DeGolyer Library

Congressman Sam Johnson ’51 creates scholarship fund, donates archive to SMU

Rep. Sam Johnson, SMU Class of 1951As Congressman and war hero Sam Johnson ’51 prepares to retire from the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, he is making two gifts to SMU that will support the education of military veterans and preserve for future study papers and materials from a 29-year military career and 26 years in Congress.

A gift of $100,000 will establish The Hon. Sam Johnson Endowed Military Scholarship Fund, with the Collin County Business Alliance (CCBA) providing seed funding to make the scholarship operational for the 2018-19 academic year. Members of the student U.S. Military Veterans of SMU (SMU MilVets) joined the CCBA for the scholarship gift announcement in early October.

SMU’s Board of Trustees and President R. Gerald Turner will celebrate both the scholarship and the donation of Rep. Johnson’s papers and other materials to the University during an on-campus reception at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, in Fondren Library.

“SMU helped shape me into the person I am today, and I can’t think of a better way to say thank you to my alma mater than with this scholarship and library gift,” Johnson said. “I’m grateful to join SMU in making a commitment to the military and its families by helping these deserving individuals achieve their higher education. And I’m hopeful that this library archive will help inspire future generations to build a legacy of service on behalf of others and our great nation.”

Johnson’s archive will be housed in DeGolyer Library, SMU’s special collections repository.

“We have always been proud to hold up Sam Johnson as an example to our students,” Turner said.  “His courage and strength of character helped him survive nearly seven years as a prisoner during the Vietnam War. The military veterans on our campus who benefit from his support will be doubly proud that their scholarships carry his name, and we will all benefit from the donation of his archive.”

“Congressman Sam Johnson has made a tremendous, positive impact on our community that will continue to be felt by generations to come. His distinguished legacy endures with his scholarship for military students, which will widen opportunities for deserving men and women who have unselfishly served our country,” said CCBA Chairman and President, Capital One Financial Services, Sanjiv Yajnik.

Johnson received a Distinguished Alumni Award from SMU in 1994, the highest honor the University bestows on its graduates.

Johnson, 86, grew up in Dallas.  He began his career in public service in ROTC at SMU, where he also was a member of Delta Chi and Alpha Kappa Psi fraternities, and graduated in 1951 with a B.B.A. degree in insurance and real estate. He and Shirley Melton Johnson ’51 married the year before they graduated. Mrs. Johnson passed away in 2015.

During his 29-year career in the U.S. Air Force, Johnson served as the director of the Air Force Fighter Weapons School and was one of two authors of the air tactics manual that is still used today. After retiring as a colonel from the Air Force in 1979, Johnson started a home-building business in North Dallas. He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1985, where he served until winning the race for Texas’ 3rd congressional district in 1991. Johnson announced in a January letter to his constituents that he plans to retire at the end of his term in 2018.

SMU and the Johnson family welcome additional contributions to The Hon. Sam Johnson Endowed Military Scholarship Fund. Gifts may be made here.

— Written by Kenny Ryan

> Read the full story from SMU News

Calendar Highlights: Sept. 17, 2014

BwjF4ZXCEAAqvAlRonald Reagan and the Struggle Over Apartheid: As part of the Presidential Forum lecture series, the SMU Center for Presidential History presents “Ronald Reagan and the Struggle Over Apartheid.” Co-sponsored by the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute’s Seminar “Global Africa: Between Intervention and Engagement,” the event will feature a discussion between two distinguished guests: Rozell W. “Prexy” Nesbitt and Piero Gleijeses. The event will take place Wednesday, Sept. 17 from 5-7 p.m. in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. Register for the forum online.

Professor Emeritus Darwin Payne Book Signing: DeGolyer Library and Friends of the SMU Libraries presents Professor Emeritus Darwin Payne and his new book, No Small Dreams: J. Erik Jonsson – Texas Visionary. Payne shares the biography of J. Erik Jonsson, the industrialist who led Texas Instruments during its rise to become one of the nation’s leading electronics firms. The event will take place Thursday, Sept. 18, 6 p.m. in DeGolyer Library. For additional information or to RSVP, e-mail DeGolyer Library.

Economics Seminar Series: The Department of Economics presents Denis Nekipelov from the Departments of Economics and Computer Science at the University of Virginia. Dr. Nekipelov will share his recent work on advertising Friday, Sept. 19, 2 p.m. in 303 Umphrey Lee. For more information about the seminar series, click here.

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 11.25.52 AM Happiness Symposia: Continuing its two-month series on “Happiness: What Makes you Smile?,” the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute presents Peter Huang from the University of Colorado Law School Friday, Sept. 19. Dr. Huang will share how happiness research can inform legal policy, as well as improve legal education and practice. The event will take place in McCord Auditorium at 5 p.m. For more information, e-mail Elizabeth Fielding.

Friday Night Stampede: Celebrate the 100th season of SMU Athletics and the first home football game by joining SMU for a special Friday Night Stampede on Sept. 19. Put on your red spirit attire and head out for the dedication of the new Mustang Band Hall at 7 p.m. Stick around for a block party starting at 7:30 p.m. on Mustang Mall. Then at 8:30 p.m. enjoy a Mustang Band concert and pep rally Doak Walker Plaza. For more information, visit the SMU Stampede homepage.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Book Signing: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand presents Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World Sunday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Theater. Off the Sidelines is New York Senator Gillibrand’s call to action encouraging every woman and girl to make their voice heard on issues they care about. This event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase.

World Peace Day: Celebrate World Peace Day with live music, poetry, food and special guest speakers from Human Rights Initiative, Dallas Peace Center, and other local organizations. The event will take place Sunday, Sept. 21, 4-7 p.m. on the Quad in front of Dallas HallFor more information, e-mail Amber Jackson.

Campus celebrates Veterans Day 2013

SMU Veterans pinVeterans Day 2013 is Monday, Nov. 11, and SMU will honor its military vets in many ways this week:

• SMU’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility will present SMU Veteran lapel pins to all University vets – students, faculty and staff – to recognize their service and identify their membership with the University’s veteran community. The Maguire Center will present pins 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11 at the Main Quad flagpole. In addition, Ruthie’s Rolling Café will offer free sandwiches to vets wearing their pins.

• The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum will offer free admission to all veterans, retirees, active duty, National Guard, Reserve, and Coast Guard service members on Veterans Day. The Museum is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Veterans Day 2013; the offer is good for all tickets sold at the admissions desk that day, but not applicable to tickets sold online. Any service member participating in the free admission offer will be asked to show a form of identification upon purchasing their tickets. For more information, e-mail bush43media@nara.gov.

• The Office of the Provost hosts a luncheon honoring veterans 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14 in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center. The keynote speaker is U.S. Army Col. Miguel Howe (Ret.), director of the Military Service Initiative in the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Special presentations will also be made by:

  • SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Ludden
  • University Chief Information Officer Joe Gargiulo (U.S. Navy 1975-77, U.S. Navy Reserve 1978-80)
  • SMU Chief of Police Richard Shafer (U.S. Air Force 1973-94)
  • SMU Color Guard
  • Associate Vice President for Campus Services Julie Wiksten ’78, ’92
  • Brandon Montgomery ’14, president, U.S. Military Veterans of SMU (U.S. Marine Corps 2005-10)
  • Blake Helm ’14 (M.B.A.), vice president, Cox Veterans in Business (U.S. Army, 2005-12)

• In addition, the Office of the Provost and SMU Military Veterans are collecting holiday toys and care package items during the luncheon. Please bring a new unwrapped toy for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys For Tots program and personal items for active-duty U.S. military service members. Visit the United Service Organizations (USO) website for a list of suggested care package items.

• SMU’s Central University Libraries invite you to view one of DeGolyer Library’s finest collections in digitized form: the Melvin C. Shaffer World War II Photographs. Shaffer’s evocative images depict the indigenous populations and local conditions of North Africa, Italy, Southern France, and Germany from 1943 to 1945. Included are 19 images of Mount Vesuvius that depict the volcano before, during and after its eruption in 1944.

SMUSA’s Fall 2013 Staff Day takes place Oct. 31

Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad Company timetable from 1880

An 1880 timetable from the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad Company (“Always On Time”) is an example of the finds that await in “Treasures of the DeGolyer Library: 100 Years of Collecting.” DeGolyer Director Russell Martin will lead a tour of the exhibition during SMU Staff Day, Oct. 31, 2013.

University staff members can learn more about everything from consumer rights in identity-theft cases to the new Residential Commons during SMU Staff Day Thursday, Oct. 31 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center lower level.

The event will feature a 50-year perspective on the Kennedy assassination, as well as the annual Staff Talent Show presented by the SMU Staff Association.

Learn more about Staff Day sessions

The planned sessions also include a workshop on stress management, an overview of SMU library services for staff, and a tour of the new exhibition Treasures of the DeGolyer Library: 100 Years of Collecting led by DeGolyer Director Russell Martin.

Lunch will be available during the Talent Show for $9.99 per person at the door. You may attend the Talent Show without buying lunch; a $2 contribution at the door is suggested.

> RSVP and find more information at the SMU Staff Association website

Calendar Highlights: Oct. 8, 2013

Brown Bag Dance: The popular Brown Bag Dance Series returns Oct. 7-11, 2013. Twice a year, Meadows Division of Dance students create and perform their own choreography in this week-long series, ranging from modern to ballet to hip-hop to jazz. Performances are at noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 12:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday in the Bob Hope Theatre Lobby, Owen Arts Center.

wyatt earp

A Vigilante Life: Historian Andrew C. Isenberg will discuss his new book, Wyatt Earp: A Vigilante Life, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8. Earp is famously known as “the hero of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, and a beacon of rough justice in the tumultuous American West.” However, Isenberg will talk about how Earp created this fictitious hero because in reality he led the life of a lawbreaking conman. Isenberg is a historian of the American environment, the American West, and the encounter between natives and settlers at Temple University. He is also the editor of The Nature of Cities: Culture, Landscape, and Urban Space. The reception begins at 6 p.m. and the lecture follows at 6:30 p.m. in DeGolyer Library. Books will be available for signing and registration is required. Update: Registration is now closed due to high demand.

Visiting Artist Lecture Series: Artist Lilian Garcia-Roig will come to SMU Wednesday, Oct. 9 for the Meadows Visiting Artist Lecture Series. Garcia-Roig received her B.F.A. from SMU Meadows and her M.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She is known for using thick thrashes of paint to produce lavish landscapes, and her style is an oscillation between realism and abstraction. The lecture begins at 7 p.m. in Umphrey Lee Room 241.

SYZYGY: The Meadows New Music Ensemble will perform with Nadia Sirota on Thursday, Oct. 10. Sirota is a violist and 2013 Meadows Prize Winner and will perform alongside Meadows composition students as they premiere their new works. The performance is at 8 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium and is free of charge. To stay updated with everything SYZYGY follow them on Twitter @meadowsSYZYGY.

Georgievskaya low res 9273Faculty Recital: Liudmila Georgievskaya will perform in a Faculty Piano Recital Friday, Oct. 11. Georgievskaya is a an award-winning pianist and a Meadows adjunct lecturer in piano and Coordinator of Accompanying. She is an honors graduate of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and received her Artist Certificate from the Meadows School in 2010. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center.

Happy Fall Break 2013 Oct. 14-15! Classes will resume on Wednesday, Oct. 16. 

SMU’s DeGolyer Library celebrates Joe Coomer’s life in letters

Author Joe Coomer, SMU '81

Award-winning author and SMU alumnus Joe Coomer will be celebrated in a retrospective exhibition running through May 24 at SMU’s DeGolyer Library.

The career and achievements of acclaimed author and SMU alumnus Joe Coomer is celebrated in a retrospective exhibition running through Friday, May 24, 2013 in SMU’s DeGolyer Library.

“Joe Coomer: A Life in Letters” explores Coomer’s creative process using handwritten drafts, manuscripts, galleys, letters, first editions, translations and other materials drawn from the literary archive he recently donated to DeGolyer Library.

The gift of more than 20 boxes of materials includes essays and stories, tests, a transcript and other papers from Coomer’s time as an undergraduate in SMU’s creative writing program. He graduated in 1981.

Known for his graceful prose and memorable characters, Coomer has published eight works of fiction, two non-fiction books and one collection of poetry. His writing has been praised by The Boston Globe as “fresh and authentic” and as “compelling” and a “genuine pleasure” by The New York Times.

The Decatur Road: A Novel of the Appalachian Hill Country by Joe Coomer

A 30th-anniversary edition of Joe Coomer’s debut novel, ‘The Decatur Road: A Novel of the Appalachian Hill Country,’ has been published by SMU’s DeGolyer Library. Coomer graduated from the University in 1981.

“Joe Coomer is one of the great voices to emerge from SMU’s English department and creative writing program,” says Russell L. Martin III ’78, ’86, DeGolyer director. “We are honored and delighted to have his papers, where they will join our growing collection of the archives of other contemporary writers. It is also fitting, during SMU’s centennial, that we recognize our own.”

A 30th-anniversary edition of Coomer’s debut novel, The Decatur Road: A Novel of the Appalachian Hill Country, will be published by DeGolyer Library in conjunction with the exhibit. He will sign copies and talk about his work at a reception and lecture Thursday, April 18 as part of the SMU Founders’ Day weekend. The event will begin at 6 p.m. at the library and will be free and open to the public.

First published in 1983, the book won the Jesse A. Jones Award for Best Work of Fiction from the Texas Institute of Arts and Letters in 1984. He started writing the book as an SMU student.

“I wrote three of the short segments for an independent study with Marsh [Terry]. He liked them, so after I graduated, I wrote 55 more,” Coomer says.

Terry ’53, ’54, who retired in 2007 as the E. A. Lilly Professor of English, founded the creative writing program and the SMU Literary Festival and became Coomer’s mentor and friend.

“Joe Coomer transferred into SMU and came to my office in Dallas Hall and asked, ‘Are you the writing teacher?’ I nodded my head and did my best, and Joe turned out to be the leader of our nationally celebrated SMU Literary Festival. John Updike and Raymond Carver heard him read at the festival and were impressed,” Terry recalls.

> Read the full story from SMU News

 

New DeGolyer Library exhibit features rare Civil War photographs

Pontoon Bridge over Rio Grande River at Brownsville.

Pontoon Bridge over Rio Grande River at Brownsville, ca. 1866, Louis de Planque (attributed) Robin Stanford Collection. View facing Levee Street in Brownsville during Federal occupation. African American soldier from 114th U.S. Colored Troops in the foreground.

A new exhibit at SMU’s DeGolyer Library features rare Civil War images of African American slave life, Southern battlefield scenes and camp life for Union and Confederate soldiers.

“The Civil War in Photographs: New Perspectives from the Robin Stanford Collection” (through March 15, 2013) represents the first time the more than 300 photographs and stereoscope views have been exhibited.

Robin Stanford of Houston has spent the last 40 years assembling the collection. Its strengths include pre-war and wartime Southern views by local photographers and views by northern photographers who documented Union-occupied areas of the South. Her collection also includes images of the daily life of soldiers at mealtime, playing cards and writing letters. Extremely rare Texas Civil War images also are included.

The highlights include:

  • Pre-war slave life with photographs of slave quarters, workshops and plantation life.
  • Images of a damaged Ft. Sumter, South Carolina, after Union troops surrendered and evacuated in 1861.
  • Battlegrounds and scenes rarely photographed, particularly in Southern locations such as Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana.
  • African American soldiers and regiments.
  • Union soldiers in Brownsville, Texas, guarding the U.S. border.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. Library hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

A 95-page catalog of the exhibit, The Civil War in Photographs: New Perspectives from the Robin Stanford Collection, is available for $20. The catalog was created by exhibit curator Anne Peterson.

For more information, visit the DeGolyer Library homepage or call 214-768-2253.

Written by Nancy George

> See more photos from the exhibit at SMU News

Calendar Highlights: Sept. 21, 2012

Ilona Romule: Creamer Horse (courtesy of Ferrin Gallery)

Art smart: Ceramicist Ilona Romule will be at SMU Monday, Sept. 24, to give the Meadows Visiting Artist Lecture. Romule’s unique work is simultaneously two-and three-dimensional: She draws figures on the sides of her pots and sculpts them partially emerging from the pots as three-dimensional forms. She is a member of the International Academy of Ceramics and has participated in international competitions and exhibitions. The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. in the Greer Garson Screening Room of the Owen Arts Center and is free to the public.

SYZGY: The Meadows new music ensemble SYZGY will open its 2012-13 season Friday, Sept. 28 with a program featuring work by composer John Adams and led by ensemble director Matt Albert. The strings, winds and percussions can be heard at 8 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium. Tickets are $7 for students, faculty and staff. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

Raúl Coronado

“We the Pueblo of Texas”: The Gilbert Lecture Series kicks off at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, with an event focused on Latino studies and hosted by Raúl Coronado. Coronado is an assistant professor at the University of Chicago, a past resident of SMU as a Bill and Rita Clements Fellow for the Study of Southwestern America, and the author of A World Not to Come: A History of 19th-Century Latino Writing, Print Culture, and the Disenchantment of the World. Coronado is currently working on a study of the historical emergence of queer Latino/a subjectivities; hear all of his insights in DeGolyer Library.

True to Texas: Y’all are in for a treat, because the 2012 State Fair of Texas begins Friday, Sept. 28 and runs daily through Saturday, Oct. 21. The fair kicks off with a ceremony at 7 a.m. and a parade through downtown Dallas at noon. Highlights include the Reliant Starlight Parade, the State Fair Auto Show, livestock shows, the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, the Chevrolet Main Stage featuring artists like Kellie Pickler and Kevin Fowler, and all the fried food your heart desires. General admission is $16; call 214-565-9931 for more information.

Faculty artistry: Chee-Yun Kim and Alessio Bax are more than SMU faculty members: They are also internationally renowned musicians who have won the Avery Fisher Career Grant. At 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, Chee-Yun will play the violin and Bax the piano as they perform pieces from composers Ferruccio Busoni and Beethoven as part of the Faculty Artist and Distinguished Alumni Recital Series. The performance is in Caruth Auditorium and costs $7 for students, faculty and staff. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

Calendar Highlights: Sept. 13, 2012

Graphic poetry: Together the Meadows Museum and Bridwell Library acquired a copy of Picasso’s Vingt Poëmes. This is one of fifteen deluxe copies of the book itself and features 20 sonnets by famed Spanish poet Luis de Góngora y Argote; complementing the sonnets are 19 full-page etched female heads. The artist’s book is available for viewing in the Meadows Museum Sept. 16, 2012  Jan. 13, 2013. This exhibit is free for students, faculty and staff.

Rock the vote: Join SMU as we celebrate the U.S. Constitution in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Commons 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18. Participants will have the opportunity to win prizes for their Constitution knowledge as well as register to vote for the 2012 Presidential election Nov. 6. Don’t miss this opportunity – remember, every vote counts! For more information, contact Lisa O’Donnell or 214-768-9206.

Bon voyage: If the travel bug has bitten your students, remind them to stop by the SMU Abroad Fair. SMU offers 148 study abroad programs in 50 countries. At the fair, students can find out the requirements for study abroad and hear from past abroad students about their experiences. Travel to the Owen Arts Center Lobby from 11 a.m. -1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19 for all the information.

Local borders: Join Anthony Mora, associate professor of history, American culture, and Latina/o studies at the University of Michigan, as he discusses the New Mexican towns Las Cruces and La Mesilla, and how they shaped Mexicans’ historic role in the United States. Las Cruces was built north of the border while La Mesilla was built south of the border, creating conflicting views of the relations of race and nation. This topic is the focus of his recent book, Border Dilemmas: Racial and National Uncertainties in New Mexico, 1848-1912. His lecture, “Local Borders: Two Towns and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary,” will be held 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012,  in DeGolyer Library. and is presented by SMU’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies. It’s free and open to the public.

Sweet symphony: The 2012-13 season of the Meadows Symphony Orchestra opens Friday, Sept. 21, with 19th- and 20th-century works. The program includes Symphony No. 1: Holocaust by Simon Sargon, Meadows professor of composition, with guest artist Kelly Markgraf, noted American baritone. Performances begin at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21 and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23 in Caruth Auditorium. Tickets are $7 for students, faculty and staff. Call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS for more information. (Below, photo courtesy Meadows School of the Arts.)

Research: New insight into a 19th-century fossil feud

In the late 1800s, a flurry of fossil speculation across the American West escalated into a high-profile national feud called the Bone Wars. Drawn into the spectacle were two scientists from the Lone Star State: geologist Robert T. Hill, now acclaimed as the Father of Texas Geology, and naturalist Jacob Boll, who made many of the state’s earliest fossil discoveries.

Hill and Boll had supporting roles in the Bone Wars through their work for one of the feud’s antagonists, Edward Drinker Cope, according to a new study by SMU’s Louis Jacobs, a vertebrate paleontologist in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College.

The study by Jacobs expands knowledge about Cope’s work with Hill and Boll. It also unveils new details about the Bone Wars in Texas that Jacobs deciphered from 13 letters written by Cope to Hill. Jacobs discovered the letters in an archive of Hill’s papers at SMU’s DeGolyer Library. The letters span seven years, from 1887 to 1894.

Hill, who worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, not only provided Cope with fossils of interest but also shared geological information about fossil locales.

Boll, who was a paid collector for Cope — as was the practice at the time — supplied the well-known paleontologist with many fossils from Texas. More than 30 of the taxa ultimately named by Cope were fossils collected by Boll.

“Fossils collected by Boll and studied by Cope have become some of the most significant icons in paleontology,” said Jacobs, president of SMU’s Institute for the Study of Earth and Man. His study, “Jacob Boll, Robert T. Hill, and the Early History of Vertebrate Paleontology in Texas,” is published in the journal Historical Biology as part of the conference volume of the 12th International Symposium on Early Vertebrates/Lower Vertebrates.

Jacobs describes the late 1800s as a period of intense fossil collecting. The Bone Wars were financed and driven by Cope and his archenemy, Othniel Charles Marsh. The two were giants of paleontology whose public feud brought the discovery of dinosaur fossils to the forefront of the American psyche.

Over the course of nearly three decades, however, their competition evolved into a costly, self-destructive, vicious all-out war to see who could outdo the other. Despite their aggressive and sometimes unethical tactics to outwit one another and steal each other’s hired collectors, Cope and Marsh made major contributions to the field of paleontology, Jacobs said.

Written by Margaret Allen

> Read the full story at the SMU Research blog

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