New look for 25th Mustang Corral

corral-e1426110835258Mustang Corral turns 25 this year as the University turns 100, with a new schedule and new events designed to introduce incoming students to SMU, Dallas and each other. Not to worry, however, as favorite traditions like the Club Corral dance and candlelight closing ceremony remain part of Corral.

Update: See Tweets from Discover Dallas and photos on SMU Facebook.

Redesigned to better fit the new Residential Commons model of student housing at SMU, Corral 2015 is an extended five-day University orientation for first-year and transfer students. It begins on move-in day, Wednesday, Aug. 19 and ends with the close of Opening Convocation on Sunday, Aug. 23.

Corral traditionally includes an off-campus trip to a retreat center where students have been divided into groups and sent to different locations for several days. But the new plan calls for just for one night away from campus, with students grouped with their new neighbors from the residential commons community to which they have been assigned to live. Each Residential Commons develops its own unique traditions, gatherings and activities that build community and long-term bonds among residents.

“As we are planning Mustang Corral 2015, we are all keeping in mind the time-honored components which are held most sacred to SMU students, faculty, staff and alums,” says Nicki Fletcher, one of four Corral student leaders responsible for planning Mustang Corral and director of a new Corral program called “Discover Dallas.”

“We are taking traditions that have not been changed for several years and looking at ways to strengthen them so that they may become even more special and relevant to the SMU community,” Fletcher says. “We also have added new activities to make Corral even better.”

dallas-skyline-at-nightDiscover Dallas” will give new students the opportunity Thursday, Aug. 20, to select one of 26 Dallas field trips, guided by SMU faculty members, who will take students to some of their favorite places in the city SMU calls home. Students can join faculty as they explore the Mexican-American culture and history of Dallas, tour the Holocaust Museum with a human rights professor, or visit the Bishop Arts District studio of an artist and SMU advertising professor. A music professor is taking students to the Dallas zoo and an education professor is taking students to the Dallas Arboretum. Other student choices will include kayaking White Rock Lake, touring AT&T Stadium, and visiting the Dallas Federal Reserve and the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

“We know part of the reason students choose SMU is because of the opportunities Dallas offers,” says Jomita Fleming, associate director for student transitions. “We want to help connect students with the city of Dallas from the very beginning.”

Mustang Corral also will include the Mustang cookout for students and families on Wednesday, Aug. 19, and the class photo and an introduction to campus activities at “Night at the Club” on Saturday, Aug. 22. Sunday, Aug. 23, begins with University worship in the morning, and the Common Reading discussions of Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel, in the afternoon.

Mustang Corral ends and the official academic year begins Sunday evening with Rotunda Passage, a processional march through Dallas Hall’s Rotunda to Opening Convocation, the ceremonial gathering in McFarlin Auditorium where new first-year and transfer students are formally welcomed to SMU by faculty and administrators.

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SMU Health Center relocates to Perkins Hall

The SMU Health Center is relocating to Perkins Hall, 6004 Hillcrest Ave., on Tuesday, August 4, and will provide medical and other services beginning at 1 p.m.

Starting Wednesday, August 5, the Health Center will maintain normal operating hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at Perkins Hall. Appointments will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; call 214-768-2141.

The Health Center’s permanent home, the new Dr. Bob Smith Health Center, is under construction and expected to be completed in 2016.

Medical Services offered at Perkins Hall include consultations with physicians, immunizations and treatment of illnesses.

Other services include:

  • Counseling Services, 214-768-2277 (an emergency contact number is provided 24/7)
  • SMU Pharmacy, 214-768-2149
  • The Office of Student Health Insurance, 214-768-3408
  • Testing services for faculty exams and course evaluations, 214-768-2269
  • Health Education, 214-768-2393

SMU again will offer flu shots at no charge to students and benefit-eligible faculty, staff, retirees and retiree spouses. Information about fall flu shot clinics will be provided by email.

In case of an emergency, students are asked to call 911 or SMU Police at 214-768-3333. Local hospitals, emergency resources and area clinics are listed on the Health Center website.

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Welcome, new Mustang students and families

SMU helps incoming students and their families transition to college with Academic Advising, Registration and Orientation (AARO). The two-day orientation sessions begin July 7 and end August 18, and will be followed August 19-23 by Mustang Corral.

  • Mustang Minute: Click here or on the video to watch 2015 AARO leaders prepare for new students’ arrival. 

At AARO, first-year and transfer students and their families learn about campus resources and academic expectations. During their AARO sessions, students:

  • Meet and have one-on-one meetings with their academic adviser
  • Register for fall classes
  • Meet their AARO leaders, who are current SMU students
  • Spend the night in Boaz Commons, one of SMU’s Residential Commons
  • Learn about campus involvement opportunities

Along with their students, parents will learn about SMU academics and resources, and are encouraged to attend special parent and family programming.

During Mustang Corral, August 19-23, students will meet and interact with other incoming students, faculty, staff members and alumni.  They will explore academic life and the spirit and traditions of SMU, and will participate in a retreat at Camp Corral, just south of Dallas.

Students participating in Mustang Corral move into their residence halls August 19. The deadline to register for Mustang Corral is August 15.

Get ready for the Hilltop: 

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Year in Review: A look back at 2014-15 on the Hilltop

SMU looks back on an exciting 2014-15 as it marks 100 years.  

Watch the video from SMU News’ Myles Taylor.

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Save the date: Send-off parties for new SMU families

At send-off parties across the country this summer, incoming SMU students and their parents can connect with fellow SMU families who live in or near their hometowns.

Here is a schedule of party locations and dates; more will be announced in coming weeks. If you would like more information about any of the parties, please contact Kate Moreland in the Office of Parent Giving at 214-768-4737 or

  • Atlanta: Hosted by Ann and Richard Strader, 6:30-8:30 p.m. August 13
  • Austin: Hosted by Barbara and Tim Klitch and Cheryl and James Robison, 7-8:30 p.m. August 9
  • Chicago: Hosted by Karen and Doug Kiersey, 6-8 p.m. August 6
  • Dallas area: Hosted by Lisa Humfleet and Steve Provost, 6:30-8:30 p.m. August 5
  • Denver: Hosted by Tamara and Francis Barron, 6:30-8 p.m. August 6
  • Houston: Hosted by Barbara Tartt ’60 and Courtnay ’88 and Mark Elias, 7-9 p.m. August 13
  • Kansas City: Hosted by Liz and Greg Maday, 6-8 p.m. July 30
  • Los Angeles: Hosted by Shannon and Jonathan Williamson, 4-6 p.m. July 26
  • Miami: Hosted by Sandra and Victor Fuller, 6-9 p.m. August 14
  • New Orleans: Hosted by Cindy and Robert Weinmann and Kathryn and Jeff Scurlock, 6 p.m. August 11
  • Orange County: Hosted by Heidi and Ruben Mendoza, noon to 1:30 p.m. August 1
  • Phoenix: Hosted by Iris and Adam Singer, 6:30-8:30 p.m. August 12
  • San Diego: Hosted by Melissa ’80 and Scot Brewster and Ginny and Marshall Merrifield, 4-6 p.m. August 9
  • San Francisco: Hosted by Kimberley and Mark Hutchison, 4-7 p.m. July 19
  • Seattle: Hosted by Susan ’59 and Tom ’59 Armstrong, 4-6 p.m. August 9
  • Shreveport, Louisiana: Hosted by Beverly ’77 and Harrison ’77 Smith, 6-8 p.m. August 4
  • St. Louis: Hosted by Paul ’86 and Sheri ’86 Diemer, 6-8 p.m. June 25
  • Tampa: Hosted by Derek and Charlotte Embody, 6-9 p.m. August 12
  • Tyler, Texas: Hosted by Laura Koenig ’80 Young and Michael Young, (date TBA)

More information for new SMU parents:

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SMU Health Center temporarily relocates

Due to maintenance at its Daniel Avenue facility, the Health Center is providing medical services at the Loyd All-Sports Center, 5800 Ownby Drive, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays in Room L007. Students may call 214-768-2141 for appointments, or walk in.

For Counseling Services, please call 214-768-2277.

The SMU Pharmacy is available to transfer students’ prescriptions to the pharmacy of their choice. Students are asked to call the pharmacy at 214-768-2149 and leave a message with the following information:

•  Name and student ID;
•  The prescription number if available or the name of the medication;
•  The pharmacy name and number where you want the prescription transferred;
•  A phone number in case the SMU Pharmacy needs to contact you.

Please allow 24 hours for transfers. Any transfer request left after 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday will be handled the following Monday. Prescriptions can be transferred back to the SMU Pharmacy when it reopens.

In case of emergency, students are asked to call 911 or SMU Police at 214-768-3333. Local hospitals and emergency resources are listed on the Health Center website. Students also may visit area clinics.

The office of Student Health Insurance will be available intermittently by email at For insurance benefit questions or for a temporary ID card, please contact the health insurance plan administration at 1-855-357-0242.

For more information about services or appointments, please call Assistant Director of Health Education Lisa Joyner at 214-768-2393 or email

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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

Read about the fellowship winners below.

Continue reading

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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:

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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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