SMU kicked off its annual Martin Luther King Day observance by participating in the City of Dallas’ 2018 MLK Day Parade on Monday, Jan. 15. President R. Gerald Turner and Vice President for Student Affairs K.C. Mmeje were among the University community members who rode the SMU float, walked the parade route on MLK Boulevard, and mingled with fellow citizens.
The celebration continues throughout January with Dream Week 2018 — featuring discussions, screenings, and service opportunities for the entire campus.
The 17th annual lecture, “Making Sense of a Tragedy in Real Time: Media Coverage of the Dallas Ambush,” will be a panel discussion featuring Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Dallas Morning News editor Mike Wilson and Emmy-winning CBS 11 journalist Steve Pickett.
The event takes place at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19 in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. Admission is free, and tickets are not required. The Sammons Lecture Series is presented by the Division of Journalism in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.
Steve Pickett is a two-time Emmy Award-winning journalist for CBS 11 News. He has spent 20 of his 34 years in broadcast news in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. He was on air with live reporting the night of the Dallas police ambush shootings. He has been recognized nationally for his coverage of public education, with heavy focus on the Dallas Independent School District. The Press Club of Dallas acknowledged his coverage of Hurricane Katrina. He also was embedded with members of the Texas National Guard in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Pickett has worked in newsrooms in Portland, Oregon; Fresno, California; Oklahoma City; and Wichita Falls. He is a native Oklahoman and a graduate of The University of Oklahoma.
Mike Rawlings was elected mayor of Dallas in 2011 and again in 2015. He is a native of Borger, Texas, and a graduate of Boston College. Following his first election he launched GrowSouth, his signature initiative to spur economic development south of the Trinity River. He has also sought to improve public education and led a campaign against domestic violence, Dallas Men Against Abuse. On the evening of July 7 when four Dallas Police Department officers and one DART officer were killed in an ambush, Mayor Rawlings worked closely with Dallas Police Chief David Brown to assess and end the situation as well as keeping media and the public informed.
Mike Wilson is editor of The Dallas Morning News, responsible for news coverage in print and online. Wilson began his career at the Miami Herald where he worked as a writer and editor. He joined the St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times) in 1994, working 18 years as a writer, editor and, finally, managing editor. His staff won two Pulitzer Prizes during his tenure. In 2013 he moved to ESPN as founding managing editor of Nate Silver’s data journalism website, FiveThirtyEight. Wilson graduated from Tufts University. He has written two books, Right on the Edge of Crazy, about the U.S. downhill ski team, and The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison, about the founder of Oracle Corporation.
Calling it “a game-changing investment for the GrowSouth initiative generating enormous economic impact,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has announced plans for a public private effort between the City of Dallas, AT&T and SMU to develop a 400-acre former landfill site in Southern Dallas into a world-class sports facility.
The facility would include an 18-hole championship golf course, a nine-hole short course, an administrative/teaching facility for The First Tee of Greater Dallas, a world-class practice facility, a practice academy for the SMU golfteams and recreational trails.
“The proposed Trinity Forest project would not only become one of the nation’s finest golf and outdoor trail facilities in the United States, it would serve as a powerful catalyst bringing economic opportunity to Southern Dallas and the Trinity project, potentially generating more than $32 million annually in economic impact,” said Mayor Rawlings. “Just as importantly, it would change the lives of children through The First Tee’s character and leadership-development programs and other charitable endeavors.”
Joined by Dallas City Council members, Mayor Rawlings unveiled the ambitious, three-year proposed plan at a news conference at Dallas City Hall. At his side were representatives from AT&T, SMU, the PGA TOUR, the Salesmanship Club, and The First Tee, a non-profit youth development program created by the World Golf Foundation that uses golf to teach important values to young people. World Golf Hall of Fame member (and Dallas native) Lee Trevino also was on hand to pledge his support. PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem participated via a teleconference.
The project would be built on a currently unusable landfill owned by the City of Dallas. The site is located in the Trinity Forest near the Trinity River Audubon Center, just 10 minutes south of downtown Dallas. Upon approval by the Dallas City Council, the project would be expected to get under way in spring 2013, with completion estimated by spring 2016.
A not-for-profit entity – involving major donors, supporters, sponsors and/or participants – would be formed to manage and operate the golf course.
Ron Spears, AT&T senior executive vice president, said AT&T plans to donate $2.5 million toward the development of the trails project.
“Dallas is our corporate home, and we are constantly seeking ways to enhance our community and participate as a corporate citizen,” said Spears. “We are proud to work with the City of Dallas, support charitable organizations and be involved in the economic development of Southern Dallas. We’re also happy to play a role in expanding the trails system in the Trinity Forest.”
SMU President R. Gerald Turner added that SMU looks forward to a partnership with The First Tee.
“As an educational institution, we’re especially pleased to give the young people of The First Tee the opportunity to interact with collegiate players and to encourage their aspirations for college. Likewise, our SMU students will learn and benefit from those interactions,” said Turner.
Mayor Rawlings thanked both AT&T and SMU for their support of the proposed project. “AT&T and SMU together have made a very significant commitment to the City of Dallas,” said Mayor Rawlings. “We’ve known for a long time that Southern Dallas holds the most promise and greatest potential for growth. The best news is that our great hardwood forest and natural ecosystem, which provide the perfect backdrop for a premier sports facility, would be preserved for future generations.”
The City would fund a maximum of $12 million limited to preliminary site work, environmental remediation, wetland and floodplain mitigation, and public infrastructure improvements.
Founded in 2003, The First Tee of Greater Dallas provides comprehensive teaching to over 1,100 youth participants each year in six program locations with introductory programming to over 25,000 elementary school students through The First Tee National School Program.
“The young people involved with The First Tee are going to be absolutely thrilled to call this Trinity Forest golf center their new home,” said Chuck Walker, managing director of The First Tee of Greater Dallas. “What an incredible backdrop to grow our programs so even more young people can gain exposure to the powerful character-building lessons that golf teaches.”
The proposed Trinity Forest site would also include plans for an area dedicated to highlighting the careers of prominent professional golfers from the Dallas area, including Byron Nelson and Lee Trevino.
Trevino, who resides in Dallas, closed the program with memories of his childhood days learning the game of golf at the City of Dallas’ Tenison Park Golf Club, located in East Dallas.
“As a golfer who has played the best courses in the world, nothing could make me happier than seeing this very smart investment being made right here in our backyard. This is the big shot in the arm that Southern Dallas has needed, and it’s going to change the face of our city,” said Trevino. “And as a native Dallasite who learned to play while caddying as a kid, I’m truly thrilled to know that The First Tee will be there to expose a lot of kids — just like me — to the wonderful game of golf and the lifelong lessons it teaches.”