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.
SMU is working to provide more students in the Dallas area with the opportunity for an SMU education by expanding eligibility for an existing scholarship program and by partnering with Dallas County Promise to provide five new scholarships.
The University will expand the opportunity to apply for 10 scholarships previously available only to Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD) graduates. The expanded program, the Dallas County Mustang Scholarship, will award up to 10 four-year combined scholarship packages worth more than $225,000 each to cover full tuition and fees for eligible students who will graduate from any high school located in Dallas County.
The new program will award up to five two-year scholarships annually to eligible high school seniors who have successfully completed the Dallas County Promise Program and plan to transfer to SMU after earning a qualifying associate degree from the Dallas County Community College District.
To be eligible for the Dallas County Promise Scholarship, high school seniors at Promise-eligible high schools must complete the Dallas County Promise Pledge by Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018; and apply for the fall semester at a Dallas County Community College and complete a FAFSA/TASFA by Thursday, March 15, 2018.
“There are future Dallas County leaders among the students attending high school in our community who may not get their best chance to lead because financial means is a barrier to an undergraduate college degree,” said Wes Waggoner, SMU associate vice president for enrollment management. “Expanding eligibility for some of our existing scholarships, and joining the Dallas County Promise Program, is going to be a great way to help identify these students as high school seniors and give them an opportunity to attend and graduate from SMU.”
Waggoner added that students who apply for the two-year SMU Mustang Promise Scholarship also would be considered for other scholarships and financial aid available to SMU undergraduates. More than $90 million in academic and need-based aid is awarded to SMU undergraduates each year.
Students selected to receive the Dallas County Promise scholarships will be eligible for free tuition for up to three years toward completing a degree at any DCCCD college. Each two-year SMU Mustang Promise Scholarship will then contribute to a full tuition and fees scholarship – an award worth more than $110,000 over the two-year period, allowing the students completing an associate degree from a DCCCD college to then complete their undergraduate degree at SMU.
High school seniors interested in the Dallas County Mustang Scholarship should complete the SMU admission application, the Mustang Scholars essay, the FAFSA and CSS Profile or TASFA by Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018.
Three international leaders who will receive honorary degrees at SMU’s 100th May Commencement will participate in symposia on the main campus Friday, May 15. All symposia are free and open to the public.
The symposia will feature 2015 honorees Meave Leakey, a renowned anthropologist whose research in Africa has revealed important clues to humans’ earliest ancestors; Irene Hirano Inouye, who helped build the Japanese American National Museum and is founding president of the U.S.-Japan Council; and Helen LaKelly Hunt, a donor-activist, author and SMU alumna whose life focus has been to empower women and educate people about the value of healthy, intimate relationships. All three will receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, during the Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16.
Leakey will speak on “Human Evolution in the East African Rift Valley.” Also presenting will be Frank Brown, dean and distinguished professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Utah, who will speak on “Time and the Physical Framework in the Turkana Basin, Kenya;” and Kay Behrensmeyer, curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, who will speak on “Faunal Context of Human Evolution in the East African Rift Valley.” Thure Cerling, Distinguished Professor of Geology and Geophysics and Biology at the University of Utah, will speak on “Floral Context of Human Evolution – as Represented by Geochemical Signatures;” and Bonnie Jacobs, professor of earth sciences in SMU’s Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, will speak on “Floral Context of Human Evolution – as Represented by Plant Fossils.”
“Celebrating the American Experience and U.S.-Japan Relations: Irene Hirano Inouye, Her Life, Works and Achievements” Friday, May 15 Reception, 3-3:30 p.m.
Panel Discussion and Remarks, 3:30-5 p.m. Hillcrest Appellate Courtroom and Classroom, Underwood Law Library
Inouye is a leader in international relations who, while still in her 20s, began tailoring her career toward service as director of a Los Angeles medical clinic providing affordable care for poor and uninsured women. She helped build the Japanese American National Museum, which opened in 1992, and became the founding president of the U.S.-Japan Council in 2008.
“A Revolutionary Approach to Conflict Resolution: A Symposium Honoring Helen LaKelly Hunt” Friday, May 15 Panel presentation 10:30 a.m.-noon, Smith Auditorium, Meadows Museum Lunch and remarks, noon-1:30 p.m., Jones Room, Meadows Museum
Beginning in Fall 2015, SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering will offer a new master’s degree designed to spark creativity in problem solving across multiple disciplines.
The Master of Arts in Design and Innovation (MADI), grounded in an approach known as “design thinking,” will provide a toolkit for people working outside the typical design environment. Coursework and project-based learning experiences will teach participants to combine what people need with the possibilities created by technology and the economic requirements for business success through design research, idea generation, and rapid prototyping.
“Some of the most successful CEOs in the world are crediting the concept of ‘design thinking’ as a breakthrough approach for solving systemic problems,” said Lyle Dean Marc Christensen. “Our undergraduates have been thriving on a no-barriers approach to problem-solving through competitions and projects organized in our Deason Innovation Gym. Expanding on our undergraduate success, the Master of Arts in Design and Innovation is a great way to introduce our students to a framework and methodology for innovating and designing, which will have impact wherever their career takes them.”
Kate Canales, director of Design and Innovation Programs in the Lyle School, will lead the program. A Stanford University mechanical engineer, Canales spent her early professional years with global design and innovation firm IDEO, where she helped pioneer the use of design thinking as a means of building the capacity for innovation within companies. She arrived at the Lyle School in 2012 after working as a consultant and as creative director at frog design.
“The process and the skills these students learn will make them much different job applicants,” Canales said. “It’s about confidence and approaching problems in ways that are not typical. And while many engineering students will see this as a natural progression in their studies – it’s not a degree just for engineers. It’s a great fit for people pursuing careers in fields as different as business, the arts, advertising and the social sciences.”
Richards has been at the forefront of SMU’s geothermal energy research for more than a decade, and the University’s mapping of North American geothermal resources is considered the baseline for U.S. geothermal energy exploration. SMU’s Conference on Geothermal Energy in Oil and Gas fields, which Richards directs, is pioneering the transition of oil and gas fields to electricity-producing systems by harnessing waste heat and fluids.
“The Geothermal Resources Council is a tremendous forum for expanding ideas about geothermal exploration and technology related to this commonly overlooked source of energy provided by the Earth,” Richards said. “It’s a great opportunity for educating people about an energy source that covers the whole gamut – from producing electricity for industries, to reducing our electricity consumption with direct-use applications, to even cooling our homes.”
“This also is a unique occasion for me to encourage and mentor young women to participate in the sciences throughout their careers and get involved in leadership roles,” she added.
SMU’s seventh international geothermal energy conference and workshop is scheduled for May 18-20, 2015, on the Dallas campus. Designed to reach a broad audience, from the service industry to reservoir engineers, “Power Plays: Geothermal Energy in Oil and Gas Fields,” is an opportunity for oil and gas industry professionals to connect with the geothermal and waste-heat industries to build momentum. The conference is a platform for networking with attendees from all aspects of project development. Presentations will highlight reservoir topics from flare gas usage to induced seismicity and will address new exploration opportunities, including offshore sites in the eastern United States.
Richards’ projects at SMU’s Geothermal Laboratory vary from computer-generated temperature-depth maps for Google.org to on-site geothermal exploration of the volcanic islands in the Northern Mariana Islands. Along with Cathy Chickering Pace, Richards coordinates the SMU Node of the National Geothermal Data System funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Richards has previously served on the Geothermal Resources Council Board of Directors and was chair of the Outreach Committee in 2011-12. She is also a Named Director of the 2015 Board for the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association (TREIA).
Richards holds an M.S. degree in physical geography from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a B.S. in environmental geography from Michigan State University.
The program begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m., and includes a light breakfast, lunch, snacks and conversation breaks. Ranging from an analysis of “sexxy fat,” to a banjo player who blames his image problems on the movie “Deliverance,” to the chilling specter of killer bacteria in a post-antibiotic world, this year’s lineup delivers on TED’s theme of “Ideas Worth Spreading.”
“Whatever we thought we were starting with TEDxSMU in 2009, we know now that it has been the catalyst for an entire community of people who are looking for new ways to view the world,” said director Heather Hankamer. “The salons that we organize throughout the year allow us to keep great conversations going, and our auditions for TEDxSMU and TEDxKids@SMU have taken on a life of their own. The sense of adventure we felt that first year just keeps on going.”
Speakers and performers at TEDxSMU 2014 include:
DEBORAH CLEGG, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center nutritionist and a former member of the Army team that develops MRE’s (meals ready to eat), has focused her research on the role that sex hormones play in human metabolism. Male and female fat cells are not the same, Clegg says, and her presentation, “Discoveries in Pursuit of ‘Sexxy Fat’ carries the message that sex matters – even when it comes to fat.
JANEIL ENGELSTADT, a provocative artist whose works turn a spotlight on themes like youth and gang violence, homelessness, peace and ecology, is fully invested in the role of public art as an agent of social change.
HOWARD GOLDTHWAITE, Dallas marketing guru, writer and creative strategist, also is a banjo player who says the movie “Deliverance” turned people like him into social outcasts. But his five-string journey has taught him the value of pursuing what you love, even if it’s unpopular. Goldthwaite won his spot on the TEDxSMU stage at the June audition at Live in Deep Ellum.
GREG HARRIS is the President and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. His presentation, “Our Soundtrack,” will share the inside story of the songs and artifacts that define us.
LARRY HASS is associate dean at the McBride Magic and Mystery School in Las Vegas, as well as a professor of humanities at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He loves to talk about the psychology of magic – and how the art of illusion celebrates the impossible, and energizes people to see the world in new ways.
KEVIN JUDICE’s topic is a warning: “Life in the Post-Antibiotic Era is Going to Suck.” Founder of K2 Therapeutics, Judice pursues medical treatments for antibiotic resistant superbugs. The discovery of antibiotics resulted in a huge increase in human lifespan, he says, but their over-use has put us in on the road to a future where minor scrapes and sore throats may be deadly.
ALEXANDER MCLEAN is the founder of the Africa Prisons Project, a Uganda-based organization working to improve the lives of men, women, and children living in African prisons. People consigned to prisons are not lost causes, McLean believes, and will speak about the transformations he has seen through his work in African prisons over the last decade.
MEGNA MURALI, a sophomore at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, knows quite a bit about the intersection of cultures and will share it through a demonstration of the similarities between Indian Kathak and Spanish Flamenco dance.
SATYA NITTA works with Watson, the famous IBM supercomputer, as manager of the Emerging Technologies Research Group at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center. His talk will focus on the extraordinary opportunity to transform learning that he sees at the intersection of cognitive neuroscience and cognitive computing.
KELLY STOETZEL is director of content for TED and the longtime host of TEDxSMU with slam poet Rives. This proud SMU alumna will tell you she has best job in the world, and her talk will lift the curtain on how the development of TEDxKids@SMU as a “why not” enterprise has blossomed into a global series of events designed to bring ideas worth sharing to youngsters.
The gift establishing the Mary and Richard Templeton Centennial Chair of Electrical Engineering provides for a $1.5 million endowment and $500,000 in operational support.
The special “Centennial” designation underscores the foresight of donors who recognize the need for operational funds to allow immediate impact while the endowment matures.
“This commitment is meaningful because it comes from a family of engineers who understand the reach of science and technology,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The Templetons know better than most how their gift will help SMU attract outstanding faculty in this important engineering discipline, and how it will influence students and prepare them to contribute to the engineering profession.”
Richard Templeton is president and CEO of Texas Instruments, and Mary Templeton is a computer scientist. They were together on the SMU campus last May as Mr. Templeton delivered the commencement address at the Lyle School and as their son, Jim, received his own bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
“The SMU formula for success is to combine bright, motivated students with talented, innovative faculty members,” said SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Ludden. “This gift of an endowed chair gives us the ability to attract and support a strong, academic leader in the field of electrical engineering.”
The search to fill the Mary and Richard Templeton Centennial Chair of Electrical Engineering is underway.
“An outstanding faculty member can spark creative ideas in a student who goes on to change the world with an invention, or lead research that reveals a different way of looking at an old problem,” said Mr. Templeton. “It means a great deal to us to be able to help support that kind of educator.”
“Jim had such a wonderful experience at SMU that we want to help ensure the same access to superior faculty members for students who come after him,” said Mrs. Templeton.
The gift to fund the Mary and Richard Templeton Centennial Chair of Electrical Engineering counts toward the $1 billion goal of SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign, and toward the campaign’s goal to reach 110 endowed faculty positions. To date the campaign has raised more than $902 million in gifts and pledges to support student quality, faculty and academic excellence and the campus experience.
A gift of $2 million, made possible by Highland Capital Management L.P., will endow the Highland Capital Management Endowed Tower Scholars Program Fund. The participating students will be recognized as Highland Capital Management Tower Scholars.
A gift of $1 million from the Hamon Charitable Foundation will endow the Jake L. Hamon Endowed Internship Program in the Tower Scholars Program Fund. A $1 million gift from The Berry R. Cox Family Foundation will support endowment and provide operational support.
The University has received additional donations totaling over $400,000 toward operation of the Tower Scholars Program fund – important to the implementation of the program until the endowments mature.
Ten sophomore students will be selected as Highland Capital Management Tower Scholars every year. Students may apply to the program during the fall term of their sophomore year; the first applications are being accepted in fall 2014. The first scholars will begin their studies in spring 2015 leading to a minor in Public Policy and International Affairs.
The scholars will be steeped in domestic and foreign affairs, national security and defense, and international political economy. Access to global and national leaders and policy makers, study abroad opportunities and meaningful senior-year internships are hallmarks of the program. The specialized curriculum includes instruction by professors-of-the-practice and visiting diplomats.
“Few American universities offer a program designed for undergraduates with as much real-world policy education and experience as does the Tower Scholars Program,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The gifts that make this program possible allow students to begin gaining professional perspectives while working toward their undergraduate degrees, bridging the usual gap between graduation and career development.”
“The Tower Center is a signature program within SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, and I’m delighted with the opportunity this presents for all of our SMU students,” said Dedman College Dean Thomas DiPiero. “The students who will graduate as Highland Capital Management Tower Scholars are destined for great things,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Ludden.
The invitation-only Tower Scholars Program and associated minor is open for application from all majors across SMU’s schools, with admission based on a competitive process. The minor in Public Policy and International Affairs requires 15 hours of political science courses, beginning with Introduction to Global Policy Making in the spring of the sophomore year. The scholars will develop mentor relationships with public policy practitioners, work with clients on actual cases, and have access to local businesses, decision makers and Tower Center Board members.
The gifts to fund the Tower Scholars Program count toward the $1 billion goal of SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign, which to date has raised $874 million to support student quality, faculty and academic excellence and the campus experience.
D’Mello comes to SMU from the University of Texas at Dallas, where he was a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. He is a longtime partner in research with SMU Professor of Chemistry Edward Biehl.
In December 2010, D’Mello and Biehl published in The Journal of Neuroscience Research their discovery of a family of small molecules that shows promise in protecting brain cells against nerve-degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s.
“Professor D’Mello brings broad experience and an excellent record as a researcher and teacher to SMU,” said Dedman College Dean Bill Tsutsui. “His focus on building meaningful collaborations and his ambitious vision for the future of the Department of Biological Sciences impressed all of us on campus.”
D’Mello received his Ph.D. in biology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1989 and joined the faculty at UTD in 1998. Funding for his research has included support from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation and the Whitehall Foundation.
“Neurodegenerative diseases, which include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, and Huntington’s disease, are characterized by the slow but relentless loss of brain cells,” D’Mello said. “There are no effective drugs or other therapeutic approaches to treat or prevent these progressive and fatal diseases. The goal of my lab is to understand neurodegeneration at the molecular level so that effective therapies can be developed.”
D’Mello said he was drawn to SMU because of the University’s strengths in several areas of the arts, humanities, and sciences. “I was particularly attracted by the collegial and talented faculty in the biology department, their keen interest in solving important biological problems, and their strong commitment to the teaching and training of students,” D’Mello said.
“I am honored to be named Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences and am very excited about the opportunity,” D’Mello said. “I look forward to working with the faculty, staff and students to build a strong multidisciplinary and collaborative research department with cutting-edge research performed by bright, talented, and motivated undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows.”