Tom Fomby hands over Chief Marshall reins

On July 1, Professor Tom Fomby handed over the responsibility of Chief Marshal of SMU Academic Ceremonies that he has performed with great aplomb since 2009.

The Guild of Marshals is the guild of faculty that volunteer their services as marshals at the various academic ceremonies of the University.  Tom served as their Chief Marshal from 2009 – 2020. This is the highest position in the Marshal hierarchy and is appointed by the Provost upon the recommendation of the University’s Faculty Senate.

In respect of Tom’s outstanding service, he will now hold the title of Chief Marshal Emeritus of SMU Academic Ceremonies. He recently said “It has been an honor and privilege to serve in the capacity of Chief Marshal.  It is hard work but the opportunity to get to know and work with so many of my colleagues as fellow marshals and to see the joy of the graduates and their families at our academic ceremonies has been one of the most gratifying aspects of my career at SMU”.

Although May Graduation is perhaps the most well known academic ceremony, the University has seven ceremonies per academic year:  Opening Convocation, December Rotunda Recessional, December Graduation, January Rotunda Processional, Honors Convocation, May Baccalaureate, and May Graduation. Having attending all of these May and December Graduation ceremonies, Tom has heard commencement speeches from many distinguished politicians and public servants including Laura Bush (May 2009), John Cornyn (May 2011), Condoleezza Rice (May 2012), Mayor Mike Rawlings (May 2014), President George W. Bush (May 2015) and Mayor Eric Johnson (December 2019) and important business leaders including Randall Stephenson (CEO AT&T, May 2018) and Doug Pakrer (CEO American Airlines, May 2019).

Professor Jodi Cooley of the Physics Department succeeded Tom as Chief Marshall on July 1.

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