Gaming guru Jane McGonigal delivers Tate Lecture Nov. 13, 2012

Jane McGonigalGamer, game designer, author and futurist Jane McGonigal is on the Hilltop Tuesday, Nov. 13 for SMU’s 2012-13 Tate Distinguished Lecture Series. She will give the Oncor Lecture at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium.

McGonigal’s work emphasizes the power of games to solve problems. Named by The New York Times as one of 10 scientists with the best vision for what is coming next, and by Oprah Winfrey as one of the 20 most inspiring women in the world, she is an expert in harnessing the power of digital games to help solve some of the biggest challenges facing the world today and in the future.

In her New York Times best-selling book Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, McGonigal makes the case that the gamer spirit — an attitude of fun, dedicated, collective problem-solving — is our greatest asset as we face the social, economic and environmental problems of the 21st century. She argues that game designers are “happiness engineers” who are experts in making difficult tasks engaging.

Follow Jane McGonigal on Twitter @AvantGame

As a world-renowned designer of alternate-reality games (ARGs), McGonigal specializes in reimagining the world as a place where every challenge is a quest — where the harder a task is, the more people want to do it. An ARG activity can be as mundane as household chores or as urgent as surviving peak oil or establishing local sustainable businesses (the subjects of two of her own games). But more than just reframing these challenges, McGonigal works to capture the kind of heroism, epic purpose and communal striving that many struggle to find in their day-to-day routines.

McGonigal is the chief creative officer of SuperBetter Labs (formerly Social Chocolate) and has keynoted the Game Developers Conference, South By Southwest and Google Zeitgeist Americas. She also serves as director of game research and development with Institute for the Future, a nonprofit research group based in Palo Alto, California. Her TED 2010 speech attracted more than 1.7 million views. She also played a high-profile role at the 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January.

A native of Philadelphia and a former New Yorker, McGonigal lives in San Francisco with her husband, Kiyash. She earned her B.A. degree in English from Fordham University and her Ph.D. in performance studies from the University of California-Berkeley.

The evening lecture is sold out, but SMU students may attend for free with their University ID if seats become available. McGonigal will answer questions from University community members and local high school students in the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.

The Forum is free, but seating is limited. SMU faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend; RSVP online to ensure a place. To ask McGonigal a question via Twitter, send a tweet with the hashtag #SMUtateMcGonigal. A moderator will ask some of these questions during the event.

Learn more about this year’s Tate Lectures at

Calendar Highlights: Nov. 13, 2012

Tate Lecture: The third Tate lecture of the semester will feature Jane McGonigal, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. McGonigal is the author of Reality is Broken and is known as a visionary in the gaming world. Her lecture will focus on the idea of applying the gamer spirit to the problems that we face in the 21st century. The student forum is at 4:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Ballroom and the lecture is at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium.

MJO: The Meadows School of the Arts invites you to hear the Meadows Jazz Orchestra in a free concert Tuesday, Nov. 13. The ensemble will perform works focused on the traditions of large ensemble jazz as well as new works by Director Akira Sato and Meadows faculty and students. Sato is a trumpet player, arranger and composer and has directed the Meadows Jazz Orchestra at SMU since 2011. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

Take a stand: The SMU Debate program presents a public debate on energy, Wednesday, Nov. 14. This event is free and open to the public for observation as well as participation. The debate starts at 6 p.m. in the O’Donnell Hall, Owen Arts Center (Room 2130).

Mexico’s melting pot: Clements Fellow Ruben Flores will speak on the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution and Mexico’s efforts to create a unified nation in the Clements Center Brown Bag Lecture Series Wednesday, Nov. 14. Flores is at SMU completing his manuscript The Beloved Communities: Mexico’s Melting Pot and the Making of American Civil Rights. The lecture starts at noon in the Texana Room of the Degolyer Library. Don’t forget your lunch!

Levine Lecture: Shalem Center founder Yoram Hazony visits SMU for a Levine Lecture in Jewish Studies Thursday, Nov. 15. Hazony, president of the Center’s Institute for Advanced Studies, will focus his lecture on whether the Bible can be read as a work of philosophy in narrative form. After the lecture Dr. Hazony’s most recent book will be available for purchase and signing. The lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. Please contact Rabbi Heidi Cortez  for more information.

Image c/o Steve Hofstetter

Looking for a laugh: The Program Council invites you to a night of stand-up comedy: Steve Hofstetter, know as the man of “comedy without apology,” is coming to SMU Thursday, Nov. 15. Hofstetter has appeared on numerous national TV shows, has written three books and released three albums. He is a columnist with College Humor and visits over 100 colleges every year. The stand-up starts at 8 p.m. in the Hughes Trigg Theater.

In C: SYZYGY and DJ Dennis DeSantis invite SMU to a collaborative remix performance of Terry Riley’s In C. On Friday, Nov. 16, the sounds of pianos, percussion, strings, winds and singers will be heard with DJ DeSantis and Meadows ensemble director Mat Albert. This unique performance begins at 8 p.m. in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center, and is $7 for faculty, staff and students