AT&T CEO Randall L. Stephenson to address SMU students during 103rd Commencement May 19, 2018

Randall L. Stephenson, ATT CEORandall L. Stephenson, chairman and chief executive officer of AT&T, will be the featured speaker during SMU’s 103rd all-University Commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 19, 2018 in Moody Coliseum.

Since rising to the position of CEO in 2007, Stephenson has guided AT&T through a number of major milestones, including the ongoing acquisition of Time Warner, the 2015 acquisition of DIRECTV, and the purchase of Mexican wireless companies to create a North American network.

Stephenson also has led AT&T’s breakthrough “It Can Wait” campaign – an awareness program educating drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. The program has amassed more than 19 million pledges of support.

“We are honored to have a pioneering business and technology leader of Mr. Stephenson’s stature as featured speaker at Commencement,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He is a striking example of what can be accomplished when someone possesses a clear vision of where they want to go. I know he will inspire each of our graduating students to form their own grand vision of what they want to accomplish in their lives with the knowledge they’ve acquired at SMU.”

AT&T contributed $2.5 million to SMU in 2016 to endow the AT&T Center for Virtualization and fund its research into the fast, reliable cloud-based telecommunications necessary for global activity. SMU and AT&T have also partnered with other organizations to create the Payne Stewart SMU Golf Training Center at the Trinity Forest Golf Club, which will become home to the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson this year and annually host NCAA invitational tournaments and additional high-profile professional and amateur events.

Stephenson began his career with Southwestern Bell Telephone in 1982 in Oklahoma. He served as the company’s senior executive vice president and chief financial officer from 2001 to 2004, and from 2004 to 2007 as chief operating officer. He was appointed to AT&T’s board of directors in 2005.

Stephenson is a member of the PGA TOUR Policy Board and National Chairman of the Boy Scouts of America. He received his B.S. in accounting from the University of Central Oklahoma and his Master of Accountancy from the University of Oklahoma.

SMU expects to award more than 2,500 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees in the University-wide ceremony. The University’s individual schools and departments will host diploma ceremonies throughout the day.

— Written by Kenny Ryan

> Keep up with the latest SMU Commencement information at

A message from President Turner on free speech and civil discourse

The following message from SMU President R. Gerald Turner regarding free speech and civil discourse was posted to the website on Tuesday, March 20, 2018:

SMU has always been a place where ideas are openly shared, examined and discussed. We value civil debate and meaningful dialogue that leads to discovery. We are firmly committed to the bedrock principle of freedom of expression.

At the same time, this University is dedicated to maintaining an educational environment that is inclusive and welcoming. SMU consists of individuals of different races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, ages, and political and social identities. In this diverse and culturally complex community, one of our foundational values is sincere regard and respect for one another.

I understand that commitments to freedom of speech and an inclusive environment can come into conflict, raising challenging and important questions for our community, as they have this month. As you may know, the SMU College Republicans invited a speaker, Steven Crowder, to campus this week. SMU supports the right of student organizations to bring outside speakers to campus. Our support for this right does not mean that the University agrees with any outside speaker’s views on any particular issue. To be clear, SMU does not endorse this speaker.

While the right to express ideas includes the right to express objectionable or offensive ideas, I don’t believe that language that seeks to divide communities contributes to civil discourse. It certainly is not reflective of SMU values.

As part of SMU’s commitment to free expression, we support the right of protestors to join together to demonstrate their concern by orderly means, in addition to the right of speakers to express their views. You can read more about these rights in University Policy 10.4.

I urge all campus community members to engage in opportunities at SMU to increase understanding. Earlier this year, we announced an important new initiative called the Cultural Intelligence Initiative at SMU, or CIQ@SMU. The mission of CIQ@SMU is to ensure that every member of the SMU community is equipped with the skills and knowledge to manage and communicate effectively in complex cultural contexts. All are welcome and encouraged to take part, including in workshops this spring.

At SMU we say that “Every Mustang will be valued.” It is my hope for our community that all of us do what we can to embrace and reflect that idea.


R. Gerald Turner

As a reminder, the following resources are available to support students:

  • Office of the Dean of Student Life, 214-768-4564
  • Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, 214-768-4580
  • Women & LGBT Center, 214-768-4792
  • Counseling Services, 214-768-2277 (confidential counseling)
  • Chaplain’s Office, 214-768-4502 (confidential counseling)
By | 2018-03-23T11:00:44+00:00 March 21, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

David Petraeus, former CENTCOM commander and CIA director, to deliver Tate Distinguished Lecture Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Gen. David PetraeusDavid Petraeus, retired U.S. Army general and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, will deliver The Jones Day Lecture in SMU’s Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series Tuesday, March 20, 2018. The lecture will begin at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium.

One of the most decorated military officers in U.S. history, Petraeus served for 37 years in the U.S. Army and rose to the level of four-star general. He commanded coalition forces during the Iraq War and was named commander of United States Central Command. After retiring from the military, Gen. Petraeus served as director of the CIA.

Currently, Petraeus is a member of the global investment firm KKR. He also serves as chairman of the KKR Global Institute, which provides analysis of geopolitical and macro-economic trends, as well as environmental, social, and governance issues.

Petraeus earned his B.S. degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, from which he graduated in 1974 as a distinguished cadet in the top 5 percent of his class. In 1983, he earned the General George C. Marshall Award as the top graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He holds master’s and doctoral degrees in international relations from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

All SMU community members are invited to the free Tate Lecture Series Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. Doors open at 4 p.m. Tweet questions for David Petraeus to #TalkTate.

The evening lecture is sold out. 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

SMU Guildhall named #1 graduate game-design program for second consecutive year in The Princeton Review‘s 2018 rankings

SMU Guildhall, No. 1 Graduate Game Design Program, The Princeton Review 2018Achievement Unlocked: Defending Champion. SMU Guildhall has held onto the top spot among the world’s best graduate game-design programs in The Princeton Review’s ninth annual report, published March 13, 2018.

At No. 1, SMU Guildhall ranks above NYU (#2), UCF’s Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (#3), USC (#4), and the University of Utah (#5), as well as one other top-25 graduate program in Texas — the University of Texas-Dallas (#14)

> See the full list of graduate and undergraduate game-design program rankings at

The Princeton Review chose the schools based on its 2017 survey of 150 institutions in the United States, Canada, and abroad that offer game design degree programs or courses. The 40-question review gathered data on everything from academic offerings and facilities to graduates’ starting salaries and career achievements.

The Guildhall program was specifically noted for its faculty, curriculum development, career services success, and team game production program.

“Faculty at SMU Guildhall are world class. By design, [they are] recruited from the industry, and the curriculum was designed in collaboration,” reads a statement from the Guildhall to the Review. “Student games are produced by a faculty of professional developers, providing students with the ability to be mentored by thirty-year veterans of the industry.

“These relationships yield professional quality games and teams that are hired by studios all over the world. In fact, an entire student team was hired by Gearbox Software this year to develop an unannounced avant garde VR title. It is the first time in the history of game development programs that a major studio has hired an entire student team upon graduation. [Guildhall faculty] have accumulated so much experience and talent that it has revolutionized game development programs worldwide.”

The Guildhall created its Master of Interactive Technology degree as the only program of its kind in the world. Designed with ongoing input from industry professionals, the graduate degree provides a rigorous preparation to enter the game development industry at a two-year experience level.

The Princeton Review’s reporting partner, PC Gamer magazine, will include a section on the top schools in its May 2018 issue, available on newsstands March 27. It will feature information on degree programs, class offerings, events, prominent professors, and alumni. The issue will also include a special section on SMU Guildhall.

> Read the full story from the SMU Guildhall homepage

Linda and Mitch Hart commit significant gift to SMU’s Ford Research and Innovation Building

Linda and Milledge 'Mitch' A. Hart IIIDallas business leaders Linda Wertheimer Hart ’65 and Milledge (Mitch) A. Hart, III have committed a significant gift to the Gerald J. Ford Research and Innovation Building at SMU. The new facility will house the University’s Linda and Mitch Hart eCenter, which includes SMU Guildhall, the world’s top-ranked graduate game design program. The building will be located on SMU’s main campus at the corner of McFarlin Boulevard and Airline Road.

“Thanks to the Harts’ generosity, we are one step closer to creating a world-class center for research and innovation on our campus,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “We are excited about the synergies we’ll derive from bringing advanced computer programs together under one roof.”

In 2000, the Harts made a generous gift to establish the Hart eCenter, currently located at SMU-in-Plano, as well as to endow the eCenter’s directorship. The Hart eCenter focuses on interdisciplinary research, education and innovation; it is the first university-wide initiative focused on interactive network technologies created at a major research university. Reporting directly to SMU’s provost, the Hart eCenter uses this freedom and flexibility to promote thought leadership at the intersections of multiple fields and disciplines.

The Hart eCenter’s most visible manifestation is SMU Guildhall. Since its founding in 2003, the program has graduated more than 700 students, who now work at more than 250 video game studios around the world. SMU Guildhall offers both a Master of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development degree and a Professional Certificate of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development, with specializations in Art, Design, Production and Programming. In 2017, the Guildhall was named the world’s “No. 1 Graduate Program for Game Design” by The Princeton Review, based on a survey of 150 institutions in the United States, Canada and abroad that offer game design coursework and/or degrees.

> Visit SMU Guildhall online:

“SMU understands the value of interdisciplinary research in creating new knowledge and discovering new approaches to solving the world’s challenges. With a new facility dedicated to building these research collaborations, the University is stepping forward as an innovation leader,” said Linda Hart. “The growth of SMU Guildhall, both in programming and in stature, has been a source of tremendous pride for Linda and me ever since we made our first gift to establish the Hart eCenter. I look forward to seeing the exciting work this internationally recognized program will produce as it extends and expands its cutting-edge research in interactive technologies,” said Mitch Hart.

The Ford Research and Innovation Building was established with a $15 million lead gift commitment from Gerald J. Ford ’66, ’69 and Kelli O. Ford to construct a campus research center supporting SMU’s goal to expand advanced computing and interdisciplinary research throughout the University.

“One of SMU’s strengths is the research and other work we do at the intersection of multiple disciplines,” said Steven C. Currall, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We plan to continue building on this strength to advance and expand our research capability.”

In addition to the Hart eCenter and SMU Guildhall, the new building will house the AT&T Center for Virtualization, which will allow researchers from across the University to conduct interdisciplinary work to address the technical, economic, social and security issues associated with virtual technologies and their applications. It also will be the home of the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute, established in May 2012 through a gift from the Dedman Foundation.

It is expected that the availability of the Ford Research and Innovation Building will encourage more faculty to use high-performance computing and attract greater levels of external research funding. The University’s Second Century Campaign added 54 new substantially endowed faculty positions, bringing SMU’s current total to 120, many of them senior-level scholars with active research agendas. Along with other faculty who are leading important research projects, these scholars need and expect the best facilities to support their work. In addition, high-performance computing will apply directly to the undergraduate curriculum in several disciplines.

“Linda and Mitch Hart have been visionary supporters of SMU for many years. This gift reaffirms their dedication to the University as a leader in interdisciplinary research and education,” said Brad E. Cheves, SMU vice president for Development and External Affairs. “We are incredibly grateful for their support of excellence and innovation among our faculty and students, and for the opportunity to share these world-changing capabilities with our North Texas and global communities.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

Some SMU outlets open during Spring Break 2018

Stock photo of an Open sign in a shop windowSpring Break 2018 is here, and many SMU food stops will take a brief vacation, too. But some will remain open for limited hours to serve those who are still on campus.

SMU Dining Services reports these Spring Break hours for the following food and retail outlets:

  • All locations closed Saturday-Sunday, March 10-11 and Saturday, March 17
  • Starbucks at Fondren – open 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday, March 12-16
  • The Market and Steel City Pops, Hughes-Trigg Student Center – open 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday, March 12-16
  • Einstein Bros. Bagels, ground floor, Fincher Building – open 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, March 12-16
  • Arnold Dining Commons  – open 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday, March 18
  • Mac’s Place – open 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Sunday, March 18

Find all March 2018 dining hours at

SMU Spring Break 2018 dining outlet hours

By | 2018-03-09T12:20:17+00:00 March 9, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

Sarah Fullinwider Perot ’83 to be honored at 25th annual ‘Meadows at the Meyerson’ concert Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Meadows Symphony Orchestra, SMU

SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts will present its 25th annual “Meadows at the Meyerson” concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, 2018, in the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora Street in Dallas. The event will feature works by Barber and Mahler, performed by the critically acclaimed Meadows Symphony Orchestra under the direction of conductor Paul Phillips. The event supports talented Meadows students through the Meadows Scholars Program.

The annual spring concert also honors a community leader. This year, the honoree is noted philanthropist and arts advocate Sarah Fullinwider Perot, and the event chair is Melissa Fetter. SMU President R. Gerald Turner and Algur H. Meadows Dean Sam Holland will provide remarks at the event.

Tickets to the Meadows at the Meyerson concert are $17 for students and SMU faculty and staff. A $10 discount is available for Meadows subscribers. For tickets, contact the Meadows box office at 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

The program will include Samuel Barber’s First Essay for Orchestra, op. 12, and Toccata Festiva, op. 36 ,for organ and orchestra. Award-winning organist Stefan Engels, Leah Young Fullinwider Centennial Chair in Music Performance at the Meadows School, will be guest soloist. The program will conclude with Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, a dynamic work incorporating sounds of nature, folk music, a funeral procession and a heroic, triumphal ending.

“Meadows at the Meyerson celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2018, and has continued to be a musical highlight of the year,” said Dean Holland. “It is an opportunity to showcase the skill and dedication of our gifted students and the critically acclaimed Meadows Symphony on a world-class stage, and to raise scholarship funds for our Meadows Scholars Program. Now in its tenth year, the Meadows Scholars Program’s ever-increasing impact over the past decade can be measured by rising test scores, artistry and diversity with each incoming class. We are also thrilled this year to honor Sarah Fullinwider Perot, who works tirelessly to give, lead and advocate for arts and culture in Dallas. We are proud to claim her as a Meadows alumna.”

Event honoree Sarah Fullinwider Perot graduated from SMU in 1983 with a B.A. in journalism and broadcast film, and is currently president of the Sarah & Ross Perot, Jr. Foundation, which focuses on education, basic human need and patriotic philanthropy. She serves on the SMU Board of Trustees, as well as the executive boards of the SMU Meadows School, Dedman College and Tower Center for Political Studies.  Her service to the Dallas community includes fundraising efforts for the AT&T Performing Arts Center, Dallas Symphony and as chair of The Sweetheart Ball. She has been recognized with the TACA Silver Cup Award for her contributions to the arts in North Texas and was the recipient of the 2016 SMU Distinguished Alumni Award.

— Written by Victoria Winkelman

> Read the full story from SMU News

2018 SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage will travel under a new name, with a new endowment from Kelvin Beachum Jr. ’11, ’12

Kelvin Beachum Jr. on the field

New York Jets offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum Jr. ’11, ’12 has made an endowment and naming gift to the SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage. The SMU alumnus is a former Pilgrimage  participant.

When the 2018 Civil Rights Pilgrimage leaves SMU on Friday, March 9, it will do so with a new name and a new endowment. The Dennis Simon Endowed Civil Rights Pilgrimage has received a $100,000 endowment gift from New York Jets offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum Jr. ’11, ’12.

Beachum and his wife, Jessica, visited campus to celebrate the gift on Thursday, March 8, 2018. The gift renames the pilgrimage the Dennis Simon Endowed Civil Rights Pilgrimage in honor of the SMU political science professor who led the program from 2008 to 2015. Dr. Simon died in February 2017.

An NFL athlete since 2012, Beachum devotes his off-the-field efforts to providing opportunities for students, particularly for minority youth. Since 2012, Beachum also has supported the pilgrimage that was so meaningful to him by funding scholarships and paying for meals for participants.

“Dr. Simon’s empathy and sympathy for those who went through the civil rights era was palpable,” Beachum said. “His urgency for students to know what happened then and how it has affected our current society always resonated with me.”

> Learn more about the Dennis Simmon Endowed Civil Rights Pilgrimage from the Chaplain’s Office

Under Simon’s leadership, the trip featured stops at meaningful sites in the civil rights movement, such as Little Rock High School, the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s parsonage in Montgomery, Alabama. History came alive at each spot thanks to Simon’s friendships with original participants he called civil rights “foot soldiers,” who shared their recollections with students.

Dennis Simon, SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage

The late Dennis Simon (front row, second from right) led the SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage from 2008 to 2016 – combining an existing Chaplain’s Office program with his own class, “The Politics and Legacies of the Civil Rights Movement.”

“We had a chance to meet members of the Little Rock 9, the African American students who integrated Little Rock High School in 1957,” Beachum remembers. “We stepped inside the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, which was bombed in 1963 by members of the Ku Klux Klan. We walked over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, site of the 1965 Bloody Sunday march. I literally followed in the footsteps of some very important and impactful agents for change and progress, some of whom gave their life.”

— Written by Nancy George

Read the full story from SMU News

SMU to commence $6.1 million Bridwell Library renovation

Bridwell Library, SMUSMU is announcing plans to move forward with renovation of Bridwell Library, one of the University’s most visible libraries and one of the United States’ preeminent theological libraries. Funding secured from the J.S. Bridwell Foundation is enabling the $6.1 million renovation project to move forward.

“We are very grateful to the Bridwell Foundation for partnering with SMU since the late 1940s to make Bridwell Library a center of excellence in providing services and resources for theological education and theological reflection,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “As we look forward to this next chapter in Bridwell Library’s development, we cannot overstate the critical importance of the Foundation’s ongoing vision and support to ensure the Library’s stature and quality.”

“The Foundation is pleased to be able to continue to support the vision of J. S. Bridwell and his daughter, Margaret Bridwell Bowdle, far into the future,” said Bridwell Foundation President Mac Cannedy. “They would be proud of where Bridwell Library has come since they first envisioned it, and equally pleased with the direction it will go in the future with this latest renovation.”

Planned renovations include structural improvements to the facility to allow better accessibility for patrons, especially those with wheelchairs and other special needs. Students, faculty and scholars will gain new spaces for study, research and gathering, as well as instructional areas for teaching and presentations. The library will also add new features to enhance service spaces and overall user experience.

With more than 380,000 volumes, Bridwell Library houses one of the nation’s finest research collections in theology and religious studies. Its collection of rare books and manuscripts includes more than 50,000 items dating from the 15th to the 20th centuries. Among the special collections are the Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Bible Collection and the largest collection in the United States of manuscript letters written by John Wesley.

While it primarily serves Perkins School of Theology, Bridwell Library is also the principal bibliographic resource at SMU for the fields of theology and religious studies. In addition, it is an important resource for other university programs and for the extended religious, academic and bibliographic communities.

“Bridwell Library is vital to the strength and reputation of the Perkins School. These important capital improvements will greatly benefit students, faculty, and all who utilize the library’s outstanding resources,” said Perkins Dean Craig C. Hill.

> Read the full story from SMU News

Spring forward: U.S. Daylight Saving Time 2018 begins Sunday, March 11

Get ready for longer days ahead: Stock photo of a clock face with hands approaching 12U.S. Daylight Saving Time is here again. The time shift begins this Sunday, March 11, 2018, at 2 a.m. Don’t forget to set your clocks forward one hour, and check your computer and other electronic devices to be sure they’re displaying the correct time.

Get computer help from the Office of Information Technology

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