R. Gerald Turner

President Turner outlines SMU’s new direction in research at Dallas Fed

SMU Economic Impact ReportSMU President R. Gerald Turner had a clear message for a group of business and civic leaders gathered at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas: The return on investment in SMU made by Dallas leaders more than 100 years ago continues to be strong.

In a Monday, Nov. 13, 2017 update on SMU’s economic impact, Turner outlined the growth in reputation for all seven of the University’s degree-granting schools, including the creation of more than a dozen centers and institutes addressing issues like education, criminal justice reform and international business. Most notably, he said, SMU is transforming into a new era of teaching and research fueled by a powerful digital infrastructure.

The University now offers 13 graduate programs in data science and is powered by ManeFrame II, among the top 20 supercomputers in North American higher education. In addition, SMU partners with organizations such as the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, AT&T, Raytheon, Big Thought, Harvard and MIT.

President Turner also emphasized that SMU’s high-speed supercomputer is accessible with no waiting to students, faculty and research partners outside SMU – and that a University that can complete data analysis in any discipline faster, without long wait times for access, has an advantage.

The five-year investment of $85 million in high speed computing, data science curriculum and planned Gerald J. Ford Research Center has an additional strategic purpose: It can deliver more bang for the research buck than a comparable investment in additional wet labs for handling chemicals and biological matter. The University aims to generate $100 million a year in research, Turner said, and the infusion of data science into research across disciplines – combined with important work accomplished in University wet labs – will help SMU get there.

— Written by Kim Cobb

> Read more from SMU News

> Visit the website: smu.edu/datapowered

SMU celebrates Veterans Day with luncheon, Toys for Tots collection Friday, Nov. 10, 2017

Arc of Service banner, Maguire Center Veterans Day Luncheon 2017, 800px

SMU will celebrate its veterans from across the generations at a luncheon in their honor on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. The SMU Veterans Day Celebration, “Arc of Service,” will take place noon-1:30 p.m. in the Martha Proctor Mack Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

President R. Gerald Turner and U.S. Military Veterans of SMU will provide remarks recognizing the contributions and achievements of University service members. SMU Trustee Emeritus Milledge A. (Mitch) Hart III will deliver the keynote.

SMU Veterans pinThe luncheon will also feature live entertainment from the Meadows School of the Arts Brass Quintet, as well as the annual presentation of SMU Veterans lapel pins (pictured right).

In addition, the event will serve as a collection point for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s annual Toys for Tots drive. All members of the SMU community can drop off new, unwrapped toys and other holiday gifts for underprivileged children and teens. (Toys for Tots prefers not to accept realistic-looking toy weapons or gifts that include food items, according to the organization’s FAQ.)

Organizers are compiling a service slideshow featuring photos of SMU veterans. If you have photographs taken during your service period and would like for them to be included in the presentation, please send the photos and your service dates to the Maguire Center.

The event is presented by SMU’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility. Thanks to a generous gift, Veterans Day luncheon tickets are complimentary for all SMU faculty, staff and students.

The Center also invites families, friends and loved ones of campus veterans to attend. Please RSVP by Monday, Nov. 6, 2017.

Attendance is free – but seating is limited, and registration is required. Sign up at the link below, or contact the Maguire Center, 214-768-4255.

> Register at Eventbrite to attend SMU’s 2017 Veterans Day luncheon

Tune In: University dedicates new Payne Stewart SMU Golf Training Center

SMU Athletics dedicated a state-of-the-art golf training facility at Trinity Forest Golf Club on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. The Payne Stewart SMU Golf Training Center is named in honor of the 1979 alumnus who became the 1989 PGA Champion, two-time U.S. Open Champion and a member of five U.S. Ryder Cup teams.

Myles Taylor of SMU News attended the dedication and has created a video exploration of the new center. Tap the YouTube screen to watch it, or click here to watch the video in a new windowvideo

The 6,700-square foot facility features team locker rooms, coaches’ offices, a conference room, a workout center and kitchen. The center also houses a hitting bay featuring premier equipment, including the Swing Catalyst, which tracks weight shift throughout the swing as well as four video motion-capture cameras and monitors to show swings. A TrackMan system uses dual radar technology to track both club movement and the ball at the moment of impact.  This equipment provides the perfect foundation for analysis, enabling the Mustang golfers to use real-time data to improve their games.

The Payne Stewart SMU Golf Training Center also includes 70,000 square feet of teeing ground, a 45,000 square-foot putting and chipping green and a challenging nine-hole short course.

“Facilities like the Payne Stewart SMU Golf Training Center, the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center, the new SMU Tennis Center, the renovated Moody Coliseum and the planned Indoor Performance Center are examples of the University’s commitment to compete at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner.

“Our commitment to competing for championships and enhancing the student experience requires continued investment in our infrastructure,” said SMU Director of Athletics Rick Hart. “This great facility is just another sign of that commitment by our donors and our university. SMU, its donors and fans have made significant investments in athletics in recent years, and we thank them for their support.”

— Written by Nancy George

> Read the full story from SMU News

Congressman Sam Johnson ’51 creates scholarship fund, donates archive to SMU

Rep. Sam Johnson, SMU Class of 1951As Congressman and war hero Sam Johnson ’51 prepares to retire from the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, he is making two gifts to SMU that will support the education of military veterans and preserve for future study papers and materials from a 29-year military career and 26 years in Congress.

A gift of $100,000 will establish The Hon. Sam Johnson Endowed Military Scholarship Fund, with the Collin County Business Alliance (CCBA) providing seed funding to make the scholarship operational for the 2018-19 academic year. Members of the student U.S. Military Veterans of SMU (SMU MilVets) joined the CCBA for the scholarship gift announcement in early October.

SMU’s Board of Trustees and President R. Gerald Turner will celebrate both the scholarship and the donation of Rep. Johnson’s papers and other materials to the University during an on-campus reception at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, in Fondren Library.

“SMU helped shape me into the person I am today, and I can’t think of a better way to say thank you to my alma mater than with this scholarship and library gift,” Johnson said. “I’m grateful to join SMU in making a commitment to the military and its families by helping these deserving individuals achieve their higher education. And I’m hopeful that this library archive will help inspire future generations to build a legacy of service on behalf of others and our great nation.”

Johnson’s archive will be housed in DeGolyer Library, SMU’s special collections repository.

“We have always been proud to hold up Sam Johnson as an example to our students,” Turner said.  “His courage and strength of character helped him survive nearly seven years as a prisoner during the Vietnam War. The military veterans on our campus who benefit from his support will be doubly proud that their scholarships carry his name, and we will all benefit from the donation of his archive.”

“Congressman Sam Johnson has made a tremendous, positive impact on our community that will continue to be felt by generations to come. His distinguished legacy endures with his scholarship for military students, which will widen opportunities for deserving men and women who have unselfishly served our country,” said CCBA Chairman and President, Capital One Financial Services, Sanjiv Yajnik.

Johnson received a Distinguished Alumni Award from SMU in 1994, the highest honor the University bestows on its graduates.

Johnson, 86, grew up in Dallas.  He began his career in public service in ROTC at SMU, where he also was a member of Delta Chi and Alpha Kappa Psi fraternities, and graduated in 1951 with a B.B.A. degree in insurance and real estate. He and Shirley Melton Johnson ’51 married the year before they graduated. Mrs. Johnson passed away in 2015.

During his 29-year career in the U.S. Air Force, Johnson served as the director of the Air Force Fighter Weapons School and was one of two authors of the air tactics manual that is still used today. After retiring as a colonel from the Air Force in 1979, Johnson started a home-building business in North Dallas. He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1985, where he served until winning the race for Texas’ 3rd congressional district in 1991. Johnson announced in a January letter to his constituents that he plans to retire at the end of his term in 2018.

SMU and the Johnson family welcome additional contributions to The Hon. Sam Johnson Endowed Military Scholarship Fund. Gifts may be made here.

— Written by Kenny Ryan

> Read the full story from SMU News

University honors award winners, 25-year staff members at 2017 Staff Celebration and Convocation

25-year SMU staff members, 2017 Staff Celebration and Convocation, SMU

SMU honored staff members celebrating 25 years or more of service during its 2017 Staff Celebration and Convocation.

President R. Gerald Turner and University Registrar John Hall ’71, ’73, ’79 helped to honor 12 staff members who are celebrating their 25th year at the University at the 2017 Staff Celebration and Convocation Thursday, Oct. 5. The ceremony also recognized staff members honored in the annual President’s Award and Loretta O’Reilly Hawkins Award programs.

It has taken every SMU staff member to achieve the milestones the University has marked in recent years, Turner told the crowd. From rising admissions standards and record fund-raising numbers, to the installation of the ManeFrame II supercomputer and the service and management of four home football games in September, “there’s no way in the world that happens without all of you – and I thank you.”

Deanie Kepler ’70, director of parent and family programs, received the 2017 Loretta O’Reilly Hawkins Award, established to recognize and reward outstanding performance among University employees. Anna Marzillo, assistant director of International Student and Scholar Services, was finalist.

The SMU Staff Association announced the winners of the 2017 President’s Awards:

  • Shannon Lunt, Gretchen C. Voight New Employee Excellence Award
  • Mary Tays, Continuing Excellence Award
  • Lisa Tran, Outstanding Leadership Award

The event also honored the following staff members who have celebrated 25th SMU anniversaries:

  • Sherry Aikman (30-year staff member)
  • Joe Arnold (celebrated anniversary in 2016)
  • Ronny Jepsen (celebrated anniversary in 2016)
  • Yvette Castilla
  • Nazario Del Rio
  • Tammy Dyer
  • Lorinda Lamb
  • Pamela Morgan
  • Susan Strobel Hogan
  • Alan Pushin
  • Gloria Watson
  • Carolyn Yates

Reminder: Staff Celebration and Convocation, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017

President R. Gerald Turner has invited the entire SMU community to the University’s relaunched staff recognition day on Thursday, Oct. 5. 2017.

The new Staff Celebration and Convocation, created by the SMU Staff Association (SMUSA) in collaboration with the Office of Operational Excellence, will take place at 10:30 a.m. in McFarlin Auditorium. A reception with light refreshments will precede the ceremony at 10 a.m.

> RSVP for the Staff Celebration and Convocation at smu.edu/SMUSA

The event is for all staff members, and President Turner will give his traditional State of SMU address as the keynote. University Registrar John Hall, SMU’s longest-serving staff member, is the featured speaker.

Staff members who have achieved 25 years of service to SMU will be honored, as well as the 2017 President’s Award and Loretta O’Reilly Hawkins Award recipients. The ceremony with also recognize staff members who have continued their SMU service beyond 25 years, and previous President’s and Loretta Hawkins Award recipients.

> Visit the SMU Staff Association online

Jody and Sheila Grant pledge $1.5 million to SMU’s Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center

Robson and Lindley Aquatics Center, artist's rendering

Former varsity swimmer Joseph M. “Jody” Grant ’60 met his wife, Sheila Peterson Grant, while they were both SMU students. Now they have provided $1.5 million to help fund the University’s new Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center.

With their gift, they’ve also created the Sheila and Jody Grant Challenge, which encourages other donors to give the remaining $1.5 million to complete the Center’s $22 million funding goal. The 42,000-square-foot facility, soon to be home to the University’s internationally recognized men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, will be dedicated Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, during SMU Homecoming.

Jody and Sheila Grant

Jody and Sheila Grant

“As community business and philanthropic leaders, Jody and Sheila Grant know the importance of reaching the finish line and completing worthy goals,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Their generosity is inspirational and helps get us closer to completing funding for the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center and providing a place where our student athletes can continue the championship legacy of SMU swimming and diving.”

Jody Grant attended SMU on a swimming scholarship. He earned four individual Southwest Conference swimming championships and was twice named to the All-America team.

“SMU’s swimming program has been near and dear to my heart since Coach Red Barr recruited me many years ago to swim for the Mustangs,” said Dr. Grant. “I am honored to support this new facility, which will be home for the swimming program that was so meaningful to me.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

Staff Celebration and Convocation scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017

The SMU Staff Association, in collaboration with the Office of Operational Excellence, has created a new Staff Celebration and Convocation program honoring SMU staff excellence. The ceremony is for all SMU staff members and will take place at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017 in McFarlin Auditorium.

President R. Gerald Turner will give his traditional State of SMU address as the keynote during the event. University Registrar John Hall, SMU’s longest-serving staff member, will be the featured speaker.

Staff members who have achieved 25 years of service to SMU will be honored, as well as the 2017 Presidential and Loretta Hawkins Award recipients. The ceremony with also recognize staff members who have continued their SMU service beyond 25 years, and previous Presidential and Loretta Hawkins Award recipients.

A reception with light refreshments will precede the ceremony at 10 a.m. For more information, visit the SMU Staff Association website.

President Turner issues SMU statement on DACA program

SMU President R. Gerald Turner has issued a statement regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, including a number of University resources for students needing support.

The Trump Administration announced its intention to end the DACA program in six months. Congressional action will be required to set a new policy regarding childhood arrivals – undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors by their parents.

President Turner shared this message via e-mail dated Friday, Sept. 8, 2017:

Dear SMU community,

The federal government announced this week that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will end in six months, unless Congress takes action. DACA offers temporary legal protection to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. Nearly 200,000 young people in Texas are enrolled in DACA, including valued members of our campus community.

SMU joins universities across the country that are deeply concerned by the uncertainty of this situation. While debate on this issue continues, SMU’s mission remains unchanged. We seek to recruit, retain and graduate academically and creatively gifted students from diverse backgrounds, and we seek to provide these students with the opportunity to become society’s innovators, leaders and informed citizens. We know that all SMU students and graduates have within themselves the ability to be world changers who make significant contributions to our increasingly global society.

SMU will watch closely as Congress considers this issue. We are focused on supporting students and maintaining a welcoming, respectful environment in which all can pursue their academic goals. In addition, SMU will continue to act in accordance with University policies and state and federal laws, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which protects the privacy of students’ records and information.

Any student needing support may contact Student Affairs’ Caring Community Connections program online. Faculty, staff, family members and other students also may submit any concerns about students’ well-being to this program.

Additional SMU resources include:

·         Office of International Student & Scholar Services, 214-768-4475

·         Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, 214-768-4580

·         Confidential counselors at Counseling Services, 214-768-2277, and the Chaplain’s Office, 214-768-4502

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has frequently asked questions about this week’s decision online.

We will continue to carefully monitor this important issue. I ask all campus community members to continue your important work of shaping and becoming world changers in an environment that emphasizes individual dignity and worth.

Sincerely,

R. Gerald Turner
President

By | 2017-09-08T14:26:00+00:00 September 8, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Hurricane Harvey: How to help and where to seek support at SMU

A letter to the SMU community offers a comprehensive list of ways to help, and places to seek support, as Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath unfold on the Texas Gulf Coast.

President R. Gerald Turner shared this message with University faculty, staff and students on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017:

Dear SMU community,

We have watched with alarm and sadness since Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast on Friday, leaving widespread suffering, loss and destruction in its wake.

Our deepest sympathy goes to all who are feeling the impact of this disaster, including those in our SMU community who have loved ones, homes and other connections in the affected regions.

If you need support

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Student Life Joanne Vogel sent a message yesterday regarding campus resources that support students, including confidential counselors at SMU Counseling Services (214-768-2277) and the Chaplain’s Office (214-768-4502). Through SMU’s Caring Community Connections (CCC) program, faculty, staff, students and family members can submit concerns about students’ well-being in order to connect them with help. The CCC form is online.

For faculty and staff members, SMU’s Employee Assistance Program (1-877-704-5696) provides confidential counseling and referral services, including for dependents.

If you would like to help

SMU has reached out to Rice University and the University of Houston to offer assistance. In addition, many in our SMU community are offering prayers, support and donations to those who have been affected. I believe our community will continue to find ways to help as needs evolve in Dallas and across the state.

Among these efforts, the SMU Student Senate is raising funds for disaster relief, with the goal of providing a significant donation to the relief effort from the SMU community. The students’ “Help 4 Houston” effort will last for four days – from August 29 to September 2, 2017. Donations to the SMU Student Disaster Relief Fund may be made at smu.edu/helpforhouston.

In the days and weeks ahead, SMU’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will continue to monitor this unprecedented disaster, as well as state and local relief efforts and needs. If faculty or staff members receive assistance requests from departments or programs at other colleges or universities, we ask that you notify the EOC, which is tracking SMU’s efforts. Please email the Office of Risk Management.

The SMU community stands with our Gulf Coast neighbors, students, alumni, colleagues and loved ones. We will continue to send our prayers and support.

Sincerely,

R. Gerald Turner
President

> Make a gift to the SMU Student Senate’s “Help 4 Houston” disaster-relief effort: smu.edu/helpforhouston

SMU Athletics is offering free tickets and concessions for the Sept. 2 SMU-Stephen F. Austin game to Texans displaced by the hurricane. Find additional details at SMUMustangs.com.

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