When 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.
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.”
Inventor and scholar Ronald A. Rohrer, the Cecil & Ida Green Chair and Professor of Engineering in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering, has been named to The Academy of Medicine, Engineering, and Science of Texas (TAMEST). The nonprofit organization, founded in 2004, brings together the state’s top scientific, academic and corporate minds to support research in Texas.
The organization builds a stronger identity for Texas as an important destination and hub of achievement in these fields. Members of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and the state’s nine Nobel Laureates comprise its 270 members. The group has 18 member institutions, including SMU, across Texas.
Rohrer joins three other distinguished SMU faculty members in TAMEST — Fred Chang, executive director of the Lyle School’s Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security; Delores Etter, founding director of the Lyle School’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education and electrical engineering professor emeritus; and David Meltzer, Henderson-Morrison Chair and professor of prehistory in anthropology in Dedman College.
Considered one of the preeminent researchers in electronic design automation, Rohrer’s contributions to improving integrated circuit (IC) production have spanned over 50 years. Rohrer realized early on that circuit simulation was crucial to IC design for progress in size reduction and complexity. Among his achievements was introducing a sequence of circuit simulation courses at the University of California, Berkeley, that evolved into the SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis) tool, now considered the industry standard for IC design simulation. At Carnegie Mellon University, Rohrer introduced the Asymptotic Waveform Evaluation (AWE) algorithm, which enabled highly efficient timing simulations of ICs containing large numbers of parasitic elements.
“The appointment of Ron Rohrer into TAMEST will increase the visibility of Lyle’s outstanding faculty members,” said Marc P. Christensen, dean of the Lyle School of Engineering. “Through TAMEST, Rohrer will share his vast knowledge and inspire additional collaborative research relationships with other outstanding Texas professors and universities. This will elevate SMU and the state as a leading center of scholarship and innovation.”
Once an SMU electrical engineering professor back in the late 70’s, Rohrer rejoined the Lyle School as a faculty member in 2017. He is professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon and Rohrer’s career has included roles in academia, industrial management, venture capital, and start-up companies.
“I’ve stayed close to industry to be a practicing engineer and close to academia to conduct deeper research on hard problems,” said Rohrer.
According to Rohrer, one pressing problem is analog integrated circuit design automation, also the name of the project-based research course he’s currently teaching. “In the analog domain, it’s hard to design a 20-transistor circuit. My goal is to make analog integrated circuit design more accessible to students and industry, especially for our local corporate partners,” he said. “I want to get the ball rolling so younger engineers can keep it moving toward a complete solution.”
Along with his membership in TAMEST and the National Academy of Engineering, Rohrer is an IEEE Life Fellow. His professional service includes several other prominent positions with IEEE, AIEE, and U.S. government committees.
Rohrer is the author and co-author of five textbooks and more than 100 technical papers as well as the holder of six patents. He has received 11 major awards, including the IEEE Education Medal and the NEC C&C Prize.
He entered the NAE as part of a group of 80 new members and 22 foreign members who were elected in February. The citation honoring his admission lauded Chang, who is former director of research at the National Security Agency, “for leadership in cybersecurity research in the intelligence community and advancing the importance of cybersecurity science in academia.”
“I am proud to represent SMU, and honored to be a part of this prestigious assembly of people who have contributed so much to engineering and technology,” Chang said. “The mission of the National Academy of Engineering, to promote a vibrant engineering profession and provide independent advice to the federal government, has never been more important than it is today. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to support that mission.”
Chang joined SMU in September 2013 as Bobby B. Lyle Centennial Distinguished Chair in Cyber Security, computer science and engineering professor in the Lyle School of Engineering, and Senior Fellow in the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. The Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security, focused on the most pressing cyber challenges facing individuals, business and government today, was launched in the Lyle School in January 2014 with Chang as its director.
SMU trustee Bobby B. Lyle, for whom SMU’s engineering school is named, attended the induction ceremony with Chang.
“Dr. Chang’s election into membership of the National Academy of Engineering is a recognition that is well deserved, given the depth and breadth of his contributions to his profession and our nation,” Lyle said. “SMU is extremely proud that Dr. Chang has chosen to advance his important work in cybersecurity at the Lyle School of Engineering. His leadership in the field is an inspiration for our students and his faculty colleagues throughout the university. It is an honor to join his family, his professional peers and his many friends in congratulating Dr. Chang for achieving this important milestone in his distinguished career.”
Deason’s gift provides a $5 million endowment, as well as $1.25 million in operational funding, for the new institute, headed by renowned cyber security expert Fred Chang. Formerly research director at the National Security Agency (NSA), Chang joined SMU in fall 2013 as the inaugural Bobby B. Lyle Endowed Centennial Distinguished Chair in Cyber Security with the goal of creating the Institute that now bears Deason’s name.
The gift provides another $1.5 million to support the operation of the Innovation Gym, also named in honor of the Deason family. The Innovation Gym is a facility in which students are immersed into a fast-paced environment to solve engineering problems.
“This support immediately positions the Lyle School to make significant contributions to the science of cyber security,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Darwin Deason’s generous gift of operational funding, in addition to the endowment, allows the Institute to begin addressing critical cyber security issues from day one, advancements that will have an impact far beyond our campus nationally and globally.”
“Darwin Deason’s gift will support important research and education across a broad spectrum of student involvement,” said Lyle School Dean Marc Christensen. “The institute will attract the best minds to address the threats of cyber crime and cyber terrorism. The Innovation Gym helps develop young minds, turning students loose to solve real-world problems under tight deadlines, overcoming intermediate failures as they learn to innovate. By supporting the institute, this gift recognizes the importance of research at the highest level to solve a global challenge. By funding the Innovation Gym, the gift helps to develop the next generation of innovators equipped to solve emerging problems.”
Deason is the founder of Affiliated Computer Systems, launched in 1988 to handle business processes for clients such as E-ZPass, 7-Eleven, United Parcel Service (UPS), the City of Dallas and numerous state and federal agencies. Serving in a variety of executive positions, including as chairman of the board and CEO, Deason took the company public in 1994 and sold it to Xerox for $6.4 billion in 2010.
Previously, Deason worked for the data-processing firm MTech, where he was promoted to CEO at the age of 29. Before joining MTech, Deason worked in data processing for Gulf Oil in Tulsa, having started there as a mail clerk.
“My business career was built on technology services, so clearly the issue of cyber security is something I take very seriously,” Deason said. “The work of the institute will have a far-reaching impact, spanning retail, defense, technology, healthcare, energy, government, finance and transportation – everything that makes our world work.”
Several members of Deason’s family have SMU connections: Deason’s son, Doug, is married to Holly, who is an alumna. Doug’s son, Preston, and Holly’s daughter, Fallon, both currently attend SMU.
The gift counts toward SMU’s Second Century Campaign, which has received more than $800 million toward a $1 billion goal to support student quality, faculty and academic excellence and the campus experience. The campaign continues to work toward raising the number of endowed faculty positions at the University to 110; raising the number of endowed student scholarships to 500; and completing 15 major campus facilities.
Blood group incompatibility between Henry VIII and his wives could have driven the Tudor king‘s reproductive woes, and a genetic condition related to his suspected blood group could also explain Henry’s dramatic mid-life transformation into a physically and mentally impaired tyrant who executed two of his wives.
Research conducted by bioarchaeologist Catrina Banks Whitley while she was an SMU graduate student and anthropologist Kyra Kramer shows that the numerous miscarriages suffered by Henry’s wives could be explained if the king’s blood carried the Kell antigen.
A Kell negative woman who has multiple pregnancies with a Kell positive man can produce a healthy, Kell positive child in a first pregnancy. But the antibodies she produces during that first pregnancy will cross the placenta and attack a Kell positive fetus in subsequent pregnancies.
As published in The Historical Journal (Cambridge University Press), the pattern of Kell blood group incompatibility is consistent with the pregnancies of Henry’s first two wives, Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. If Henry also suffered from McLeod syndrome, a genetic disorder specific to the Kell blood group, it would finally provide an explanation for his shift in both physical form and personality from a strong, athletic, generous individual in his first 40 years to the monstrous paranoiac he would become, virtually immobilized by massive weight gain and leg ailments.
“It is our assertion that we have identified the causal medical condition underlying Henry’s reproductive problems and psychological deterioration,” write Whitley and Kramer.
Henry married six women, two of whom he famously executed, and broke England’s ties with the Catholic Church – all in pursuit of a marital union that would produce a male heir. Historians have long debated theories of illness and injury that might explain the physical deterioration and frightening, tyrannical behavior that he began to display after his 40th birthday. Less attention has been given to the unsuccessful pregnancies of his wives in an age of primitive medical care and poor nutrition and hygiene, and authors Whitley and Kramer argue against the persistent theory that syphilis may have been a factor.
A Kell positive father frequently is the cause behind the inability of his partner to bear a healthy infant after the first Kell negative pregnancy, which the authors note is precisely the circumstance experienced with women who had multiple pregnancies by Henry. The majority of individuals within the Kell blood group are Kell negative, so it is the rare Kell positive father that creates reproductive problems.
Further supporting the Kell theory, descriptions of Henry in mid-to-late life indicate he suffered many of the physical and cognitive symptoms associated with McLeod syndrome – a medical condition that can occur in members of the Kell positive blood group.
The precise number of miscarriages endured by Henry’s reproductive partners is difficult to determine, especially when various mistresses are factored in, but the king’s partners had a total of at least 11 and possibly 13 or more pregnancies. Only four of the eleven known pregnancies survived infancy. Whitley and Kramer call the high rate of spontaneous late-term abortion, stillbirth, or rapid neonatal death suffered by Henry’s first two queens “an atypical reproductive pattern” because, even in an age of high child mortality, most women carried their pregnancies to term, and their infants usually lived long enough to be christened.
“Although the fact that Henry and Katherine of Aragon’s firstborn did not survive is somewhat atypical, it is possible that some cases of Kell sensitization affect even the first pregnancy,” the report notes. The survival of Mary, the fifth pregnancy for Katherine of Aragon, fits the Kell scenario if Mary inherited the recessive Kell gene from Henry, resulting in a healthy infant.
Anne Boleyn’s pregnancies were a textbook example of Kell alloimmunization with a healthy first child and subsequent late-term miscarriages. Jane Seymour had only one child before her death, but that healthy firstborn also is consistent with a Kell positive father.
Anna Membrino, a first-year M.F.A. student in Meadows School of the Arts, has been named one of three national winners of the 2010 Canvas Artist Series Contest sponsored by Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and Folio Fine Wine Partners. She won for her design of the merlot label (pictured right) for the Canvas wine brand. The three contest winners were selected by public online voting and a panel of judges comprised of Folio and Hyatt executives, as well as other wine industry professionals. In addition to having their artwork displayed on the Canvas bottle, the winners each receive a $5,000 scholarship from Hyatt. Read more from SMU News.
Carla Mendiola, a Ph.D. candidate in history in Dedman College, has been selected for a Government of Canada Doctoral Student Research Award, which “promotes research that contributes to a better knowledge and understanding of Canada, its relationship with the United States, and its international affairs.” The grant will allow her to conduct dissertation research in Canada.
Two SMU mock-trial teams took first place at the Billinger Barrister Invitational in St. Louis Oct. 13-14, 2007, finishing undefeated at 7-0-1. Sophomore Jessica Wikstrom also won a Best Witness Award. About 22 teams from 11 different schools participated in the competition, which was sponsored by St. Louis University.
Kim Cobb, Public Affairs, has received a 2007 Outstanding Alumni Award from the Texas Tech University College of Mass Communications. Cobb, who graduated from Tech in 1979, joined SMU in June as director of national media marketing after a lengthy career as a journalist, including more than two decades as a national writer for the Houston Chronicle. She and four others were honored Oct. 27 in Lubbock. Read more from the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
Gail Hartin, Teacher Education, discussed what makes a good teacher with Park Cities PeopleNov. 2, 2007.