Luisa del Rosal named executive director of SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies, Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center

Luisa Del Rosal, executive director, Tower Center for Political Studies and Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center, SMULuisa del Rosal ’08, former director of strategy and international affairs with the Cox School of BusinessLatino Leadership Initiative, has been named executive director of SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies and its Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center. She began her duties on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016.

“Luisa del Rosal is a leader in higher education with the ideal background and combination of skills to build the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center,” says Jim Hollifield, director of the Tower Center. “An SMU graduate and dual national, Luisa has a deep and intuitive understanding of the vital relationship between Texas and Mexico in all of its dimensions and complexities. We are delighted that she has returned to the Tower Center and Dedman College to assume this critical leadership role.”

Del Rosal was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and lived there until she moved to Dallas to attend SMU. She holds dual bachelor’s degrees in political science and sociology, with a minor in Italian, as well as a master’s in higher education policy and leadership. She is bilingual in her native Spanish and English, and proficient in Italian.

“I am honored to return to the Tower Center for Political Studies as its executive director and to serve as the founding executive director of the newly established Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center,” Del Rosal says. “Leading these centers enables me to contribute to the regional, national and global reach of SMU.”

“The centers will help shape important regional and national conversations on topics such as education, trade and energy – topics that impact our communities every day,” she added. “As research policy centers, they’ll be places not of rhetoric, but of facts and idea sharing. The unique missions of each will influence policy questions and carry out the critical goals of engaging and mentoring the students who will become our next generation of leaders.”

In her new position, Del Rosal will have strategic and operational responsibility for both centers, including staff oversight, programming strategy and execution, board coordination and ensuring all activities are aligned with the centers’ missions.

“Luisa will add a great deal to the knowledge base of those two centers,” says Thomas DiPiero, dean of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. “She has tremendous international experience, she’s worked a great deal with people in public policy and in Mexico, and she has the diplomatic skill set that will allow the two centers to thrive under her leadership.”

The primary mission of the Tower Center is to promote the study of politics and international affairs and to stimulate an interest in ethical public service among undergraduates. Announced earlier this year, the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center seeks to understand and explore the political, cultural, economic and business relationship between Texas and Mexico. The center focuses on the key areas of research and policy that include border issues, energy, human capital and education, immigration and trade.

Prior to working for the Cox School, Del Rosal was director of programs and external relations for the Tower Center.

— Kenny Ryan

SMU honors 2015 DAA, Emerging Leader Award winners on the Hilltop’s 100th birthday, Thursday, Sept. 24

The Rev. Dr. Michael Waters
The Rev. Dr. Michael Waters ’02, ’06, ’12 will receive the 2015 Emerging Leader Award at SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony during its Centennial Homecoming celebration.

SMU will honor four leaders in philanthropy, business and civic life with the highest honor the University can bestow upon its graduates. The 2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner and ceremony begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24 on the Main Quad.

The 2015 Distinguished Alumni are Bess Fraser Enloe ’60, teacher, arts leader and volunteer; Donald F. Jackson ’63, financial counselor and former professor in SMU’s Cox School of Business; and Billie Ida Williamson ’74, one of the first woman partners in Ernst & Young LLP and Dallas civic leader.

The Rev. Dr. Michael Waters ’02, ’06, ’12, founder and senior pastor of Dallas’ Joy Tabernacle African Methodist Episcopal Church, will receive the University’s Emerging Leader Award. The honor recognizes the outstanding achievements of an alumnus or alumna who has graduated in the last 15 years.

> Read more about SMU’s 2015 Distinguished Alumni and Emerging Leader

For more information, visit SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Awards homepage or call 214-768-4468.

Find a list of past DAA recipients at the SMU Alumni site

Dedman School of Law honors five as 2015 Distinguished Alumni

Five successful legal, business and public service professionals were honored with the highest awards given by SMU’s Dedman School of Law at its 28th annual Distinguished Law Alumni Awards Thursday, March 19, 2015.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is the most prestigious award Dedman Law can bestow upon its alumni. An alumni committee selects recipients who are standouts in their respective fields, and an honorary award given at the invitation-only ceremony also acknowledges exceptional service to the law school.

This year’s awards and recipients were:

Mary Elizabeth Cedillo-PereiraMary Elizabeth Cedillo-Pereira ’99, 2015 Distinguished Alumni Emerging Leader Award – “Liz” Cedillo-Pereira is the managing attorney with Cedillo-Pereira and Associates PLLC, an immigration and nationality law practice that represents individuals, families, businesses and government entities. She is board certified in immigration and nationality law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and lectures on immigration law as a faculty member with the UT School of Law Immigration Law conference and the State Bar of Texas Immigration law course. In 2007 she co-founded the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Dallas’ “Know Your Rights” project for detained individuals. She also is a member of AILA’s Military Assistance Program as well as Dream Defenders.

Siriporn ChaiyasutaSiriporn Chaiyasuta ’85, 2015 Distinguished Global Alumni Award – Based in London, Chaiyasuta is general counsel for Chevron Europe, Eurasia and Middle East Exploration & Production Limited. She leads a team of more than 50 lawyers and manages Chevron’s legal portfolio for all exploration and production business in the region, harboring the world’s most productive oil and gas basins in 14 countries of the North Sea and Caspian Region of the Middle East, including the United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark, Greenland, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Her many awards and honors include the “Royal Decoration Knight Grand Cross” (First Class) of Direkgunabhon and Thailand’s “In-House Counsel of the Year” Award.

G. Michael GruberG. Michael Gruber ’81, 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award for Private Practice – “Mike” Gruber is a founding partner of Gruber Hurst Johansen Hail Shank LLP. Primarily a defense attorney, his successes include a $125 million dollar judgment involving Blockbuster in favor of its first major investors, a $30 million dollar verdict against Shell Oil in a fraud case, and a more than $18 million dollar verdict against pharmaceutical company Hoffman-Laroche in one of the largest sexual harassment verdicts in the country. This year, he took the soon-to-be decided Wellness v. Sharif case, on bankruptcy court and federal magistrate jurisdiction, to the U.S. Supreme Court. He has received the Sager Award from The Minority Corporate Counsel Association, which recognizes the Southwest’s most diverse law firms. He has also been named a “Texas Super Lawyer” for more than 10 years and, since 2008, D Magazine has recognized him as a “Best Lawyer in Dallas” for business litigation.

William O. Holston Jr.William O. Holston, Jr., ’81, 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award for Public Service – “Bill” Holston is executive director of Human Rights Initiative (HRI) of North Texas. Before joining HRI in 2012 he volunteered his services for the organization, founded in 2000 to provide legal and support services to refugees and immigrants who have suffered human rights abuses, as well as to advocate for justice and promote international human rights. In 1997, he received the “Outstanding Political Asylum Lawyer Award” from the Dallas Bar Association; in 2002, the “Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award” from the Dallas Bar Association’s Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program; in 2005, the “Angel of Freedom Award” from HRI; and in 2014, the “President’s Award” from the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association.

Joseph W. McKnightJoseph W. McKnight, 2015 Honorary Alumnus Award – “Joe” McKnight, Professor Emeritus of Law and Larry and Jane Harlan Faculty Fellow Emeritus at SMU Dedman School of Law, has made historic contributions to legal scholarship and law reform in Texas. Before joining the law faculty at SMU in 1955, he received his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas before serving as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where he received a B.A. degree, a B.C.L. degree, and an M.A. degree. Professor McKnight would later receive his LL.M. degree from Columbia University. McKnight is a nationally recognized authority on legal history and family and marital property law. He and co-author, W.A. Reppy, Jr., have produced ten editions of their 1983 casebook, Texas Matrimonial Property Law, and McKnight was general editor and author of Creditor’s Rights in Texas.

Additionally, McKnight directed the Texas Family Code project, helping achieve significant reform, and was the principal drafter of the Texas Matrimonial Property Act, recognizing property rights of married women. He also has been a major drafter of other important Texas statutes.

During the past six decades, McKnight established and contributed to an invaluable collection of rare legal books at SMU Dedman Law. The collection is one of the largest of its kind in the nation, with the collection’s oldest book published in 1481.

Written by Denise Gee

> Read the full story from SMU News

SMU honors 2014 DAA, Emerging Leader Award winners in pre-Homecoming ceremony Thursday, Nov. 13

Originally posted Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014.

Alexandra Dillard Lucie
Alexandra Dillard Lucie ’05 will receive the Emerging Leader Award at SMU’s 2014 DAA Awards ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 13.

SMU will honor four leaders in philanthropy, business and civic life with the highest honor the University can bestow upon its graduates. The 2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner and ceremony begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13 on the Main Quad.

The 2014 Distinguished Alumni are Mary Brinegar ’69, president and CEO of the Dallas Arboretum; Frank M. Dunlevy ’71, vice chair of the investment bank Cowen and Company; and Dr. John Frank Harper ’68, clinical cardiologist with Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas and 2012 recipient of the Dedman College Distinguished Graduate Award.

Alexandra Dillard Lucie ’05, corporate merchandise manager with Dillard’s, a family business founded by her grandfather, will receive the University’s Emerging Leader Award. The honor recognizes the outstanding achievements of an alumnus or alumna who has graduated in the last 15 years.

> Read more about SMU’s 2014 Distinguished Alumni and Emerging Leader

During the ceremony, past DAA recipients will be honored as Centennial History Makers as part of SMU’s ongoing Second Century Celebration. The 2014 honorees include:

  • James A. Baker ’53, ’58 †
  • Paul M. Bass Jr. ’57 †
  • David M. Bates ’75, ’78
  • George W. Bramblett Jr. ’63, ’66
  • Gary T. Crum ’69
  • Linda Pitts Custard ’60, ’99
  • Nancy McMillan Dedman ’50
  • James Lindsay Embrey Jr. ’45, ’47 †
  • Craig T. Enoch ’72, ’75
  • Larry R. Faulkner ’66
  • James B. Gardner ’55 †
  • Antonio O. Garza Jr. ’83
  • Frederick B. Hegi Jr. ’66
  • Rick Herrscher ’58
  • Zan W. Holmes Jr. ’59, ’68
  • Karen Parfitt Hughes ’77
  • Eddie Bernice Johnson ’76
  • Darrell M. Lafitte ’54
  • Jerry LeVias ’69
  • William H. Lively ’65
  • Craig R. McKinley ’74
  • Malcolm S. Morris ’68
  • Stephen Mulholland ’60
  • John W. Nieto ’59
  • Jeanne L. Phillips ’76
  • Gary E. Pittman ’53 †
  • Richard Ware ’68
  • Joe T. White ’70
  • A. Cecil Williams ’55

For more information, visit SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Awards homepage or call 214-768-4468.

Read more about this year’s DAA honorees from SMU News
Find a list of past DAA recipients at the SMU Alumni site