SMU keeps going volume 6

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

In spite of the rain, I hope you saw on Saturday the lights on Reunion Tower spell out SMU in honor of our 2020 graduates. Now it’s time to look to the fall as we welcome back those who started working on campus this week! I have enjoyed seeing more faculty and staff as we carefully and safely begin to bring people to our campus. We expect our first group of students to return to campus for a hybrid July term, which will offer both in-person and online classes. They will be the first to follow the recommendations under development by the hardworking members of the President’s Task Force for a Healthy Opening Fall 2020.

Here are just a few stories about the many ways our faculty, staff and students are responding to COVID-19 through research, helping others and sharing the ways SMU has helped them prepare for a future that is very different than the one they expected.

  • From studying on Dallas Hall lawn to celebrating on the Boulevard, our May 2020 grads look back on what makes the SMU experience so special in their Stories from the Hilltop.
  • While medical professionals everywhere have been hard at work for months searching for a cure to the COVID-19 virus, Guildhall’s Corey Clark and Dedman College computational biologist John Wise have teamed together with gamers to join the fight.
  • The 200 residents of Picarus Pueblo near SMU-in-Taos remain COVID-19 free. In this PBS NewsHour story, Mike Adler, archaeologist and director of SMU-in-Taos, explains why.
  • Dedman Law faculty member Anna Offit discussed the pros and cons of a Zoom jury trial with NBC-5.

As we look to the future, incoming student and President’s Scholar Eileen Garcia gives us good reason to be optimistic. She is one of 20 students the Today Show has followed for more than a decade. Eileen and other members of the Class of 2024 started kindergarten the year after 9/11 and graduated from high school in the midst of a pandemic. Thank you to everyone working to create a safe, effective and meaningful SMU experience for Eileen and her classmates.

Please continue to send your stories to You may find more SMU stories at

R. Gerald Turner
SMU President