Category Archives: Photo and Video Gallery

SMU Celebrates 2012 Commencement

Provost Paul Ludden and Condoleezza Rice

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking at SMU’s Commencement on Saturday, told the graduates that as educated persons they have a responsibility to commit themselves to reason and the pursuit of truth.

“You’ve been encouraged to know that reason and faith are not enemies of one another, but together permit the fullest expression of what it is to be human,” she said. “This experience will sustain you for the rest of your lives.”

See slideshows from SMU Commencement Weekend 2012 slide show
Watch Condoleezza Rice’s Commencement address at SMU video
> Read a transcript of Condoleezza Rice’s address.
Read more from SMU News, including a spotlight on graduating students

She told the 2,100 graduates, their families and friends at Moody Coliseum that education “is a force that erases arbitrary divisions of race and class and culture, and unlocks every person’s potential. …  Education is transformative. It literally changes lives. That is why people work so hard to become educated. And that is why education has always been the key to human beings and their dreams.”

Rice, who received an honorary degree during the ceremonies, said, “No one should assume that a life of reason is easy. To the contrary, it takes a great deal of courage and honesty. For the only way you will grow intellectually is by constantly examining your opinions, attacking your prejudices, and completing your journey toward the force of reason.”

The weekend’s activities included the Baccalaureate service Friday, May 11, with guest speaker Richard J. Wood, dean emeritus of Yale University Divinity School and former president of Earlham College.

The service was followed by Rotunda Recessional, a tradition in which seniors march through the Rotunda of Dallas Hall, marking the end of their undergraduate years and the beginning of their lifelong association with SMU as alumni.

Read more about honorary degree recipients Condoleezza Rice and philosopher of science Nancy Cartwright after the jump.

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Founders’ Day Weekend: Tributes to the Past, Building for the Future

President R. Gerald Turner at the celebration April 20

SMU is marking a milestone by reaching $610 million toward its Second Century Campaign goal of $750 million. A range of new initiatives to build and renovate campus facilities were announced at a campus celebration Friday April 20, the first day of SMU’s 2012 Founders’ Day Weekend celebration.

The new and renovated facilities mark the final phase of SMU’s Centennial Master Plan for campus development. SMU is celebrating the contributions of more than $47 million that has been raised thus far in support of these facilities. Nine commitments of $1 million or more and nine of $100,000 or more have been received in support of these projects.

“A major part of SMU’s mission is to provide our students with a well-rounded collegiate experience that includes outstanding academic programs, first-rate facilities and opportunities for personal development,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “These new facilities represent that commitment and will further transform our campus, enhancing student life and continuing the standard of excellence we inherited from our founders and value today.”

The Founders’ Day Weekend celebrations began with the dedication of the Centennial Cornerstone and groundbreaking of SMU’s new Residential Commons complex. The cornerstone marks a permanent tribute to the 100-year development of SMU’s campus and usher in a series of campus developments that are part of the Centennial Master Plan.

In addition to the Commons, other projects either beginning or planned include renovation of Fondren Library Center, expansion and renovation of Moody Coliseum, construction of a new indoor-outdoor tennis complex south of Mockingbird Lane, construction of a new Mustang Band Hall at Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports, construction of a new data center to increase computing power for teaching and research, and renovation of Memorial Health Center, soon to be renamed the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center.

“These new and renovated facilities will allow SMU to provide the best experience for our students,” said Caren Prothro, chair of the SMU Board of Trustees.

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Hall Of Famer Larry Brown Named Head Basketball Coach

Hall of Fame Coach Larry Brown is the new head men’s basketball coach at SMU. Brown arrives on the Hilltop as the only head coach to win both an NCAA title and an NBA Championship, having won an NBA title with the Detroit Pistons in 2004 and an NCAA title with Kansas in 1988. Brown was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach on Sept. 27, 2002.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to coach at SMU,” said Brown. “I’ve built so many relationships in the basketball world, and my success has been due to the coaches I’ve played for and the players I’ve coached. I want to thank them all. I always thought of myself as a college coach, and this gives me a wonderful chance to get back where I started.”

“Larry Brown is one of the top coaches in the history of the game,” said SMU Director of Athletics Steve Orsini. “He is a legend and has made every team he has ever coached a winner. As we transition into the nation’s top basketball conference, the BIG EAST, his leadership will be invaluable.”

“From an educational perspective, hiring a teacher of the game like Larry Brown will make a huge impact on both our student-athletes and our community as a whole,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Athletics is an integral part of SMU, and developing a winning basketball program will dramatically increase our national profile, while providing a rallying point for our students, alumni, faculty, staff and the city of Dallas.”

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SMU Honors Outstanding Achievement at 2011-12 Extravaganza

2011 laurelsSMU students, faculty, staff and administrators were recognized with awards including the University’s highest commendation, the “M” Award, at the 2012 Awards Extravaganza Monday, April 16.

On the same day, the University honored its best students at the 15th annual Honors Day Convocation. The address was delivered by Jodi Cooley, assistant professor of experimental particle physics in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and recipient of a 2012 National Science Foundation CAREER Award of more than $1 million for her research toward detecting the particles that are believed to make up dark matter.

Find a list of University, school and departmental awards from Honors Convocation 2012
> Read physicist Jodi Cooley’s Honors Convocation address
> See a slideshow from Honors Convocation

Find the the Awards Extravaganza 2012 winners list after the jump.

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Students Present Their Work at Research Day 2012

SMU graduate students and several undergraduates presented results of research they have been working on at SMU at the annual Graduate Student Research Day on Friday, February 10.

Sponsored by SMU’s Office of Research and Graduate Studies, the event sought to foster communication between students in different programs, give students the opportunity to present their work in formats they will use as professionals, and to share with the SMU community and others the outstanding research being done at the University.

The students’s research was illustrated on posters, and they were available to discusss what they were seeking to understand and how they are going about it. Among the projects at the event were:

  • Psychology student Vanessa Rae Stevens (under Professor Alicia Meuret) is studying whether people with tattoos and body piercings are also prone to intentional self injury by cutting, scratching, burning, etc.
  • Psychology student Grant Holland (under Professor George Holden) is studying recordings of interactions between mothers and their children with an eye toward better understanding the effects of tone-of-voice on behavior at bedtime.
  • Statistics student Holly Stovall (under Professor Lynne Stokes) is examining how to more precisely measure success in teaching programs for No Child Left Behind.
  • Earth sciences student Mary Milleson (under Professor Neil Tabor) is using core samples taken from Dallas’s White Rock Lake to gain a better understanding of how the growing urbanization of the area over the last 100 years is affecting the lake.
  • Computer science student Ruili Geng (under Professors Jeff Tian and Liguo Huang) is researching how to make the performance of the web and cloud computing more dependable.
  • Physics students Bedile Karabuga and Mayisha Zeb Nakib (under Professor Jodi Cooley-Sekula) are examining a specific technique for identifying dark matter.

For more information, contact the Office of Research and Graduate Studies at 214-768-4345 or

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Living the Dream: SMU Celebrates MLK Day 2012 All Week

SMU Celebrates Dream WeekSMU celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with Dream Week 2012 Jan. 16-19. Sponsored by the University’s Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, the annual observance features a variety of activities throughout the week, including opportunities for community service and a commemorative walk.

Update: Watch a video of Unity Walk 2012 from SMU News. video

This year’s schedule includes the traditional Day of Service Monday, Jan. 16, with volunteer projects taking place at Children’s Medical Center, Dallas LIFE and the Genesis Women’s Shelter Thrift Store.

The Dream Week kickoff event is scheduled for noon-2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Commons. Featured speakers are Dennis Simon, Political Science, and Rick Halperin, Human Rights Education.

The University’s annual Unity Walk will take place at noon Wednesday, Jan. 18, starting at the Main Quad flagpole. SMU President R. Gerald Turner will offer remarks. That evening at 7:30 p.m., the SMU Women’s Center for Gender and Pride Initiatives will present a screening of Standing on My Sisters’ Shoulders in the Hughes-Trigg Forum. The award-winning documentary examines the Civil Rights movement in Mississippi in the 1950s and ’60s from the point of view of the women who lived it and helped lead it.

At 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, the Willson Lecture Series of SMU’s Office of the Chaplain presents Daniel White Hodge speaking on “The Hostile Gospel: Seeking the Theological Sensibilities Within Hip-Hop Culture.” The lecture takes place in the Hughes-Trigg Forum followed by a brown-bag discussion at 11:30 a.m. in Hughes-Trigg Promenades A and B.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at SMU, March 17, 1966This week, SMU also recalls Dr. King’s speech to a standing-room-only crowd in McFarlin Auditorium on March 17, 1966. SMU News offers these related links:

> More information from SMU News

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SMU in the News 2011 video

SMU’s students, faculty and campus made headlines in 2011. Watch highlights in this video from SMU News. video

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Students Shine in SMU’s 2011 December Graduation

The SMU community celebrated the graduation of about 950 students in ceremonies Saturday, December 17, with business and civic leader Carl Sewell (’66) as the featured speaker.

Update: Watch a video of Carl Sewell’s address to the 2011 December

Carl Sewell

“SMU is your university,” Sewell told the graduates and their families and friends gathered in SMU’s Moody Coliseum. “You have been a part of the greatest academic growth in the history of this university … and it clearly is on the path to becoming a great university.”

Sewell, past chair of the SMU Board of Trustees, is chairman of Sewell Automotive Companies, a national leader in the automotive industry and an innovator in establishing customer service standards. He shared his service philosophy and practices in the best-selling book Customers for Life, which has sold more than 1 million copies in 17 languages.

He offered four major pieces of advice for the graduates:

  • Find a mentor
  • Think about what you read and how much you read. Make the reading of a serious book something you do at least once every six months.
  • Decide how good you want to be, and how much time you want to devote to it.
  • Learn from failures. Sewell mentioned his long history of working with GM, and how he has learned from that company’s failures.

Among his many commitments to SMU, Sewell serves as one of five co-chairs of The Second Century Campaign, the University’s largest and most successful fundraising effort. He also is co-chair of The Second Century Celebration Organizing Committee, 2011-15. His support of the President’s Scholars program, the University’s highest merit award, has resulted in record numbers of students receiving the scholarships. He also supports SMU athletics and student career services, among other areas.

Sewell has been recognized with SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Award and the Cox School of Business Distinguished Alumni Award. He earned his Bachelor’s degrees in banking and finance, as well as in economics, from the University. Read more about Carl Sewell

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December Brings the Festive Season to SMU

A scene from SMU's 2010 Celebration of Lights

Update: See a slideshow of Celebration of Lights 2011. slide show

December 2011 brings a flurry of festivity to the Hilltop, including some of SMU’s most beloved annual traditions.

• On Thursday, Dec. 1, SMU’s Perkins School of Theology celebrates its Advent/Christmas Worship Service in Perkins Chapel with readings and music from Perkins professors, students and alumni at two different times: 4 p.m and 8 p.m. This year’s service will center on Luke 2:10, “And the angel said, ‘Fear not…,'” and will address the nature of fear in our society and how the message of hope offered in the Gospels speaks to our circumstances today. Read more about the 2011 service and see a video from the 2010 service. Video

• The Student Foundation’s 2011 Celebration of Lights begins at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, on the University’s Main Quad. More than 100,000 decorative lights will fill the trees, luminarias will line the sidewalks, musicians will perform songs of the season, and SMU President R. Gerald Turner will follow a decades-old tradition of reading the Christmas story from the New Testament. Hot chocolate, apple cider and cookies will be served starting at 6:30. Watch slideshows of past Celebration of Lights ceremonies courtesy of SMU News. Photos

• The Guildhall at SMU hosts the Cohort 14 Exhibition and Graduation Friday, Dec. 16, at SMU-in-Plano. Graduating students in art creation, level design and programming will show their work.

• Business and civic leader and SMU Trustee Carl Sewell ’66  will give the address at the University’s 2011 December Graduation Ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, in Moody Coliseum. Retired and current faculty members will assemble for procession no later than 9:45 a.m. in the Blanton Student Services Building lobby. Learn more about the ceremony.

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Homecoming 2011 Celebrates Community and Centennial

SMU celebrates its Centennial Homecoming Nov. 3-6 with milestones and memories.

Update: Watch a 2011 Homecoming video and see photos from SMU News. video

In addition to the Mustangs’ football game against Tulane, a highlight of the Homecoming festivities will be the annual parade on Saturday, Nov. 5, at 11 a.m. To celebrate the role that Dallas leaders played in establishing SMU in 1911, the parade will feature Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings as grand marshal. WFAA-TV anchor Shelly Slater will serve as parade emcee.

This year the parade, which also will include Peruna IX and the Mustang Band, will feature a new parade-watching zone on Hillcrest with seating, an announcer and entertainment before the parade. Special outreach is being made to SMU neighbors to join the festivities, which will include a family fun area on the Boulevard.

Pigskin Revue will mark its 77th anniversary with a reception, dinner and talent show held in the newly renovated Mack Ballroom on Friday, Nov. 4, in the Umphrey Lee Center on campus.

Another Homecoming highpoint will be the launch of the commemorative book SMU: Unbridled Visionfeaturing more than 200 new photos of the Hilltop.

“As we celebrate the 100th year of our founding, it’s a pleasure to show our appreciation to the city of Dallas for competing to be the site of SMU in 1911 and for providing a supportive community through the years. SMU and Dallas have grown and prospered together, and we value that partnership,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “That’s why it’s especially gratifying to honor Mayor Rawlings as grand marshal and to add a special parade viewing area and activity section for families on the Boulevard.”

The Homecoming schedule:

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