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SMU celebrates its 2017 December Commencement Convocation Saturday, Dec. 16

December Commencement 2013, blue mortarboards

The SMU community will celebrate 2017 December Commencement Convocation on Saturday, Dec. 16. Kenneth A. Hersh, president and CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, 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 Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports will open at 8:30 a.m. Processional groups begin forming at 9:15 a.m.; doors close at 9:40 a.m. The faculty should assemble in academic dress no later than 9:40 a.m. in the Champions Club.

On Friday, Dec. 15, undergraduate candidates will participate in Rotunda Recessional. Candidates should wear SMU regalia and begin lining up at 5:15 p.m. at the flagpole on the Main Quad. Hot cider will be served.

> Watch the December Commencement Convocation livestream at smu.edu/live

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

The ceremony lasts about two hours. No guest tickets are required, and free parking will be available throughout the campus. Limited concession service will be available in Moody Coliseum beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Commencement participants and guests should not bring the following prohibited items to the Coliseum, including but not limited to animals (except licensed service animals), backpacks, binocular cases, briefcases, camera bags, cans, cinch bags, computer bags, coolers, diaper bags, fanny packs, firearms, glass bottles, guns, inflated balloons, knives of any size and type, laser pointers, luggage, noisemakers, purses larger than a small clutch, radios, seat cushions with zippers, pockets or compartments, selfie sticks, signs, stun guns, throwing objects, umbrellas (unless threat of rain or raining), and weapons.

All bags must be clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and may not exceed 12 x 6 x 12 inches. Bags may be one-gallon clear plastic resealable storage bags. Small clutch purses with or without straps, no larger than 8.5 x 5.5 inches, are permitted. The clutch does not have to be clear and may be carried separately or within an approved plastic bag. Items that are medically necessary are evaluated individually.

> More information for students and guests at SMU’s December Commencement homepage

Research: SMU-led fossil study finds carbon dioxide link to global warming 22 million years ago

Fossil leaves from Ethiopia

Variations in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide affect carbon fixation during photosynthesis and can be measured on a preserved fossil leaf like this one from Ethiopia.

Fossil leaves from Africa have resolved a prehistoric climate puzzle — and also confirm the link between carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and global warming.

Research until now has produced a variety of results and conflicting data that have cast doubt on the link between high carbon dioxide levels and climate change for a time interval about 22 million years ago.

But a new study has found the link does indeed exist for that prehistoric time period, say SMU researchers. The finding will help scientists understand how recent and future increases in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide may impact the future of our planet, they add.

The discovery comes from new biochemical analyses of fossil leaves from plants that grew on Earth 27 million years ago and 22 million years ago, said geologist Tekie Tesfamichael, an SMU postdoctoral fellow in Earth Sciences and a lead scientist on the research.

The new analyses confirm research about modern climate — that global temperatures rise and fall with increases and decreases in carbon dioxide in our atmosphere — but in this case even in prehistoric times, according to the SMU-led international research team.

Carbon dioxide is a gas that is normally present in the Earth’s atmosphere, even millions of years ago. It’s dubbed a greenhouse gas because greater concentrations cause the overall temperature of Earth’s atmosphere to rise, as happens in a greenhouse with lots of sunlight.

Recently greenhouse gas increases have caused global warming, which is melting glaciers, sparking extreme weather variability and causing sea levels to rise.

The new SMU discovery that carbon dioxide behaved in the same manner millions of years ago that it does today has significant implications for the future. The finding suggests the pairing of carbon dioxide and global warming that is seen today also holds true for the future if carbon dioxide levels continue to rise as they have been, said Tesfamichael.

“The more we understand about the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and global temperature in the past, the more we can plan for changes ahead,” said Tesfamichael.

“Previous work reported a variety of results and conflicting data about carbon dioxide concentrations at the two intervals of time that we studied,” he said. “But tighter control on the age of our fossils helped us to address whether or not atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration corresponded to warming — which itself is independently well-documented in geochemical studies of marine fossils in ocean sediments.”

The researchers reported their findings in Geology, the scientific journal of the Geological Society of America. The article is “Settling the issue of ‘decoupling’ between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature: [CO2]atm reconstructions across the warming Paleogene-Neogene divide.”

Co-authors from the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences in Dedman College are professors Bonnie Jacobs, an expert in paleobotany and paleoclimate, and Neil J. Tabor, an expert in sedimentology and sedimentary geochemistry. Other co-authors are Lauren Michel, Tennessee Technological University; Ellen Currano, University of Wyoming; Mulugeta Feseha, Addis Ababa University; Richard Barclay, Smithsonian Institution; John Kappelman, University of Texas; and Mark Schmitz, Boise State University.

— Written by Margaret Allen

> Read the full story at the SMU Research blog: smuresearch.com

$15 million gift to endow SMU’s Hunt Leadership Scholars Program

Hunt Scholars Group Portrait with Tate Speaker Indra Nooyi

Nancy Ann Hunt (third from left, front row) and Ray L. Hunt (fifth from left, front row) with Hunt Leadership Scholars.

A $15 million gift from the Nancy Ann Hunt Foundation (a supporting organization of the Communities Foundation of Texas) will ensure the long-term support of one of SMU’s signature scholarship programs. With this gift, Nancy Ann ’65 and Ray L. Hunt ’65 will have contributed $65 million to the University’s Hunt Leadership Scholars Program – a nationally recognized scholarship program that attracts academically gifted and exceptional service-driven student leaders from across the country.

In 1993, the Hunts  and SMU announced a vision to create an annually funded leadership program to preserve the well-rounded and entrepreneurial nature of SMU’s student body while the University grew its academic standing. They believed that an SMU education fosters, and benefits from, students who exhibit demonstrated leadership skills, intellectual ability, a spirit of entrepreneurism and a strong work ethic, combined with a desire to grow these skills and apply them in service of the community.

> Learn more about SMU’s Hunt Leadership Scholars Program: smu.edu/hunt

“SMU has benefited enormously from Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt’s historic generosity,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Today SMU receives three times the number of applicants than it did in 1993 with many now having proven leadership, entrepreneurial and academic strengths. Therefore, although the Hunts feel that the original program’s objectives have been accomplished, we were delighted when they agreed to make this significant gift that will enable the University to create an endowment to insure the long-term continuation of the Leadership Scholars program and the legacy that the Hunts have created.”

“We are grateful for the impact this program has had upon the lives of so many students, both at SMU and beyond, in terms of preserving and enhancing the entrepreneurial spirit and “Texas heritage” which Nancy Ann and I enjoyed years ago when we were both students at SMU,” said Ray L. Hunt. “We are honored that SMU wishes to sustain this program in perpetuity to meet the needs of students at SMU and the Greater Dallas community in the years to come.”

“Our intent was to create a scholarship program that would be based upon more than just strong academic credentials,” said Nancy Ann Hunt.  “We wanted to help SMU attract truly outstanding students who demonstrate a strong potential to be a leader throughout their lives; young men and women who will stand up, speak out, and make a positive difference to a broader community.  We firmly believe that Hunt Scholars represent that type of person.”

Ten million dollars of the Hunts’ gift will be placed in an endowment that will generate funds in perpetuity. The remaining $5 million will be spent over the next several years as the endowment matures, allowing time to develop additional sources of support for the Hunt Leadership Scholars Program.

— Written by Regina Moldovan

> Read the full story from SMU News

SMU Police Department earns reaccreditation from International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators

IACLEA logoThe SMU Police Department has been reaccredited by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA). The department received notice in a letter dated Nov. 28, 2017, in which IACLEA President David Bousquet commended the SMU Police “for demonstrating a commitment to the highest professional practices.”

IACLEA determines fitness for accreditation by measuring 215 core and elective standards organized under 18 chapters – ranging from organization and administration, to training and professional development, to crime prevention and community involvement. A department must maintain “the best professional requirements and practices for campus public safety agencies” to qualify.

> SMU Forum: Campus law enforcement accreditation team to visit SMU

The reaccreditation culminates a voluntary process by which a visiting assessment team has verified that the department meets IACLEA’s standards. The team examined all aspects of SMU Police Department policy, procedures, management, operation and support services.

The assessment team was composed of experienced campus law enforcement professionals from outside of Texas. Capt. Gary Heller, Amtrak Police Department (team leader), and Capt. John K. Jacobs, University of Richmond, served as assessors.

The accreditation process has five stages: application, self-assessment, agency evaluation, commission review, and maintenance and reaccreditation. Accreditation is for four years, during which the department must submit annual reports attesting to continued compliance with those standards under which it was initially accredited.

> Visit the SMU Police Department online: smu.edu/pd

Central University Libraries trade Food for Fines through Friday, Dec. 15, 2017

Stock photo of canned foodsIt’s that time of year: SMU’s Central University Libraries (CUL) is giving students, faculty and staff members an opportunity to help the community…and possibly save some cash.

During the 2017 Food for Fines program, CUL will accept food donations for the North Texas Food Bank in return for waiving library fines.

For every donation of a can or package of nonperishable food, University faculty, staff members and students will receive a $2 credit toward fines for overdue materials from Fondren Library Center and the Hamon Arts Library.

Learn more about the North Texas Food Bank

To collect your credits, bring food donations to either library through Friday, Dec. 16, 2017. All SMU community members are welcome to participate – even those who have no library fines to cancel.

Visit SMU’s Central University Libraries online

Waiver credits do not apply to lost book replacement charges or processing fees. Credit only applies to overdue book fines currently assessed; no future credit can be applied. Overdue fines cannot be waived if they have already been sent to the Bursar’s Office for collection.

By | 2017-11-30T16:04:30+00:00 November 30, 2017|Categories: News, Save the Date|

SMU Bookstore offers double discounts for faculty and staff during its grand re-opening Nov. 30-Dec. 3, 2017

SMU Bookstore Grand Re-openingThe SMU Bookstore celebrates its grand re-opening Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017 with food, music, demonstrations, and extra discounts for University faculty and staff members.

Present your SMU faculty or staff ID for an extra 10 percent off – 20 percent total – on SMU gear, plus 50 percent off clearance items.

The event takes place 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, but the discounts will last until Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017.

Some exclusions apply, including textbooks and tablets. The extra discount is also not applicable to other discounts and promotions. No discounts are available on gift cards.

For more information, call the SMU Bookstore at 214-768-2435.

SMU Guildhall students play games for good during 2017 Extra Life Game-a-Thon Dec. 2-3

Extra Life logo 2017This weekend, you can join SMU Guildhall for 24 hours of esports excitement and gaming for good – all from the comfort of your living room.

The Guildhall’s Extra Life Game-a-Thon returns Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2-3, 2017, to raise funds for Children’s Miracle Network. The student-led event features online battles in both popular titles and new student-designed games, and the event will be streamed from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. both days on the SMU Guildhall Twitch channel.

Watch Extra Life 2017 live at Twitch.TV/SMUGuildhall

Guildhall graduate students have raised more than $12,000 for Children’s Medical Center Plano during their two years of Extra Life competition. The team has set a 2017 goal of $7,500, with The Hersh Foundation pledging to match dollar-for-dollar all funds raised up to $10,000. The Dallas-based foundation was created in 1997 by Kenneth A. Hersh, president and CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, and his wife, Julie, who serves as its president.

> Visit Team SMU Guildhall’s Extra Life direct-donation link

The students will return with some of the most popular competition titles, including Mario Party, Rocket League Tournament and Overwatch. New this year: Mowin’ and Throwin’, a full-length game designed by Guildhall alumni that began as a 24-hour design challenge during last year’s game-a-thon.

> Sign up for a Mowin’ and Throwin’ play test at House Pixel Games

A partial list of this year’s tournament titles:

The event will include an appearance by local esports team Dallas Fuel, competitors in the new Overwatch League. They will discuss the life of a professional esports gamer beginning at 5:15 p.m. on Sunday. In addition, SMU Guildhall will give away two copies of Star Wars Battlefront II provided by alumni donors; more giveaways and fun activities will take place throughout the weekend and will be announced during the streams of each game.

Since its inception in 2008, Extra Life has raised more than $30 million for sick children through thousands of gamers from around the world, raising funds from friends and community to help heal sick and injured kids. One hundred percent of donations, which are tax-deductible, go to local Children’s Miracle Network hospitals.

> Read the press release from the SMU Guildhall website

> Learn more at the SMU Guildhall Extra Life team page

Celebration of Lights opens SMU’s holiday season Monday, Nov. 27, 2017

SMU Celebration of Lights 2016

As Thanksgiving Break ended, SMU ushered in the holiday season with one of its most beloved annual traditions: the Celebration of Lights. Sponsored by the SMU Student Foundation, the 2017 ceremony took place Monday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m. on the Main Quad.

The ceremony features thousands of decorative lights, luminarias lining the sidewalks, seasonal songs performed by student musicians, and SMU President R. Gerald Turner reading the Christmas Story. The public was invited to attend and to share cookies and hot chocolate with the campus community before the ceremony began.

The festivities continue with other beloved traditions:

  • Advent Worship ServiceSMU’s Perkins School of Theology celebrates its Advent Worship Service on Thursday, Dec. 7, at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. in Perkins Chapel. Both services, under the theme “Ero cras…I shall come tomorrow,” will feature the Seminary Singers, directed by Simon Hill ’17 and accompanied by Hannah Cruse. The 8 p.m. service will include a special performance by the Orpheus Chamber Singers, led by founder and Artistic Director Donald Krehbiel ’83. Readers for the service will be Perkins faculty and staff members including Charles L. Aaron, associate director, Intern Program; Carlos F. Cardoza Orlandi, director, Doctor of Ministry Program; Laura Figura, coordinator of student life; Craig C. Hill, dean; Tamara E. Lewis, assistant professor of the history of Christianity; Evelyn Parker, associate dean for academic affairs and Susanna Wesley Centennial Professor of Practical Theology; Margot Perez-Greene, associate dean for enrollment management; and Mark W. Stamm, professor of Christian worship.
  • All-University Holiday Celebration: President and Mrs. Turner invite all SMU faculty and staff members to their annual holiday reception Wednesday, Dec. 13, from 3:30-5 p.m. in the Martha Proctor Mack Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.
  • December Commencement Convocation: SMU celebrates its 2017 December Commencement Convocation Saturday, Dec. 16, at 10 a.m. in Moody Coliseum. Retired and current faculty members will assemble for procession in academic dress no later than 9:40 a.m. in the Miller Champions Club. The ceremony will be livestreamed at smu.edu/live beginning at 9:45 a.m.

President Turner outlines SMU’s new direction in research at Dallas Fed

SMU Economic Impact ReportSMU President R. Gerald Turner had a clear message for a group of business and civic leaders gathered at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas: The return on investment in SMU made by Dallas leaders more than 100 years ago continues to be strong.

In a Monday, Nov. 13, 2017 update on SMU’s economic impact, Turner outlined the growth in reputation for all seven of the University’s degree-granting schools, including the creation of more than a dozen centers and institutes addressing issues like education, criminal justice reform and international business. Most notably, he said, SMU is transforming into a new era of teaching and research fueled by a powerful digital infrastructure.

The University now offers 13 graduate programs in data science and is powered by ManeFrame II, among the top 20 supercomputers in North American higher education. In addition, SMU partners with organizations such as the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, AT&T, Raytheon, Big Thought, Harvard and MIT.

President Turner also emphasized that SMU’s high-speed supercomputer is accessible with no waiting to students, faculty and research partners outside SMU – and that a University that can complete data analysis in any discipline faster, without long wait times for access, has an advantage.

The five-year investment of $85 million in high speed computing, data science curriculum and planned Gerald J. Ford Research Center has an additional strategic purpose: It can deliver more bang for the research buck than a comparable investment in additional wet labs for handling chemicals and biological matter. The University aims to generate $100 million a year in research, Turner said, and the infusion of data science into research across disciplines – combined with important work accomplished in University wet labs – will help SMU get there.

— Written by Kim Cobb

> Read more from SMU News

> Visit the website: smu.edu/datapowered

SMU authors: Tell us about your new books published in 2017

Faculty, staff, students and alumni: Did you publish a general-interest book in 2017? SMU News is seeking information on your publications for possible inclusion in its end-of-year holiday book list.

Please complete this brief web form to submit your book information, and send a high-resolution electronic cover image to the SMU Books e-mail address. Please include in the web form a site address where News and Communications can find more information.

Questions? Contact book list editor Cherri Gann, 214-768-7657. The deadline is Friday, Dec. 1, 2017.

By | 2017-12-06T09:43:51+00:00 November 15, 2017|Categories: News, Save the Date|Tags: , , , , |
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