Calendar Highlights

SMU Guildhall, eGency Global announce OP Live Dallas, a major esports event scheduled for Sept. 22-23, 2018

ESL Pro League CSGO tournament

Crowds gather for an ESL Pro League tournament. A December 2017 event in Odense, Denmark, drew more than 5,000 in-person attendees and 388,000 concurrent online viewers.

SMU Guildhall, the top ranked graduate school for video game design in the world, has entered a collaboration with an industry leader in esports to launch a major new event. OP Live Dallas will feature high-level professional competition, a 16-team collegiate tournament, a hackathon for high-schoolers, and a showcase for the work of Guildhall master’s degree candidates in interactive technology.

The Guildhall is collaborating with eGency Global, one of North America’s most experienced esports production, marketing and talent management firms, to produce OP Live Dallas.

OP Live Dallas logo“We are excited to be part of this collaborative effort with eGency Global,” said Mark Nausha, deputy director of GameLab at SMU Guildhall. “OP Live will be interactive, immersive, and unique from typical esports events. We look forward to bringing this awesome fan experience to the Dallas area.”

OP Live Dallas will run September 22-23, 2018 on the 50,000-sq.-ft. main floor of the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas.

> Cheryl Hall, The Dallas Morning News: Two companies bridge the esports marketing gap

Through their collaboration, eGency Global and SMU Guildhall will offer esports fans a unique and more robust experience than traditional esports events, the collaborators say. Beyond the interactive and engaging experience, OP Live Dallas will also showcase the multitude of career opportunities available to video game and esports devotees. SMU Guildhall alumni work for the biggest names in the video gaming industry, as well as in gamification sectors in a multitude of other industries like tech, education, business and medical.

“The session for parents will shine a light on career and education opportunities for youth in the video gaming, cybersecurity and other STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, as well as the many upsides of the gaming community. The community is known for its supportive nature and lasting friendships,” says Chris Stone, CEO of eGency Global.

The two-day OP Live Dallas schedule will include non-stop competition and activities, opportunities to meet popular pro players, cosplayers, and more. Highlights include:

  • Competitions for 16 collegiate teams and 4 pro esports teams, with prizes to be awarded.
  • Showcases featuring never-before-seen games created by SMU students and alumni.
  • Mini TED-like talks with industry experts.
  • Interactive and personalized experiences.
  • Cosplay and game art gallery.
  • High School Hackathon, where students compete to identify, defend and terminate cybersecurity threats in a fictional small business.
  • Fundraising to benefit Children’s Medical Center Dallas through Extra Life, a division of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

The entire event was designed with esports and gaming fans in mind. “In the past year, we’ve spoken with dozens of fans who regularly attend esports and gaming events. We wanted to find out what they love most about the events and where improvements could be made. This insight was invaluable when we were planning OP Live Dallas,” said Stephanie Chavez, eGency Global director of marketing.

The collaborators estimate attendance of approximately 7,000 for the two-day event. Numerous sponsorship and exhibiting opportunities are available to organizations looking to reach fans in the burgeoning esports space.

> Visit the OP Live Dallas homepage at oplivedallas.com

Save the date, celebrate: 2018 SMU President’s Picnic takes place Tuesday, May 22

SMU Staff Association President's Picnic 2018It’s that time of year again – the SMU Staff Association (SMUSA) and President R. Gerald Turner will host all University staff members at the 2018 SMU President’s Picnic.

In addition to food and popcorn, the festivities include lawn games, a photo booth, and staff recognition throughout the event.

The post-Commencement celebration takes place 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, May 22 on the Clements Hall South Lawn. Share your images and impressions on social media with the hashtag #SMUstafflove.

> Visit the SMU Staff Association online: smu.edu/smusa

May Commencement 2018: Events at a glance

SMU May Commencement Convocation 2017, Francis Collins at the podium, 2018 events illustration

SMU celebrates its 103rd May Commencement Convocation May 18-19, 2018, with events for the entire University community. Mark this post for major Commencement Week events at a glance:

Reminder: Moody Coliseum clear-bag policy in effect

Watch the Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies live at smu.edu/live video

Get a preview of the 2018 Common Reading, Lab Girl, at an SMU Reads live launch Friday, May 4

LAB GIRL by Hope Jahren, book cover, SMU common reading 2018Join Central University Libraries for the return of an annual tradition as SMU Reads launches the University’s 2018 Common Reading. Learn more about Lab Girl at festivities on Friday, May 4, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Starbucks at Fondren Library Center. The event is supported by Friends of the SMU Libraries.

Free flowers will be available for all students who come to the event, as well as free copies of the book for discussion leaders and free plants for the first 10 staff and faculty members who sign up to be discussion leaders at the preview. Barnes and Noble will also have copies of Lab Girl available for sale.

> Sign up to be a 2018 SMU Reads discussion leader

Lab Girl is the autobiography of scientist Hope Jahren, who has pursued independent research in paleobiology since 1996. She takes the reader back to her Minnesota childhood, where she spent hours playing in her father’s college physics laboratory, and tells how she found a sanctuary in science. Jahren also explores the intricacies and complications of academic life as she learns to perform lab work “with both the heart and the hands.” The memoir won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography and was named a New York Times Notable Book.

The book recounts a life spent studying the natural world, “but it is also a celebration of the lifelong curiosity, humility, and passion that inspires every scientist,” wrote Peter K. Moore, SMU associate provost for curricular innovation and policy, in a letter to the SMU community. “Jahren invites her audience to revel in the science of everyday life, to share her love of science, observations of the plant world, and hopes for protecting our environment. Lab Girl is an engaging, lyrical, and luminous read and reminds us that we can achieve great things when passions and work come together.”

The University intends to use the book as a launching point “toward a larger campus-wide discussion on science, sustainability, and mental health issues at SMU through panels, programs, and events,” Moore added. A visiting lecture by the book’s author will be part of the First Five Initiative for first-year students in Fall 2018.

The SMU Common Reading discussion for the incoming class of 2022 will take place Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018 at 2 p.m. Locations are to be determined; keep up with the latest news at the SMU Common Reading homepage.

> Watch for more about Lab Girl panels, programs and events at smu.edu/smureads

SMU Tate Distinguished Lecture Series announces 2018-19 season

SMU Tate Distinguished Lecture Series 2018-19 logoAn Oscar-winning SMU alumna, three Pulitzer Prize-winners, and a political discussion with two former White House Chiefs of Staff will be highlights of SMU’s 37th season of the Tate Distinguished Lecture Series.

The lineup was announced during the Jeff Bridges lecture and season finale on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. All Tate Lectures take place at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium.

The upcoming season at a glance:

For more information, visit the Tate Distinguished Lecture Series website.

Nobel laureate Barry C. Barish to receive honorary SMU doctorate during 103rd Commencement, May 19, 2018

Barry C. BarishNobel laureate Barry Clark Barish, Ph.D., Linde Professor Emeritus of Physics at the California Institute of Technology and a leading expert on cosmic gravitational waves, will receive an honorary doctoral degree during SMU’s 103rd all-University Commencement ceremony. The event begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 19, 2018, in Moody Coliseum.

Barish shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017 for his work in establishing the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the first observations of gravitational waves – disturbances in the fabric of space and time predicted by Albert Einstein based on his General Theory of Relativity.

He will receive the Doctor of Science degree, honoris causa, from SMU during the ceremony.

On Friday, May 18, Dr. Barish will give a free public lecture on campus. “Einstein, Black Holes and Gravitational Waves” will begin at 3 p.m. in Crum Auditorium, Collins Executive Education Center, on the SMU campus. The lecture will be preceded by a reception at 2:15 p.m. Free parking will be available in the University’s Binkley and Moody garages, accessible from the SMU Boulevard entrance to campus.

RSVP online to attend the Barry Barish Public Lecture

“Dr. Barry Barish has changed the way we see the universe with his work,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “His accomplishments as an experimental physicist have broken new ground and helped to confirm revolutionary theories about the structure of our cosmos.”

“Conferring an honorary degree is an important tradition for any university,” said SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven C. Currall. “For SMU, this year’s decision takes on special meaning, as the University is the home of a highly-regarded Department of Physics deeply involved in research ranging from variable stars to the Higgs boson. Dr. Barish and his record of world-changing accomplishment represent the very best of his field. He’s an outstanding example of what all our graduates can aspire to as they begin their own professional endeavors.”

Einstein predicted in 1916 that gravitational waves existed, generated by systems and regions such as binary stars and black holes and by events such as supernovae and the Big Bang. However, Einstein thought the cosmic waves would be too weak to ever be detected. Barish’s work at LIGO resulted in the first observation on Earth of these cosmic ripples on Sept. 14, 2015 — emanating from the collision of two black holes in the distant universe.

Barish was the principal investigator for LIGO from 1994 to 2005 and director of the LIGO Laboratory from 1997 until 2005. He led LIGO from its funding by the National Science Board of the National Science Foundation (NSF) through its final design stages, as well as the construction of the twin LIGO interferometers in Hanford, Washington, and Livingston, Louisiana.

In 1997, Barish established the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), an organization that unites more than 1,000 collaborators worldwide on a mission to detect gravitational waves, explore the fundamental physics of gravity, and develop gravitational-wave observations as a tool of astronomical discovery. Barish also oversaw the development and approval of the proposal for Advanced LIGO, a program that developed major upgrades to LIGO’s facilities and to the sensitivity of its instruments compared to the first-generation LIGO detectors. Advanced LIGO enabled a large increase in the extent of the universe probed, as well as the discovery of gravitational waves during its first observation run.

Bookmark SMU Live for the May Commencement livestream: smu.edu/live

After LIGO, Barish became director of the Global Design Effort for the International Linear Collider (ILC)—an international team that oversaw the planning, design, and research and development program for the ILC—from 2006 to 2013. The ILC is expected to explore the same energy range in particle physics currently being investigated by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), but with more precision.

Barish joined Caltech in 1963 as part of an experimental group working with particle accelerators. From 1963 to 1966, he developed and conducted the first high-energy neutrino beam experiment at Fermilab. This experiment revealed evidence for the quark substructure of the nucleon (a proton or neutron) and provided crucial evidence supporting the electroweak unification theory of Nobel Laureates Sheldon Glashow, Abdus Salam and Steven Weinberg.

Following the neutrino experiment, Barish became one of the leaders of MACRO (Monopole, Astrophysics and Cosmic Ray Observatory), located 3,200 feet under the Gran Sasso mountains in Italy. The international collaboration set what are still the most stringent limits on the existence of magnetic monopoles. Magnetic monopoles are the magnetic analog of single electric charges and could help confirm a Grand Unified Theory that seeks to unify three of nature’s four forces — the electromagnetic, weak, and strong forces — into a single force. The MACRO collaboration also discovered key evidence that neutrinos have mass.

In the early 1990s, Barish co-led the design team for the GEM (Gammas, Electrons, Muons) detector, which was one of two large detectors scheduled to run at the Superconducting Super Collider near Waxahachie. Congress canceled the accelerator in 1993 during its construction — but major elements of the GEM design and many members of its team were integrated into LHC detector projects at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Barish became Caltech’s Ronald and Maxine Linde Professor of Physics in 1991 and Linde Professor Emeritus in 2005. From 2001 to 2002, he served as co-chair of the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel subpanel that developed a long-range plan for U.S. high-energy physics. He has served as president of the American Physical Society and chaired the Commission of Particles and Fields and the U.S. Liaison committee to the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP). In 2002, he chaired the NRC Board of Physics and Astronomy Neutrino Facilities Assessment Committee Report, “Neutrinos and Beyond.”

Barish was born in 1936 in Omaha, Nebraska, to Jewish immigrants from a part of Poland that is now part of Belarus. He grew up in the Los Angeles area and earned his B.A. degree in physics and his Ph.D. in experimental physics from the University of California-Berkeley in 1957 and 1962. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Barish is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Physical Society.

In 2002, Barish received the Klopsteg Memorial Lecture Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers. His honors also include the 2016 Enrico Fermi Prize from the Italian Physical Society, as well as the Henry Draper Medal, the Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research, the European Physical Society’s Giuseppe and Vanna Cocconi Prize, and Fudan University’s Fudan-Zhongzhi Science Award (all in 2017).

Barish holds honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Bologna, the University of Florida, and the University of Glasgow.

> Visit the SMU Commencement homepage: smu.edu/commencement

Philanthropist and actor Jeff Bridges to deliver final 2017-18 Tate Distinguished Lecture Tuesday, May 1

Jeff BridgesPhilanthropist, artist, musician and Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges will deliver the final talk in SMU’s 2017-18 Tate Distinguished Lecture Series on Tuesday, May 1, 2018.

Emmy Award-winning Dallas film critic Gary Cogill will moderate the sold-out Anita and Truman Arnold Lecture. The event begins at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium.

The Tate Series will announce the events in the 2018-19 series before Bridges’ lecture. Arrive early and be among the first to know next year’s lineup.

> Follow Jeff Bridges on Twitter: @TheJeffBridges

A seven-time Oscar nominee, Jeff Bridges has been active in Hollywood since 1970. He won the 2009 Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance as a faded country-western musician in the 2009 film Crazy Heart. His most recent nomination was for his role as Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton in the 2016 film Hell or High Water.

Outside of the big screen, Bridges is the founder of the End Hunger Network and national spokesman for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.

Bridges has also produced and narrated a new documentary, Living In the Future’s Past, exploring the origins and impulses of humans as a species, as well as the environmental challenges facing the world. The 2018 USA Film Festival has scheduled a free screening with director Susan Kucera in attendance at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 26, at the Angelika Film Center in Mockingbird Station. Tickets will be available at 6 p.m. at the USA Film Festival table inside the theater.

The evening lecture is sold out. All SMU community members are invited to the free Wells Fargo/Turner Construction Tate Lecture Series Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 1, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. Doors open at 4 p.m. Tweet questions for Jeff Bridges to #TalkTate.

On the night of the event, students can go to the basement of McFarlin Auditorium at 7 p.m. with their SMU IDs for possible free seating at the evening lecture. Seats will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.

> Follow the Tate Series on social media: Twitter – @SMUtate | Instagram – @smutate

Meadows Theatre presents The Rep: Three Contemporary Plays April 26-May 6, 2018

For its final event of the 2017-18 academic year, the SMU Meadows Division of Theatre presents three contemporary American plays that will take turns sharing the black-box stage. The Rep: Three Contemporary American Plays Performed in Rotation runs April 26-May 6 on varying dates and times.

All three plays, all directed by students, will be performed in the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center, on the SMU campus.

The plays, authors, dates, times and synopses:

Bethany by Laura Marks: Thursday, April 26 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, April 29 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Friday, May 4 at 8 p.m.

At the height of the foreclosure crisis, single mother Crystal loses more than her house. She struggles to stay positive – with plenty of help from a roommate with conspiracy theories, a motivational speaker with a secret, and her colleagues at the local Saturn dealership. But optimism is no match for a bad economy, and before long Crystal’s desperate quest to regain what she’s lost turns into the fight of her life. This darkly comic thriller explores just how far we’ll go to get back what’s ours.

Stupid F—ing Bird by Aaron Posner: Friday, April 27 at 8 p.m.; Wednesday, May 2 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, May 5 at 2 and 8 p.m.

An aspiring director rampages against the art created by his mother’s generation. A nubile young actress wrestles with an aging Hollywood star for the affections of a renowned novelist. And everyone discovers just how disappointing love, art and growing up can be. In this irreverent, contemporary and very funny remix of Chekhov’s The Seagull, Aaron Posner stages a timeless battle between young and old, past and present, and the search for the true meaning of it all.

Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl: Saturday, April 28 at 2 and 8 p.m.; Thursday, May 3 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, May 6 at 2 p.m.

In Eurydice, playwright Sarah Ruhl reimagines the classic myth of Orpheus through the eyes of its heroine. Dying too young on her wedding day, Eurydice must journey to the underworld, where she reunites with her father and struggles to remember her lost love. Ruhl has won the MacArthur “Genius” Award and is a Tony Award nominee and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist.

Tickets are $8 for SMU students, faculty and staff. For more information call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

— Written by Victoria Winkelman

> Learn more about The Rep at the Meadows School of the Arts website

Enjoy a gallery of images from BethanyEuridyce and Stupid F—ing Bird below.

Six speakers seek audience: Watch (and vote on) TEDxSMU student auditions Thursday, April 26, 2018

TEDxSMU logo

Six SMU students will vie for a speaking spot at the next TEDxSMU conference – and you can help select the winner.

Join the University community on Thursday, April 26, 2018 to hear students speak on topics ranging from innovation to infinity, and vote for the winner. This event is free and open to the entire SMU community.

The speakers and their topics are:

  • Melanie Calzada: Challenging the Idiom: The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree
  • Kathryn Chavez: Define Yourself
  • Chelsea Dobbin: How Singing With People Changes Your Brain
  • Mason Mason: The Audacity of Innovation
  • Seifey Mohammad: The Essence of Infinity
  • Matthew Sipes: inspirED Teaching

The event is free and open to the public and runs from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Commons. Food will be served at 5:30 p.m.; talks begin at 6.

> Visit TEDxSMU online: tedxsmu.org

Think green for SMU Earth Week 2018, April 23-28

SMU Earth Week Flier 2018Recycling demonstrations, a film screening, and Barefoot On the Boulevard mark SMU Earth Week 2018. The celebration takes place April 23-28 with events and activities all over campus.

The City of University Park and Town of Highland Park will be part of the action with a Park Cities Recycling Drive beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 28 in the Commuter Lot. Bring your recycling – including old electronics such as tablets, computers or phones – to the parking lot next to the SMU Catholic Center, across the street from Burleson Park in the 3000 block of University Boulevard.

Earth Week opens with Become Aware – an event designed to demonstrate the contamination that occurs between SMU’s trash and its recycling, and how community members can recycle with confidence. Demos will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, April 23 at the West Bridge and the flagpole on the Main Quad.

In Think Green, SMU faculty, staff and students will learn which items can and can’t be recycled. Visit the tables in Starbucks at Fondren Library Center from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 24.

One Earth features a screening of “Chasing Coral” – the award-winning 2017 documentary by Jeff Orlowski that captures the effects of climate change on the deaths and disappearances of coral reefs throughout the world. The movie begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 25 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater.

The traditional Barefoot On the Boulevard celebration takes place 1-3 p.m. on Thursday, April 26. Relax on the Dallas Hall lawn, enjoy a free lunch, and learn how to tie-dye and build your own trail-mix bars.

> Learn more about SMU Sustainability: smu.edu/sustainability

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