Each holiday season, more than 80,000 people visit Dallas’ NorthPark Center to see the most elaborate toy train exhibit in Texas. And in 2012, the scale locomotives – including an SMU railcar – roll past Dallas Hall in honor of the historic landmark’s 100th birthday.
The Trains at NorthPark celebrates its 25th anniversary supporting the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas and its 14th year at NorthPark Center in 2012. The exhibit encompasses 1,600 feet of track and more than 4,000 square feet of train-themed environments, with all the trimmings of the holiday train travel experience: steam engine and coach cars, a ticket booth and a train station.
This holiday season, SMU’s iconic oldest building joins a Dallas cityscape that includes the downtown skyline, the new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, the State Fair of Texas and the Cotton Bowl. Dallas Hall’s presence in the exhibit was made possible by the SMU Centennial Host Committee.
The miniature journey across America also includes New York City’s Times Square and Grand Central Station; the White House in Washington, D.C.; New England fall foliage; Albuquerque’s hot-air balloon festival; the Grand Canyon; Route 66; San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and many other sights and highlights.
The University marked Dallas Hall’s centennial in November with the placement of a plaque commemorating its 100 years as SMU’s center and focal point. The plaque is located next to the building’s southwest door, near the cornerstone laid by the University’s founders on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 1912.
Since 1987 The Trains at NorthPark has raised money for children and families served by the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. Currently this annual fundraiser provides the funds for almost one-third of the organization’s annual operating budget.
The Trains at NorthPark is located on the 2nd level of NorthPark Center, next to Barneys New York.
Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for children and seniors. The trains run through Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013.
Three students conducted Unbridled Projects during the program’s first year in 2011-12. The new group represents a more than 1,100 percent increase in participation. As the initiative begins its second year, “we are right where we hoped to be,” says Director of Engaged Learning Susan Kress.
“We’re very excited for the students,” Kress adds. “The University has invested a lot of effort in raising awareness of the opportunities available through this initiative, and those efforts have paid off.”
The students are especially gratified to know that faculty members are interested in their work and support their efforts, Kress adds. “And at the same time, faculty members are excited that this ties in to the ‘engaged teaching and learning’ happening in their classrooms.”
Junior Kimberly Mendoza (left), a double major in biological sciences and chemistry in SMU’s Dedman College, can attest to the importance and inspiration of engaged faculty. For her Unbridled Project, she will research health-related traditions, beliefs and practices in the indigenous Mayan community in Guatemala and evaluate how these values and beliefs occasionally clash with Western medicine. Nia Parson of the Department of Anthropology will serve as her faculty mentor.
During her first year at SMU, Mendoza took Parson’s course “Health, Healing and Ethics,” which examines cross-cultural perspectives on sickness and society. “It was one of the best classes I have taken at SMU,” she says. “Dr. Parson gave me so much insight into health as viewed from different perspectives. She also was very passionate about her anthropological work and health in a global perspective.”
When Mendoza decided to pursue an Unbridled Project, “I immediately thought of Dr. Parson, and she was so helpful to me throughout the application process.”
Mendoza’s mother is of indigenous Maya origin, but fled her native Guatemala during the civil war in the 1970s. “As a result, she did not grow up learning the traditions, culture, values and language that bind this group of people together,” Mendoza says. When her maternal grandmother, also an indigenous Maya, received medical treatment in the United States for a malignant brain tumor, Mendoza experienced first-hand how strongly those traditions and values are upheld. “I also witnessed the dichotomy between my grandmother’s spiritual and traditional beliefs and the Western medical system,” she says.
Through her Unbridled Project, Mendoza seeks to understand how to better relate to those who hold such traditional values and beliefs, she says. She plans to become a physician with an emphasis in global health and hopes to work with Doctors Without Borders.
“It is an intellectual treat for me to mentor Kimberly,” Parson says. “As a medical anthropologist, specializing in Latin America, I know how important and interesting her project is – not only because it illuminates the different ways people experience and think about health in Guatemala, but also because of the implications of this knowledge for our own health care systems.”
Mendoza’s research could help in providing better care for Guatemalan and other immigrants here in Dallas, Parson adds. “It is very gratifying to see Kimberly bringing together her family’s ties to Guatemala and her educational experience here at SMU.”
The Office of Engaged Learning provides institutional support for SMU’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), created as part of the University’s reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). “Engaged Learning Beyond the Classroom” allows all SMU undergraduate students to participate in at least one extensive experiential learning activity prior to graduation.
A full list of students who will pursue 2012-13 Unbridled Projects appears below the link.
The public festivities begin Friday, April 20 with groundbreaking for the University’s new Residential Commons as part of the Centennial Celebration beginning at 12:30 p.m. in Doak Walker Plaza. The event will be marked by the laying of a Centennial Cornerstone, a permanent tribute to the 100-year evolution of SMU’s campus and a new era of campus development.
Activities also include the extremely popular Inside SMU program, an afternoon of adult classes for alumni, parents and friends taught by SMU faculty, as well as the 2012 President’s Briefing.
Finally, SMU students and community members will meet up for popcorn, cotton candy and a free screening of “Forrest Gump” during Community Movie Night at 8 p.m. on the Main Quad, hosted by the SMU Program Council. Pack a picnic basket and bring blankets, lawn chairs and nonalcoholic beverages.
On Saturday, April 21, the University will welcome back alumni from the classes of 1961 and earlier for the 2012 Golden Mustangs reunion.
From 11 a.m.-1 p.m. that day, Meadows Museum hosts a Family Day celebration featuring knights, falconers, and SMU student performers with activities and medieval fun for all ages. Highlights include tours of the Museum’s latest blockbuster exhibition, The Invention of Glory: Afonso V and the Pastrana Tapestries, and its stunningly preserved 15th-century tapestries depicting the conquests of Asilah and Tangier by Afonso V, King of Portugal.
Designated as the third Friday in April each year, the day recognizes “the visionary institutions, organizations and individuals that founded the University on April 17, 1911,” according to the SMU 100 website.
The University marked the 100-year anniversary of its founding in 1911 and will mark the centennial of its opening in 1915 during The Second Century Celebration.
Ernest Jouriles, professor and chair of psychology, was named Dedman Family Distinguished Professor. Jouriles is a noted researcher and expert on children’s responses to family violence and violence in adolescent romantic relationships. As co-director of SMU’s Family Research Center, he has developed (with co-director Renee McDonald) a series of research-based intervention and assessment programs for children exposed to frequent and severe relationship violence. Jouriles joined the SMU faculty as chair of the Department of Psychology in 2003.
Political science, economics and public policy major Kevin Eaton received the Robert and Nancy Dedman Outstanding Senior Student Award. The President’s Scholar from Duncanville served as the student representative to the SMU Board of Trustees Committee on Academic Policy and was a community assistant with Residence Life and Student Housing, as well as an Honor Council member. After graduation, Eaton plans to attend law school and pursue a career in appellate advocacy for the U.S. government.
Dr. John F. Harper ’68, a clinical cardiologist with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, received the Dedman College Distinguished Graduate Award. A board-certified cardiologist and member of the Presbyterian Heart & Vascular Group, he has practiced his specialty for 33 years. Harper earned his M.D. degree from UT-Southwestern Medical School in 1972 and served his internship and residency, as well as a fellowship, with Parkland Memorial Hospital. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Dedman College.
Former Texas Governor William P. Clements Jr., a longtime major supporter of SMU academic programs, died May 29, 2011 in Dallas. He was 94 years old.
Clements’ relationship with SMU began in the mid-1930s, when he was an engineering student. Through the years he and his wife, Rita, have contributed more than $21 million for some of SMU’s highest academic priorities, including support for his special interest in the Southwest.
“Bill Clements’ generosity and guidance have made a significant impact on academic programs throughout SMU, with major gifts supporting engineering, theology, mathematics and history,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “By endowing the Clements Department of History, including a new Ph.D. program, and the Clements Center for Southwest Studies, he enabled students ranging from undergraduates to doctoral fellows to learn more about the history and cultures of this region. Bill and Rita Clements also made it possible for SMU to acquire, rebuild and offer academic programs at SMU-in-Taos, located on the site of historic Fort Burgwin in northern New Mexico. This facility has given generations of students and faculty a tremendous and unique resource for teaching, learning and research.
“Earlier, as chair of SMU’s Board from 1967-73 and again from 1983-86, Bill Clements led the formation of an endowment committee resulting in dramatic increases in market value. He led funding of the campus master plan that continues to guide our academic offerings, and with an eye for detail in bricks and mortar, he preserved the continuity of SMU’s Collegiate Georgian architecture.
“All this he accomplished with his typical no-nonsense approach and direct style of communication. His legacy as a business leader, public official and supporter of SMU will stand the test of time. He was a member of the SMU community for more than 70 years and he will be greatly missed.”
A memorial service honoring the life of Governor Clements will be held 4 p.m. Thursday, June 2 at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church.
Gifts to SMU in memory of Governor Clements can be directed to the William P. Clements Jr. Memorial Fund. Visit the SMU Giving homepage for information on how to make a gift to SMU.
Sherry Smith, University Distinguished Professor of History and associate director of the Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Dedman College, has received a 2009-10 Los Angeles Times Distinguished Fellowship from the Huntington Library. She will spend the next academic year doing research at the Huntington.
Hillsman S. Jackson, University Photographer, Public Affairs, has been named 2009-10 president of the Dallas chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP). Founded in 1944, the ASMP (originally the Society of Magazine Photographers and later the American Society of Magazine Photographers) has more than 5,000 members in 39 chapters nationwide. The organization “promotes photographers’ rights, educates photographers in better business practices, produces business publications for photographers and helps buyers find professional photographers.”
The Christmas tree that adorns the SMU Lyle School of Engineering holiday card is more than a colorfully lit symbol of the season. It’s a unique and festive embodiment of the capabilities of the School’s cutting-edge laboratories.
Designed and built in the Lyle School’s Research Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM), the tree features a 3-dimensional lattice structure, known for its strength and versatility in a variety of manufacturing applications. With an actual height and width of about 5 inches, the tree was “grown” in a vacuum chamber from thin layers of titanium-alloy powder and shaped by the controlled melting of an electron beam.
In the holiday card image by University photographer Hillsman S. Jackson, a high-power fiber laser stands in for a treetop star.
The RCAM refined the techniques used to construct the tree during a collaboration with Dallas’ Baylor College of Dentistry, says Radovan Kovacevic, Herman Brown Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of RCAM and the Center for Laser-aided Manufacturing (CLAM). Working with Baylor researchers, the Center has developed a way to manufacture a dental implant typically assembled from three pieces as a single piece. The unitary construction results in devices with fewer weak points at which breaks can occur.
The technology has many other potential applications in industries ranging from medicine to aviation, Kovacevic says. In the meantime, he says, the Lyle Christmas tree “is a good example of the complexity we can achieve.”
Three SMU graduate students in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences have been named the nation’s best at sorting and comparing vast amounts of computer data. Economics Ph.D. candidates Stefan Avdjiev, Jayjit Roy and Manan Roy won the 2008 Data Mining Shootout and its $5,000 prize based on their program logic and software solutions for a fictional airline trying to improve customer satisfaction with company responses to weather events.
More than 30 teams from universities and colleges across the country competed in the competition. SMU’s winning team was announced at a conference at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. It was the University’s first time to enter the competition, said faculty sponsor and economics professor Tom Fomby. “We were not only the newcomers,” Fomby said. “We were the winners.”
(Right, SMU President R. Gerald Turner, Jayjit Roy, Manan Roy, Stefan Avdjiev and Professor Tom Fomby. Photograph by Hillsman S. Jackson.)