R. Gerald Turner

Holly Jeffcoat named dean of SMU Libraries

Holly Jeffcoat

University of Connecticut Associate Dean of Libraries Holly Jeffcoat, a leader in the use of technology in instruction and library services, has been selected as the next dean of SMU Libraries. She will assume her new duties Wednesday, August 1, 2018.

“Holly Jeffcoat has deep leadership skills, as well as broad administrative experience in the library system of a highly ranked research institution,” said SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven C. Currall. “She will lead SMU Libraries in forging a collective vision in line with SMU’s goals for even greater academic quality.”

SMU President R. Gerald Turner lauded Jeffcoat’s strategic vision.

“Holly is wonderfully forward-thinking in her understanding of the role of technology in libraries now and in the future,” Turner said.

As associate dean of UConn Library, Jeffcoat leads core library operations that include access services, administration, marketing, development, facilities, finance, human resources, information technology and strategic planning. She oversees a $22 million budget, and leads the Library’s five-year, $20 million master plan renovation effort.

She is a key contributor to One UConn Library, an endeavor that ultimately will align systems across all UConn libraries. She also serves as interim leader of the strategic library areas of research, teaching, service and outreach. Previously at UConn, she served as the interim vice provost (the head UConn librarian), the assistant vice provost, and as the associate university librarian of planning, finance and assessment.

“It is an honor and privilege to join the SMU community as the new dean of SMU Libraries,” Jeffcoat said. “This is an exciting time of change and growth in academic research libraries and at SMU. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with world-changing faculty, students, staff, and the broader SMU community to create a shared 21st-century vision for SMU Libraries built upon the existing strengths of dedicated library professionals, outstanding special collections, and inspiring facilities.”

Prior to an international search for a new dean, Currall convened a task force to review existing university library organizational structures and processes, and to make recommendations for a new structure favorable to coordination among the libraries, and conducive to future strategic planning. A new unified organization model will take effect when Jeffcoat begins her new post.

As SMU Libraries dean, Jeffcoat will oversee DeGolyer Library, SMU’s principal repository for special collections in the humanities, the history of business, science and technology; Fondren Library Center, including the Norwick Center for Digital Services; the Hamon Arts Library; Bridwell Library, which supports theological education and scholarship; the Business Library; and human resources needs for the libraries. She will serve as ex officio member of the SMU Libraries Executive Board and the Friends of the SMU Libraries.

“Holly understands modern research libraries from the ground up and across all disciplines,” said Thomas DiPiero, dean of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, who chaired the 15-member search committee. “Her terrific strategic planning experience will help her lead collaborations across SMU Libraries.”

Prior to UConn, Jeffcoat held positions at the University of New Mexico College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences as well as the UNM Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center. Her library leadership career began in Galápagos, Ecuador, as the director of the Charles Darwin Research Station. Jeffcoat has published and presented on translational science support, use of virtual reality in education, collection development in health sciences, and numerous scholarly communication topics.

Jeffcoat is a founding creator of BLC Leads, a Boston-based leadership program for mid-career librarians, and serves as a program mentor. She is a 2018-19 fellow in the prestigious Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Library Leadership Fellows program.

She earned B.A. degree in psychology from Greensboro College, where she minored in sociology and French. She earned an M.S. degree in sociology from Utah State University, and an M.A. degree in library and information sciences from the University of Arizona.

Currall thanked Elizabeth Killingsworth, who has served as interim dean since July 2017, for her leadership. “Elizabeth guided us through this period of transition extremely well,” he said. “She’s a wonderful asset to SMU Libraries and the University.”

SMU remembers benefactor and alumna Patsy Pinson Hutchison ’54

Patsy Pinson Hutchison '54 with Bill Hutchison

SMU alumna Patsy Pinson Hutchison ’54, a devoted University supporter, passed away on May 15, 2018. Along with her husband and fellow alumnus, Bill, the Hutchisons have long been familiar figures at the SMU-in-Taos Cultural Institute at SMU’s campus in Taos, New Mexico, supporting The Chapel at Fort Burgwin, which was dedicated in 2014.

“Patsy Hutchison’s love for SMU was deep and constant,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner said. “Our University has benefited from the Hutchisons’ enduring commitment to education and enrichment and a special affinity for our Taos campus. Gail and I, along with all those who attend the Cultural institute at SMU-in-Taos each summer, will truly miss her warm, friendly presence each year.”

Mrs. Hutchison earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education from SMU and was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. She served as vice president of the SMU Mother’s Club and on the reunion committee for her 50th reunion year class in 2004.

A noted civic and community volunteer in Santa Fe, where the Hutchisons reside, she served on the boards of Kitchen Angels – an organization that provides meals for the homebound – and the New Mexico Governor’s Mansion Foundation. She also was involved with the Santa Fe Garden Club. While the Hutchisons lived in Dallas, she was a member of the Junior League of Dallas.

Mr. Hutchison ’54 is an SMU Trustee Emeritus, serving on its board from 1981-1987. In addition to The Chapel at Fort Burgwin, the Hutchisons’ generous support includes the Ima Leete Hutchison Concert series at SMU-in-Taos. They supported many other initiatives at SMU, creating endowed chairs, scholarships and program funds such as the Ima Leete Hutchison Endowment in the Meadows School of the Arts.

“Patsy exuded such grace and elegance, yet she always made everyone feel like a good friend. She has left a lasting mark on SMU, an institution she loved very much,” said Brad Cheves, SMU vice president for development and external affairs. “The Hutchisons’ rich SMU legacy is part of the University fabric extending over four generations. We will forever be grateful for their support and service.”

Tune In: Fun rules at the 2018 SMU President’s Picnic

Good weather and plenty of Mustang spirit came together on Tuesday, May 22 as the SMU staff – and President R. Gerald Turner – gathered on the Clements Hall South Lawn. The 2018 President’s Picnic featured cookout food and lighter fare, plus fresh popcorn and cookies for snacking. Lawn games, Flat Peruna adventures, tabling, a pop-up library, and even some salsa dancing completed the recipe for fun. The annual event is organized by the SMU Staff Association.

Enjoy this selection of photos from the 2018 SMU President’s Picnic. camera

New center in SMU’s Dedman School of Law will equip legal and business leaders for a changing world

Umphrey Lee Cenotaph, Dedman School of Law quad, SMUCombined gifts of $4 million will create a new center in SMU’s Dedman School of Law to train the next generation of prominent legal and business leaders and influence national conversations surrounding business and corporate law. The Robert B. Rowling Center for Business Law and Leadership is being named in honor of Dallas businessman Robert B. Rowling, owner and Chairman of TRT Holdings, Inc., which is the holding company for the Omni Hotels and Resorts chain as well as Gold’s Gym International. Rowling received an undergraduate degree in business before graduating from Dedman Law in 1979.

The center will be named for Rowling at the request of an anonymous donor who made the lead gift. The donor asked Mr. Rowling the favor of sharing his name with the new center to reflect that Mr. Rowling exemplifies the type of business achievement, community engagement and civic contribution that future participants in the center’s programs should strive to emulate.

“Bob Rowling is the perfect example of the combined skills that will be the focus of the new center,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Today’s law students will be navigating careers that we cannot even imagine at the moment. They need training in ethical leadership, business analytics and entrepreneurship to develop the skills they will need to be successful. The Rowling Center has a role to play in shaping the future of business and corporate law.”

The Rowling Center will enrich the School’s existing curriculum, and include new leadership training to highlight professionalism and “soft skills,” as well as empirical training to teach core business skills. The program will build on the legal and business acumen centered in Dallas, collaborating with SMU’s Cox School of Business to provide an interdisciplinary approach. The center also will enhance Dedman Law’s mentoring program and provide new opportunities for students to connect with SMU’s extensive network of highly successful alumni and supporters.

In addition to expanded course offerings for J.D. students, the J.D./M.B.A. degree programs will be closely connected with the Rowling Center and its broader activities. Both the traditional four-year and the recently launched three-year accelerated J.D./M.B.A. degree programs are attracting top students with exceptional promise and strong credentials.

“I am honored to have my name associated with this center for several reasons,” Rowling said. “Dedman Law is my alma mater, of course, and I know from personal experience that a law degree is very useful in business. The center’s emphasis on business law and leadership will train law students in critical areas of business and position them well for future career success.“

A gift of $3 million from an anonymous donor, in addition to $1 million from the Dedman Foundation, will launch the center in fall 2018.

“This is great philanthropic synergy,” said Brad Cheves, SMU Vice President for Development and External Affairs. “We had a very generous donor who wanted to support an important initiative at Dedman Law and, at the same time, honor Robert Rowling, a Dedman Law alumnus who epitomizes the type of work on which this center will focus. We are delighted to see this idea come to fruition.”

The center will focus on two areas:

  • Training through an interdisciplinary program that includes new and innovative courses and extracurricular offerings, and
  • National conversations related to business and corporate law topics through programming, faculty research and partnerships.

“The center will capitalize on the Dedman School of Law’s global reputation for producing graduates who work at the interface of law and business,” said Steven C. Currall, SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “The center will also build upon innovative partnerships with SMU’s Cox School of Business and with the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which is located on our campus.”

“The Rowling center for Business Law and Leadership is an extraordinarily good fit for us, and a natural progression for Dedman Law,” said Jennifer Collins, Judge James Noel Dean of Dedman School of Law. “This Center will enhance the education we provide to our students by ensuring that graduates have the commitment to ethical leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, and business acumen they need to navigate the rapidly evolving employment landscape. It also will position the law school as a thought leader on questions related to corporate law and leadership and provide us with new opportunities to engage our alumni and the broader legal and business community. We are profoundly grateful to our lead donor, to the Dedman family, and of course to Mr. Rowling for helping us transform our vision of a business law center into a reality.”

Collins said the search would now begin for a center director with the practical experience and professional connections to make the Rowling Center immediately impactful. In addition to hosting seminars, conferences and symposia aimed at stimulating new developments in business and corporate law and policy, the center will house and coordinate established programming such as Dedman Law’s Corporate Counsel Symposium, Corporate Counsel Externship program and Corporate Directors’ Institute.

> Read the full story from SMU News

Continuing the Ascent: New report details 14 recommendations to boost SMU’s global impact

Dallas Hall at SMU

SMU President R. Gerald Turner and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven C. Currall have released a new report presenting 14 recommendations to further raise SMU’s standing relative to other universities.

The recommendations in Continuing The Ascent: Recommendations for Enhancing the Academic Quality and Stature of Southern Methodist University were discussed and vetted for more than a year among the SMU community via task force work, fora and town halls. They address four categories:

  • Enhancing the Quality of Undergraduates and Their Educational Experience
  • Strengthening Faculty, Research and Creative Impact at SMU
  • Enhancing the Quality of Graduate Students and Their Educational Experience
  • Deepening Innovative Community Partnerships and Engagement

Each recommendation briefly compares SMU with its peers and aspirants, and includes estimated costs.

“This is our time to rise even higher,” Turner said. “There’s more to do to strengthen our already fine academic quality, and to bolster our local, national and global impact.”

“The SMU community contributed extensively to, and informed the development of our recommendations,” Currall said. “This report represents our collective vision of SMU’s future and how to further elevate SMU’s excellence in scholarship, creative activity, teaching, and societal impact.”

> Read Continuing the Ascent here

SMU names new members, officers of Board of Trustees

Three new officers and three new trustees were named to SMU’s Board of Trustees during the board’s spring meeting May 4, 2018. The Board also passed a resolution to honor two former members as trustees emeriti.

Robert H. Dedman, Jr. ’80, ’84 has been elected as chair, David B. Miller ’72, ’73 was elected as vice-chair, and Kelly Hoglund Compton ’79 was elected as secretary. Officers are elected for one-year terms and are eligible for re-election up to four consecutive terms in any respective office.

The new officers will begin their one-year terms on June 1, 2018, and preside over the Sept. 14, 2018 meeting of the Board of Trustees.

“It’s a great honor to serve as chair of the SMU Board of Trustees,” Dedman said. “As both SMU and Dallas grow in stature and importance, the board is ready to guide the continued quest of the University to become one of the nation’s finest comprehensive research universities and a home of world-changing research, student development and community impact. ”

New trustee Bradley W. Brookshire ’76 will fill the vacancy left by the death of longtime SMU trustee Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler ’48. The Board’s new ex officio faculty representative is Faculty Senate President Dayna Oscherwitz, French area chair in the Department of World Languages and Literatures, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Ben Manthey ’09, ’19 will serve as ex officio student trustee.

Concluding their board service are Paul Krueger, past-president of the SMU Faculty Senate and professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering; and student trustee Andrew B. Udofa ’18.

The SMU Board of Trustees also passed a resolution naming Linda Pitts Custard ’60, ’99 and Alan D. Feld ’57, ’60 as trustees emeriti. They are the first former University trustees to receive that designation since Milledge A. Hart, III, became SMU’s ninth trustee emeritus in 2013. For extraordinary service and leadership, former members of the SMU Board may be named emeritus members. With the addition of these two former trustees, only 11 individuals have been named trustees emeriti in the history of the University.

“I am grateful to our new trustees emeriti and new Board of Trustees officers for the important wisdom and insight they bring to the University,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “I am also grateful to the new and current board members whose enterprising spirit will lead the charge as this vibrant community enters an exciting new era.”

The 42-member board sets policies governing the operation of SMU.

$2 million gift from Andrew and Elaine Chen will establish endowed SMU Cox chair in finance

Fincher Building, Cox School of Business, SMURetired SMU faculty member Andrew H. Chen and his wife, Elaine T. Chen, have made a $2 million gift to the Edwin L. Cox School of Business to establish The Andrew H. Chen Endowed Chair in Financial Investments Fund. Andrew, who retired as professor emeritus of finance in 2012, said he and his wife wanted to ensure that the Cox School will continue to attract outstanding finance faculty.

The gift will include $1.5 million for the endowment of the faculty chair and $500,000 for operational support, which will enable immediate use of the position while the endowment vests.

“As a faculty member in the Finance Department, I focused much of my research and teaching in the areas of option pricing and options-related investment strategies, ” Andrew said. “After retiring from my faculty position, I decided to put into practice what I had taught in the classroom and was fortunate enough to meet with some success. Elaine and I now find ourselves in the position of being able to make a useful contribution to the Cox School by setting up an endowed chair in financial investment. We hope that this new finance chair will further enhance the Cox Finance Department’s reputation and enable its holder to enjoy an excellent career at SMU, just as I did when I was a member of the Finance Department.”

Elaine Chen said her husband’s experience as a chairholder at Cox played a large role in their decision.

“Since our days as graduate students at a leading U.S. business school (University of California, Berkeley), both Andy and I have always placed great value on finance education and research,” Elaine said. “Andy’s finance chair at SMU was invaluable in facilitating his teaching and research activities for nearly 30 years, and we are always grateful for the positive impact that the chair had on Andy’s career. Therefore, we decided to contribute in kind by helping to establish a new finance chair in the Cox School. It’s our hope that the contribution for this new chair will attract a talented finance scholar who will further develop his or her own research career at the Cox School while providing a top-notch learning experience to many students.”

A member of the Cox faculty from 1983-2012, Andrew Chen is a renowned researcher, educator, prolific author, business consultant and respected colleague in the field of finance. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the National Taiwan University and both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. He has also been a visiting scholar at universities in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Australia.

“The Chens’ thoughtful gift will allow the Cox School of Business to continue building one of the best programs in the country,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “It’s especially meaningful that a retired faculty member and his wife would feel compelled to make such a gift.”

The editor or co-author of several books, Andrew Chen has written more than 125 articles in leading academic and professional journals. He served as editor of Research in Finance and a managing editor of the International Journal of Theoretical and Applied Finance. He has held leadership positions with financial institutions and corporations and has been a consultant to several companies and government agencies. He served as president of the Financial Management Association International and as a director of the Asia-Pacific Finance Association.

At Cox, Andrew Chen was known for his passion for both research and teaching, frequently working with independent-study students on investment strategies. SMU Provost Steven C. Currall said the new endowed chair will help the University secure a similarly minded scholar.

“Endowed chairs support SMU’s mission to strengthen its academic foundation for the future by recruiting and retaining distinguished faculty,” Currall  said. “Dr. Chen understands this better than most thanks to his own experience at Cox. This gift will make a difference for our students for years to come and help to raise SMU’s national and international profile as an outstanding university.”

Finance is the most popular major for Cox undergraduates, with almost half of the BBA students declared as finance majors. More than half of Cox MBA students choose a finance degree program. The finance department offers students unique immersive experiences such as the EnCap Investments and LCM Group Alternative Asset Management Center, the Kitt Investing and Trading Center, the Don Jackson Center for Financial Studies and the Practicum in Portfolio Management.

SMU Cox School of Business Dean Matthew Myers said the Chens’ largesse will extend this legacy.

“I had known about Dr. Chen long before my arrival at SMU,” Myers said. “He has always had a reputation for keeping students challenged and excited about finance. This position will enable us to always remember Andy’s invaluable contributions to SMU and will help us attract other talented scholars to the Cox School. We are so appreciative of Andy and Elaine’s generosity, and hope they will come back often to Cox to see the impact of their gift.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

Nobel laureate Barry C. Barish to receive honorary SMU doctorate during 103rd Commencement, May 19, 2018

Barry C. BarishNobel laureate Barry Clark Barish, Ph.D., Linde Professor Emeritus of Physics at the California Institute of Technology and a leading expert on cosmic gravitational waves, will receive an honorary doctoral degree during SMU’s 103rd all-University Commencement ceremony. The event begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 19, 2018, in Moody Coliseum.

Barish shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017 for his work in establishing the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the first observations of gravitational waves – disturbances in the fabric of space and time predicted by Albert Einstein based on his General Theory of Relativity.

He will receive the Doctor of Science degree, honoris causa, from SMU during the ceremony.

On Friday, May 18, Dr. Barish will give a free public lecture on campus. “Einstein, Black Holes and Gravitational Waves” will begin at 3 p.m. in Crum Auditorium, Collins Executive Education Center, on the SMU campus. The lecture will be preceded by a reception at 2:15 p.m. Free parking will be available in the University’s Binkley and Moody garages, accessible from the SMU Boulevard entrance to campus.

RSVP online to attend the Barry Barish Public Lecture

“Dr. Barry Barish has changed the way we see the universe with his work,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “His accomplishments as an experimental physicist have broken new ground and helped to confirm revolutionary theories about the structure of our cosmos.”

“Conferring an honorary degree is an important tradition for any university,” said SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven C. Currall. “For SMU, this year’s decision takes on special meaning, as the University is the home of a highly-regarded Department of Physics deeply involved in research ranging from variable stars to the Higgs boson. Dr. Barish and his record of world-changing accomplishment represent the very best of his field. He’s an outstanding example of what all our graduates can aspire to as they begin their own professional endeavors.”

Einstein predicted in 1916 that gravitational waves existed, generated by systems and regions such as binary stars and black holes and by events such as supernovae and the Big Bang. However, Einstein thought the cosmic waves would be too weak to ever be detected. Barish’s work at LIGO resulted in the first observation on Earth of these cosmic ripples on Sept. 14, 2015 — emanating from the collision of two black holes in the distant universe.

Barish was the principal investigator for LIGO from 1994 to 2005 and director of the LIGO Laboratory from 1997 until 2005. He led LIGO from its funding by the National Science Board of the National Science Foundation (NSF) through its final design stages, as well as the construction of the twin LIGO interferometers in Hanford, Washington, and Livingston, Louisiana.

In 1997, Barish established the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), an organization that unites more than 1,000 collaborators worldwide on a mission to detect gravitational waves, explore the fundamental physics of gravity, and develop gravitational-wave observations as a tool of astronomical discovery. Barish also oversaw the development and approval of the proposal for Advanced LIGO, a program that developed major upgrades to LIGO’s facilities and to the sensitivity of its instruments compared to the first-generation LIGO detectors. Advanced LIGO enabled a large increase in the extent of the universe probed, as well as the discovery of gravitational waves during its first observation run.

Bookmark SMU Live for the May Commencement livestream: smu.edu/live

After LIGO, Barish became director of the Global Design Effort for the International Linear Collider (ILC)—an international team that oversaw the planning, design, and research and development program for the ILC—from 2006 to 2013. The ILC is expected to explore the same energy range in particle physics currently being investigated by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), but with more precision.

Barish joined Caltech in 1963 as part of an experimental group working with particle accelerators. From 1963 to 1966, he developed and conducted the first high-energy neutrino beam experiment at Fermilab. This experiment revealed evidence for the quark substructure of the nucleon (a proton or neutron) and provided crucial evidence supporting the electroweak unification theory of Nobel Laureates Sheldon Glashow, Abdus Salam and Steven Weinberg.

Following the neutrino experiment, Barish became one of the leaders of MACRO (Monopole, Astrophysics and Cosmic Ray Observatory), located 3,200 feet under the Gran Sasso mountains in Italy. The international collaboration set what are still the most stringent limits on the existence of magnetic monopoles. Magnetic monopoles are the magnetic analog of single electric charges and could help confirm a Grand Unified Theory that seeks to unify three of nature’s four forces — the electromagnetic, weak, and strong forces — into a single force. The MACRO collaboration also discovered key evidence that neutrinos have mass.

In the early 1990s, Barish co-led the design team for the GEM (Gammas, Electrons, Muons) detector, which was one of two large detectors scheduled to run at the Superconducting Super Collider near Waxahachie. Congress canceled the accelerator in 1993 during its construction — but major elements of the GEM design and many members of its team were integrated into LHC detector projects at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Barish became Caltech’s Ronald and Maxine Linde Professor of Physics in 1991 and Linde Professor Emeritus in 2005. From 2001 to 2002, he served as co-chair of the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel subpanel that developed a long-range plan for U.S. high-energy physics. He has served as president of the American Physical Society and chaired the Commission of Particles and Fields and the U.S. Liaison committee to the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP). In 2002, he chaired the NRC Board of Physics and Astronomy Neutrino Facilities Assessment Committee Report, “Neutrinos and Beyond.”

Barish was born in 1936 in Omaha, Nebraska, to Jewish immigrants from a part of Poland that is now part of Belarus. He grew up in the Los Angeles area and earned his B.A. degree in physics and his Ph.D. in experimental physics from the University of California-Berkeley in 1957 and 1962. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Barish is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Physical Society.

In 2002, Barish received the Klopsteg Memorial Lecture Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers. His honors also include the 2016 Enrico Fermi Prize from the Italian Physical Society, as well as the Henry Draper Medal, the Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research, the European Physical Society’s Giuseppe and Vanna Cocconi Prize, and Fudan University’s Fudan-Zhongzhi Science Award (all in 2017).

Barish holds honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Bologna, the University of Florida, and the University of Glasgow.

> Visit the SMU Commencement homepage: smu.edu/commencement

AT&T CEO Randall L. Stephenson to address SMU students during 103rd Commencement May 19, 2018

Randall L. Stephenson, ATT CEORandall L. Stephenson, chairman and chief executive officer of AT&T, will be the featured speaker during SMU’s 103rd all-University Commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 19, 2018 in Moody Coliseum.

Since rising to the position of CEO in 2007, Stephenson has guided AT&T through a number of major milestones, including the ongoing acquisition of Time Warner, the 2015 acquisition of DIRECTV, and the purchase of Mexican wireless companies to create a North American network.

Stephenson also has led AT&T’s breakthrough “It Can Wait” campaign – an awareness program educating drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. The program has amassed more than 19 million pledges of support.

“We are honored to have a pioneering business and technology leader of Mr. Stephenson’s stature as featured speaker at Commencement,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He is a striking example of what can be accomplished when someone possesses a clear vision of where they want to go. I know he will inspire each of our graduating students to form their own grand vision of what they want to accomplish in their lives with the knowledge they’ve acquired at SMU.”

AT&T contributed $2.5 million to SMU in 2016 to endow the AT&T Center for Virtualization and fund its research into the fast, reliable cloud-based telecommunications necessary for global activity. SMU and AT&T have also partnered with other organizations to create the Payne Stewart SMU Golf Training Center at the Trinity Forest Golf Club, which will become home to the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson this year and annually host NCAA invitational tournaments and additional high-profile professional and amateur events.

Stephenson began his career with Southwestern Bell Telephone in 1982 in Oklahoma. He served as the company’s senior executive vice president and chief financial officer from 2001 to 2004, and from 2004 to 2007 as chief operating officer. He was appointed to AT&T’s board of directors in 2005.

Stephenson is a member of the PGA TOUR Policy Board and National Chairman of the Boy Scouts of America. He received his B.S. in accounting from the University of Central Oklahoma and his Master of Accountancy from the University of Oklahoma.

SMU expects to award more than 2,500 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees in the University-wide ceremony. The University’s individual schools and departments will host diploma ceremonies throughout the day.

— Written by Kenny Ryan

> Keep up with the latest SMU Commencement information at smu.edu/commencement

A message from President Turner on free speech and civil discourse

The following message from SMU President R. Gerald Turner regarding free speech and civil discourse was posted to the SMU.edu website on Tuesday, March 20, 2018:

SMU has always been a place where ideas are openly shared, examined and discussed. We value civil debate and meaningful dialogue that leads to discovery. We are firmly committed to the bedrock principle of freedom of expression.

At the same time, this University is dedicated to maintaining an educational environment that is inclusive and welcoming. SMU consists of individuals of different races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, ages, and political and social identities. In this diverse and culturally complex community, one of our foundational values is sincere regard and respect for one another.

I understand that commitments to freedom of speech and an inclusive environment can come into conflict, raising challenging and important questions for our community, as they have this month. As you may know, the SMU College Republicans invited a speaker, Steven Crowder, to campus this week. SMU supports the right of student organizations to bring outside speakers to campus. Our support for this right does not mean that the University agrees with any outside speaker’s views on any particular issue. To be clear, SMU does not endorse this speaker.

While the right to express ideas includes the right to express objectionable or offensive ideas, I don’t believe that language that seeks to divide communities contributes to civil discourse. It certainly is not reflective of SMU values.

As part of SMU’s commitment to free expression, we support the right of protestors to join together to demonstrate their concern by orderly means, in addition to the right of speakers to express their views. You can read more about these rights in University Policy 10.4.

I urge all campus community members to engage in opportunities at SMU to increase understanding. Earlier this year, we announced an important new initiative called the Cultural Intelligence Initiative at SMU, or CIQ@SMU. The mission of CIQ@SMU is to ensure that every member of the SMU community is equipped with the skills and knowledge to manage and communicate effectively in complex cultural contexts. All are welcome and encouraged to take part, including in workshops this spring.

At SMU we say that “Every Mustang will be valued.” It is my hope for our community that all of us do what we can to embrace and reflect that idea.

Sincerely,

R. Gerald Turner
President

As a reminder, the following resources are available to support students:

  • Office of the Dean of Student Life, 214-768-4564
  • Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, 214-768-4580
  • Women & LGBT Center, 214-768-4792
  • Counseling Services, 214-768-2277 (confidential counseling)
  • Chaplain’s Office, 214-768-4502 (confidential counseling)
By | 2018-03-23T11:00:44+00:00 March 21, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |
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