Marc Christensen

SMU names Stephanie L. Knight dean of Simmons School of Education and Human Development

Stephanie L. KnightStephanie L. Knight, a nationally recognized education leader, researcher and professor, has been named dean of SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. The current associate dean and professor of education in the College of Education at Pennsylvania State University will assume her new duties at SMU on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017.

“Stephanie Knight’s impressive background of scholarly excellence and outreach to the education community will enable her to deliver visionary leadership to propel the Simmons School toward even greater visibility and impact,” said Steven C. Currall, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Stephanie will continue to amplify the school’s commitment to evidence-based scholarship, external research funding and the preparation of exemplary professionals in education and human development. Her history of partnerships with urban and suburban schools equips her to further elevate the school’s contributions to K-12 education in the North Texas region and beyond. Furthermore, Stephanie is deeply committed to collaborations with other academic units on the SMU campus to advance interdisciplinary academic programs and initiatives.”

“Dr. Knight is joining a dynamic school, which will continue its trajectory as an innovative leader in education research and practice under her leadership,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “She understands that education is key to change, from lifting individuals from poverty to opening minds to new understanding, and that will strengthen SMU’s impact on individuals, schools and the world.”

Knight began her education career as a classroom teacher of Spanish and French in Texas, Saudi Arabia and Pennsylvania. She received her doctorate in curriculum and instruction at the University of Houston before beginning a 20-year tenure at Texas A&M University, where she was professor of educational psychology and teaching, learning and culture. In addition, she held the Houston Endowment, Inc. Chair in Urban Education at Texas A&M, received the University Distinguished Teaching Award and was named a University Faculty Fellow. Knight joined Pennsylvania State University in 2009 as professor of educational psychology, where she taught courses in educational psychology and effective learning. In 2013 she became associate dean at Penn State, leading the College of Education’s undergraduate and graduate studies programs.

Her scholarly interests demonstrate a dedication to bringing the results of evidence-based research to the K-12 classroom. Her research into relationships between instructional strategies, classroom processes, learning environments and student outcomes; teacher professional development, and the use of observational techniques to study classroom processes has been published in hundreds of professional journal articles, book chapters and books and presented at numerous professional conferences.

In addition, Knight has directed university and national research centers, including serving as associate director of research into practice for the National Science Foundation Information Technology in Science Center for Teaching and Learning, and director of evaluation and assessment for the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement in Washington, D.C.  She recently concluded five years as co-editor of the Journal of Teacher Education and also served from 2004 to 2006 as co-editor of the Teaching, Learning and Human Development section of the American Educational Research Journal. She currently serves as associate editor of the Review of Educational Research.

“Dr. Stephanie Knight stood out from a large pool of highly qualified candidates due to both her administrative experience and her tenure at tier-one research universities,” said Marc Christensen, chair of the Simmons School dean search committee, and dean and Lyle Professor of Innovation in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering. “I look forward to working with her on the Council of Deans to advance the University’s academic and research missions.”

Knight earned her B.A. in romance languages and literature at the University of Kentucky, where she was selected for membership in Phi Beta Kappa; her master’s degree and certification in secondary teaching at Lehigh University; and her Ed.D. in educational curriculum and instruction from the University of Houston.

“I am honored, and very excited, to have the opportunity to serve as the next dean of the Simmons School of Education and Human Development,” she said. “Simmons has already established an impressive foundation in its first decade, and I look forward to working with the very talented and productive faculty, staff and students in the school to further their ongoing mission of excellence in research, teaching and community outreach. SMU provides an ideal context for the success of this mission: Location in a dynamic urban context; commitment to academic excellence; support for interdisciplinary approaches that encourage innovation; and a climate of collaboration across and within units that enhances the process and outcomes of our very important work in education and human development. I look forward to becoming an integral member of the SMU and Simmons community.”

— Nancy George

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SMU to offer new M.S. degree in engineering entrepreneurship beginning in Fall 2017

SMU will offer a new master’s degree in engineering entrepreneurship beginning in fall 2017. The degree program will be offered over two semesters, fall and spring, and will draw from existing courses in the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering and Edwin L. Cox School of Business.

The new degree program is designed to develop engineers who look at the role of technology in society through a business lens, who can help fill the demand for managers and entrepreneurs to start and lead new technology ventures. It is anchored in a yearlong project, the Technology Commercialization Studio, in which students will explore the commercial opportunities of a new technology – likely to be developed in one of SMU’s engineering or science research labs.

“What happens when you bring together a top-ranked business school and an innovative engineering school? You create a program that will help the best and brightest achieve their dreams of bringing new technology to the marketplace,” said Lyle Dean Marc Christensen. “The master’s in engineering entrepreneurship will focus on shaping a small cohort of elite students, providing them the skills and experiences to have impact in the competitive world of high tech startups.”

Regular admission to the program will require a bachelor of science in engineering, but outstanding candidates from alternate STEM fields will be considered.

“We are looking for smart, confident engineers who want to understand the role of new technology in society from a business perspective, and who can lead and manage engineering projects that commercialize that technology,” said Duncan MacFarlane, associate dean for engineering entrepreneurship in the Lyle School. “We expect the program to encourage the incubation of novel technologies from SMU students and faculty.”

MacFarlane will direct the program with associate directors Jerry White, the Linda and Kenneth R. Morris Endowed Director of the Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship in the Cox School, and Simon Mak, associate director of the institute. MacFarlane, White and Mak have been meeting on a regular basis since Fall 2015 to coordinate entrepreneurship activities and develop the new program.

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By | 2017-02-10T11:06:18+00:00 February 7, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Fred Chang elected to National Academy of Engineering

Fred Chang, Lyle Endowed Centennial Distinguished Chair in Cyber SecurityFred Chang, director of SMU’s Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security and former director of research for the National Security Agency, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

Chang and other new members will be formally inducted during a ceremony at the NAE’s Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 9, 2016.

The U.S. National Academy of Engineering is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that supports engineering leadership. Its mission is to advance the wellbeing of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshaling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology.

“I feel incredibly honored to be elected into the National Academy of Engineering,” Chang said. “The level of innovation and accomplishment achieved by its members is inspiring, and I take great pride in joining them. I am grateful to many, many colleagues who have worked with me and helped me over the course of my career, including those at SMU.

“This recognition further motivates me to continue pursuing the challenge of securing cyberspace,” Chang said. “It means continuing the important research we are doing at SMU, to help advance the science of cyber security, and training a workforce of skilled cyber defenders.”

Chang joined SMU in September 2013 as Bobby B. Lyle Endowed Centennial Distinguished Chair in Cyber Security, computer science and engineering professor and Senior Fellow in the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies in Dedman College. The Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security was launched in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering in January 2014, with Chang named as its director.

“Being inducted into the National Academy of Engineering is one of the highest honors a professor can achieve,” said Lyle School Dean Marc Christensen. “We are so pleased that Professor Chang is being recognized as one of the brightest minds of our generation at a time when his expertise in cyber security is so critical to our nation’s future.”

Chang is the second Lyle School professor to be named to the NAE. Delores Etter, the founding director of the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education in the Lyle School, a Caruth Professor of Engineering Education, a distinguished fellow in the Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security and a senior fellow in the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies was elected to the NAE in 2000.

In addition to his positions at SMU, Chang is a distinguished scholar in the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas at Austin. Chang has been professor and AT&T Distinguished Chair in Infrastructure Assurance and Security at the University of Texas at San Antonio and he was at the University of Texas at Austin as an associate dean in the College of Natural Sciences and director of the Center for Information Assurance and Security. Additionally, Chang’s career spans service in the private sector and in government including as the former Director of Research at the National Security Agency.

Chang has been awarded the National Security Agency Director’s Distinguished Service Medal and was the 2014 Information Security Magazine ‘Security 7’ award winner for Education. He has served as a member of the Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency and as a member of the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Academies. He has also served as a member of the National Academies Committee on Responding to Section 5(d) of Presidential Policy Directive 28: The Feasibility of Software to Provide Alternatives to Bulk Signals Intelligence Collection.

He is the lead inventor on two U.S. patents (U.S. patent numbers 7272645 and 7633951), and he appeared in the televised National Geographic documentary, Inside the NSA: America’s Cyber Secrets. He has twice served as a cyber security expert witness at hearings convened by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Dr. Chang received his B.A. degree from the University of California, San Diego and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Oregon. He has also completed the Program for Senior Executives at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Chang joins the National Academy of Engineering with 79 other new U.S. members and 22 new international members, bringing the group’s total membership to 2,275 U.S. members and 232 foreign members. Membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature, and to the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.

SMU Lyle to offer multidisciplinary M.A. degree in design and innovation

SMU Innovation GymBeginning 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.”

MADI students will be able to take advantage of an unprecedented multidisciplinary approach that opens up relevant electives across SMU departments and schools on campus for the first time. The curriculum pulls from the Lyle School’s Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science and Engineering departments, as well as advertising through SMU’s Temerlin Advertising Institute, entrepreneurship through the Cox School of Business, anthropology through Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, and arts entrepreneurship and creative computing through the Meadows School of the Arts.

Find out more about the MADI program at smu.edu/madi, or contact the SMU Lyle graduate recruiting office at 214-768-2002.

Written by Kimberly Cobb

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Mitch Thornton appointed Cecil H. Green Chair in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering

Mitch Thornton, Lyle School of Engineering, SMUSMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering has appointed Mitch Thornton as its Cecil H. Green Chair of Engineering in recognition of his achievements as a researcher, educator, author and leader.

Thornton is a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Electrical Engineering, and serves as the technical director in the Lyle School’s Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security.

“Mitch is unquestionably one of this country’s leaders in modern computer architecture design including forward looking research in cyber security and quantum computing. He is a very highly productive and prized educator, an outstanding academic citizen, and a leader who contributes greatly to the Lyle School,” said Dean Marc Christensen.

Thornton’s honors for his teaching and research include SMU’s Ford Research Fellowship, the HOPE (Honoring Our Professors’ Excellence) Award, the Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award for Computer Science, and Outstanding Professor of the Year Award from the Student Engineering Joint Council. He has also received the Inventor Recognition Award from the Semiconductor Research Consortium and a Citation of Honor from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Thornton joined SMU in 2002 with experience in both academia and industry, previously holding positions at Mississippi State University, the University of Arkansas, Cyrix Corporation and E-Systems, Inc. He has published four books and more than 200 articles, has secured more than $4.1 million in research and grant funding since 1996, holds three U.S. patents, and has two patents pending.

Thornton’s research interests include EDA/CAD methods and algorithms for quantum, classical digital systems; large systems design including synthesis, verification, asynchronous, security, and disaster and fault tolerant circuit techniques; modeling and method development for physical security design/verification; and the mathematical basis of conventional, asynchronous, reversible and quantum logic.

As an interdisciplinary researcher, Thornton collaborates regularly with colleagues across the school, in industry and at other institutions. He has consulted with and performed sponsored research for the National Security Agency, Office of Naval Research, Army Research Laboratory, National Science Foundation, Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems, Lockheed-Martin Aeronautics, Lockheed-Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Acxiom Corporation, Silicon Space Technology, Revere Security, PayGo, and Eclipse Electronics.

Thornton earned his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Oklahoma State University, an M.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Texas-Arlington, and an M.S in computer science and a Ph.D. in computer engineering from SMU.

Cecil and Ida Green provided endowments for two faculty chairs in what is now the Lyle School of Engineering, both of which multiplied over time to provide funds for an additional professorship. Their gift of approximately $1.5 million in 1979 established the Cecil and Ida Green Chair, currently held by W. Milton Gosney, and grew over time to provide funding for the Cecil and Ida Green Endowed Professor of Engineering, held by Dinesh Rajan. Their gift of $891,558 in 1969 endowed the Cecil H. Green Chair of Engineering, previously held by Stephen Szygenda, and also supports Sila Cetinkaya as the Cecil H. Green Professor of Engineering. The couple’s gift of approximately $500,000 in 1979 also endowed the Cecil and Ida Green Fund for Excellence in Engineering and Applied Science Education to strengthen and enrich programs in the school.

Ida Green ’46 was a member of the SMU Board of Trustees and was honored by the University in 1977 as a distinguished alumna. She died in 1986. Cecil Green, a British-born, naturalized American geophysicist and alumnus of MIT, was one of the four co-founders of Texas Instruments. He was made an honorary alumnus of SMU in 1962 and received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University in 1967. Cecil Green died in 2003 at the age of 102.

Dinesh Rajan named Cecil and Ida Green Endowed Professor of Engineering in SMU’s Lyle School

Dinesh Rajan, Cecil and Ida Green Endowed Professor of Engineering, SMU

Dinesh Rajan, Department of Electrical Engineering, has been named the Cecil and Ida Green Endowed Professor of Engineering in SMU’s Lyle School.

Dinesh Rajan has been named the Cecil and Ida Green Endowed Professor of Engineering in SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering. He is the first faculty member to be named to the recently established professorship, made possible by the growth of an endowment provided by Cecil and Ida Green in 1979.

Rajan came to SMU in 2002 with experience in both academia and industry, having held positions at both Rice University and Nokia. Since arriving at the University, he has served as professor and chair of the Electrical Engineering Department, providing leadership to the faculty while pursuing greater departmental productivity in research.

“Dinesh is an award-winning teacher and innovative researcher. He has made definitive contributions to his research field and continues to build upon that reputation,” said Lyle Dean Marc Christensen. “Outside the classroom, Dinesh utilizes his intellect and energy to motivate young engineers through undergraduate research and senior design. He is consistently striving to stretch his boundaries, and I look forward to what he will achieve in the future.”

Rajan has published more than 100 peer-reviewed technical articles in leading journals and at conferences. He also has co-edited two books. He has been awarded research grants totaling more than $7 million supported by federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and companies including Toyota and Nokia. He was technical program chair for the IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference in 2009 and has served on other conference executive and technical committees.

Rajan’s broad research interests are focused on the sensing/extraction, transmission and dissemination of information. His work is interdisciplinary in nature and spans the traditional areas of information theory, wireless communications, signal processing and operations research. Most recently, he has focused on improving wireless data rates and reducing battery consumption. Another ongoing project develops cognitive methods to overcome challenge of scarce wireless spectrum and improve wireless connectivity and data rates.

His honors for teaching and research include the NSF CAREER Award in 2006 for his work on applying information theory to the design of mobile networks, a Ford Research Fellowship in 2012, SMU’s Golden Mustang Award in 2008, IEEE Outstanding Young Engineer in 2009, and multiple outstanding EE faculty teaching awards.

Rajan earned his B.Tech degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras. He also was awarded M.S and Ph.D degrees from Rice University in Houston, both in the areas of electrical and computer engineering.

Cecil and Ida Green provided endowments for two faculty chairs in what is now the Lyle School of Engineering, both of which multiplied over time to provide funds for an additional professorship. Their gift of approximately $1.5 million in 1979 established the Cecil and Ida Green Chair currently held by Milton Gosney, and has grown over time to provide funding for the professorship held by Rajan. Their gift of $891,558 in 1969 endowed the Cecil H. Green Chair of Engineering held by Stephen Szygenda and now also supports Sila Cetinkaya as the Cecil H. Green Professor of Engineering. The couple’s gift of approximately $500,000 in 1979 also endowed the Cecil and Ida Green Fund for Excellence in Engineering and Applied Science Education to strengthen and enrich programs in the school.

Ida Green ’46 was a member of the SMU Board of Trustees, and was honored by the University in 1977 as a distinguished alumna. She died in 1986. Cecil Green, a British-born, naturalized American geophysicist and alumnus of MIT, was one of the four co-founders of Texas Instruments. He was made an honorary alumnus of SMU in 1962 and received an honorary doctor of science degree from the University in 1967. Cecil Green died in 2003 at the age of 102.

SMU’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education names Leanne Ketterlin-Geller director of K-12 STEM Initiatives

Leanne Ketterlin-GellerSMU’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education has named Associate Professor Leanne Ketterlin-Geller as its new director of K-12 STEM Initiatives.

A faculty member in education policy and leadership and director of research in mathematics education in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, Ketterlin-Geller will bring a cross-disciplinary focus to her new role with the Institute, housed in the University’s Lyle School of Engineering.

Ketterlin-Geller is an expert in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, and her research focuses on mathematics education through instructional leadership principles and practices. Her new position will include working with the Caruth Institute’s Infinity Project, developing partnerships with area schools, working with Lyle engineering programs geared toward middle and high school students, and working with departments and faculty members to match their engineering expertise to K-12 outreach opportunities.

Ketterlin-Geller will work closely with Delores Etter, executive director of the Caruth Institute and TI Distinguished Chair in Engineering Education, as well as other faculty members from both schools to advance the K-12 STEM initiatives of the Institute.

“Professor Ketterlin-Geller’s extensive experience as a leader in STEM and K-12 education will bring much needed expertise in addressing the critical mission of the Caruth Institute,” Etter said. “Her role within the Simmons School of Education and Human Development will strengthen the necessary collaboration between our two schools.”

“The work that Dr. Ketterlin-Geller will direct is essential to our goal to increase the number and diversity of students with both the enthusiasm and knowledge to pursue the engineering careers that are necessary for the U.S. to compete in a global economy,” said Lyle Dean Marc Christensen. “This appointment demonstrates our commitment to the emerging collaborations between the Simmons School of Education and the Lyle School of Engineering. We look forward to what we can achieve together.”

“Through these Caruth Institute initiatives students will see the power of math in daily life – and engineering is where we really see this at work,” said Ketterlin-Geller. “We hope to develop engaging and interesting programs for both teachers and students that will help all students develop both confidence and competence in STEM fields. This collaboration presents an exciting opportunity to work across disciplines to help foster innovation in K-12 STEM education.”

A former high school science teacher, Ketterlin-Geller has served as principal investigator for federal, state, and locally funded research grants emphasizing the development of instructional materials and formative assessment procedures in mathematics. Much of her research is focused on supporting algebra readiness in elementary and middle school mathematics. She works closely with teachers and administrators to understand the application of measurement and assessment principles for making decisions in school settings. She publishes and delivers presentations on mathematics education, measurement and assessment as well as special education.

Ketterlin-Geller and Simmons School Dean David Chard are part of the national research team working on the George W. Bush Institute’s education initiative, Middle School Matters.

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SMU Lyle to offer first-of-its-kind graduate degree in datacenter systems engineering

Stock photo of an engineer in a datacenter's server farmSMU’s Lyle School of Engineering has created a new Master of Science in datacenter systems engineering, the first of its kind in the United States. The first students in this multidisciplinary program will be admitted for the Fall 2014 term.

The program is open to full-time and part-time graduate students, and is available on the Dallas campus as well as through the Lyle School’s distance education program. Enrollment is expected from current professionals in industry and government, as well as undergraduates in engineering, science, mathematics and business preparing to enter the field for the first time.

At least four million workers currently are associated with datacenter operations, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and the number is expected to increase by 800,000 in 2016, and by an additional 2 million by 2018.  Approximately 70 percent of these workers will have Bachelor’s degrees or higher.

“Our society has become intimately linked to a variety of digital networks including social media, search engines, e-commerce, gaming and big data,” said Lyle Dean Marc Christensen. “Data center design is a fascinating challenge due to the millions of dollars lost per second of outage. The proper management and design of these datacenters require a diverse combination of highly specialized skills, and SMU Lyle is uniquely positioned to offer a degree that will connect all the needed technical disciplines.”

The new degree is built around five core courses that address the industry broadly, while offering elective specializations in three technical areas:

  • Facilities, infrastructure and subsystems
  • Datasystems engineering and analytics
  • Computer networks, virtualization, security and cloud computing

The program is directed toward preparing professionals for a leadership role in the field, whether specifically as a technical contributor or more broadly in management. The degree is designed to build a solid foundation for continued professional growth consistent with modern datacenter engineering practices and the changes that lie ahead for the industry.

Written by Kimberly Cobb

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$7.75 million gift will create cyber security institute in SMU Lyle

Darwin Deason

Darwin Deason

A $7.75 million gift from Darwin Deason, founder of Affiliated Computer Services, will launch the Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security and support the Deason Innovation Gym in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering.

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.

Written by Kim Cobb

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Tune In: Dean Marc Christensen on KERA’s ‘Think’ Jan. 29, 2014

Marc Christensen, dean of Lyle School of Engineering at SMUMarc Christensen, dean of SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering, will be part of a distinguished panel discussing the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education on KERA 90.1 FM Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. Christensen will join Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Cameron Evans and Kristin Larimore, strategic engagement leader with GE Capital Equipment Finance, on “Think with Krys Boyd” during the noon-1 p.m. hour.

Christensen is a DARPA Young Faculty Award winner and has been recognized at SMU with the Gerald J. Ford Research Fellowship and the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Award.

Listen live at kera.org/listen

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