Paul Ludden

Associate Provost Harold Stanley named interim SMU provost

Harold StanleySMU Associate Provost Harold W. Stanley has been named the University’s vice president for academic affairs and provost ad interim effective June 1, 2015. Current Provost Paul W. Ludden has announced that he will be leaving the Office of the Provost on May 31, 2015.

A distinguished political scientist with special expertise in American government, Southern and Latino politics and presidential elections, Dr. Stanley came to SMU in 2003 as the Geurin-Pettus Distinguished Chair in American Politics and Political Economy in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

He became the University’s associate provost in June 2010. In this position, he oversees SMU’s international study, research and internship programs in its International Center; teaching, research and other activities at the University’s New Mexico campus, SMU-in-Taos; student academic services in the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center and the Loyd Center for the Academic Development of Student Athletes; and the University’s most prestigious scholarship for exceptional students, the President’s Scholars program.

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Stanley in place to serve in this important role,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner, who appointed the interim provost. “He is an outstanding scholar and University citizen who understands the issues and operations of the Office of the Provost and the academic life it guides. He will provide valuable continuity as we conduct a national search for provost and vice president for academic affairs.”

At SMU, Dr. Stanley has been a member of the Executive Board of the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies since 2003. He has also chaired the Honors Task Force (2006-07), served on the General Education Review Committee (2007-09), and co-chaired the Faculty/Staff Steering Committee for the Second Century Campaign (2009-10). He received SMU’s Distinguished University Citizen Award in 2008 and the University’s highest recognition, the “M” Award, in 2010. He was honored with the Outstanding Administrator Award in 2013.

Dr. Stanley has written three books: Vital Statistics on American Politics, now in its 15th edition (CQ Press); Voter Mobilization and the Politics of Race: The South and Universal Suffrage, 1952-1984 (Praeger, 1987), and Senate vs. Governor, Alabama 1971: Referents for Opposition in a One-Party Legislature (University of Alabama Press, 1975). He has also published numerous reviews, book chapters and journal articles in the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, and The Journal of Politics, among others.

A former president of the Southern Political Science Association, Dr. Stanley received the 2010 Outstanding Teaching in Political Science Award from Pi Sigma Alpha and the American Political Science Association. Earlier this year, he was named a 2015-16 Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar.

Dr. Stanley received his B.A. degree from Yale in 1972, graduating magna cum laude as well as with honors with exceptional distinction in political science. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University (Worcester College) from 1972-75, earning a Master of Philosophy in politics. He returned to Yale to earn his Ph.D. in political science in 1981.

Provost search committee named; open forums for faculty and staff scheduled for March 25, 2015

SMU President R. Gerald Turner has announced the formation of the search committee for the next University provost. Provost Paul Ludden has announced that he will be leaving the Office of the Provost on May 31, 2015.

The Provost Search Committee will be chaired by Al Niemi, dean of SMU’s Cox School of Business. The committee members include:

  • Cindy Boeke, Central University Libraries
  • Jennifer Collins, Dean, Dedman School of Law
  • Jodi Cooley, Physics, Dedman College
  • Robert H. Dedman Jr., SMU Trustee
  • Maria Dixon, Communication Studies, Meadows School of the Arts
  • Rahfin Faruk, SMU Student Trustee
  • Andrew Graybill, History, Dedman College
  • Rod Jackson, Enrollment Services
  • Rebekah Miles, Perkins School of Theology
  • Marc Peterson, Enrollment Services
  • Caren Prothro, SMU Trustee
  • Dinesh Rajan, Electrical Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering
  • Santanu Roy, Economics, Dedman College
  • Paige Ware, Teaching and Learning, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development
  • Lori White, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Stanley Wojewodski, Theatre, Meadows School of the Arts

Dr. Ann Die Hasselmo will serve as consultant to the Search Committee.She has worked with SMU on five previous academic searches, including the most recent dean searches for Dedman College and Meadows School of the Arts. The committee’s first organizational meeting took place March 17, with a goal of completing its search during the fall semester, wrote President Turner in an e-mail to the campus community dated Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

Dean Niemi has invited faculty and staff members to meet with several members of the Search Committee and Dr. Hasselmo. Two open forums have been scheduled for Wednesday, March 25:

  • 10 a.m., Karcher Auditorium, Storey Hall, Law Quad
  • 2 p.m., Crum Auditorium, Collins Executive Education Center. Business Quad

Sam Holland named Meadows dean on Nov. 12, 2014

Sam Holland, dean, Meadows School of the Arts at SMUSam Holland, professor and director in the Meadows School of the ArtsDivision of Music, was named the School’s new dean on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014.

He has served as interim dean since July 1, 2014, following the departure of former dean José Antonio Bowen.

An internationally renowned music educator and arts administrator, Holland will also hold the school’s Algur H. Meadows Chair.

Holland has been director of the Meadows School’s Division of Music since 2010. Under his leadership, the Music Division was named the #1 music program in the United States in the 2014 College Factual rankings, as reported in USA Today. He has also provided leadership in fundraising: He worked with the Meadows development team to obtain more than $10 million in new giving for piano inventory and programs; renovation of practice facilities; and support for endowed scholarships, new endowed professorships and the ensemble-in-residence program.

“We are delighted to have a distinguished leader who is already a highly respected member of the SMU family and the Dallas arts community to assume this important position,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Sam Holland brings experience and success not only in teaching and performing, but also in fundraising, external outreach and impact on his profession.”

Holland joined the Meadows music faculty in 1991, initially serving as head of piano pedagogy and director of the Piano Preparatory Department. He has served as head of the Department of Keyboard Studies and Pedagogy, associate chair and chair ad interim of the Division of Music and Meadows associate director for academic affairs. His teaching at SMU has included piano pedagogy, studio piano, computers and keyboards, jazz piano and piano master classes.

“Sam Holland brings a great understanding of the Meadows School and its culture and great personal charm and accomplishment to the position of dean,” said Paul Ludden, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “It is rare for a candidate to receive such enthusiastic support from every sector of the University and the community. SMU is fortunate to have Sam leading the Meadows School as the University advances in national prominence.”

Holland has extended the Meadows School’s reach beyond the campus. He developed closer associations with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and organized SMU student performances for civic events, such as the grand opening of the Winspear Opera House and groundbreaking for the George W. Bush Presidential Center. He developed and shepherded partnerships with community groups including Dallas Chamber Music, Voices of Change, Dallas Bach Society and the Allegro Guitar Society.

“I am deeply honored and tremendously excited by the opportunity to lead the Meadows School at this time in its history,” Holland said. “After years of growth in the quality and reputation of its programs, Meadows is emerging as a national model for arts education in the 21st century. Considering the people at SMU and Meadows, an extraordinary executive board and the dynamism of Dallas, I can’t help but be irrepressibly optimistic about the future. Great cultural centers have great schools nearby. Lincoln Center has Juilliard. Chicago has Northwestern. The Dallas Arts District has Meadows. In my view, the powerhouse schools of the next 25 years will be those in which fine and performing arts are working alongside cutting-edge communication arts – precisely the ingredients we celebrate at Meadows. At Meadows, we will create, communicate, curate, innovate and engage with this great city we call home. I’m looking forward to the journey.”

Aside from his responsibilities in the Meadows School, Holland is co-founder and executive director of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy, Inc., a nonprofit educational institution in New Jersey. He is executive director of the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy and Clavier Companion magazine. He chairs the Committee on Ethics of the Texas Association of Music Schools.

Holland earned his Bachelor of Music in applied music cum laude from The University of Texas at Austin, followed by a Master of Music in applied music with highest honors at the University of Houston and a Ph.D. in music education with an emphasis in piano pedagogy at the University of Oklahoma.

He is the author or co-author of more than 70 critically acclaimed method and repertoire collections with major publishers. In addition, he is internationally active as a performer and lecturer at music conferences and festivals and has served as founder and executive of national professional conferences and journals.

At the international level, Holland has provided leadership for music workshops and lecture/demonstrations in countries including England, Spain, Australia, Hungary, Norway and Canada. He has represented the Meadows Division of Music on visits to the U.K., Japan, Australia, Shanghai, Spain and the Peoples’ Republic of China.

Holland has been honored with the Texas Music Teacher Association Outstanding Collegiate Teaching Award and the Dean’s Prize of Meadows School of the Arts.

> Read the full story from SMU News

$2 million gift will create Mary and Richard Templeton Centennial Chair in Electrical Engineering in SMU’s Lyle School

Templeton Centennial Chair gift announcement

At the Templeton gift announcement (l.to r.): SMU Board of Trustees Chair Michael M. Boone, SMU President R. Gerald Turner, Mrs. Gail Turner, Richard Templeton, Mary Templeton, daughter Stephanie Templeton, engineering student Elizabeth (Liz) Dubret, Lyle Engineering School Dean Marc Christensen, and Brad Cheves, SMU Vice President for Development and External Affairs.

A gift of $2 million from Mary and Richard Templeton will create a new endowed faculty position in electrical engineering in SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering.

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.

Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Read the full story from SMU News

SMU breaks ground on Harold Clark Simmons Hall

Harold Clark Simmons Hall at SMU, artist's rendering

An artist’s rendering of Harold Clark Simmons Hall, the second building in SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development quad. The University broke ground for the new facility on Friday, Sept. 12, 2014.

SMU broke ground on Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 for the second building in the University’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development complex.

Harold Clark Simmons Hall was funded by a gift of $25 million from Annette Caldwell Simmons and Harold C. Simmons in February 2013. The gift will also support three new endowed academic positions. The new facility will be named in honor of the late Mr. Simmons, at Mrs. Simmons’ request.

“This new building will support the growing impact and leadership of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. The Simmons School excels in research productivity and innovative programs that have direct application to the critical education needs in our community and beyond,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The generosity of Harold and Annette Simmons reflects their wisdom and foresight in supporting programs that expand human potential and achievement. We are grateful to them for enabling us to increase student and faculty achievement in the school.”

> Visit the Simmons School online at smu.edu/simmons

Situated along Airline Drive, Harold Clark Simmons Hall will be a three-story, 40,000-square-foot academic building and home to the Budd Center for Involving Communities in Education, the Teacher Development Studio and the Department of Teaching and Learning. The facility also will include classrooms, labs, faculty and administrative offices and conference rooms to meet the expanding program needs of the school. Completion is scheduled for late 2015.

“One dean should not have this much fun,” said David Chard, Leon Simmons Endowed Dean of the Simmons School, noting that in the space of a very short time, he has been privileged to break ground on two buildings made possible by Harold and Annette Simmons.

“Harold C. Simmons Hall represents a generous commitment to the teachers and children of our region,” Chard added. “It will enable the Simmons School to help teachers optimize their impact on children’s education. It will also serve as the hub of our community-based programs, allowing us to expand our understanding of the relationship between schools and the communities they serve.”

In 2007 Harold and Annette Simmons made a historic $20 million gift to SMU, which established endowments for the school and provided funding for the school’s first new building, Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall. The gift created an endowed graduate fellowship fund and an endowed deanship and faculty recruitment fund, both of which honored Mr. Simmons’ parents, who were educators in Golden, Texas. In recognition of their commitment, SMU named the school the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

Their combined gifts of $45 million to the school make Harold and Annette Simmons’ commitment among the largest to SMU’s Second Century Campaign, also making them among the most generous donors in SMU’s 100-year history. Previous gifts include the endowment of four President’s Scholars and the creation of the Simmons Distinguished Professorship in Marketing in the Cox School of Business.

“The innovative programs of the Simmons School, including those to be housed in the new Harold Clark Simmons Hall, have the potential to influence the direction of American education,” said Paul Ludden, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “They are also examples of the kind of intellectual capital that SMU is increasingly able to provide for the region and the nation.”

“We were a collection of unrelated programs,” Dean Chard said to Mrs. Simmons. “The seeds you and Harold planted have (allowed the Simmons School to become) a force for change.”

Harold Clark Simmons Hall will serve as home for these Simmons School programs:

  • The Budd Center for Involving Communities in Education focuses on a strategic and holistic approach to fighting poverty by transforming education. It equips school districts and nonprofits as they work together to assess and meet the extraordinary needs of children in poverty. The center builds data-sharing infrastructure, makes previously inaccessible data available, teaches partners to translate data and uses data to develop collaborative and highly targeted plans to accelerate students’ academic success. Its work centers on West Dallas as a model that eventually can be adopted by other urban areas. Endowed in 2014 by Russell and Dorothy Budd ’06, the center is the backbone organization for The School Zone, a West Dallas collaboration of 26 social service agencies and 23 public and private schools.
  • The Teacher Development Studio will occupy three laboratories that are technologically equipped to train students in teaching, instructional design and assessment. These labs offer teachers a place to practice being teachers in low-stakes environments:
  • The Teaching Performance Lab will simulate pre-K–12 classroom environments with computer avatars standing in for students. The avatars play the roles of students in classroom situations, and the teacher interacts through the same technology used in video games.
  • The Assessment Lab offers software programs that allow teachers to create assessments and evaluate student performance. Assessment outcomes will be relayed to the Instructional Design Lab, where teachers can construct the resources they need to connect with their students.
  • The Instructional Design Lab will provide teachers access to state-of-the-art technology as well as conventional materials to develop unit and lesson plans and technology applications to support student learning.

> Read the full story from SMU News

$4 million in gifts will fund SMU Tower Scholars Program

SMU Tower Center logoGifts totaling more than $4 million will endow and provide operational support for the new Tower Scholars Program – a unique immersion experience for undergraduates in public policymaking through SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies.

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.

> The Dallas Morning NewsBob Miller: SMU’s Tower Scholars Program receives over $4 million in gifts

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.

Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Read the full story from SMU News

Simmons School’s Michael Harris named director of SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence

Michael Harris, Simmons School of Education and Human Development, SMUMichael Harris, associate professor in the Department of Education Policy and Leadership of SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, has been named director of the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence. He began his new duties on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014.

Harris worked with previous CTE director Beth Thornburg throughout the summer to become familiar with the CTE’s operations. Thornburg returns to full-time teaching in Dedman School of Law in Fall 2014.

“Professor Harris takes over a Center that has grown and thrived under the exceptional leadership of Professor Thornburg. During her time as Director, the CTE has sponsored Faculty Learning Communities, initiated the New Faculty Teaching Excellence (NFTE) workshop series, and spearheaded an effort to recognize the excellent teaching performed by our lecturers,” wrote Provost Paul Ludden in an e-mail message to the SMU community dated Friday, July 11, 2014.

“But more than developing programs and events, Professor Thornburg has underscored the importance of teaching to our academic mission. Please join me in extending our thanks and best wishes to Professor Thornburg and in welcoming Professor Harris to his new role.”

Harris came to SMU in August 2012 from the University of Alabama’s Department of Educational Leadership, Policy and Technology Studies. He earned his B.A. degree in history from the University of North Carolina and his M.S.Ed and Ed.D in higher education administration from the University of Pennsylvania. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals on issues facing higher education and has made numerous presentations to academic groups on such subjects as “Balancing the Demands of a New Faculty Position” and “Why Businesses Should Work Like a University.”

Professor Harris is a Council Member-at-Large of the American Educational Research Association, Division J, and has consulted with universities on various subjects including program planning for undergraduate general education curriculum.

> Visit SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence online

Save the date: SMU’s Fall 2014 General Faculty Meeting will take place Wednesday, Aug. 27

SMU President R. Gerald Turner will address the University faculty at the Fall General Faculty Meeting Wednesday, Aug. 27 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. The meeting will begin at 3:45 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Theater, following a reception beginning at 3 p.m. in the Theater foyer.

Newly tenured faculty will receive their regalia during the meeting. Faculty Senate President Jody Magliolo will give the Senate’s report, and Provost Paul Ludden will announce the winner of the 2013-14 Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church.

Thomas DiPiero named SMU’s new Dedman College dean

Thomas DiPiero, June 2014-1The next dean of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences is a multidisciplinary scholar whose academic interests range from French literature to the psychoanalysis of race and gender.

Thomas DiPiero has been named to lead the largest of SMU’s seven colleges and schools, as well as to professorships in the Departments of English and World Languages and Literatures. He will join the University on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014.

Currently, DiPiero is dean of humanities and interdisciplinary studies in the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering and professor of French and of Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester, New York. He replaces William Tsutsui, who resigned in May to become president of Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas.

DiPiero received both his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Romance studies from Cornell University, in 1984 and 1988 respectively. He earned a B.A. degree in French and an M.A. in Romance languages and literatures from The Ohio State University in 1978 and 1980.

“I am honored and exhilarated to have been named dean of Dedman College,” DiPiero said. “Dedman College is the academic heart of SMU, home to world-class, innovative teaching and research about the natural world, its people, their creations and institutions. The college’s departments, programs, and centers are leading the way in creating new knowledge and new fields of inquiry, and I am tremendously eager to work with faculty, students, and staff to extend the intellectual boundaries of our work and the geographic reaches of our discoveries.”

“I am excited about Dedman College’s future under the leadership of Dr. DiPiero,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The College, which is the heart of an SMU education, will benefit from his interdisciplinary approach to the humanities and sciences, as well as from his passion for research and teaching. He’s a great fit for Dedman College and for SMU.”

“Dr. DiPiero has an outstanding reputation for working across boundaries to bring the humanities and sciences together,” said Paul Ludden, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “He also established a strong record of promoting both graduate and undergraduate students during his time at the University of Rochester. The students of Dedman College and the broader University will be well served by his leadership and experience.”

Ludden also expressed thanks to Peter Moore, senior associate dean and associate dean for academic affairs in Dedman College, for serving as interim dean during the search. “Dr. Moore is a consummate professional, and his work in an interim role is helping Dedman College maintain its momentum as we prepare for Dr. DiPiero’s arrival.”

DiPiero is the author or co-editor of three books: White Men Aren’t (Duke University Press, 2002); Illicit Sex: Identity Politics in Early Modern Europe, edited with Pat Gill (University of Georgia Press, 1997); and Dangerous Truths and Criminal Passions: The Evolution of the French Novel 1569-1791 (Stanford University Press, 1992). He served as editor of the Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies (University of Pennsylvania Press) from 2005-13, and has written several book chapters, as well as numerous journal articles.

DiPiero previously served as a visiting faculty member at SMU-in-Taos in 2011 and as a guest lecturer for SMU’s Gilbert Lecture Series in 2008.

“Tom DiPiero will bring a superb combination of gifts to his new position as dean of Dedman College,” said William Lawrence, dean of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology and search committee chair. “He has excelled as an interdisciplinary and international leader in higher education, with creative initiatives in the sciences as well as the humanities. Our search committee was tremendously impressed with his qualifications, and we are thrilled with his appointment.”

Dedman College has 307 full-time faculty members, including 19 endowed professorships. About half of SMU’s undergraduates pursue majors in Dedman College through 39 baccalaureate degree programs, and minors in more than 50 areas. Nineteen graduate programs in Dedman College lead to a master’s degree, and 13 programs lead to a doctor of philosophy degree.

> Read the full story from SMU News

Junior Rahfin Faruk receives 2014 Truman Scholarship

SMU junior Rahfin Faruk, 2014 Truman Scholar

SMU junior Rahfin Faruk has been named a 2014 Truman Scholar. The prestigious and highly competitive national scholarship recognizes college students who are “change agents,” with outstanding leadership potential and a commitment to public service careers.

Faruk was one of 59 students, mostly college juniors, from 52 U.S. colleges and universities selected to receive the award, which provides up to $30,000 for graduate study. He is the 14th Truman Scholar at SMU since the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975. He was one of 655 candidates nominated by 293 colleges and universities for one of academia’s most sought-after awards.

Two other SMU juniors also were selected as finalists for the Truman Scholarship: Prithvi Rudrappa, a Dedman College Scholar majoring in biochemistry in Dedman College and finance in Cox School of Business, with a minor in Spanish; and Fantine Giap, a President’s Scholar majoring in biological sciences and minoring in mathematics and psychology in Dedman College.

Faruk, of Richardson, Texas, is an SMU President’s Scholar majoring in economics, political science, public policy and religious studies, with a minor in mathematics, in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. He plans to pursue an MBA and a master’s in public policy to work in the social enterprise sector.

“It’s fitting that the Truman Scholarship Foundation honored Rahfin Faruk as a change agent,” said SMU Provost Paul Ludden. “Rahfin not only has excelled academically, but he also has applied his knowledge and research skills to important issues facing the North Texas and global community. With his record of servant leadership on campus and in the community, Rahfin is an SMU world changer with big ideas who no doubt will make a significant contribution as a Truman Scholar.”

“As someone who wants to break down sectoral boundaries, I was attracted to the societal impact I could have as a Truman Scholar,” Faruk says. “Truman Scholars are everywhere – in a wide array of sectors and functions – and they are working to serve humanity in better ways.”

In his graduate studies, Faruk intends to focus on improving financial inclusion, the financial system that gives the poor and marginalized access to credit, savings and insurance services. At SMU, Faruk founded a microfinance initiative called Green Riba, which provides zero-interest loans to low-income entrepreneurs in West Dallas. He twice was awarded grants for his organization through Big iDeas at SMU, an undergraduate research program.

“Services many take for granted — a savings account, free check cashing and ATM access — cost the poor disproportionately more money,” Faruk says. “Through my work with my microfinance organization, I came to realize that financial inclusion should have a bigger seat at the political table because it is interconnected to so many other aspects of life, such as health care, education and upward mobility.”

Written by Sarah Hanan

> Read the full story from SMU News

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