community involvement

SMU Guildhall, eGency Global announce OP Live Dallas, a major esports event scheduled for Sept. 22-23, 2018

ESL Pro League CSGO tournament

Crowds gather for an ESL Pro League tournament. A December 2017 event in Odense, Denmark, drew more than 5,000 in-person attendees and 388,000 concurrent online viewers.

SMU Guildhall, the top ranked graduate school for video game design in the world, has entered a collaboration with an industry leader in esports to launch a major new event. OP Live Dallas will feature high-level professional competition, a 16-team collegiate tournament, a hackathon for high-schoolers, and a showcase for the work of Guildhall master’s degree candidates in interactive technology.

The Guildhall is collaborating with eGency Global, one of North America’s most experienced esports production, marketing and talent management firms, to produce OP Live Dallas.

OP Live Dallas logo“We are excited to be part of this collaborative effort with eGency Global,” said Mark Nausha, deputy director of GameLab at SMU Guildhall. “OP Live will be interactive, immersive, and unique from typical esports events. We look forward to bringing this awesome fan experience to the Dallas area.”

OP Live Dallas will run September 22-23, 2018 on the 50,000-sq.-ft. main floor of the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas.

> Cheryl Hall, The Dallas Morning News: Two companies bridge the esports marketing gap

Through their collaboration, eGency Global and SMU Guildhall will offer esports fans a unique and more robust experience than traditional esports events, the collaborators say. Beyond the interactive and engaging experience, OP Live Dallas will also showcase the multitude of career opportunities available to video game and esports devotees. SMU Guildhall alumni work for the biggest names in the video gaming industry, as well as in gamification sectors in a multitude of other industries like tech, education, business and medical.

“The session for parents will shine a light on career and education opportunities for youth in the video gaming, cybersecurity and other STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, as well as the many upsides of the gaming community. The community is known for its supportive nature and lasting friendships,” says Chris Stone, CEO of eGency Global.

The two-day OP Live Dallas schedule will include non-stop competition and activities, opportunities to meet popular pro players, cosplayers, and more. Highlights include:

  • Competitions for 16 collegiate teams and 4 pro esports teams, with prizes to be awarded.
  • Showcases featuring never-before-seen games created by SMU students and alumni.
  • Mini TED-like talks with industry experts.
  • Interactive and personalized experiences.
  • Cosplay and game art gallery.
  • High School Hackathon, where students compete to identify, defend and terminate cybersecurity threats in a fictional small business.
  • Fundraising to benefit Children’s Medical Center Dallas through Extra Life, a division of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

The entire event was designed with esports and gaming fans in mind. “In the past year, we’ve spoken with dozens of fans who regularly attend esports and gaming events. We wanted to find out what they love most about the events and where improvements could be made. This insight was invaluable when we were planning OP Live Dallas,” said Stephanie Chavez, eGency Global director of marketing.

The collaborators estimate attendance of approximately 7,000 for the two-day event. Numerous sponsorship and exhibiting opportunities are available to organizations looking to reach fans in the burgeoning esports space.

> Visit the OP Live Dallas homepage at oplivedallas.com

Student story on SMU summer camps inspires $2 million gift from Hamon Charitable Foundation

Lyle Engineering Summer CampWhen Hamon Charitable Foundation board member Tom Souers read a Dallas Morning News article last June about an SMU Lyle School of Engineering summer camp for underrepresented students, it proved to be the spark behind a $2 million foundation gift to support expansion of the camps and create engineering scholarships for students who attend them.

The camp opportunities and scholarships are aimed at inspiring students to pursue engineering as a field of study and future career. Middle and high school students attending the Lyle School’s Hamon Summer Engineering Camps initially will be recruited from the KIPP DFW network of public charter schools, the STEM-focused Young Women’s Preparatory Network, and DISD’s Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy.

> Read the original Dallas Morning News story by DMN intern and SMU Campus Weekly editor Kylie Madry

Teachers from the participating schools also will be allowed to attend camps to engage with Lyle students and faculty. Students attending the camps who are later accepted into the engineering program at SMU will be eligible to apply for college scholarships through the new Jake L. Hamon Scholars Program.

“We are delighted that the Hamon Charitable Foundation is making these eye-opening camps available to a larger group of students,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The foundation’s gift helps expand our impact in the community and will help build a brighter future for more young people in Dallas, particularly through the creation of the companion scholarship program.”

— Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Read the full story from SMU News

> Learn more about the Lyle School’s K-12 programs

Save the date: Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad to speak at 2018 SMU Women’s Symposium on Wednesday, March 7

Ibtihaj Muhammad, Stars and Stripes

U.S. saber fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first Muslim American woman to wear a hijab while competing for the United States in the Olympic Games, will deliver the Emmie V. Baine Lecture during the 53rd SMU Women’s Symposium. The all-day event is scheduled for Wednesday, March 7, 2018.

Muhammad was a member of the U.S. national fencing team that won gold in the 2014 World Championships and at the 2011 and 2015 Pan American Games. She earned a bronze medal in women’s team saber at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, becoming the first female Muslim-American athlete to medal in Olympic competition. She will speak during the lunchtime session on the Symposium’s 2018 theme, “Hit Like a Girl.”

> Follow Ibtihaj Muhammad on Twitter: @IbtihajMuhammad

During the Rio Olympics, Muhammad became an international symbol of diversity and tolerance. In 2017, she also inspired Mattel’s first hijab-wearing Barbie, designed in her image. The doll, which is part of the Barbie “Sheroes” collection, comes dressed in fencing gear as well as a headscarf. It will go on sale later this year.

A native of Maplewood, New Jersey, Muhammad holds bachelor’s degrees in international relations and African and African-American studies from Duke University. She is a member of the Peter Westbrook Foundation fencing club, founded by the five-time U.S. Olympic Team member and 1984 men’s individual saber bronze medalist who was the first African-American to win a national fencing title.

> Find a complete 2018 Women’s Symposium schedule here

The SMU Women’s Symposium, created in 1966 as part of the University’s commemoration of its 50th anniversary, attracts hundreds of attendees each year. One of the longest-running events of its kind, the symposium features workshops, lectures and networking sessions designed to broaden and amplify women’s perspectives on campus and in the community.

The event is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Hughes-Trigg Student Center. SMU faculty, staff and students receive discounted registration. Sign-up is requested by Thursday, March 1, 2018.

> Register online at smu.edu/womsym

Gail O. Turner named 2018 Maura Award winner by Dallas Women’s Foundation

Gail O. TurnerDallas Women’s Foundation (DWF) has named Gail O. Turner as one of four recipients of its 2018 Maura Women Helping Women Award. The winners will be honored at the Leadership Forum & Awards Dinner, presented by AT&T, on Thursday, April 19, at the Omni Dallas Hotel, 555 S. Lamar Street.

The Maura Awards recognize “leaders who have positively impacted the lives of women and girls in the North Texas area,” according to a DWF press release announcing the honors. Tickets to the dinner start at $350; sponsorships are also available. Learn more at the Dallas Women’s Foundation website.

Gail Turner, the wife of SMU President R. Gerald Turner, is a founding member and former board chair of New Friends New Life (NFNL), a Dallas organization that serves women and children who have been victimized by trafficking. She has worked with NFNL successfully to lobby the Texas Legislature on laws that help victims of human trafficking. She also serves on the board of Shelter Ministries of Dallas, comprised of Austin Street Center, which assists 400 homeless people each night, and Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support.

As “First Lady of SMU,” Gail Turner also serves on the boards of the Meadows School of the Arts and the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

“It is a great honor for Dallas Women’s Foundation to recognize … extraordinary leaders whose example and service to women and girls are literally awe-inspiring,” said Roslyn Dawson Thompson, Dallas Women’s Foundation president and chief executive officer.

Mrs. Turner’s fellow Maura Award honorees include Arcilia C. Acosta, president and CEO of CARCON Industries and founder and CEO of STL Engineers; Jocelyn D. Kidd, DDS, a Dallas dentist and mentor to young women in STEM fields; and Dr. Cynthia Mickens Ross, creator of the Path~Way to Purpose® program and senior pastor of Path~Way to Life Center of Hope Church in Hutchins, Texas.

Two women under 40 will receive Young Leader Awards, presented by Capital One: Vanessa Bouché, Ph.D., an assistant professor of political science at TCU and a principal investigator on several federally funded human trafficking projects from the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Agency for International Development; and Brooke López, a recent UT-Dallas graduate and founder of the nonprofit Students of Change.

Dallas Women’s Foundation is the largest regional women’s fund in the world. It is a trusted leader in advancing positive social and economic change for women and girls. Since 1985, DWF has granted more than $37.6 million to help create opportunities and solve issues for women and girls.

> Visit Dallas Women’s Foundation online: dallaswomensfdn.org

SMU partners with Dallas County Promise to broaden scholarship eligibility

Dallas County Promise logoSMU is working to provide more students in the Dallas area with the opportunity for an SMU education by expanding eligibility for an existing scholarship program and by partnering with Dallas County Promise to provide five new scholarships.

The University will expand the opportunity to apply for 10 scholarships previously available only to Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD) graduates. The expanded program, the Dallas County Mustang Scholarship, will award up to 10 four-year combined scholarship packages worth more than $225,000 each to cover full tuition and fees for eligible students who will graduate from any high school located in Dallas County.

The new program will award up to five two-year scholarships annually to eligible high school seniors who have successfully completed the Dallas County Promise Program and plan to transfer to SMU after earning a qualifying associate degree from the Dallas County Community College District.

To be eligible for the Dallas County Promise Scholarship, high school seniors at Promise-eligible high schools must complete the Dallas County Promise Pledge by Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018; and apply for the fall semester at a Dallas County Community College and complete a FAFSA/TASFA by Thursday, March 15, 2018.

> Find full information for students at dallascountypromise.org

“There are future Dallas County leaders among the students attending high school in our community who may not get their best chance to lead because financial means is a barrier to an undergraduate college degree,” said Wes Waggoner, SMU associate vice president for enrollment management. “Expanding eligibility for some of our existing scholarships, and joining the Dallas County Promise Program, is going to be a great way to help identify these students as high school seniors and give them an opportunity to attend and graduate from SMU.”

Waggoner added that students who apply for the two-year SMU Mustang Promise Scholarship also would be considered for other scholarships and financial aid available to SMU undergraduates. More than $90 million in academic and need-based aid is awarded to SMU undergraduates each year.

Students selected to receive the Dallas County Promise scholarships will be eligible for free tuition for up to three years toward completing a degree at any DCCCD college. Each two-year SMU Mustang Promise Scholarship will then contribute to a full tuition and fees scholarship – an award worth more than $110,000 over the two-year period, allowing the students completing an associate degree from a DCCCD college to then complete their undergraduate degree at SMU.

High school seniors interested in the Dallas County Mustang Scholarship should complete the SMU admission application, the Mustang Scholars essay, the FAFSA and CSS Profile or TASFA by Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018.

> Learn more at smu.edu/mustangscholars

— Written by Kimberly Cobb

SMU celebrates MLK with Dream Week 2018 through Jan. 29

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.

> Watch Myles Taylor’s 2018 MLK Day Parade video in a new window video

Dream Week 2018 scheduleSeveral events in January will pay tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., including:

  • SMU’s annual Unity Walk, beginning at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23 at Hughes-Trigg Student Center Commons
  • MLK Day of Service, in which SMU community members give a “day on” to DFW-area nonprofit organizations, Saturday, Jan. 27
  • Cookie Chat: A Color Purple, hosted by the SMU Women and LGBT Center, noon, Monday, Jan. 29, 313 Hughes-Trigg Student Center
  • MoMac at the Movies: Detroit, 6:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 29, Angelika Film Center (open to all SMU students)

> Find a complete list of MLK Day volunteer opportunities at the SMU CEL site

> Share on social with the hashtag #SMUMLK18

> Bookmark the Dream Week page at the SMU Multicultural Student Affairs website

SMU Guildhall students play games for good during 2017 Extra Life Game-a-Thon Dec. 2-3

Extra Life logo 2017This weekend, you can join SMU Guildhall for 24 hours of esports excitement and gaming for good – all from the comfort of your living room.

The Guildhall’s Extra Life Game-a-Thon returns Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2-3, 2017, to raise funds for Children’s Miracle Network. The student-led event features online battles in both popular titles and new student-designed games, and the event will be streamed from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. both days on the SMU Guildhall Twitch channel.

Watch Extra Life 2017 live at Twitch.TV/SMUGuildhall

Guildhall graduate students have raised more than $12,000 for Children’s Medical Center Plano during their two years of Extra Life competition. The team has set a 2017 goal of $7,500, with The Hersh Foundation pledging to match dollar-for-dollar all funds raised up to $10,000. The Dallas-based foundation was created in 1997 by Kenneth A. Hersh, president and CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, and his wife, Julie, who serves as its president.

> Visit Team SMU Guildhall’s Extra Life direct-donation link

The students will return with some of the most popular competition titles, including Mario Party, Rocket League Tournament and Overwatch. New this year: Mowin’ and Throwin’, a full-length game designed by Guildhall alumni that began as a 24-hour design challenge during last year’s game-a-thon.

> Sign up for a Mowin’ and Throwin’ play test at House Pixel Games

A partial list of this year’s tournament titles:

The event will include an appearance by local esports team Dallas Fuel, competitors in the new Overwatch League. They will discuss the life of a professional esports gamer beginning at 5:15 p.m. on Sunday. In addition, SMU Guildhall will give away two copies of Star Wars Battlefront II provided by alumni donors; more giveaways and fun activities will take place throughout the weekend and will be announced during the streams of each game.

Since its inception in 2008, Extra Life has raised more than $30 million for sick children through thousands of gamers from around the world, raising funds from friends and community to help heal sick and injured kids. One hundred percent of donations, which are tax-deductible, go to local Children’s Miracle Network hospitals.

> Read the press release from the SMU Guildhall website

> Learn more at the SMU Guildhall Extra Life team page

SMU Dance Marathon benefiting Children’s Health Dallas returns Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017

SMU Dance Marathon logo

SMU students are throwing a dance party to benefit sick children, and the entire community is invited to join in.

The second annual SMU Dance Marathon is scheduled for 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballrooms. And as a follow-up to its wildly successful debut, the student-led organization wants to bring in more faculty and staff attendees and participants, says senior Kimberly Rose, Dance Marathon president.

The organization raises money year-round for Children’s Health Dallas, a Children’s Miracle Network nonprofit hospital. The biggest part of those funds come from the marathon itself, which Rose describes as both a grand finale for the fundraising year and “a celebration of the children we work so hard to benefit.”

In 2016, the Dance Marathon raised more than $32,000, about $10,000 of it during the event itself. “It was a great start to what we hope is a longstanding tradition here at SMU,” says Rose, a journalism major minoring in advertising, fashion media and European studies. “You don’t have to be good at dancing in the slightest. It’s all about having fun, and opening up your heart to a cause we can all connect with – helping sick children.”

And dancing isn’t the only thing on the entertainment menu, she adds. “We have live performances, hospital stories, fund-raising, a rave hour, T-shirt sales, and so much more.”

Marathon organizers encourage students to stay for the entire event, “to honor the struggles of children who fight illness all day, every day,” Rose says. Faculty and staff members are welcome to register as participants – but all are welcome even if you don’t dance.

“We encourage anyone – faculty, staff or student – to come by, even for a few minutes, and enjoy any part of the event,” Rose says. “We want to be really welcoming to SMU, so that SMU will continue to welcome us.”

> Register for the 2017 SMU Dance Marathon, or donate online

SMU celebrates Veterans Day with luncheon, Toys for Tots collection Friday, Nov. 10, 2017

Arc of Service banner, Maguire Center Veterans Day Luncheon 2017, 800px

SMU will celebrate its veterans from across the generations at a luncheon in their honor on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. The SMU Veterans Day Celebration, “Arc of Service,” will take place noon-1:30 p.m. in the Martha Proctor Mack Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

President R. Gerald Turner and U.S. Military Veterans of SMU will provide remarks recognizing the contributions and achievements of University service members. SMU Trustee Emeritus Milledge A. (Mitch) Hart III will deliver the keynote.

SMU Veterans pinThe luncheon will also feature live entertainment from the Meadows School of the Arts Brass Quintet, as well as the annual presentation of SMU Veterans lapel pins (pictured right).

In addition, the event will serve as a collection point for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s annual Toys for Tots drive. All members of the SMU community can drop off new, unwrapped toys and other holiday gifts for underprivileged children and teens. (Toys for Tots prefers not to accept realistic-looking toy weapons or gifts that include food items, according to the organization’s FAQ.)

Organizers are compiling a service slideshow featuring photos of SMU veterans. If you have photographs taken during your service period and would like for them to be included in the presentation, please send the photos and your service dates to the Maguire Center.

The event is presented by SMU’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility. Thanks to a generous gift, Veterans Day luncheon tickets are complimentary for all SMU faculty, staff and students.

The Center also invites families, friends and loved ones of campus veterans to attend. Please RSVP by Monday, Nov. 6, 2017.

Attendance is free – but seating is limited, and registration is required. Sign up at the link below, or contact the Maguire Center, 214-768-4255.

> Register at Eventbrite to attend SMU’s 2017 Veterans Day luncheon

Building, crossing, and burning “Bridges” at TEDxSMUWomen 2017, Thursday, Nov. 2

TEDxSMUWomen 2017

TEDxSMUWomen returns to the Hilltop Thursday, Nov. 2, with a full schedule that includes a simulcast of TEDWomen 2017 live from New Orleans and on-campus speakers.

The independently organized TED event takes on this year’s TEDWomen theme, “Bridges,” from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Hughes-Trigg Student Center. The day includes two sessions with Dallas speakers, plus workshops and networking opportunities for all attendees.

Organizers announced the lineup of local speakers on the TEDxSMUWomen Facebook page. They include:

  • Stephanie Bernal, vice president, Bernstein Private Wealth Management
  • Catelyn Devlin, general manager, CASA of Tarrant County
  • Greeting card writer turned leadership expert Tara Jaye Frank
  • Connector, activist and catalyst Mercedes Fulbright
  • Communication professional and SMU instructor Liz Navarro
  • Becca Weigman, owner and CEO of TM Advertising

All members of the SMU and Dallas communities are welcome to attend. Tickets are $27 for general admission, $56 for a VIP ticket that includes lunch and a TED-branded gift.

> Learn more at the TEDxSMUWomen 2017 homepage

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