School year starts with new and old traditions

Dedman College Dean William Tsutsui speaks at SMU's Opening Convocation 2010SMU welcomed 1,478 new students to the class of 2014 in August. The students come from 44 states and 36 countries, including China, India, Russia and Spain.

“As you will all find in the coming weeks, months and years, education comes in unexpected places, at unexpected times and in unexpected ways when you are in college and, indeed, throughout your life,” said William Tsutsui (right), dean of Dedman College, in his Opening Convocation address. “You never know when something great is going to happen. So be ready: Unexpected and wonderful things lie just ahead for all of you.”

> Read the full text of Dean Tsutsui’s Convocation address under the cut

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Tune In: Welcoming the Class of 2014


With Move-In Day and Mustang Corral behind them, and the fall term fully in progress, SMU’s Class of 2014 has officially joined the campus community. Eva Parks of SMU News met the incoming class last week – visit YouTube to watch her video starring the University’s newest students. video

> More from Move-In and Opening Convocation at the SMU Parents blog

Common Reading 2010: New Orleans, after the flood

zeitoun-bookcover-200.jpgAbdulrahman Zeitoun was in New Orleans when the levees broke. The Syrian-born painting contractor had decided to stay behind and protect his property while his family fled Hurricane Katrina. After the flood, he spent days rescuing victims in a small canoe until he was arrested, on suspicion of being an Al Qaeda member.

The true story of Zeitoun focuses on one man’s experience of bureaucracy and good intentions gone wrong in the aftermath of an epochal catastrophe. Author Dave Eggers “has found in the Katrina mud … the full-fleshed story of a single family, and in telling that story he hits larger targets with more punch than those who have already attacked the thematic and historic giants of this disaster,” wrote Timothy Egan in a 2009 New York Times review.

SMU has chosen Zeitoun as the class of 2014’s first-year Common Reading Experience – the book every member of the Fall 2010 incoming class will read and discuss. The selection committee cites the book for its “explorations of culture and crisis” in the context of an event that has impacted an entire generation of students.

Committee members are now seeking leaders for the discussion event that has become one of the first shared experiences for new students during their first week on the Hilltop.

“It doesn’t matter what school you’re from or whether you normally work only with graduate or professional students. It doesn’t matter whether you are active or emeritus,” wrote Associate Provost Tom Tunks in an e-mail to faculty and staff. “We really want the new students to interact with faculty and staff in a substantive way from the very beginning of their stay with us.”

To volunteer as a discussion leader for Fall 2010, contact Diana Grumbles, senior lecturer in English and director of first-year writing.

> Watch for more at Central University Libraries’ Common Reading homepage

Tune In: Meet the class of 2014

Hundreds of high school students came to campus with their parents for an in-depth look at SMU during Mustang Days in March. The students – all of whom have applied and been accepted to the University – sat in on classes, visited residence halls, met professors and current undergraduates, and got a taste of Hilltop life at its best. Click the YouTube screen to watch a video on the incoming class by Eva Parks Spero of SMU News: