Reminder: Staff Celebration and Convocation, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017


President R. Gerald Turner has invited the entire SMU community to the University’s relaunched staff recognition day on Thursday, Oct. 5. 2017.

The new Staff Celebration and Convocation, created by the SMU Staff Association (SMUSA) in collaboration with the Office of Operational Excellence, will take place at 10:30 a.m. in McFarlin Auditorium. A reception with light refreshments will precede the ceremony at 10 a.m.

> RSVP for the Staff Celebration and Convocation at

The event is for all staff members, and President Turner will give his traditional State of SMU address as the keynote. University Registrar John Hall, SMU’s longest-serving staff member, is the featured speaker.

Staff members who have achieved 25 years of service to SMU will be honored, as well as the 2017 President’s Award and Loretta O’Reilly Hawkins Award recipients. The ceremony with also recognize staff members who have continued their SMU service beyond 25 years, and previous President’s and Loretta Hawkins Award recipients.

> Visit the SMU Staff Association online


Staff Celebration and Convocation scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017


The SMU Staff Association, in collaboration with the Office of Operational Excellence, has created a new Staff Celebration and Convocation program honoring SMU staff excellence. The ceremony is for all SMU staff members and will take place at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017 in McFarlin Auditorium.

President R. Gerald Turner will give his traditional State of SMU address as the keynote during the event. University Registrar John Hall, SMU’s longest-serving staff member, will be the featured speaker.

Staff members who have achieved 25 years of service to SMU will be honored, as well as the 2017 Presidential and Loretta Hawkins Award recipients. The ceremony with also recognize staff members who have continued their SMU service beyond 25 years, and previous Presidential and Loretta Hawkins Award recipients.

A reception with light refreshments will precede the ceremony at 10 a.m. For more information, visit the SMU Staff Association website.


2011 Honors Day Convocation moves to April 11

SMU’s 14th Annual Honors Day Convocation, originally scheduled for Monday, April 18, has been moved to Monday, April 11 at 5:30 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium, according to an e-mail sent Thursday, Feb. 17 by University Registrar John Hall.

The date has been changed to reflect the 2011 Passover observance April 19-26. The holiday begins at sunset April 18.

Students being recognized at the Honors Day Convocation will be notified in late March. The entire University community is encouraged to attend the ceremony.

Pres. Turner to become first member of new honors chapter

Tau Sigma National Honor Society logoSMU President R. Gerald Turner will be a special guest – and the honorary first member – at the charter and inaugural induction ceremony of SMU’s Gamma Beta Chapter of Tau Sigma National Honor Society. The celebration takes place at 4 p.m. April 22 in Conference Rooms 108 and 110, Blanton Student Services Building.

The ceremony will establish the honor society’s SMU chapter, as well as recognize the academic excellence that students have exemplified in their first semesters after transferring to the University, says Registrar John Hall.

Tau Sigma was founded specifically to “recognize and promote the academic excellence and involvement of transfer students,” according to the honor society’s website.

President Turner is SMU’s most prominent transfer student – during his college years, he received an Associate of Arts degree from Lubbock Christian University before transferring to Abilene Christian University. Upon his induction as an honorary member, he will become SMU’s first chapter member. Forty-one current University transfer students will join him as the chapter’s inaugural class.

Nancy Skochdopole, director of the Registrar’s Office of Transfer and Transition Services, initiated the chapter’s founding to help enhance and solidify all aspects of the transfer experience.

> Visit the Office of the Registrar online

SMU debuts new regalia during Commencement 2009

SMU's new custom regalia for 2009

This May, for the first time in SMU’s near-century of existence, the University’s graduating class will wear red and blue during Commencement ceremonies. The new custom regalia will make its debut during the 94th all-University ceremony at 9:30 a.m. May 16.

The new robes are the result of a 3-year team effort led by the Office of the Registrar. That group included Political Science Professor Brad Carter, SMU’s chief marshal from May 1990 to December 2008. Professor of Economics Tom Fomby succeeds Carter as chief marshal beginning with the May 2009 ceremony.

With the red and blue robes, the University has become part of a national trend toward custom regalia, “but to my mind, it’s more than that,” Carter says. “SMU has always had some of the best ceremonies and Commencement weekends of any school. And this seemed to be a sort of culminating act. It would highlight the particular brand of SMU, it would be beautiful, and it would be very localized and non-generic, yet elegant.”

The ad hoc selection team included Carter, Assistant Registrar for Academic Ceremonies Gretchen Voight, Director of Transfer and Articulation Services Nancy Skochdopole, University Registrar John Hall, Associate Provost Tom Tunks, Provost Paul Ludden, Vice President for Development and External Affairs Brad Cheves and President R. Gerald Turner.

“We had prepared our speech about why custom regalia was a good idea,” Hall says, recalling the first meeting with President Turner. “Then Gerald came into the room, went to one of the samples, and said, ‘Well, I don’t know if that’s the right color red.’ He had accepted the premise already, and now we just had to work out the details. I spent three nights writing that speech and never gave it.”

Choosing the perfect shade of blue was a bigger challenge, Voight says. “The first fabric sample we got was electric blue,” the color of a water-bottle cap, she says. Manufacturer Herff Jones helped to refine colors, fabrics, piping and other details, in close consultation with the regalia committee.

SMU custom doctor's gown, front viewThe team also worked with Herff Jones to develop unique regalia for each degree level. The bachelor’s robe includes a red “Stole of Gratitude,” to be kept by the new graduate after the robe is returned, and traditionally presented to an individual who had a profound influence on his or her education. The master’s robe features tabbed sleeves and a single SMU logo on the left lapel.

New doctoral regalia includes gold piping around velvet chevrons and SMU logos embroidered in gold. It has been approved by Deans John Attanasio and William Lawrence for use by Dedman School of Law and Perkins School of Theology graduates, as well as Ph.D. and other doctoral recipients. SMU trustees will wear the doctoral robes without hoods for the 2009 ceremonies; their new regalia is still in the design stage.

The University has a 7-year agreement with Herff Jones to provide the custom regalia. Seven years is the average life span of a rental robe, but SMU’s attire may remain in good condition for much longer, Hall says. “The typical black rental robe may be used as many as 12 times a year, but ours will only be used twice a year,” he adds.

The results will do SMU graduates proud for years to come. “I’m a Commencement traditionalist, and I couldn’t imagine not having black robes – but these are just beautiful,” Skochdopole says.

Top: SMU’s new custom regalia for doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degree recipients (left to right). Lower left: A front view of the new doctoral robe and tam. Photos courtesy of Herff Jones.

How to rent, buy and wear regalia, courtesy of the Registrar’s Office

Staff Association seeks board nominations for 2008-09

The SMU Staff Association is seeking nominations for several positions on its 2008-09 Executive Board. Staff members are encouraged to recommend colleagues or themselves for the open positions.

The organization seeks nominees for the following:

  • President-Elect
  • Vice President, Programming
  • Vice President, Service and Activities
  • Vice President, Marketing and Communications
  • Director of Administration
  • Treasurer

The following staff members hold continuing positions on the 2008-09 board:

  • President – John Hall, Enrollment Services
  • Past-President – Bill Dworaczyk, Central University Libraries
  • Vice President, Staff Development – Lisa Morris, Risk Management

Send your recommendations by May 6 to John Hall, chair of the Nominations Committee, or Bill Dworaczyk, member of the Nominations Committee.