting at 8:30 a.m. Student line-up begins at 8:30 a.m. in Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports. Processional groups begin forming at 9:15 a.m.; doors close at 9:40 a.m.
On Friday, Dec. 15, undergraduate candidates will participate in Rotunda Recessional. Candidates should wear SMU regalia and begin lining up at 5:15 p.m. at the flagpole on the Main Quad. Hot cider will be served.
The following message from President R. Gerald Turner was sent to the campus community December 6:
As reported in the media and in my email to the campus on Sunday evening, our campus was invaded by five followers of what appears to be a state chapter of a national group espousing white nationalism. SMU Police Chief Rick Shafer reports that our police force is diligently trying to identify one or more of these individuals and has asked for assistance from the University community and beyond.
The faculty, staff, and students of SMU have been, and are committed to, protecting free speech rights in an atmosphere of civility and meaningful discourse. Those individuals who took advantage of our openness and accessibility to violate the policies of the University posted messages that by their sexist, racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, and other deplorable contents basically denigrated every group but their own. We will continue our efforts to put names on faces to expose publicly those who engage in such unacceptable behavior. However, we must be vigilant in ensuring that as a community we rebuke those seeking to plant seeds of distrust and hatred on the Hilltop.
Throughout our history, the faculty, staff, and students of SMU have made great strides in ensuring that our university community is reflective of the larger world that we are called to serve. We realize that we must continue to cultivate a campus culture where all Mustangs have the knowledge and skills to learn, teach, and work with different individuals in diverse contexts.
On November 27th, the Provost, Professor Maria Dixon Hall, and I announced the launch of a Cultural Intelligence Initiative (CIQ@SMU). The mission of CIQ@SMU is to ensure that every member of our campus is equipped to create, collaborate, and implement innovative solutions to change the world regardless of the background of those with whom they work. CIQ@SMU emphasizes that our differences are more complex than only race or ethnicity but also include religious, gender, sexual, political, and socio-economic identities.
Our efforts are only beginning. This is important work that will not be finished overnight. Our hope is that through CIQ@SMU, all of us at SMU will embrace learning from and teaching one another how to work effectively with people in culturally diverse settings.
As the fall semester winds down, with finals beginning this Thursday, followed by Commencement on December 16th, I urge our students to finish strongly this semester, enjoy the semester break with family and friends, and be ready when they return for the spring semester to continue efforts to improve our ability to live and work together. Our ability to counter the abhorrent messages of those who invaded our campus is best reinforced by rejecting the division and denigration desired by those who carry messages of hate. I ask that you join with us as we seek to improve and strengthen the understanding and unity of our University community.
As SMU enters both the holiday and exam seasons for Fall 2017, the Office of the Provost is asking that all University community members look out for signs of stress among campus community members.
The weeks from Thanksgiving to the end of finals are “a time of significant stress for many members of our community,” wrote Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven Currall in an e-mail message dated Nov. 13, 2017. “We ask each of you to be aware of signs of stress in yourself and those around you. In particular, I ask that you be aware of signs of stress among students, especially first-year students as they are experiencing their first round of final exams.”
In addition, Currall urged students “who feel the stress of the season and finals” to visit the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center and make use of the many health resources available to them.
Currall also urged faculty and staff members to become familiar with SMU’s Caring Community Connections page: “This website allows us to convey our concerns about students so that the University’s support staff are able to provide students with appropriate information, caring, and advice.”
If you have concerns about students and are not sure what to do, please refer to the Student Affairs brochure “Concerned About an SMU Student?” or contact the Dean of Student Life Office at 214-768-4564.
In addition, these SMU offices can help, either with advice or referrals:
- Counseling Services, 214-768-2277
- Dean of Student Life Office, 214-768-4564
- Office of the Chaplain, 214-768-4502
- SMU Police Department, 214-768-3388
Physical exercise is often a good antidote to stress, Currall added, “and SMU is fortunate to have the extraordinary resources of the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports available for faculty, students, and staff. Please take advantage of these facilities even during these busy times.”
Currall ended his message by encouraging the SMU community to take care of each other. “If you have the opportunity, I urge you to reach out to an individual who is separated from family and friends during this time and invite them to share some of your traditions and goodwill of your family and friends,” he wrote.
SMU students who are veterans of U.S. military service served as grand marshals of SMU’s annual Homecoming parade Nov. 4. The theme was “Homecoming for Heroes.”
Other Homecoming events included class reunions, the SMU vs. Central Florida football game and the Mustang Band Centennial Pigskin Revue, as well as concerts, exhibits, open houses, events for graduates of individual schools, mini-reunions and worship services.
Watch the video from SMU News’ Myles Taylor.
They are the first students to arrive in the stands at Ford Stadium and the last to leave. Their spirit and traditions rival any campus organization.
Meet the hub of SMU spirit – the Mustang Band, making music for 100 years. The Mustang Band celebrates its centennial at its annual Homecoming performance, Pigskin Revue, on Nov. 3, 2017. Festivities begin at noon in the Mustang Band Hall with a band alumni mini-reunion, followed by the Centennial Celebration at 6:30 p.m. in the Mack Grand Ballroom in Umphrey Lee. Pigskin Revue, a student-produced music, dance and comedy show, begins at 8:15 at McFarlin Auditorium. For tickets and to register, click here.
On a typical fall afternoon, band director Don Hopkins ’82 rolls up his sleeves to lead a practice in the new Mustang Band Hall, dedicated in 2014 in the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports. Students file down the stairs into the band headquarters where Tucker leads the band into the beginning notes of Sing, Sing, Sing by Benny Goodman.
Band members practice five hours a week in addition to game day commitments. Most band members and the twirler are supported by scholarships. The 75-member Mustang Band prides itself on its uniqueness among other university bands as well as among SMU student organizations.
“The band has always been small,” Hopkins says. “But with all the brass and saxophones, we hold our own.”