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.
Watch an SMU Mustang Minute from SMU News’ Myles Taylor about the arrival of the 2015 Christmas tree.
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 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.
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.
SMU students and alumni took time for their community as part of the Peruna Paint Project at Dallas’ Lee A. McShan Elementary School on Saturday, April 11, 2015.
The ongoing project – in which University community members paint colorful murals using SMU themes – was created to encourage local elementary- and secondary-school students to think about college and to inspire them toward future opportunities.
Health and Safety: Learn about substance abuse prevention and sexual misconduct policies and procedures, and find important campus resources to support students, including the SMU Health Center.
SMU Aware: Learn about campus emergency preparedness efforts. In the event of an emergency, call the SMU Parent Info Line at 214-SMU-PARENTS (214-768-7273 or toll free 1-888-768-7273) for updated campus alerts. Contact SMU Police at 214-768-3333.