Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences History Undergraduate News

Hallie Hovey-Murray ’16 brings a fresh voice to autism advocacy

SMU News

Originally Posted: March 10, 2020

Almost everyone has something that makes them “different.” But that distinction can become your strength, says Hallie Hovey-Murray ’16. She speaks from experience. Just weeks before graduating from SMU, she wrote an op-ed that began, “Hi, my name is Hallie, and I have autism.”

Soon after the piece was published, Hallie’s inbox blew up with invitations to tell her story. A history major in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, she earned her bachelor’s degree at 20 and decided to use her new-found celebrity to shine a light on autism. She returned to her home state of Virginia to study law, and became the only contestant with autism to compete in the Miss Virginia pageant. For her talent, she taught herself ventriloquism. She began using “Gus the Goose” and other puppets as icebreakers during speaking engagements and her volunteer work with teens on the autism spectrum. READ MORE