Second Century Campaign announcement set for Sept. 12

Dallas Hall panoramic

The entire SMU community is invited to meet at the Moody Coliseum Mustangs for a celebration launching the University’s Second Century Campaign. The festivities begin at 11:45 a.m. Sept. 12, followed by lunch in Moody Coliseum Plaza.

SMU President R. Gerald Turner, the Board of Trustees and the Campaign Executive Committee will announce the campaign goal at the event.

RSVP online and learn more at the Second Century Campaign home page.

Three faculty members named University Distinguished Professors

Three members of the SMU faculty have been named University Distinguished Professors, as announced by the Office of the Provost. The professorships have been awarded to Greg Warden, Art History; Sherry Smith, History; and Cordelia Candelaria, English.

The University Distinguished Professorships were created in 1982 by SMU’s Board of Trustees to honor outstanding faculty members who meet the highest standards of academic achievement. University Distinguished Professors are appointed in perpetuity and receive cash awards of $10,000 per year for a five-year rolling term.

Greg WardenGreg Warden has taught at SMU since 1982, chairing the Art History Division for six years and serving as associate dean for academic affairs in the Meadows School of the Arts since 1998. Since 1995, he has directed the Mugello Valley Archaeological Project and the SMU excavations at the Etruscan site of Poggio Colla, about 22 miles northeast of Florence. The University’s Poggio Colla field school in archaeology is open to students from around the world, and students from more than 60 universities have participated in it.

Warden’s major interest is the art and culture of ancient Italy, but his expertise – as both an archaeologist and an art historian – extends to a broader range of art from the ancient Mediterranean. His research interests include ancient metalworking technologies; Greek, Etruscan and Roman bronzes and decorative arts; and Roman architecture and patronage. He was director of the SMU-in-Italy summer program in Florence, Orvieto and Rome from 1987 to 1998 and received a Rotunda Award for outstanding teaching from the SMU student body in 1985-86. In addition, he was named the 1996-97 Meadows Foundation Distinguished Teaching Professor. He holds a Ph.D. in classical and Near Eastern archaeology from Bryn Mawr College.

Sherry SmithSherry Smith joined the SMU faculty in 1999 and currently serves as director of graduate studies in the Clements Department of History and as associate director of the University’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies. Her research focuses on the intersection of western, Native American and United States cultural history. She teaches courses on the American West in the 19th and 20th centuries, women in the West, and Native American history, among others.

Currently serving as president of the Western History Association, Smith is the author of Sagebrush Soldier: Private William Earl Smith’s View of the Sioux War of 1876 (University of Oklahoma Press) and The View From Officers’ Row: Army Perceptions of Western Indians (University of Arizona Press). Her most recent book, Reimagining Indians: Native Americans Through Anglo Eyes, 1880-1940 (Oxford University Press), won the 2001 James W. Rawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians for best book on race relations, as well as SMU’s Godbey Authors Award. Smith is also editor of The Future of the Southern Plains, published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2003. She received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Washington.

Cordelia CandelariaCordelia Chávez Candelaria, currently a Regents Professor at Arizona State University, will become a University Distinguished Professor when she begins her new duties as SMU’s dean of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences in July. As chair of ASU’s Department of Transborder Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies, she helped establish its Southwest Borderlands Initiative to strengthen studies in this discipline and to recruit and retain underrepresented faculty.

Candelaria’s numerous publications include Seeking the Perfect Game: Baseball in American Literature and Chicano Poetry: A Critical Introduction. She also served as executive editor of the two-volume Encyclopedia of Latino Popular Culture and has been editor or co-editor of 10 books, monographs and periodicals. Among her numerous awards, in 2005 she received the Outstanding Latina Cultural Award in Literary Arts and Publications from the American Association for Higher Education Hispanic Caucus. In 2001 Candelaria was named Scholar of the Year by the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies. She received her Ph.D. in American literature and linguistics from Notre Dame.

Four named 2008-10 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors

SMU's 2008-10 Altshuler ProfessorsFour outstanding educators have been named 2008-10 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors by SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence. This year’s honorees are Olga Colbert, Foreign Languages and Literatures; Ian Harris, Statistical Science; Larry Ruben, Biological Sciences; and David Willis, Mechanical Engineering.

The four new members will join four returning members of SMU’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers: Christine Buchanan, Biological Sciences; Mark Chancey, Religious Studies; John C. Holbert, Theology; and Bonnie Wheeler, English and Medieval Studies. Read more.

Left, the new Altshuler Professors were honored by the SMU Board of Trustees at its May meeting. Left to right: SMU Trustee Ruth Altshuler, Harris, Colbert, Ruben and Willis.

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Five Ford Research Fellows named for 2008

2008 Ford Research FellowsFive innovative SMU researchers have received the University’s 2008 Ford Research Fellowships. This year’s recipients are Rhonda Blair, Theatre; Marc Christensen, Electrical Engineering; Rajani Sudan, English; Kumar Venkataraman, Finance; and Steven Vik, Biological Sciences.

Established in 2002 through a $1 million pledge from Gerald Ford, chair of SMU’s Board of Trustees, the fellowships help the University retain and reward outstanding scholars. Each recipient receives a cash prize for research support during the year.

Read more about this year’s recipients. Right, the new Ford Fellows were honored by the SMU Board of Trustees at its May meeting. Left to right: SMU Trustee Gerald J. Ford and his wife, Kelli; Vik, Blair, Christensen, Sudan and Venkataraman.

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General Counsel Leon Bennett to retire at end of 2008

Leon BennettS. Leon Bennett, SMU’s General Counsel, Vice President for Legal Affairs and Government Relations, and Secretary to the Board of Trustees, will retire from the University effective Dec. 31, 2008. Bennett will work on special projects for SMU during the summer and fall.

In a letter to the SMU community, President R. Gerald Turner wrote, “For 25 years, Leon has led SMU’s Office of Legal Affairs during a time in which legal issues affecting colleges and universities have grown in number and complexity. Typically working behind the scenes, he has handled challenging and sensitive issues with professionalism, discretion and wisdom. As Secretary to the Board of Trustees, he has supported the work of the Board through its restructuring in the late 1980s and continued refinements for greater organizational efficiency.

“As the University has worked to implement its Centennial Master Plan for campus development, Leon has been instrumental in facilitating SMU’s acquisition of nearby property, working closely with the cities of University Park, Highland Park and Dallas on development issues. He has built important relationships as well with the Texas legislature, the U.S. Congress and government agencies on public policy issues affecting higher education in general and SMU in particular. Most recently, he played a critical role in preparations and negotiations for the George W. Bush Presidential Library, helping to craft the detailed and historic documents of SMU’s agreement with the Bush Foundation.

“In all areas of his leadership, Leon’s primary concern has been representing the University’s best interests. Looking at the span of his service – from 1983 to the present – it is not difficult to imagine the range of activity, adaptations, growth and challenges that SMU has experienced. Leon has been there every step of the way as attorney, vice president, corporate officer and trusted colleague.

“I know you will join me in thanking Leon and wishing him well.”

Former Interim President Bill Stallcup honored for service

William B. Stallcup Jr.William B. Stallcup Jr., who served as SMU president ad interim during a crucial period in the University’s history, was honored with the Trustee Distinguished Service Award at the SMU Board of Trustees’ meeting on May 9.

In fall 1986, when SMU’s football program received the NCAA “death penalty,” the Board of Trustees called upon Stallcup to serve as president ad interim. He helped to guide athletics reforms and a complete restructuring of SMU’s governance system.

In its resolution honoring him with the Distinguished Service Award, the board commended “the strength of his integrity and earned respect” and stated that “his conduct of the University’s affairs during this troubled period restored the confidence of the faculty, students, staff and alumni in the administrative leadership of the University.”

After serving as president ad interim from November 1986 to August 1987, Stallcup returned to teaching until his retirement in 1989. He then served as resident director of SMU-in-Taos from 1990-92. He was honored in 2002 as a recipient of SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

Read more from SMU News.

$3.6 million Prothro gift supports biological sciences

(Originally published Jan. 15, 2008.)

SMU Trustee Caren ProthroA $3.6 million gift from Dallas civic leader and SMU Trustee Caren Prothro (right) and the Perkins-Prothro Foundation will establish the C. Vincent Prothro Biological Sciences Initiative at SMU. The gift will support teaching and research through the appointment of a new endowed faculty chair in the Department of Biological Sciences in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. The gift includes $2 million from Caren Prothro and $1.6 million from the Perkins-Prothro Foundation.

The gift will provide $2 million for a Distinguished Chair of Biological Sciences, whose work will be supported through a $1 million gift for an Endowed Research Fund, $500,000 for a Graduate Fellowship Fund and $100,000 for an Undergraduate Scholarship Fund. The faculty chair and endowed funds are named in memory of Caren Prothro’s late husband, a long-time SMU supporter.

“Vin Prothro’s contributions to the progress of SMU were immeasurable,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “It is fitting that we honor his memory with this Biological Sciences Initiative, which supports one of our highest academic priorities – the strengthening of faculty and associated research activities in the Department of Biological Sciences. We are grateful to Caren Prothro and the Perkins-Prothro Foundation for their generous support of this important program.”

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The Dallas Morning News‘ Robert Miller: SMU biology gets a booster

Trustees establish steering committees for Centennial Campaign

The SMU Board of Trustees passed a resolution Sept. 7 establishing steering committees for the University’s upcoming Centennial Campaign, another step in the preparation during the campaign’s quiet phase for a public kickoff in 2008. “The success of the Centennial Campaign will directly result from the active involvement and leadership of volunteers,” the resolution states.

The campaign will raise funds primarily for endowments supporting student quality, faculty excellence, academic programs and the campus experience. Read more.