memorials

SMU mourns the death of Prof. Dennis Simon, founding member of the Tower Center for Political Studies and leader of SMU’s Civil Rights Pilgrimage

Dennis SimonSMU Associate Professor of Political Science Dennis Simon died Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017 in Dallas after a long illness. An SMU faculty member since 1986, he was a recognized expert on the American presidency, national elections, women and the political glass ceiling, and the politics of change in the United States.

Passionate about his students and his work, he continued to teach and present lectures on the presidential elections to the SMU community through fall of 2016.

“Dennis Simon’s legacy at SMU will not be forgotten,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He was both a brilliant scholar and devoted teacher, talents he bridged with a sense of humor that never wavered. Dr. Simon invested his time, commitment and his passion for political science with his students, fellow scholars and the community. His influence will live on in the many lives he touched.”

The Texas House of Representatives “gaveled out” its regular session Tuesday, Feb. 14, in Simon’s memory on a motion by State Rep. Morgan Meyer. Services for Simon are pending.

Simon was quick to say that his proudest and most impactful work came in guiding since 2008 both undergraduate and graduate students on SMU’s annual Civil Rights Pilgrimage to historical sites across the south.  The 7-8 day bus trip occurs during Spring Break every year, creating an immersive learning experience that “pilgrims” describe as life changing.

During Simon’s 31 years as an SMU faculty member, he received nearly every teaching award offered by the University, including the “M” Award, the Willis Tate Award and President’s Associate Award. In 2005 he received the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Award, given to just four professors each year for their commitment to student learning. Known for his mentorship and dedication to teaching, he used U.S. elections as a living laboratory, teaching his popular course, “Presidential Elections,” every four years.

Simon’s other teaching and research interests included presidential-congressional relations, public opinion, electoral behavior and research methodology.  His research appeared in leading journals such as the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, and the Journal of Politics.  He was the recipient of the Pi Sigma Alpha award given by the Southern Political Science Association for his study of national forces in state legislative elections, and twice the Miriam Irish award given by the Southern Political Science Association for his study (with Assoc. Prof. Barbara Palmer) of the emergence of women in U.S. electoral politics.  His most recent book, with co-author Palmer, Women and Congressional Elections: A Century of Change (Lynne Reinner Publishers) was published in May of 2012. The book’s first edition was published in 2006.

Simon’s recent research projects included “The Perilous Experiment,” a historical and quantitative study tracing the evolution of popular and legislative leadership in the American presidency and “Southerners in the United States House of Representatives,” a history of electoral and ideological change in the South since 1930, supported by a grant awarded by the Dirksen Congressional Center. He earned his B.A. from Wittenberry University in Springfield, Ohio, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the department of political science at Michigan State University. Before joining SMU, Simon was an assistant professor of political science at the University of Minnesota.

Simon was a founding member of SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, where he served as a member of the Tower Center Faculty Advisory Board and as a senior fellow. The Tower Center was created in 1992 to promote the study of politics and international affairs and stimulate an interest in ethical public service.

“He was a dedicated supporter of our center, serving us in a variety of ways,” said the Hon. Dan Branch, chair of the Tower Center Board of Directors and former member of the Texas House of Representatives. “Most of all, he was a devoted mentor to our students.”

Simon also joined the faculty of SMU’s Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) program when he arrived in in 1986, teaching courses such as “Politics and Film,” and “The American Presidency” to hundreds of graduate students in the predominantly evening program. He began teaching “The Politics and Legacies of the Civil Rights Movement,” to both MLS students and undergraduates in 2008, combining it with an existing trip organized through the SMU Chaplain’s Office to historic sites in civil rights history. Simon never tired of sharing with an audience the “power of place” he said came with combining a semester-long course with personal experiences shared at the sites of civil rights violence and struggle.

> Watch Dennis Simon’s 2012 Maguire Public Scholar lecture at YouTube video

Dennis Simon, Civil Rights PilgrimageWith his Chaplain’s Office partner, Ray Jordan, and student leaders chosen each year, the trip featured stops at sites Simon described as “ground-zero,” in the civil rights movement, such as Little Rock High School, the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s home in Montgomery. History came alive at each spot, thanks to Simon’s friendships with original participants he called “foot soldiers” in the civil rights movement, who shared their recollections with students, sometimes hopping aboard the bus to lead tours.

The class and trip, sponsored by the Embrey Human Rights Program and SMU’s Office of the Chaplain and Religious Life, are now a core requirement of SMU’s human rights undergraduate major and the human rights emphasis in SMU’s Master of Liberal Studies program. Each year students share their thoughts and memories of the trip on an online blog.

> Read blog postings from the 2015 Civil Rights Pilgrimage on the 50th anniversary of the 1965 voting rights march

“I will always be thankful to Dr. Simon for showing us all what it looks like to not only celebrate the light, but to be the light in situations where it seems like the darkness might swallow us up,” said Michelle Anderson ’15, who served as student leader of the pilgrimage in 2015. “I’m missing our fearless leader already. Keep marching, pilgrims.” Anderson is pursuing a Ph.D. in media studies with a focus in transitional justice at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Simon also generously shared his expertise with the news media, serving as an expert on the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama, the impact of the John F. Kennedy assassination, the changing role of women in politics, and trends in presidential and mid-term elections. He regularly presented lectures to the community and served as a panel member at lecture series throughout the Dallas area.

See Dennis Simon’s last lecture, shared with the community Nov. 12 as a wrap-up of the 2016 presidential election

“The qualities that made Dennis a fine person – intelligence, enthusiasm, and honesty – made him an extraordinary teacher and mentor to his students,” said Joe Kobylka, SMU associate professor of political science and Simon’s longtime friend. “His passion for studying American politics and change electrified his lectures and infused his students with his enthusiasm. When that happens, education ensues, and Dennis was a master educator. I learned from him, as a student and then a colleague. I will draw on those lessons daily.”

> Find more of Dennis Simon’s work at SMU News

February 16, 2017|For the Record, News|

SMU mourns the death of VP for Student Affairs Pamela D. Anthony

Pamela D. Anthony, SMU vice president for student affairs, died on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, after a battle with cancer. Arrangements for funeral and campus memorial services are pending with the family.

“Dr. Anthony was a leader in the field of student affairs who devoted her career to students’ well-being and academic and personal growth,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “At SMU, she served as a mentor to many while focusing on students’ campus life and educational experiences, including in the areas of health and wellness, multicultural affairs and residential life. We grieve this profound loss of a friend and colleague, and we offer our condolences and prayers to Dr. Anthony’s family and loved ones.”

Dr. Anthony became vice president for student affairs at SMU on February 1, 2016. She oversaw areas including the Office of the Dean of Student Life; Residence Life; women’s, LGBT, multicultural, volunteer and leadership programs; student activities; student conduct; campus ministries; health and wellness programs; career services; the Hughes-Trigg Student Center and the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports. In fall 2016 she led the dedication and opening of the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center.

In a May interview, Dr. Anthony said, “When I think about this work, I feel very called to work with students, to develop students and to make sure that they’re having a good experience in college.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

January 18, 2017|News|

SMU mourns the loss of Professor Jeremy duQuesnay Adams

Jeremy duQuesnay AdamsDistinguished SMU Professor of History Jeremy duQuesnay Adams, beloved by generations of students, honored by colleagues worldwide and the inspiration for a character in the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, died May 2, 2016 at the age of 82.

A memorial service is scheduled for Friday, May 6, at 11:00 a.m. in Perkins Chapel.

More than 40 years ago, Adams and his wife, Bonnie Wheeler of SMU’s Department of English, came to SMU, where they invented SMU’s interdisciplinary Medieval Studies Program with colleagues across the University and the Dallas area. Through the years, Adams’ courses on medieval history played a central role in the expansion and growing reputation of this program, which now offers a popular undergraduate minor and major and a master’s degree. Adams also taught at and directed SMU study-abroad programs in France and Spain and, most frequently, in the SMU-in-Oxford program in England.

In 1999, Adams led a project for his course on “Millennialism Through the Ages” that resulted in a student-created University time capsule. The capsule, filled with 300 items representing life at SMU and in the world at large during the turn of the millennium, remains buried on campus to this day and is scheduled to be opened in the year 3000.

“[W]ho can resist the theatrical and passionate lectures by Jeremy Adams?” wrote alumna Claire Aldridge Heck ’84 in a testimonial during SMU’s Year of the Faculty in 2014. She loved his classes so much that “I took my children to the south of England and climbed around ancient sites just hoping to inspire them as he had inspired me.”

As former colleague Irina Dumitrescu says, “Jeremy duQuesnay Adams was one of the truest intellectuals I’ve ever known. The past was a living place for him: he spoke of Charlemagne or any given Pippin as though he had just lunched with them earlier in the week. His conversation was peppered with quotations in Latin, French, and half a dozen other languages, but he did it warmly, giving you the feeling you probably understood exactly what he was talking about. He taught and inspired generations of students, and his colleagues, too. He was a gentleman in the very best sense of the word: elegant, good-humoured, wickedly funny in the most dignified possible way.”

In 2012, Adams was honored with the first Centennial Professorship established in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. The gift that endowed the professorship came from many friends and former students, especially Adams’ former students Stephen and Kathryn Hedges Arata. Their generosity reflected the lasting impact Adams has made with generations of SMU students. “Jeremy Adams created a sense of academic curiosity and desire for learning that I possess to this day,” Kathryn Arata said when the Adams Centennial Professorship was announced. “Now that Stephen and I are in a position to pay back (actually pay forward) the gifts he gave us, we wanted to do something that would be close to Jeremy’s heart. He is passionate about his subject, and we have given this endowment to ensure that his passion will continue to light the fires of academic curiosity in students for years to come.”

Adams lectured and wrote widely on early medieval European thought and society. He loved the Latin language and the vital complexity of the human past. He was a frequent participant in the national Great Courses program and was often featured in films for the History Channel. He was a member of various professional societies, the Signet Society (Cambridge, Massachusetts), and the Elizabethan Club (New Haven, Connecticut).

In 2005, a group of Adams’ colleagues and former students in medieval history created Medieval Paradigms, a two-volume festschrift to honor Adams. The two books contain more than 25 essays by as many contributors, each exploring different facets of medieval life and culture.

Its editor, Stephanie Hayes-Healy, then of Trinity College Dublin, wrote, “Jeremy belongs to a generation of trail-blazing academics who pushed historical scholarship into a three-dimensional world, a world complete with the complexities of human existence, and with a consciousness of the artificial nature of imposed boundaries, especially those among separate academic disciplines. Historians of his generation, armed with respect for but a healthy mode of criticism of those who came before them, went to work on reconstructing the past as much as possible with the newly broadened choice of analytical tools and structures at their disposal. Jeremy’s creative insight as a scholar and a teacher served him well over the years, and have served his students as well.” This serious honor was preceded by a playful pseudo-academic set of essays produced in 1974, when Adams was leaving Yale for SMU. Lamentationes Ieremiae (Lamentations of Jeremy, the Latin name of the book of Lamentations in the Bible), edited by distinguished scholars James J. O’Donnell and Stuart Jenks, can be found on the Georgetown University website.

Professor Adams was born in New Orleans on Oct. 1, 1933. His father, Philip Rhys Adams, long Director of the Cincinnati Art Museum, was from a family dedicated to the ministry before and after they crossed the Atlantic to Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere. His mother, Marie Rose Françoise Constance le Mercier du Quesnay, Vicomtesse de Jumécourt, was the daughter of a French family long settled in Louisiana. Jeremy, their eldest child, was raised in New Orleans and in Columbus, Ohio. He was schooled at the Columbus Academy, and the Jesuit High School in New Orleans, attended Georgetown College and graduated from Harvard College (Adams House) in 1955.

His mentors were his cousin Edwin Reischauer (whose famous survey of East Asian History, fondly called ‘Rice Paddies,’ was as notable as his Sunday family dinners in Belmont of roast beef and rice); historian Crane Brinton; historian Myron Gilmore, son-in-law of Alfred North Whitehead; and historian Giles Constable. After retiring as Captain from his service in the U.S. Army Artillery, he taught at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. He subsequently returned to Harvard for graduate school and completed his Ph.D. in History in 1967. A tutor in Dunster House at Harvard, Adams then taught at Yale, where he also served as a resident fellow of Calhoun College. He came to Southern Methodist University from 1974 and dedicated his life to teaching SMU students both in Dallas and abroad.

One of Adams’ Harvard classmates and Yale colleagues was Erich Segal, who would later gain fame as a novelist and the author of Love Story. Segal was a credited screenwriter on the Beatles’ hit animated feature, Yellow Submarine. Adams’ long and lyrical full name – Jeremy Yvon duQuesnay Adams – as well as his classical erudition, inspired the author to base the character of the Beatles’ mentor on his old friend. As Adams recently summarized the Odyssey-based plot, “The heroes take a yellow submarine to rescue the people of Pepperland who have been imprisoned undersea by the Blue Meanies, an army of cruel, wicked creatures. The heroes are the Beatles, whose powerful music frees the people; they are led by Young Fred, the very old mayor of Pepperland, and assisted in many surprising ways by Jeremy Hillary Boob, PhD [né Jeremy Y. duBoob]. ‘Ad hoc, ad loc, et quid pro quo / so little time, so much to know.’ Jeremy helps put the Blue Meanies to rout by pirouetting on one toe and singing, “All You Need is Love.”

Adams received numerous honors during his distinguished academic career. At Yale, he received the DeVane Medal of that university’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter and the national Danforth Foundation’s E. Harris Harbison Award for Gifted Teaching. At SMU, he was awarded the Perrine Prize from SMU’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter and was named an Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor. He received several Outstanding Professor Awards, as well as the “M” Award, SMU’s highest award for distinguished service. He was the author or editor of seven books and numerous academic articles.

Professor Adams is survived by his wife Bonnie Wheeler of Dallas (with whom he renewed wedding vows this past Sunday, May 1); his daughter Constance Adams of Houston, Texas, and her daughters Mathilde and Valerie; by his son Charles Scott of Prince George, British Columbia, and his children and their families; by numerous beloved godchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins; and by his students.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Medieval Studies Program at SMU (PO Box 750402; Dallas 75275-0402).

May 5, 2016|News|

Simmons School creates scholarship fund honoring Peter Gifford

Peter Gifford portraitSMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development has established the Peter B. Gifford Memorial Scholarship Fund in memory of their colleague and friend.

During his 41-year SMU career, Gifford served as assistant professor of physical education (1973-80) and then as associate professor and chair of the Department of Health and Physical Education (1980-92) within Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

In 1990, he became director of the SMU Wellness program within the Office of Student Affairs and served in that position for 17 years. From 2007 to 2012 he served as chair of the Applied Physiology and Wellness Department within the Simmons School. He passed away Nov. 5, 2014 at the age of 69.

Gifford was instrumental in creating both the Wellness and the Applied Physiology and Sports Management programs at SMU. He received a Rotunda Outstanding Professor Award in 2013.

To make a gift in memory of Peter Gifford, visit the SMU Giving site and choose the Peter B. Gifford Memorial Fund from the drop-down menu.

February 25, 2015|For the Record, News|

SMU mourns death of Law Professor Sarah McQuillen-Tran

Sarah McQuillen-TranSarah McQuillen-Tran didn’t let a second battle with leukemia keep her from her class in property law. During Fall 2012 mid-terms, she taught 80 first-year SMU law students via Skype from her hospital bed in Baylor University Medical Center.

The University community is invited to a service celebrating her life at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 15, 2014 at Highland Park United Methodist Church. A potluck lunch will follow the service.

Tran, an assistant professor in SMU’s Dedman School of Law, died Friday, Feb. 28 at the age of 34. The family requests that memorials be made to the Tran Children Development Fund.

> Texas Lawyer: SMU property law professor teaches from hospital bed

Born in Leidschedam, Holland, Sarah went to school in England and Saudi Arabia, and attended high school in the United States and Philippines. After graduating from high school, she spent a year volunteering in the Philippines, India and Nepal before matriculating at the University of California-Berkeley. After graduating from Berkeley with a degree in civil engineering, she and her college sweetheart, Thuan Tran, joined the Peace Corps and served in Guinea, West Africa. They were married in Oakland, California in 2004.

After graduating magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, Tran clerked for The Hon. Timothy Belcher Dyk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. She also worked for the Energy Group at the Jones Day law firm.

Tran joined the SMU law faculty in January 2011 as an assistant professor specializing in intellectual property and regulatory and environmental law. A nationally recognized legal scholar, she published articles in several leading U.S. law journals. During the 2012-13 academic year, she served as a Fellow in SMU’s Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute.

Sarah is survived by her husband, Thuan, and their two children, FarrahSophia and Jimi Owen; her mother, Jacqueline Conci, and husband Michael Conci, of Auburn, California; and her father, Roland McQuillen, and wife Gabrielle Kelly-McQuillen, of Ireland. She is also survived by her brother Paul and his partner, Heather; her brother Mark; and her sister, Kathy, and husband Mo and their daughter.

> Read more from the SMU Dedman School of Law website

March 13, 2014|News|
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