Category Archives: News

SMU students receive prestigious national fellowships

SMU students were awarded prestigious national fellowships and awards during the 2014-15 academic year, including Fulbright Grants and a fellowship to the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress.

SMU’s Office of National Fellowships helps students and faculty to apply for external, nationally competitive fellowships, scholarships and awards. Learn more at smu.edu/provost/nationalfellowships.

Read about the fellowship winners below.

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Common Reading explores the end, and beginning, of civilization

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, North American coverSMU’s incoming class of 2019 will read and discuss the first work of speculative fiction chosen for the University’s Common Reading program – Emily St. John Mandel’s acclaimed fourth novel, Station Eleven.

Mandel’s book explores a post-apocalyptic America in which a deadly strain of influenza has wiped out 99 percent of the world’s population, mere days after A-list actor Arthur Leander has died of a heart attack during a performance of King Lear. Leander’s fellow cast members who survive the pandemic band together as the Traveling Symphony, bringing music and theatre to the small and struggling human settlements that remain. The novel tells the story both of the global disaster in real time and of its survivors 20 years later.

A New York Times best-seller and 2014 National Book Award finalist, Station Eleven received the Arthur C. Clarke Award for best science fiction novel of the year in May 2015. George R.R. Martin (A Song of Ice and FireGame of Thrones) chose it as his favorite book of 2014, calling it “beautifully written, and wonderfully elegiac.”

“This is a book not as much about apocalypse as it is about our human society, particularly the objects and technology we live with but take for granted on an everyday basis,” said Associate Provost Harold Stanley in an e-mail to faculty and staff members dated Thursday, April 16, 2015. “…[T]he book enables readers to consider how art can create meaning and value in the most constrained of human circumstances.”

Station Eleven is the third work of fiction chosen for the University’s Common Reading since the program began in 2004. The first, How to Be Good by Nick Hornby, was the Common Reading book in 2007; We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulaweyo ’07 was the 2014 selection.

Past SMU Common Reading books also include Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman (2004), Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich (2005), The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman (2006), The Devil’s Highway by Luís Alberto Urrea (2008), Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama (2009), Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (2010), The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (2011), The Big Short by Michael Lewis (2012), and The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore (2013).

 

– Kathleen Tibbetts

> Watch for more information at SMU’s Common Reading homepage: smu.edu/commonreading

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SMU celebrates historic 100th May Commencement

SMU observed its historic 100th May Commencement on May 16 with George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, delivering the principal address.

“You are graduating from a great university,” Bush told the graduates, their families and friends gathered in Moody Coliseum and watching simulcasts and over the Internet. “Your SMU degree will open the door to a wide variety of career options. Millions will never have had this opportunity. SMU has laid a foundation so you can reason, and continue to learn throughout your life. It has given you the tools to be productive citizens.”

This was the second time President Bush had spoken at SMU Commencement (the first was in 1999) but the first such address delivered since leaving the White House.

“To those of you who are graduating this afternoon with high honors, awards, and distinctions, I say, ‘well done,’ ” Bush continued. “And as I like to tell the ‘C’ students: You, too, can be President.”

He told the graduates, “You will learn that who you are is more important than what you have,” and reminded them that “to worship who and how we want, or not to worship, is one of our founding principles.”

The graduates will be called upon at some point in their lives to serve something greater than themselves, and they should face the future by being optimistic and hopeful, he said.

“I believe that the Almighty’s grace and unconditional love will sustain you. I believe it will bring you joy amidst the trials of life. It will enable you to better see the beauty around you. It will provide a solid foundation amidst a rapidly changing, somewhat impersonal, technologically-driven world. It will show you how to love your neighbor, forgive more easily, and approach success with humility — and failure without fear,” he said.

SMU awarded more than 2,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.

SMU conferred honorary degrees upon anthropologist Meave Leakey, U.S.-Japan Council President Irene Hirano Inouye and donor-activist Helen LaKelly Hunt during the Commencement ceremony. It hosted academic symposia in their honor on Friday, May 15.

Diploma presentation ceremonies were held by individual schools.

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President George W. Bush to speak at Commencement

George W BushGeorge W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, will deliver the address at SMU’s Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 16, in Moody Coliseum on the main campus.

> Learn more about May Commencement Convocation and procedures for guest tickets and security screening

> More information about guest tickets to the May 15 Baccalaureate Service

> Schedule of events, including Diploma Presentation Ceremonies

> Read about Commencement Weekend highlights from SMU News

SMU expects to award more than 2,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees in the University-wide ceremony.

Following the University-wide Commencement, SMU’s schools and departments will hold individual ceremonies throughout the day to present degrees and honor graduates.

“This Commencement is especially noteworthy because 2015 is the 100-year anniversary of SMU’s opening. So it is fitting that we should hear from a president who led our nation and the world during historic times and is a valued member of the campus community,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner.

> Read more from SMU News

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Dean Joanne Vogel named interim VP for student affairs

Joanne Vogel, Dean of Student LifeSMU Dean of Student Life Joanne Vogel has been named the University’s interim vice president for student affairs, effective July 1, 2015.

The University will conduct a national search for a new vice president to replace current VP Lori White, who has been appointed vice chancellor for students at Washington University in St. Louis.

The search committee is chaired by Tom Barry, SMU vice president for executive affairs. Committee members include:

  • Carlton Adams, Hunt Leadership Scholar and student body president
  • Ashley Garner, assistant residential community director, Mary Hay-Peyton-Shuttles Commons
  • Donna Gober, director of wellness and senior lecturer, Applied Physiology and Wellness, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development
  • Monique Holland, senior associate athletics director/senior woman administrator, Athletic Department
  • Jorge Juarez, executive director, Dedman Center for Recreational Sports
  • Ashlee Kleinert, SMU alumna, Dallas entrepreneur and co-founder of Executives in Action
  • Patti LaSalle, associate vice president and executive director, Public Affairs
  • Creston Lynch, director, Multicultural Student Affairs
  • Connie O’Neill, SMU trustee and civic and philanthropic leader
  • Jennifer Post, director, Residence Life and Student Housing
  • Steve Rankin, chaplain and minister to the University
  • Rick Shafer, chief of police, Department of Public Safety
  • Tom Tunks, professor of music, Meadows School of the Arts, and founding faculty-in-residence, Ware Commons
  • Wes Waggoner, dean of undergraduate admission and executive director, Enrollment Services

“Dr. Vogel’s national leadership and expertise in student development and well-being will ensure that important student initiatives continue to make progress,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Her deep knowledge of student life at SMU will be a distinct asset as the Office of Student Affairs addresses the issues that help shape their college experiences.”

As interim VP, Vogel will oversee areas including the Residential Commons; women’s, multicultural, volunteer and leadership programs; student activities; student conduct; campus ministries; health and wellness programs; career services; the Hughes-Trigg Student Center and the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports.

As dean of student life since January 2014, Vogel has been responsible for supervising programs and services ranging from new student orientation; to fraternity and sorority life and Multicultural Student Affairs; to student discipline procedures. She also serves as chair of the SMU Crisis Management Team and as a member of the President’s Commission on Substance Abuse Prevention and Task Force on Sexual Misconduct.

She is a member of several professional associations including NASPA, the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors, the American College Counseling Association, the American Counseling Association and the Association for Creativity in Counseling.

Vogel received her A.B. degree in history and political science from Duke University. She earned an M.S. in mental health counseling from Stetson University and a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision from the University of Central Florida.

> Visit SMU’s Office of Student Affairs online

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Nearly 50 courses offered in MayTerm 2015

SMU MayTerm 2015 logo

SMU’s MayTerm 2015 will offer nearly 50 courses during the interterm period scheduled for May 14-29. Enrollment is now open through my.SMU.edu. The priority enrollment deadline for classes on the Dallas campus is Friday, April 24; enrollments after this date will still be accepted for classes with seats available.

MayTerm offerings consist of full SMU courses adapted to 11 class days of 4 hours each. All classes are taught by regular SMU faculty members and adjunct professors. In addition, they offer the same discounted tuition as all other non-Fall and Spring terms. With no general student fees attached, these classes cost about 33 percent less than a regular-term course.

There are 49 May Term courses scheduled for 2015, up from 27 last year — an increase that is “significant,” says Kate Livingston, executive director of SMU Extended Learning.

“It shows that faculty are embracing the program,” Livingston adds. “The diversity of the course offerings is strong as well.”

Students are benefiting from the MayTerm for many reasons, including the opportunity to improve their academic standing, fulfill University Curriculum requirements, work toward an additional major or minor, complete prerequisites for other courses, or take a class with a distinguished professor that may be outside their degree plan. More than 325 students had registered for MayTerm 2015 courses during the first three days of enrollment.

“I really enjoyed the condensed format of the class. I found it was easier to retain information…. Overall, my MayTerm course was a great experience,” reads one student’s course evaluation. “My professor made coming to class for four hours every day enjoyable; she managed to present an incredible amount of material while still making it fun and giving us time for discussion,” wrote another MayTerm student.

Any SMU student in good standing is eligible to enroll in a MayTerm course. Students may take only one MayTerm course at a time and should meet with their academic adviser before enrolling for any MayTerm course.

On-campus housing in Morrison-McGinnis Residential Commons will be available for MayTerm students who are living in assigned SMU residence halls during Spring 2015. Students must sign up for MayTerm Housing by Friday, May 1. Room rent is $335 for double occupancy; a limited number of private rooms are available for $385. MayTerm housing closes at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 30, 2015.

All MayTerm residents are required to purchase a $175 all-flex meal plan. Flex Dollars may be used at dining locations around campus, including Café 100, Chick-fil-A, Subway, The Market, and Einstein Brothers.

> Find more information at the SMU MayTerm homepage: smu.edu/mayterm

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SMU to celebrate Founders’ Day April 16-18

InsideSMUThe SMU community celebrates its final Founders’ Day Weekend of The Second Century Celebration April 16–18.

The weekend offers a wide range of activities on the Hilltop, including the celebration of another great milestone: the 50th anniversary of the Meadows Museum. Enjoy a day of special Meadows programs as well as exhibitions documenting the history of the Museum and highlighting the Abelló Collection, one of the world’s most renowned private collections never before seen in the United States.

This year’s event occurs during the centennial celebration of the Year of the Student, which is being commemorated throughout 2015.

Experience Inside SMU Powered by TEDxSMU, featuring presentations by esteemed faculty, alumni and students. Gain an insider’s perspective on SMU’s exciting progress from President R. Gerald Turner.  Bring your family to enjoy SMU Community Day featuring exhibitions and activities at the Meadows Museum and a spring football game. Find the full weekend schedule and register here.

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SMU to recognize achievements on Honors Day 2015

SMU Honors Convocation 2013 procession

Honors Convocation 2013. Photo credit: SMU/Kim Ritzenthaler

SMU celebrates high achievement in academics and community life during Honors Day 2015 on Monday, April 13. The 18th Honors Convocation begins at 5:30 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium, and the 2015 Awards Extravaganza takes place at 7:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.

  • Watch Honors Convocation live April 13 at smu.edu/live beginning at 5:30 p.m.
  • Update: SMU students, faculty and staff receive the “M” Award and other awards for excellence at the 2015 Awards Extravaganza. Read more here.

SMU takes the third 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.

SMU’s 2015 Honors Convocation award and honors recipients

Brian W. Stump, Albritton Professor of Geological Sciences and AAAS Fellow, SMU

Brian Stump, SMU’s Claude C. Albritton Jr. Chair in Geological Sciences

Brian Stump, Claude C. Albritton Jr. Chair in Geological Sciences in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, will be the convocation speaker. An expert in seismic wave propagation and earthquake source theory, Stump has become well known in North Texas for his continuing research on the increasing occurrences of small earthquakes that have shaken the area since 2008.

But his work in detecting ground motion from explosions has for more than 20 years helped the United States government in ensuring that the world’s nuclear powers abide by their agreements related to underground nuclear testing. He served as scientific adviser to the U.S. delegation to the Conference on Disarmament from 1994 through 1996 and continues to be called upon frequently to assist the U.S. government in the interpretation of seismic and acoustic data.

In November 2014, Stump was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for distinguished contributions to his field, particularly in the area of seismic monitoring in support of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. He is the fifth SMU professor to receive this honor.

Watch SMU’s Honors Convocation via live streaming Monday, April 13 at smu.edu/live

Later, the University presents several awards for excellence – including its highest honor, the “M” Award – during the 2015 Awards Extravaganza at 7:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballrooms.

Find more information on Honors Convocation: smu.edu/honorsday
Learn more about the Awards Extravaganza from SMU Student Life

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SMU receives $45 million gift from the Meadows Foundation

The Meadows Foundation, Inc. has pledged $45 million to SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and the Meadows Museum, the largest single gift in SMU history. With this commitment, The Meadows Foundation has provided more than $100 million to the University since 1995.

  • Watch the announcement at 11 a.m. Monday, March 23, at smu.edu/live.
Meadows Museum with “Wave” (2002), the first large-scale sculpture by Santiago Calatrava to be permanently installed in the United States.

Meadows Museum with “Wave” (2002), the first large-scale sculpture by Santiago Calatrava to be permanently installed in the United States.

“SMU has enjoyed a long and productive partnership with The Meadows Foundation, one initiated by Algur H. Meadows himself through the endowment of the Meadows School and the creation of the Meadows Museum,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The resulting collaboration has enhanced the lives of thousands of students, faculty and members of the local, regional and international communities. This year, as we celebrate both the 50th anniversary of the Meadows Museum and the centennial of SMU’s opening, we are honored to accept a gift that will continue this extraordinary partnership.”

The $45 million gift, the largest in The Meadows Foundation’s history, includes $25 million to support goals and programs at the Meadows Museum, which houses one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art outside of Spain. The gift designates $13 million for exhibitions, education programs and initiatives; $6 million for acquisitions; and $6 million for an acquisition challenge grant. In addition, the gift will help the Museum expand relationships with international cultural institutions and enhance its reputation as the center for Spanish art in the United States.

MeadowsEvent-MeadowsSchool-front-24753503The Meadows Foundation gift also designates $20 million to the Meadows School of the Arts to support its goal to lead the nation in arts education. The funding will be used to attract and retain top faculty and students, create and maintain innovative programs of national importance and provide enhanced studio, gallery and state-of-the-art classroom spaces. The gift designates $12 million for facility enhancements, including a $10 million challenge grant, and $8 million for student and faculty recruitment and retention, as well as new strategic initiatives.

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Thanks, Mustangs, for a great season!

The SMU Men’s Basketball team brought great pride and excitement to the Hilltop all season long, making it all the way to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1993.

Watch this Mustang Minute! from SMU News about the Mustangs winning the AAC regular season championship.

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