Category Archives: News

Hurrah for the Grads: Scenes from Commencement 2014

Congratulations again to our Class of 2014 SMU World Changers.

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The SMU Year in Review 2013-14

The 2013-14 school year at SMU was exciting. Take a look back at some, but certainly not all, of the excitement that took place on The Hilltop in this video from SMU News’ Myles Taylor.

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Congratulations, SMU Class of 2014!

commencement2014-08SMU celebrated the academic accomplishments of more than 2,100 students at its 99th annual Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 17, in the newly renovated Moody Coliseum.

“If we’re not celebrating today, we’re not living in this moment – and if we’re not living in this moment, we will not succeed when we’re in the depths of self-doubt,” said featured Commencement speaker Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. “So live in this moment, graduates. Live in this moment, good parents…. Today, you can say you have done something very good.”

“Who and what are you going to choose to love?” continued Rawlings. “It’s a critical question, because it’s through passionate love that we take learning and leadership and focus it and really start to make a difference in the world. You will have to make that choice yourself. But I hope you choose to love the we and not the me. I hope you choose to love the good in the world and not the gold in the world. I hope you choose to love your family – the one that’s here today and the one that is coming in the future – and not fame.”

Elected mayor in 2011, Rawlings has created new strategies for growing the arts through the Mayor’s Business Arts Initiative, has used his visibility as mayor to organize a campaign against domestic violence and has put Dallas in the spotlight by taking a leading role with the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Read more about Mayor Rawlings.

During the ceremony, honorary degrees were conferred upon Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson, Methodist historian Richard P. Heitzenrater and SMU law professor Joseph W. McKnight.

Diploma presentation ceremonies were held by individual schools.

Read more from SMU News. 

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May 17 Commencement to Celebrate Academic Achievements

class-of-2014-quadSMU will celebrate the academic accomplishments of more than 2,100 students at its 99th annual Commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 17, in the newly renovated Moody Coliseum.

Guests are urged to arrive early as seating in the coliseum is limited to four guests per student. Additional seating will be available for a simulcast of the event at Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports. The ceremony also will be broadcast outside Moody Coliseum on Mustang Plaza, and there will be a live webcast of the ceremony online.

New graduates will also have the opportunity to share their photos, thoughts and future plans via social media. Those who post by Saturday, May 31 on Twitter, Instagram or the SMU Facebook page using #SMU2014 will have a chance to win two Southwest Airlines vouchers or other prizes. Complete contest rules are available online.

Follow SMU’s 99th Commencement weekend on Twitter at #SMU2014

Read about SMU Commencement traditions and their long history

Featured speaker at Commencement will be Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. Elected mayor in 2011, he has created new strategies for growing the arts through the Mayor’s Business Arts Initiative, has used his visibility as mayor to organize a campaign against domestic violence and has put Dallas in the spotlight by taking a leading role with the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Click here to read more about Mayor Rawlings.

During the ceremony, honorary degrees will be conferred upon Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson, Methodist historian Richard P. Heitzenrater and SMU law professor Joseph W. McKnight. Each honorary degree recipient will be included in symposia, which are free and open to the public.

Diploma presentation ceremonies will be held at individual schools. Click here for the Commencement schedule.

The Baccalaureate Service will be at 8 p.m. Friday, May 16, in McFarlin Auditorium. It will be broadcast live.

Click for a map of the SMU campus.

Those attending Commencement activities at SMU on May 16-17 may park for free in any of the University’s parking facilities, including the surface lots and:

  • Binkley Garage – At Binkley Avenue and Ownby Drive
  • Moody Garage – Airline Road and SMU Boulevard
  • Airline Garage – Airline Road and Daniel Avenue
  • Mustang Parking Center – 6001 Bush Avenue at Binkley Avenue
  • Law Parking Center – Daniel Avenue and Hillcrest Avenue
  • Meadows Parking Center – Bishop Boulevard and Schlegel Street north of Mockingbird Lane

No parking will be permitted on Bishop Boulevard. Laws and regulations that prohibit parking in fire lanes and limit who may use areas reserved for the disabled are strictly enforced. Please allow extra time to find parking as construction activities may affect routes from parking areas to various locations on campus.

For more information about Commencement weekend, click here.

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Commencement Traditions: The Ceremonies, Regalia and Symbols

25025D_096-680x452Commencement Weekend at SMU is a mixture of time-honored practice and modern refinements, from the custom regalia to the Rotunda Recessional. Here is a roundup of the traditions and symbols that make up the University’s 21st-century approach to these ancient ceremonies.

CEREMONIES

Baccalaureate Service for Undergraduate Candidates

The Baccalaureate Service is a religious ceremony held in McFarlin Auditorium the Friday evening before May Commencement Convocation. This is a small and intimate service that features a special sermon for undergraduate candidates and their guests.

Wearing full regalia, candidates process into McFarlin and are seated together. Weather permitting, students line up on the Main Quad in the order of their arrival.

Rotunda Recessional

The Rotunda Recessional follows the Baccalaureate Service. Undergraduate candidates, led by faculty and alumni marshals, march through the front doors of Dallas Hall, across its Rotunda and around to the University’s Main Quad. This tradition marks the new graduates’ symbolic departure from the Hilltop and welcomes them into their new phase of membership in the SMU community – their lives as alumni.

The march is a bookend to another symbolic tradition, the Rotunda Passage. Before Opening Convocation, held the day before their first day of classes as first-years, students process through the back doors of Dallas Hall, across the Rotunda and onto the Main Quad as new members of the SMU student body.

Commencement Convocation

On Saturday morning, the all-University May Commencement Convocation assembles degree candidates from all of SMU’s schools and professional programs in Moody Coliseum. Students and faculty, dressed in full academic regalia, march to the ceremony to processional music.

Doctoral candidates and honorary degree recipients are hooded, Commencement speakers address our newest class of candidates, and the University president confers degrees. At the conclusion of the ceremony, “Varsity” is played and a prayer is said for the new alumni.

Diploma Presentation Ceremonies

Wearing full academic regalia, graduates are individually recognized in school or departmental ceremonies.

Continue reading below for information on regalia and symbols.

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SMU Dedicates New Residential Commons Complex

SMU dedicated its new Residential Commons complex May 9, enabling all first-year and sophomore students to live on campus and launching the Residential Commons model campus-wide.

The $146 million complex is the largest capital project in SMU’s history, part of a larger initiative to enhance students’ living-learning experience, starting in fall 2014. The dedication ceremony and building tours will begin at noon at 5905 Bush Ave. on the southeastern edge of the campus.

New facilities for the nine-acre Commons complex include five residence halls – Armstrong CommonsKathy Crow Commons,Crum CommonsLoyd Commons and Ware Commons – as well as the Anita and Truman Arnold Dining Commons and the 800-space Mustang Parking Center. The complex will provide campus housing for an additional 1,250 SMU students, enabling nearly 2,750 students to live on campus.

“Today’s dedication of the Residential Commons complex signifies an exciting new chapter in SMU history,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Each Commons is designed to seamlessly combine the intellectual and social aspects of University life, a concept that will be implemented campus-wide in the fall. We are grateful to six generous families for transforming the SMU campus experience.”

Lead gifts of $30 million in total giving have been provided by Liz Martin Armstrong ’82 and Bill Armstrong ’82, Anita Ray Arnold and Truman Arnold, Katherine Raymond Crow ’94 and Harlan R. Crow, Sylvie P. Crum and Gary T. Crum ’69, Penny R. Loyd and Paul B. Loyd, Jr. ’68 and Richard Ware ’68 and family.

Each five-story Commons in the new complex will be home to 250 students, a residence life director and a faculty member in residence.  The faculty member will serve as mentor and intellectual leader of the community, and has the opportunity to teach a class or host study sessions in the classroom included in each Commons.

Read more from SMU News.

 

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Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to Deliver Commencement Address

Mike-Rawlings-02Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will deliver the address at SMU’s 99th all-University Commencement. The ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 17, in Moody Coliseum.

The ceremony, including Rawlings’ address, will be broadcast live at smu.edu/live.

Elected mayor in June 2011, Rawlings immediately took on a broad agenda of citywide improvements. He has created new strategies for growing the arts through the Mayor’s Business Arts Initiative, has used his visibility as mayor to organize a campaign against domestic violence and has put Dallas in the spotlight by taking a leading role with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which will meet in Dallas June 20-23, 2014.

With the launch of GrowSouth, Rawlings outlined a comprehensive strategy designed to boost the economic impact of southern Dallas. GrowSouth already has been a catalyst for new economic investment, job creation and public-private partnerships. In 2012, The Dallas Morning News praised Rawlings, saying, “After only six months, Rawlings has accomplished more for southern Dallas than many of his predecessors managed in their entire terms.”

Rawlings has adopted four DISD schools in southern Dallas in areas primed for growth and also is working closely with Commit!, an education collaborative for Dallas-area schools. SMU partners with Rawlings on the Mayor’s Summer Reading Club, which provides incentives to keep children reading over the summer months, as well as the Mayor’s Intern Fellows Program, an eight-week, paid summer internship program for students from public and charter high schools in Dallas.

“Mike Rawlings has a passion for improving the quality of life in Dallas,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He is using his platform as mayor to work for more livable neighborhoods, increased economic opportunity throughout the city and strong public education for Dallas children. We prepare our graduates to become world changers, and I can’t think of a better example for them than Mayor Rawlings.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

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SMU Supports National Effort on Sexual Misconduct Prevention

The U.S. Department of Education announced May 1 that procedures regarding sexual misconduct and harassment are being examined at 55 higher education institutions. (Read the announcement.)

The University announced in a statement that:

“SMU applauds the U.S. Department of Education’s efforts to eradicate sexual violence on college campuses and to provide universities with additional tools to combat sexual assault. Our goals are the same.

“The matters under review by the Education Department have been investigated by SMU and predate our University task force review of sexual misconduct policies and procedures. The University has been aggressive in putting into practice wide-ranging new procedures to inform and protect our students, to provide prompt and effective resolution of complaints, and to hold violators accountable while treating all students fairly.

“SMU continually reviews and updates its programs in comparison with national benchmarks, and we are pleased that the White House also has made these matters a priority for all American universities. No issue is more important than the health and safety of our students.”

SMU provided additional information:

The Department of Education is reviewing three SMU cases that predate the University’s Task Force on Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures. One case involved a complaint of inappropriate language in a classroom; one involved an alleged sexual assault that was later dismissed by the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office; and the third case, which does not involve a sexual assault allegation, is currently the subject of litigation.

A year ago, SMU President R. Gerald Turner adopted the task force’s recommendations for new and revised policies and procedures, including programs promoting education and training. Students, faculty and staff members have implemented many of these recommendations and continue to develop others.

  • Read an op-ed about sexual misconduct prevention efforts from Vice President for Student Affairs Lori S. White and SMU Title IX Coordinator Samantha Thomas in the May 2 Daily Campus.

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Final Exam Tips from SMU Learning Experts

A semester’s end brings final exams, projects and often stress to students. SMU’s learning specialists say that if students plan accordingly for the last stretch of the semester, success comes more easily and with less stress. Final exams this year are scheduled for May 7-13, with Reading Days scheduled May 6.

“Final exam week is different from any other week throughout the semester; therefore, it is vital that students plan ahead for when they are going to study, sleep and relax during that week,” says Rebecca Umobong, senior academic counselor at SMU’s Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center (A-LEC). “I encourage students to use A-LEC’s Finals Week Master Schedule to plan how they will spend their time.”

A-LEC academic counselor David Lee says, “As part of the finals planning stage, students should analyze each of their past tests and papers looking to identify any repetitive errors or problem areas. These are important focal points for exam preparation.” Lee also suggests that students reflect on how they have studied in the past in order to adjust and improve study practices.

A-LEC offers learning strategies workshops throughout the semester, including “Prepare for Finals: The Last Week,” on Monday, April 28 and Tuesday, April 29. Students should bring their calendars and all syllabi to the workshops.

Click the “More” link for A-LEC’s tips for students on final exam preparation and for parents on supporting their students during finals.

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SMU Summer Studies Offers Options in Dallas, Taos and Abroad

SMU students at the Bishop Boulevard gateway marker

Offering more than 400 courses, SMU Summer Studies allows students to make progress on their degrees, change or add majors or minors, and add value to their education with smaller courses that cost less than regular-term courses. The schedule includes:

MayTerm on the Dallas campus: MayTerm offers 27 courses May 15-30, allowing students to earn three hours of credit in fewer than three weeks; find the course schedule here and click here for the online application.

Summer on the Dallas campus: The full Summer Term runs June 2-August 5; Summer I courses are June 2 to July 1; Summer II courses are July 7 to August 5. Financial aid, campus housing and meal plans are available. Find the course schedule and other information online.

SMU-in-Taos: Northern New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo mountains provide a spectacular backdrop for classes in art, archaeology, biology, business, history, marketing and more. The May Term at SMU-in-Taos is May 14-May 31; the June Term is June 4-July 3; the Mini June Term is June 4-June 21; and the August Term is August 5-22. Find the course schedule here.

SMU Abroad:  SMU offers a number of summer learning, service and internship opportunities in locales ranging from Paris to Bali.

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