SMU keeps going volume 4

Dear SMU Faculty, Staff and Students,

Spring is the time we honor our students for outstanding academic, leadership and service achievements. In spite of distance, students have been initiated into honor societies, recognized for their research and honored for their contributions to the community. The work of the University continues, as evidenced by these fruits of our students’ work. Thank you to each of you for your dedication during these challenging times and your determination that SMU will emerge stronger than ever. 

Here are examples of Mustangs embodying our world changing spirit:

  • Faculty members Fred Chang, computer science, and Jo Guldi, history, co-founded the SMU AI Lab, where artificial intelligence and machine learning are used to search for trends, patterns and insight in search of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Simmons math education faculty member Candace Walkington, takes at-home math to new heights in a video series of math activities for older kids that include Barbie bungee jumping, soap bubble magic and STEM walks.
  • Faculty members Jake Batsell and Amber Benson have found COVID-19 is particularly applicable to classes they are teaching this semester. Batsell’s students are comparing the pandemic to the 2008 economic collapse, while Benson’s healthcare advertising students are creating a coronavirus myth-busting campaign sponsored by the United Nations.

Best of luck to students preparing for final exams and faculty members preparing for stacks of grading. I admire your dedication and persistence to finish the spring 2020 semester well. Please continue to send your stories with You may find more SMU stories at

R. Gerald Turner
SMU President