The SMU alumni population grew by more than 1,500 on May 17 as the University bestowed undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees at its spring Commencement ceremony.
As part of SMU’s Centennial Commemoration, 2011-15, the ceremony was held on the main quad for the first time in several decades. Typically held in Moody Coliseum, the ceremony will move back to that venue in 2014. School and departmental degree-granting ceremonies followed in the afternoon and evening.
Former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (above, far left) delivered an upbeat Commencement address and received an honorary doctor of engineering degree recognizing her distinguished public career and leadership in supporting higher education. Hutchison’s honorary degree citation noted that she was the first woman to represent Texas in the United States Senate, where she advanced science, technology, engineering and math education.
“SMU is an entrepreneurial university in an entrepreneurial city,” she told the graduates. “It represents the can-do spirit – the we-can-do-anything mentality that has been your experience and that you take with you into your career to guide you through the minefields of life.” She closed with: “Class of 2013, the best of your life is yet to come, and you are ready!”
Other honorary degrees were awarded to James Robert (Bob) Biard, Doctor of Science, who received the world’s first patent for the light emitting diode (LED); Swanee Hunt, Doctor of Humane Letters, founder and president of the Institute for Inclusive Security and former ambassador to Austria; Francis Christopher Oakley, Doctor of Humane Letters, former president of Williams College who led development of the tutorial form of instruction; and Bryan A. Stevenson, Doctor of Humane Letters, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative.
Also participating in Commencement were members of the Class of 1963 celebrating their 50-year reunion (above, far right).
“Commencement allows us to celebrate our SMU graduates’ achievements and look forward with them to the future,” said President R. Gerald Turner. “By awarding honorary degrees, we also recognize individuals who have made important contributions to academia and society.”