SMU names new Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

Melinda (Mindy) Sutton Noss ’97 has been named Associate Vice President and Dean of Students in SMU’s Division of Student Affairs. She will join the University May 20, 2019.

Sutton Noss currently serves as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at the University of Mississippi, a position she has held since June 2014. She is returning to the Hilltop in her new role, having previously served as Associate Dean of Student Life in SMU’s Division of Student Affairs from 2012 to 2014. Sutton Noss also earned her bachelor’s degree in 1997 from SMU, where she was a Hunt Leadership Scholar.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Sutton Noss back to SMU,” said Kenechukwu (K.C.) Mmeje, Vice President for Student Affairs. “As a former associate dean and an alumna of SMU, she has unique insights into the student experience and a deep connection to our campus community. She brings expertise in areas including student leadership, inclusion and cross-cultural engagement, Greek life and conduct. We look forward to the contributions she will make in supporting students and their development as world changers.”

At SMU Sutton Noss will be responsible for overseeing the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center, the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports and the Department of Student Support, Advocacy and Accountability, which includes Student Conduct and Community Standards.

“SMU is a special place to me, and I am delighted to be returning to the Hilltop in this role,” Sutton Noss said. “My experience as an SMU student changed my life in immeasurable ways, and I am excited to be in a position that helps create transformative experiences for current and future generations of SMU students. I look forward to being back on campus and working with students, staff and faculty as the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students.”

Prior to her tenure at Ole Miss and SMU, Sutton Noss served in roles at the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Texas at Tyler, the University of Houston and Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.

She is active in several professional organizations, including the National Association of Student Affairs Administrators (NASPA), the Association of Student Conduct Administrators (ASCA) and the Association of Fraternity and Sorority Advisors (AFA). In addition, she currently serves as a vice president on Gamma Phi Beta Sorority’s International Council.

A native Texan, Sutton Noss earned her undergraduate degree in public relations with minors in English and French from SMU; a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs from Indiana University – Bloomington; and a doctoral degree from the University of Texas at Austin in educational administration, focusing on higher education leadership.

Robert H. Dedman, Jr. to speak at December Commencement Convocation

Civic and business leader Robert H. Dedman, Jr. ’80, ’84, chair of the SMU Board of Trustees, will be the keynote speaker at SMU’s December Commencement Convocation on Saturday, December 15, at 9:30 a.m. in Moody Coliseum.

“We are honored to welcome Robert H. Dedman, Jr. to December Commencement,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Mr. Dedman personifies the enterprising spirit that drives and defines SMU.”

  • Watch December Commencement live at at 9:30 a.m. December 15.
Robert H. Dedman, Jr.
Robert H. Dedman, Jr. ’80, ’84

Dedman received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Texas at Austin in 1979 before earning an M.B.A. with highest honors and a J.D. cum laude from SMU.

Dedman is president and CEO of DFI Management, Ltd., and the general partner of Putterboy, Ltd., the owner of the Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in North Carolina. After working on Wall Street with Salomon Brothers, he went on to a successful career at ClubCorp, a leading operator of golf courses, private clubs and resorts. He was named president in 1989, CEO in 1998 and chairman in 2002. The Dedman family sold the company in 2006.

At SMU, Dedman is continuing the historic leadership and vision of his parents, Nancy Dedman ’50 and the late Robert H. Dedman, Sr. ’53 LLM, who served on the SMU Board of Trustees from 1976 to 2002 and as its chair from 1992 to 1996. Their major gifts to SMU have had a sweeping impact, including in the areas of humanities and sciences, law and lifetime sports.

Robert H. Dedman, Jr. began his term as Board chair in June 2018 after serving as vice-chair and chair-elect. He was elected to the Board in 2004 and since 1990 has served in numerous SMU committee and board leadership roles. He currently is a member of the Board’s Special Committee on Development, the Pony Power Leadership Committee and the Tate Lecture Series Board. He also serves on the Dedman College Executive Board and the Dedman School of Law Executive Board. He previously chaired the Dedman School of Law Executive Board and 21st Century Council, an advisory organization to the SMU president.

A philanthropic and civic leader, Dedman also sits on the Southwestern Medical Foundation Board, the UT Southwestern President’s Advisory Board and the UT Austin Development Board. He is past chair of the Texas Business Hall of Fame.

Dedman wrote and published Our Star Service Journey in 1998 and compiled two anthologies of quotes, Thoughts on a Purposeful Life and A Journey of Life.

More than 550 undergraduate and graduate SMU students will earn their degrees this fall.

Rotunda Recessional

December Rotunda Recessional for undergraduate candidates will take place at 5 p.m. Friday, December 14, on the Main Quad by the Flagpole. Students should gather by 4:45 p.m.

December Commencement Convocation

December Commencement will begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, December 15, in Moody Coliseum with a student, faculty and platform party procession.

Doors open at 8 a.m., and guests are encouraged to be seated by 9:15 a.m. The ceremony lasts about two hours.

No guest tickets are required, but seating is limited. Free parking will be available in the University’s parking centers.

No outside food or drink is allowed inside Moody Coliseum. Limited concession service will be available from 8 to 9:30 a.m.

  • Click for more information for Commencement candidates, students, faculty and guests
  • On social media: Share your happiest graduation moments with us using #SMUGrad!

Continue reading “Robert H. Dedman, Jr. to speak at December Commencement Convocation”

Physicist named fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science

SMU physicist Jodi Cooley has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed by their peers upon the group’s members for scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

Jodi Cooley

Cooley is one of 416 fellows to be honored during the 2019 AAAS annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Feb. 16. She is being recognized for her contributions to the search for dark matter scattering with nuclei, particularly using cryogenic technologies. The nature of dark matter is unknown, but is believed to make up about 85 percent of the universe.

Cooley, who joined SMU in 2009, is associate professor of experimental particle physics in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

“I feel incredibly privileged to have even been nominated for such an honor; to be further elected as a Fellow of the AAAS is humbling beyond words,” Cooley said. “I also feel an immense sense of gratitude toward all of those who supported me along this path: my family, my friends, and my mentors.”

“Professor Cooley is a distinguished scientist with a record of outstanding federal research support and innovative experimental design,” said Dedman College Dean Thomas DiPiero. “In addition to her work in the lab and in the classroom, she also reaches out to the general public to explain the intricacies of particle physics in ways that are understandable and engaging.”

Cooley and her colleagues operated sophisticated detectors in the Soudan Underground Laboratory, Minn. The Department of Energy and National Science Foundation announced they’ll provide funding to expand that research, so planning is now under way to move the experiment to an even deeper location, SNOLAB in Canada, to improve the search for dark matter. These detectors can distinguish between elusive dark matter particles and background particles that mimic dark matter interactions.

Cooley is a principal investigator on the SuperCDMS dark matter experiment and was principal investigator for the AARM collaboration, whose aim was to develop integrative tools for underground science. She has won numerous awards for her research, including an Early Career Award from the National Science Foundation and the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award from the Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

Continue reading “Physicist named fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science”

SMU brand ambassadors: Dive into brand training and share your SMU stories

The SMU Marketing & Communications team invites campus community members to participate in brand training and share their great SMU stories as SMU brand ambassadors.

Explore the updated SMU brand

To help faculty and staff with marketing, strategic planning and more, an updated SMU brand toolkit is online. The toolkit contains:

  • An overview of the SMU brand and what it stands for
  • Examples of language, tone, voice and personality that you can use to reach your targeted audiences
  • Key messages that provide a guide for aligning your content with SMU’s brand

If you would like to learn more about the updated brand, attend a training session in January in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum. Sessions are scheduled for Tuesday, January 15, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. and Wednesday, January 16, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Please register for a session here.

Share your SMU stories

Marketing & Communications shares stories that show the impact Mustangs make in the world and how SMU helps shape them. For example, if you haven’t already seen them, check out the stories about the paleontology research now on exhibit at the Smithsonian – and the Mustangs behind it. And watch this video of highlights from 2018 for even more inspiration.

Have a great story – your own or one about a student, faculty or staff member, or alum? Please tell us about it.

Faculty members awarded Sam Taylor Fellowships

Twenty-six SMU faculty members have received 2019-20 Sam Taylor Fellowships from the Sam Taylor Fellowship Fund of the Division of Higher Education, United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

The fellowships, funded by income from a portion of Taylor’s estate, award up to $2,000 for full-time faculty members at United Methodist-related colleges and universities in Texas. Any full-time faculty member is eligible to apply for the fellowships, which support research, “advancing the intellectual, social or religious life of Texas and the nation.”

Applications are evaluated on the significance of the project, clarity of the proposal, professional development of the applicant, value of the project to the community or nation and the project’s sensitivity to value questions confronting higher education and society.

The winning professors for this academic year, by college or school:

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

Holly Bowen, Psychology
Lucas Kirkpatrick, Sociology
Andrea Laurent-Simpson, Sociology
Bianca Lopez, History
Beth Newman, English
Christopher Roos, Anthropology
Nicolas Sternsdorff-Cisterna, Anthropology
Minh Binh Tran, Mathematics
Emma Wilson, English
Jingbo Ye, Physics

Lyle School of Engineering

Jaewook Myung, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Wenjie Sun, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Jianhui Wang, Electrical Engineering

Meadows School of the Arts

LaShonda Eaddy, Corporate Communication and Public Affairs
Adam Herring, Art History
Yan Huang, Advertising
Kristina Nielsen, Music
Nishiki Sugawara-Beda, Art
Hye Jin Yoon, Advertising

Perkins School of Theology

Ted Campbell, Church History
Jaime Clark-Soles, New Testament
Natalia Marandiuc, Christian Theology
Harold Recinos, Church and Society
Marcell Steuernagel, Sacred Music

Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development

Doris Luft Santos Baker, Teaching and Learning
Ashley Tull, Higher Education

New University Policy Manual website to launch January 2

SMU is preparing to launch a newly designed public-facing website for the University Policy Manual at

Beginning January 2, 2019, an SMU sign-in no longer will be required to view the manual, which contains SMU policies that apply university-wide. The new site emphasizes functionality and consistency. As part of a policy review process during the past year, campus community members representing divisions across the University provided input on the new look.

Policies on the new site are divided by 12 subject areas: Institutional Affairs, Academic Affairs, Access and Equity, Business and Finance, Development and External Affairs, Facilities Management, Human Resources, Information Technology, Police and Public Safety, Research, Risk Management and Student Affairs. University officials responsible for managing each section of the University Policy Manual may communicate more specifically regarding particular policies.

Important features of the new University Policy Manual website include:

  • “Transition Tables” showing the relationship between old and new policies, clearly identifying removals, revisions and entirely new policies.
  • A righthand navigation pane offering policy search functionality and quick links to other policies and sections from anywhere on the site.
  • Beginning in April 2019, a “New and Revised Policies” page listing all policies added or revised within the last 90 days, allowing visitors to easily identify recent changes.

University policies that have campus-wide application are intended to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, clarify institutional expectations, promote operational effectiveness, reduce operational risk and enhance SMU’s mission.

If you have questions about University Policy, please contact the Office of Legal Affairs at

Perkins School of Theology professor awarded Aldersgate Prize

Natalia Marandiuc
Natalia Marandiuc

Natalia Marandiuc, assistant professor of Christian theology at Perkins School of Theology, is the winner of the 2018 Aldersgate Prize for her book The Goodness of Home: Human and Divine Love and the Making of the Self (Oxford University Press, 2018).

Indiana Wesleyan University’s John Wesley Honors College awards the Aldersgate Prize annually to celebrate the outstanding achievement of an author whose scholarship challenges reductionistic trends in academia by yielding a broadly integrative analysis of life’s complexities and by shedding fresh light on ultimate questions that can enrich Christian conceptions of human flourishing.

After reviewing over 70 nominations for this year’s prize, the Aldersgate Prize selection committee unanimously chose The Goodness of Home as the most laudable, timely and inspiring example of this kind of scholarly endeavor.

Born and raised in Romania, Marandiuc pursued her graduate work in religious and theological studies at Yale University under the direction of Professor Miroslav Volf.

She will accept the Aldersgate Prize at the 2019 Celebration of Scholarship Luncheon on April 11, 2019, at Indiana Wesleyan, where she will offer the keynote address.

Read more from Perkins School of Theology.

Early voting available on SMU campus Oct. 29-31

Registered Dallas County voters – including students, faculty, staff and community members – will have the opportunity to vote early on the SMU campus Monday, Oct. 29 through Wednesday, Oct. 31. The polling place at the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, 3140 Dyer St., Suite 205, will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Free visitor parking will be available in the Binkley and Moody parking centers to accommodate early voters.

“We are so pleased that Dallas County chose to locate a polling place at SMU for early voters,” said Dr. Kenechukwu (K.C.) Mmeje, Vice President for Student Affairs. “Hughes-Trigg Student Center is a convenient location for our campus community, and this is an incentive for students to participate in the democratic process.”

The Dallas County Elections Department has information about early voting on its website.

Participants in early voting must be registered in Dallas County and present one of the following forms of identification.

  • Texas driver’s license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas handgun license issued by DPS
  • United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph or
  • Passport

With the exception of the U.S. citizenship certificate, the identification brought to the election site must be current or have expired no more than 4 years before being presented for voter qualification.

If the voter does not possess one of the forms of identification listed above, he or she can present one of the supporting forms of ID listed online and sign a Reasonable Impediment Declaration document at the polling place.

SMU to celebrate National Night Out at the Flagpole on Oct. 2

Tuesday, Oct. 2, is National Night Out, and SMU students, faculty and staff will gather with community members on the Main Quad from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. to share emergency and safety demonstrations and information. Campus-area neighbors are invited to attend.

SMU Police co-sponsor SMU’s National Night Out, which is designed to raise awareness of crime prevention. University Park Police and Fire Department, and the Dallas Sheriff’s Department also will participate.

When: Tuesday, Oct. 2

  • 5:30-7:30 p.m. Food served by SMU Dining, games, dunk tank
  • 6 p.m. Residence hall room burning simulation
  • 6:15 p.m. CareFlite helicopter landing

Where: SMU Flagpole, 3300 Dyer Street