Congratulations to Michael Aronov ’98, who won a Tony Award as Best Actor in a Featured Role for Oslo, and Andy Blankenbuehler, who attended SMU in 1989 before launching a professional career, for receiving his third Tony as Best Choreographer for the musical Bandstand.
“I met Michael Jordan during the first week of my internship,” recalls Mark Lau ’06. “Right then I knew that Nike was the place I wanted to work.” Now global director of the company’s EKIN Experience, Lau stays in touch with fellow Mustangs as co-president of SMU’s Portland alumni chapter.
Strong academic records, writing talent and a love of journalism translated into scholarships for two Meadows School of the Arts students. In their winning entries, Jacquelyn Elias ’18 explored “the intersections of coding and journalism to tell stories in the truest way,” and Hannah Ellisen ’18 focused on the positive impact of investigative journalism.
SMU alumna Kamica King ’13 created the music therapy program at The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center in Dallas, where singing, listening and talking about music helps therapy participants deal with stress, connect with one another and feel accepted for who they are.
Michelle Merrill ’06, ’12, assistant conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, is among 11 recipients of 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards for young conductors with promising careers. Merrill is in her second season as assistant conductor and Phillip and Lauren Fisher Community Ambassador with the symphony.
Interview magazine profiles SMU alumnus Lionel Maunz ’01, whose fourth solo art show, “Fealty”, opened recently at New York’s Bureau gallery. Rachel Small writes, “… the subtle emotional impact of Lionel Maunz’s art, mostly iron sculptures and pencil drawings, is one of a raw, profound pain expressed in such a delicate and measured manner so as to avoid staid aspirations of idealism or cynicism.” Maunz earned a BA in 2001 and an MFA in 2004 from SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.
Carl Pankratz ’03, ’06, city councilman for the City of Rowlett, Texas, and vice president/legal counsel for Capital Title, was recently named to the Dallas Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list of the area’s top young business executives and entrepreneurs. The rising stars are recognized for their work both professionally and in the community. Carl Pankratz '03, '06 Pankratz specializes in closing industrial, multi-family, office and retail properties, as a commercial escrow officer; oversees the real estate firm’s legal department; and manages more than 200 employees. His service to the community of Rowlett, the growing city in northeast Dallas County that he calls home, is equally multidimensional. Active in civic affairs, he was elected to the Rowlett City Council in June 2011, having previously been a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission and Board of Adjustment. He has drafted several key ordinances, including an ordinance to reserve oil and gas rights for the city and a program that requires outside vendors to carry a “pink badge” when soliciting homes. Currently, he is drafting an oil and gas drilling ordinance. He also is co-founder of the Rowlett Association of Non-Profits, a network of more than 100 arts, service and support organizations. A passionate champion of and participant in the arts, Pankratz has starred in more than eight productions with the Amateur Community Theatre of Rowlett and has been selected for the Texas [...]
EXCERPT The following story about SMU alumna Amber Venz '08 and Baxter Box '11, who holds an M.B.A. from SMU's Cox School of Business, is from the September 2, 2013, edition of The Dallas Morning News. Dallas start-up puts together fashion bloggers, shoppers and retailers By Hanah Cho Personal stylist Amy Wells Havins dishes on her latest fashion picks and catalogs her outfits on her blog Dallas Wardrobe. With a few clicks, her readers can purchase those Gap shorts or that Marc Jacobs bag featured on the blog. With every online sale, Havins gets a commission. “Maybe someone doesn’t hire me to take them shopping. [But] they shop with me online,” said Havins, 27. Driving the sales engine behind thousands of fashion and lifestyle bloggers like Havins is Dallas-based rewardStyle. The 2-year-old start-up provides the back-end platform that not only helps bloggers make money from their content but also drives sales to retailers. ... RewardStyle expects to drive nearly $150 million in sales to its retail partners by the end of the year, said Amber Venz, co-founder and president. The projection is two to three times the revenue its style publishers generated for retailers a year ago, Venz said. “As the numbers show, these content creators are driving a lot of commerce,” said Venz, 26. “Retailers understand that. That’s why they’re willing to pay for it.” The startup has attracted 2,500 U.S. and international retailers. They [...]
"Universities do not grow old; but yearly they renew their strength and live from age to age in immortal youth." With that statement in 1913, SMU’s first president, Robert Stewart Hyer, made a commitment for SMU in his time, but affirmed that we would be a university for all time. Reflecting that vision, SMU has built upon its initial offerings in the liberal arts as the core of the University along with programs in theology and music. We have remained young and nimble in developing professional education to serve a changing region, nation and world, adding programs in the sciences, business, engineering, law, communications and other applied areas of learning. Today, part of SMU’s uniqueness comes from the fusion of our liberal arts core with pre-professional and professional programs through our seven schools. We celebrated this tradition of looking forward as we marked the 100th anniversary of SMU’s founding April 15. At a briefing that day, I shared a wealth of good news with our alumni and friends: Cox School of Business is one of the few in the nation to have three M.B.A. programs ranked in the top 15 by Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Dedman School of Law ranks among the nation’s top 50 law schools in U.S. News & World Report. In another ranking, our Ph.D. program in theology and religion, offered jointly by Perkins School of Theology and the Department of Religious Studies in Dedman College, is ranked [...]
A thread of entrepreneurship weaves through the history of SMU from the beginning. In asking “What is our duty to all the coming generations of Texans until the end of time? … ,” members of the Commission of Education, Methodist Episcopal Church, South of Texas demonstrated game-changing foresight in 1911. They spotted an opportunity in a growing city and joined forces with like-minded civic leaders to bring the University to life. Fast forward six decades: When the Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship opened in August 1970, “we could identify only a handful of universities that even taught a course in entrepreneurship,” says Jerry White, director of the institute in the Cox School of Business. “Today, if you don’t have a substantial entrepreneurship education program, then you won’t have a business school.” The institute was established with the support of W.W. Caruth Jr., son of W.W. Caruth Sr., who donated land to SMU in 1911. “W.W. Caruth Jr. felt that universities were training students to be employees of large organizations, and that’s not what he chose to be,” White says. “He was ahead of the curve in recognizing that business schools needed to address entrepreneurship education.” While White says there’s no hard and fast definition of “entrepreneurship,” he boils it down to “building a business where none existed before and pursuing the opportunity without regard to resources you currently control.” “Innovation is not entrepreneurship,” [...]