Category Archives: News

Congratulations to new SMU graduates

Commencement Cap TossMore than 600 students from SMU’s seven schools graduated Saturday, Dec. 19, at the December Commencement Ceremony in Moody Coliseum.

Distinguished lawyer Michael M. Boone, an alumnus and chair of the SMU Board of Trustees, delivered the commencement address.

At the ceremony, 627 students and faculty in academic regalia entered Moody Coliseum with their respective schools, accompanied by music and applause from proud families. Each graduate was individually recognized.

Boone is a co-founder and member of the Board of Directors of Haynes and Boone, one of the nation’s largest and most respected law firms.

Boone has received numerous honors for his civic leadership, including Distinguished Alumni Awards from the University as well as from the Dedman School of Law and the Cox School of Business. He also has received the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award from SMU’s Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility, the Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award from the Methodist Health System Foundation and the Jack Lowe Sr. Award for Community Leadership from the Dallas Bar Association.

Boone earned a B.B.A. from the Cox School of Business in 1963 and a J.D. from Dedman School of Law in 1967. He serves on the executive boards of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and Dedman School of Law, and formerly was an adjunct professor at the law school.

He served as vice chair for SMU’s Second Century Celebration Organizing Committee and as a member of the Leadership Council for The Second Century Campaign, which reached its $1 billion goal ahead of schedule in September 2015. Boone has served his community in numerous roles, including as president of the Highland Park School Board and chair of the Dallas Citizens Council.

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SMU to remain guns-free campus

A message to the SMU community from President R. Gerald Turner:

For the past several weeks, I have solicited input from students, faculty and staff regarding Texas Senate Bill 11, more commonly known as the “campus carry” law. The law contains an option for private universities to opt out and ban concealed handguns after initiating discussion within the campus community.

After hearing from more than 1,300 students as well as from faculty and staff, I can now inform you that SMU will remain weapons free, as it has been since at least 1994. Although the final decision rested with me, it was made in consultation with the SMU Board of Trustees.

The process we followed was inclusive. Representatives from the SMU Offices of Legal Affairs, Student Affairs, and Police met with the SMU Faculty Senate, SMU Student Senate and the SMU Staff Advocacy Council this fall. Additionally, the SMU Debate program sponsored a student debate on the topic, and many of you provided feedback in response to a campus-wide letter from me and one from Student Senate leaders.

The results were overwhelmingly in favor of SMU remaining weapons free when the law goes into effect Aug. 1, 2016. More than two-thirds of students who responded to the Student Senate letter said they favored SMU remaining a weapons-free campus. In addition, faculty, staff and students supported SMU remaining weapons free by 10 to 1 in their online responses. The Faculty Senate also supported opting out by a large margin, with 17 voting in favor, three against and three abstaining.

Thanks to those of you who participated in this discussion and especially to those of you who provided feedback. We can now move forward knowing that SMU will remain weapons free for many years to come.


President R. Gerald Turner
Southern Methodist University

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U.S. Department of State issues Worldwide Travel Alert

The U.S. Department of State has issued a Worldwide Travel Alert through February 24, 2016, that alerts U.S. citizens to possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats.

If students, faculty or staff are planning to travel internationally, please consult the travel alert and country-specific information.

The State Department says U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation; be aware of immediate surroundings; avoid large crowds or crowded places; and exercise particular caution at holiday festivals or events.

State Department security tips include:

  • Follow the instructions of local authorities. Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
  • Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
  • Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
  • Register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

Follow updates from the U.S. Department of State on Twitter at or on Facebook.

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SMU’s Celebration of Lights makes holidays bright

Twinkling white lights will illuminate the SMU campus Nov. 30-Jan. 3 for Celebration of Lights, the University’s annual holiday celebration.

Beginning with the annual campus lighting ceremony on SMU’s Main Quad at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30,  the Dallas community is invited to enjoy SMU’s centennial holiday lighting, beginning at the SMU campus entrance on Bishop Blvd. to the landmark Dallas Hall.

The annual event is sponsored by SMU’s Student Foundation and supported by the SMU Centennial Host Committee and the Michael F. Miller Endowment for the Celebration of Lights.

Luminarias will line the sidewalks for the Nov. 30 ceremony, a favorite campus tradition for SMU students that will feature student musicians performing songs of the season, SMU President R. Gerald Turner reading the Christmas story from the New Testament, and lighting of the SMU Christmas tree. The celebration ends bathed in candlelight as participants light candles and sing “Silent Night.”

Although much has changed since students climbed ladders to decorate the six pillars of Dallas Hall for SMU’s first Celebration of Lights in 1977, its original intent has remained the same. “Student Foundation started Celebration of Lights to thank the community for its support for SMU,” said Vicki Sterquell ’78, chair of the first celebration committee.

celebration-of-lights-23228D_030_RT“Celebration of Lights continues to be an important tradition in the SMU community, bringing SMU and the community together for one night of celebration and service,” says SMU senior Jennifer Zotz, president of Student Foundation. This year, Student Foundation, SMU faculty and staff will support the Dallas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Angel Tree. Dallas CASA volunteers advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children under the protective care of the state.

To enjoy SMU’s Celebration of Lights, enter the campus on Bishop Blvd. off Mockingbird Lane. Bishop Blvd. is horseshoe shaped and will bring drivers back to Mockingbird Lane. The holiday lights will shine each evening through Jan. 3.

Find more information here.

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SMU names new Vice President for Student Affairs

Pamela D. Anthony

Pamela D. Anthony

Pamela D. Anthony, dean of students at Iowa State University, has been named vice president for student affairs at Southern Methodist University effective February 1, 2016.

“As SMU’s new vice president for student affairs, Pamela Anthony brings varied experience in all aspects of programming and resources supporting the development of students,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “She has shown leadership in particular on issues related to student well-being, academic enrichment beyond the classroom, and multicultural affairs. She exhibits a dedication to students that will contribute greatly to improving the campus experience that we cherish as a critical part of the educational enterprise. I look forward to welcoming her to the University’s leadership team during this special time in our 100-year history.”

Dr. Anthony will oversee areas including the Office of the Dean of Student Life; Residence Life; women’s, LGBT, 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 students at Iowa State since August 2012, Dr. Anthony has been responsible for supervising programs and services including academic support, multicultural student affairs, LGBT student support, judicial affairs, fraternity and sorority life, women’s programs, student legal services, student disability resources, recreation services, and parent and family involvement, among others. She also serves as chair of the university’s Critical Incident Response Team, Sexual Misconduct Leadership Committee and Student Affairs Diversity Committee, as well as co-chair of its Academic Enrichment Subcommittee and Student Experience Enhancement Council.

“I am beyond excited to be selected as the vice president for student affairs at a world-class institution in a world-class city,” Dr. Anthony said. “SMU offers a vibrant campus life experience, intentional opportunities for student engagement, and evidence that learning happens everywhere. I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues to enhance and create innovative partnerships within academic and student affairs that prioritize student success.”

“My visit to campus and interactions with students, faculty, staff, and alumni only increased my respect for SMU,” she added. “I appreciate the confidence of President Turner and the support of the search committee, and I eagerly anticipate becoming a Mustang! Together, we will continue to shape world changers.”

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SMU students in Paris report they are safe; SMU monitoring situation

SMU has heard from all 11 of its students studying in Paris that they are safe. The SMU Travel Oversight Committee is closely monitoring the situation and is receiving updates from the U.S. State Department and International SOS.

SMU community members abroad are asked to be aware that France has declared a national state of emergency and has tightened its borders. On Saturday, November 14, the U.S. Embassy in France issued a security message regarding the terrorist attacks: “Further incidents are possible. We strongly urge U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security, including limiting their movements to essential activity. U.S. citizens are encouraged to monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.” While airports and train stations remain open, travelers may expect delays due to heightened security measures.

All SMU Abroad students are covered by emergency travel assistance through I-SOS and may use the services of I-SOS worldwide during their term of study abroad. During SMU Abroad orientation, students received laminated cards with emergency phone numbers for I-SOS. I-SOS contact information also is available online at In addition, every SMU-approved study abroad program has its own emergency preparedness plan and protocols.

Students with concerns or questions are asked to contact the SMU Abroad Director, Dr. Cathy Winnie, at (214-768-4904) or SMU Assistant Chief of Police Jim Walters at (214-768-1586). Student safety is the highest priority of SMU and our partner study abroad programs.

Students abroad are asked to review these personal security steps:

  • Register your travel with the State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP;
  • Make sure you register all independent travel with your program director so staff can reach you immediately in an emergency; remember to confirm and update any changes to your emergency contact information in your my.SMU account online;
  • Follow news reports closely;
  • Remain alert to your surroundings at all times;
  • Walk away from the first sign of trouble, and report any suspicious persons, packages or activities;
  • Avoid loud conversations and discussions that identify you as foreign, and avoid wearing clothing such as football jerseys or university sweatshirts, or T-shirts with American logos;
  • Keep your international cellphone with you, fully charged and turned on at all times, and respond immediately to any calls or messages from program staff.
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An important message from President Turner

The following letter was sent from President R. Gerald Turner to the campus community on Tuesday, November 10:

Dear members of the SMU community:

In recent weeks, SMU students and others have been engaged in important discussions about instances of racial insensitivity and intolerance within our community. I would like to thank all those who are leading and participating in these discussions, including the more than 200 students, alumni, faculty, staff and others who attended last week’s town hall meeting organized by student leaders.

I believe these conversations will bring greater understanding, leading to positive change. We as an institution of higher learning must continue to battle ignorance and intolerance through education and forums that encourage civil discourse. Diversity is a value, a commitment and an integral part of our mission. We must promote a learning environment that is welcoming, inclusive and respectful of each member.

The Greek Life Diversity Task Force is continuing to gather information from students, faculty and staff members for upcoming recommendations. To provide input, please contact task force co-chair and Director of Multicultural Student Affairs Creston Lynch at At the same time, students are reminded that the Student Code of Conduct is currently open for its annual review, and suggested changes can be submitted to the Student Senate on Orgs@SMU through Nov. 20. The Student Senate also has created an Ad Hoc Committee on Inclusion and Diversity.

Important diversity issues also are being deliberated by the SMU President’s Commission on the Status of Racial Minorities. SMU is proceeding with plans to establish an Intercultural Center to coordinate the efforts of existing offices and programs to promote a welcoming campus environment.

With regard to offensive and anonymous comments posted online, I want to underscore that these are abhorrent to SMU and are in direct opposition to our values and standards. They demonstrate the vital importance of ongoing education and dialogue about diversity. It is especially troubling when commenters hide behind anonymity in an effort to cause harm to individuals and institutions. Students with concerns about online comments or those experiencing disturbing behavior from others should contact the Office of the Dean of Student Life (214-768-4564); those who feel their safety is threatened are urged to contact SMU Police (214-768-3333). Additional campus resources available for assistance are listed below.

Thank you for continuing this important conversation.


R. Gerald Turner

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SMU Video: Highlights from Centennial Family Weekend

SMU families from around the world celebrated Centennial Family Weekend 2015: Haunted on the Hilltop Oct. 30-Nov. 1. The weekend’s events were coordinated by SMU Student Foundation.

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An important message from President Turner

The following message from President R. Gerald Turner was posted October 29, 2015, for the SMU community:

Dear SMU community members:

I am deeply concerned about the recent actions of two campus fraternities in planning and promoting an off-campus party with racially offensive themes and images. This party was not sanctioned by SMU, and this incident is under review by the University.

Although the offensive party has been cancelled, and the inappropriate Facebook promotions have been removed, the key point is that SMU students should know better than to engage in such irresponsible and insensitive conduct. It is simply unacceptable for any campus group or individual to employ images and language that promote negative stereotypes and are demeaning to the dignity of any member of our campus community. If students choose to create themes based on their ideas of popular culture, they should be aware of the potential impact and always keep in mind respect for others.

As you may recall, SMU last spring launched a Greek Life Diversity Task Force in response to national events. The task force has been gathering feedback from campus focus groups. I encourage you to provide input if you have not yet done so; please contact task force co-chair and Director of Multicultural Student Affairs Creston Lynch at Students who have concerns or questions also may contact any of the campus resources listed at the end of this letter.

We as a campus must remain aware of issues or actions that can undermine our commitment to a nurturing and welcoming environment for all students. We must continue discussions in our classrooms, student organizations, fraternities and sororities, and Residential Commons. The Division of Student Affairs is developing an intercultural center that will further these discussions, with plans to launch this spring.

I am proud of the many students who have provided leadership on these important issues, including student senators, who last week sponsored the first SMU Values Week to raise awareness of the student Values Statement. I ask all campus community members to join me in recommitting to this statement – not as an empty recitation, but as an absolute pledge to uphold these values:

“I, as a citizen of the SMU community, commit myself to upholding the values of intellectual integrity, academic honesty, personal responsibility, and sincere regard and respect for all SMU students, faculty, and staff.”

Thank you for your commitment to an inclusive and welcoming living and learning environment.


R. Gerald Turner

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SMU JanTerm moves to main campus in 2016

SMU JanTerm is moving from SMU-in-Plano to the University’s main campus in January 2016 – a move designed to make it even more convenient for undergraduates to add three credit hours during Winter Break.

The 2016 Jan Term is scheduled for Jan. 4-13, and enrollment opens Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. JanTerm courses are available for registration through My.SMU. Students should meet with an adviser to select appropriate courses before they enroll.

The accelerated interterm session offers more than 50 courses at a reduced tuition rate; students can complete one three-credit-hour course in eight concentrated days.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis; the priority enrollment deadline is 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20. After this date, some courses may be cancelled due to low enrollment. Enrollment after the priority deadline is still possible, depending on course availability.

Since 2010, the University has offered the January interterm program at its SMU-in-Plano campus. SMU-in-Taos began offering JanTerm (short for January Term) courses in 2014. In 2015, SMU JanTerm posted its first online offering, “Introduction to Markets and Culture” (SOCI 2377). This year, the online course will be taught by Sheri Kunovich of the Department of Sociology in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

> Course description for “Introduction to Markets and Culture” online

Continuing SMU students who live on the main campus may remain in their current campus housing during JanTerm 2016 at no additional charge. Students must register with Residence Life and Student Housing no later than Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015 if they plan to stay in their current campus residence during JanTerm 2016.

Main campus housing for students enrolling in JanTerm is limited to students who are currently assigned to a Residential Commons for the Fall and Spring semesters.

The SMU JanTerm allows students to complete one three-credit-hour course at a discounted tuition rate before the start of the spring semester. For Jan Term 2016, regular undergraduate students will pay a reduced tuition rate of $1,270 per credit hour ($3,810 per course), with no other fees assessed. To avoid a late fee, payment is due by Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Financial aid is available for JanTerm students. Visit the SMU JanTerm homepage for more information.

Watch a video about Jan Term from SMU News’ Myles Taylor

The JanTerm program allows students to use the time between the fall and spring terms to focus on a course of interest or stay on track for graduation. Students also can fulfill General Education or University Curriculum requirements.

This year’s offerings include courses from the Cox School of Business, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Lyle School of Engineering, Meadows School of the Arts and Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

For more information, e-mail the SMU Jan Term program or call 214-768-3657. For information on the housing registration process, including important deadlines, please send an inquiry to Residence Life and Student Housing.

Information about JanTerm courses at SMU-in-Taos is available here.

> Learn more from the Jan Term homepage at

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