Category Archives: News

‘World-changing service, life-changing experience’ during Fall Break

Alternative Breaks took students to Costa Rica during Spring Break 2015.

Alternative Breaks took students to Costa Rica during Spring Break 2015.

Students, faculty and staff are making the most of Fall Break, October 10-13, to engage in service, travel and learning.

SMU Alternative Breaks, in partnership with the Community Engagement & Leadership Center, is taking 70 students, as well as faculty and staff advisers, to seven locations in Texas, Oklahoma and Florida. Over the course of four days, SMU volunteers are working alongside nonprofit organizations that address issues including hunger, child abuse, homelessness, women’s rights and environmental restoration.

“Alternative Breaks is about making an impact in communities, while providing a transformative experience for participants,” says junior Gloria Yi, one of two student directors of SMU Alternative Breaks. “We want participants to grow during the trips and think about how they fit into the social issue and what they can do to address it. It’s world-changing service, life-changing experience.”

This year’s Alternative Breaks trips are:

  • Waco, Texas, where students are working on a farm and learning about sustainable agriculture, environmental responsibility and world hunger issues.
  • Hartshorne, Oklahoma, where students are partnering with the nonprofit Rebuilding Together Kiamichi Country to work on critical home repairs for low-income homeowners.
  • Austin, where students are assisting children in foster care with homework and will engage in fun activities, in partnership with the organization Helping Hand Home.
  • Houston, where students are working at the Women’s Home, a community that helps women in crisis. Another group in Houston is helping build playgrounds with the Collaborative for Children.
  • Dallas, where students are serving at three organizations to learn about the complex issue of poverty, including Trinity River Mission, Brighter Bites and Habitat for Humanity.
  • Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida, where students are clearing trails and learning about the environment near the Big Cypress Swamp.

Also, on Saturday, October 24, SMU Alternative Breaks is offering its first day trip. Students will assist with food distribution and the children’s program at The Stewpot, a Dallas organization serving the homeless.

For more information about this and upcoming Winter Break and Spring Break trips, visit

Follow Alternative Breaks on Instagram @smualternativebreaks, Twitter #SMUAB and Facebook at SMU Alternative Breaks. Students also will blog at

Also during Fall Break

Hilltop on the Hill

Eleven students are traveling to Washington, D.C., with SMU’s Hilltop on the Hill program. The program is led by Rita Kirk, director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility and professor of Communication Studies in Meadows School of the Arts; Stephanie Ann Martin, assistant professor of Communication Studies; and Candy Crespo, assistant director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility and lecturer at the Center for Nonprofit Management.

During the program, students meet with SMU alumni, talk with communication staffers on the Hill, learn from lobbyists about their advocacy functions, assess the role and function of the news media, and investigate the role of political parties as representatives for constituent concerns.

“Through interactions with SMU’s strong D.C. alumni base, students consider the range of communication careers in our nation’s capital,” Kirk says. “That adds a certain immediacy to their studies that sets the bar higher when they return to campus.”

Endowed by the Bauer Foundation, the Hilltop on the Hill program also takes students studying political communication to political party conventions, the presidential Inauguration and the G8 Economic Summit.

Follow Hilltop on the Hill on the SMU blog

Outdoor Adventures

SMU Outdoor Adventures is taking students to the Matagorda Island Wildlife Management Area near Port O’Connor, Texas. Students will explore the offshore barrier island and bayside marshes on kayaks.

Outdoor Adventures is a leadership development program within the Department of Recreational Sports. Upcoming trips include a day trip to Inner Space Caverns in Georgetown, Texas, and a fall backpacking trip to Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas.

For the full trip and workshop schedule, visit

– By Emily Hooper, SMU News

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SMU Video: Highlights from the Centennial Celebration

Watch highlights from SMU’s Centennial Celebration, including the Centennial Homecoming Parade and fireworks, in this video from SMU News’ Myles Taylor.

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Free flu shots available during SMU’s Fall 2015 clinics

Stock photo of man receiving shotThe SMU Health Center has scheduled several free flu shot clinics for October and November 2015.

Clinics will take place at various places around the main campus, as well as the East Campus and SMU-in-Plano. All clinics are open to students and benefit-eligible faculty, staff, SMU retirees and retiree spouses.

> Keep up with the latest flu information at

Update your vaccination during the following days and times at these locations:

  • Monday, Oct. 5 – 2-6 p.m., Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports lobby
  • Thursday, Oct. 8 – 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4-6 p.m., Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports lobby
  • Wednesday, Oct. 14 (HR Fair) – 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Hughes-Trigg Student Center
  • Monday, Oct. 19 – 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m., Expressway Tower, East Campus
  • Tuesday, Oct. 20 – 2-6 p.m., Law School Pit, Underwood Law Library
  • Thursday, Nov. 5 – 4-6 p.m., SMU-in-Plano

> Dallas County influenza resources and updates available at

The University offers free flu shots for all SMU students and benefit-eligible faculty, staff, retirees and retiree spouses. To keep your clinic visit as short as possible, take these steps:

> Find statewide resources at

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SMU publishes Annual Security and Fire Safety Report

The following message from President R. Gerald Turner was sent to the campus community on October 1, 2015, regarding SMU’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report:

SMU is committed to maintaining an educational environment that supports safety and well-being through University policies, resources, education and prevention programs. Resources dedicated to campus safety include the SMU Police Department, which every year prepares and distributes a security report for the main SMU campus, SMU-in-Plano and SMU-in-Taos.

The annual security report is published in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The security report includes SMU’s annual fire report, in keeping with the requirements of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 and its accompanying regulations.

The University’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report is available online at If you would like a paper copy, please contact the SMU Police Department at 214-768-1348 or e-mail

The report contains three calendar years of crime statistics, including incidents occurring on SMU campuses, at public areas adjacent to campuses and at certain non-campus facilities, including Greek houses and remote classrooms. Information also is gathered from the University Park Police Department, Highland Park Department of Public Safety, Dallas Police Department, Plano Police Department, Taos County Sheriff’s Department and SMU officials who serve as campus security authorities.

Read more below:
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SMU reaches $1 billion campaign goal

SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign has reached its $1 billion goal ahead of schedule, raising unprecedented funding for scholarships, academic positions and programs, facilities and other enhancements to campus life.

The campaign’s official completion date is Dec. 31, 2015; campaign gifts will continue to be counted to that date.

The campaign announcement was made Thursday, Sept. 24, at a gathering of volunteers, donors, alumni, civic leaders and other members of the campus and Dallas communities. The event in McFarlin Auditorium was the official celebration of the 100th anniversary of SMU’s opening on Sept. 24, 1915 – and a rally for its future. The centennial is being celebrated during a weekend of Homecoming and other special events.

“This is a doubly historic day for us,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of SMU’s opening, we are pleased to announce unprecedented new support for our future. Our founders were forward-looking leaders, and they’d be pleased to see that today’s supporters are generously investing in our next century of achievement. These donors are truly the founders of our second century.”

SMU joins 34 private universities nationwide to conduct a campaign to raise $1 billion or more through major gifts campaigns. The institutions range from Columbia University and the University of Notre Dame to Emory and Vanderbilt universities.

“By raising $1 billion to support academic excellence, SMU joins distinguished company within the higher education community,” said Gerald J. Ford, SMU trustee and convening co-chair of the campaign. “This stature underscores the reality of our growth in quality and reputation. SMU is proving to be a wise and worthy investment, not only among donors, but also among the young people who will invest their futures with us as students.”

Read more below and from SMU News.

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SMU to celebrate 100th birthday during Homecoming

IMG_2-710SMU’s opening on Sept. 28, 1915, was proclaimed a “day of jubilation.” This year’s “Hundredth on the Hilltop” Homecoming celebration, Sept. 23-26, also will draw a jubilant crowd to “Pony Up!” and party down at history-making events.

“This promises to be the biggest Homecoming ever,” says Peter Lodwick ’77, ’80, chair of the SMU Alumni Board. “Please join us for what is certain to be an unforgettable celebration at a unique time in SMU history. Highlights will include the new tradition of festively lighting Dallas Hall, lots of pregame family fun, special exhibits for the entire community, alumni activities galore and a fireworks extravaganza after the football game in Gerald J. Ford Stadium.”

Read more below about events for the whole community and especially for students, parents, faculty, staff and alumni.

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‘Station Eleven’ author to present lecture at SMU

Station-Eleven-North-American-coverEmily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven, the 2015 SMU Reads selection, will present a free lecture at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9, at McFarlin Auditorium. The community is invited to attend.

SMU students are reading the book as part of the common reading program, an academic initiative, which includes small-group discussions about the book before classes begin.

Station Eleven is set in year 20 after a virus has killed almost all humanity. The main characters are a traveling troupe of actors and musicians who bring performances of Shakespeare to the small and struggling human settlements that remain. The novel tells the story of the global disaster in real time and of its survivors 20 years later.

Community members, alumni, book lovers and book clubs are invited to join SMU Reads and take part in other events planned by the University’s SMU Reads partner, the Dallas Public Library. Events include survivalist training at REI, urban emergency preparedness from Dallas County health leaders at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library and a pop-up performance of King Lear performed by Shakespeare Dallas. For more details about events and to preregister for Mandel’s lecture, visit

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Welcome, New Mustangs!

 SMU welcomed new Mustangs and their families on Move-In Day, August 19, 2015, kicking off Mustang Corral.


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Update: Virginia-Snider Commons and Lee Dining Hall open

Update Friday, August 28, 6 a.m.:

Repairs on campus have been completed. Virginia-Snider Commons will reopen for residents at 7:30 a.m. Friday, August 28.

Lee Dining Hall at the Umphrey Lee Center will reopen to serve dinner Friday and resume normal operating hours on Saturday. Other campus dining locations, including Arnold Commons and Hughes-Trigg, are open today. Mac’s Place will begin serving breakfast at 7 a.m.

SMU thanks campus community members for their patience. SMU Dining Services will serve a free barbecue picnic for students from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at the Flagpole, while supplies last.

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Watch Opening Convocation at

Opening ConvocationAll new first-year and transfer students are encouraged to attend SMU’s 101st Opening Convocation at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, August 23. President R. Gerald Turner is serving as Convocation speaker.

Families and friends are invited to view a live webcast of the event at, beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday.

At Convocation, students are formally welcomed to the SMU community in a ceremony dating back to 1915. Highlights include the faculty in full academic regalia and the presentation of the new class of students to the president, SMU administrators and professors. An important part of Convocation is the Rotunda Passage, in which students pass through the Rotunda of Dallas Hall.

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