Gerald J. Ford to speak at SMU’s 2014 December Commencement on Dec. 20

Blue mortarboards at SMU December Commencement 2013. Photo by Guy RogersThe SMU community will celebrate the graduation of more than 600 students at its 2014 December Commencement Convocation on Saturday, Dec. 20. Entrepreneur and SMU Trustee Gerald J. Ford ’66, ’69 will give the address.

Ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. in Moody Coliseum with a student and faculty procession. Doors to the staging area in the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports open at 8:30 a.m., when formal portrait sessions will begin. Processional groups begin forming at 9:15 a.m.; doors close at 9:40 a.m.

Prior to the ceremony, there will be a faculty breakfast at 8:45 a.m. in the Miller Champions Club, Moody Coliseum. The Champions Club is located inside the new wing of Moody on Binkley Avenue. The faculty should assemble in academic dress no later than 9:45 a.m. in the Champions Club. RSVP for the Faculty Breakfast online or call 214-768-3417.

> Complete information for December Commencement candidates, guests and faculty from the SMU Registrar

The December Commencement Convocation is a formal ceremony open to degree candidates from all of SMU’s schools and professional programs. All participants must wear academic regalia; students without regalia will be directed to the SMU Bookstore to rent a cap and gown. No honor ribbons or other decorations or adornments may be worn to this ceremony, including messages or images on mortarboards.

Find complete rules for regalia at the University Registrar’s homepage

Gerald J. Ford
Gerald J. Ford

Gerald J. Ford is chairman of the board and principal shareholder of both the Diamond A Ford Corporation and Hilltop Holdings Inc., a Texas-based diversified financial holding company. He also is the co-managing member and principal investor in Ford Financial Fund II LP, a private equity firm.

Ford also is an owner of thoroughbred horse breeding and racing operations in Kentucky and California, and a working ranch in New Mexico. He is the former chairman of the board, CEO, and a principal shareholder of Golden State Bancorp Inc., and its wholly owned subsidiary, California Federal Bank FSB, a Federal Savings Bank that merged with Citigroup in 2002.

In October 2013, Ford and his wife, Kelli O. Ford, and The Gerald J. Ford Family Foundation committed $15 million as the lead gift to construct an SMU research center. The new state-of-the-art building will support research facilitated by SMU’s high-performance computing capabilities, among other projects. Previously, Ford has provided gifts for Gerald J. Ford Stadium, the Circle of Champions Centennial Challenge, and the Gerald J. Ford Research Fellows Program, which annually honors outstanding faculty members with funding to support their research and creative endeavors.

He is a member of the SMU Board of Trustees and a former Board chair, a member of the Executive Board of Dedman School of Law, a member of the Campaign Leadership Council and currently is the convening co-chair of SMU’s Second Century Campaign.

Ford earned a B.A. degree in economics from Dedman College in 1966 and a J.D. degree from what is now the Dedman School of Law in 1969. He was honored with SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1995 and the Mustang Award in 1997 recognizing significant philanthropic contributions to the University. He received the Dedman School of Law’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2002.

> Learn more about Gerald J. Ford

The ceremony lasts about two hours. No guest tickets are required, and free parking will be available throughout the campus. Find more information for students and guests at SMU’s December Commencement homepage: smu.edu/DecemberCommencement.

Faculty participation information
Complete instructions for candidates
Information for guests, including maps, travel discounts and more
Information for guests with disabilities
December Commencement simulcast and photo information