SMU names School of Engineering, launches new initiatives

Bobby B. LyleSMU has named its 83-year-old School of Engineering in honor of Bobby B. Lyle, a Dallas entrepreneur and industry leader who has been instrumental in shaping the direction and growing prominence of the school. The School of Engineering had been the only unnamed school at SMU.

“Over the past several years, Bobby Lyle has spent countless hours helping to chart a course that will position the school for national leadership in American higher education,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “In recognition of his leadership, we are honored today to name the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering at SMU. No one in the history of the School of Engineering has brought more dedication, support and commitment to its permanent development than has Dr. Lyle. With the naming of the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering, we are confirming our commitment to leadership in engineering education and securing the school’s bright and promising future.”

Lyle has served as an SMU trustee for 20 years. As a member of the Engineering Executive Board, he has worked with Engineering Dean Geoffrey Orsak and the faculty to introduce several new major initiatives expanding the school’s focus on technology leadership, engineering activism and social responsibility. As an SMU trustee, Dr. Lyle serves on the University Audit Committee; Executive Committee; Academic Policy, Planning and Management Committee; Compensation Committee; and as chair of the Buildings and Grounds Committee.

Among the new initiatives announced at the ceremony, SMU is establishing the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® Lab at the SMU Lyle School of Engineering. Through this partnership with Lockheed Martin, SMU will be the first university in the nation to create and host a Skunk Works® Lab. The lab will be modeled closely on the iconic and top-secret California research and development facility created by Lockheed Martin to solve the “toughest technology problems facing this country,” Orsak said.

Read more from SMU News

Brian Stump receives teaching award at General Faculty Meeting

Brian Stump, Albritton Professor in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences in Dedman College, was honored as the 2007-08 United Methodist Church University Scholar/Teacher of the Year at SMU’s Fall General Faculty Meeting Aug. 28.

President R. Gerald Turner updated the faculty on the upcoming Second Century Campaign and other issues surrounding campus life.

>> Newly tenured faculty and more under the link

Continue reading “Brian Stump receives teaching award at General Faculty Meeting”

Tune In: “Green Machine” draws power from heat

SMU Geothermal Lab Coordinator Maria RichardsThe SMU Physical Plant is testing the performance of the “Green Machine,” which can generate electricity from waste heat. Geothermal Lab Coordinator Maria Richards discusses the Machine’s usefulness as a teaching tool in this CW 33 video from July 25, 2008.

Engineering Dean Geoffrey Orsak is a new regular columnist for the engineering publication Design News. Read two of his recent essays at the SMU News website:

“Let’s Not Forget the Dollar Per Day Economy,” June 2008
“Our Big Asterisks*,” August 2008

Navy award renamed in honor of SMU engineering professor

The U.S. Navy’s highest award for engineers and scientists has been officially named in honor of Delores M. Etter, TI Distinguished Chair in Engineering Education and director of SMU’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education. The honor was announced in early June by John S. Thackrah, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition (RDA).

The Department of the Navy includes more than 35,000 scientists and engineers pursuing research, development, acquisition and sustainment. The Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers Award was established to honor those who reached superior technical achievements and to promote continued scientific and engineering excellence. Prior to joining SMU’s School of Engineering, Etter served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for RDA.

Etter: “Truly proud” to be honored

Four named 2008-10 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors

SMU's 2008-10 Altshuler ProfessorsFour outstanding educators have been named 2008-10 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors by SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence. This year’s honorees are Olga Colbert, Foreign Languages and Literatures; Ian Harris, Statistical Science; Larry Ruben, Biological Sciences; and David Willis, Mechanical Engineering.

The four new members will join four returning members of SMU’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers: Christine Buchanan, Biological Sciences; Mark Chancey, Religious Studies; John C. Holbert, Theology; and Bonnie Wheeler, English and Medieval Studies. Read more.

Left, the new Altshuler Professors were honored by the SMU Board of Trustees at its May meeting. Left to right: SMU Trustee Ruth Altshuler, Harris, Colbert, Ruben and Willis.

Continue reading “Four named 2008-10 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors”

Five Ford Research Fellows named for 2008

2008 Ford Research FellowsFive innovative SMU researchers have received the University’s 2008 Ford Research Fellowships. This year’s recipients are Rhonda Blair, Theatre; Marc Christensen, Electrical Engineering; Rajani Sudan, English; Kumar Venkataraman, Finance; and Steven Vik, Biological Sciences.

Established in 2002 through a $1 million pledge from Gerald Ford, chair of SMU’s Board of Trustees, the fellowships help the University retain and reward outstanding scholars. Each recipient receives a cash prize for research support during the year.

Read more about this year’s recipients. Right, the new Ford Fellows were honored by the SMU Board of Trustees at its May meeting. Left to right: SMU Trustee Gerald J. Ford and his wife, Kelli; Vik, Blair, Christensen, Sudan and Venkataraman.

Continue reading “Five Ford Research Fellows named for 2008”

Three honored for distinguished service during Commencement 2008

National Archivist Allen Weinstein at SMU's 93rd Commencement

Three faculty members were honored with SMU’s annual Distinguished University Citizen Award at the Faculty Breakfast held May 17 before Commencement. The 2008 recipients:

  • Lynn Jacobs, Wellness
  • Jeffery Kennington, Engineering Management, Information and Systems
  • Harold Stanley, Political Science

The award, given by the Provost’s Office, honors three faculty members each year for service and activities that benefit students and the University’s academic mission. “It’s a chance to say ‘thank you’ to people who have given so much of themselves to SMU,” says Ellen Jackofsky, associate provost for faculty and administrative affairs. “The recipients truly have distinguished themselves as good University citizens.”

SMU awarded nearly 2,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees as part of this year’s graduation celebration. Dr. Allen Weinstein (above), the noted historian who oversees the nation’s presidential libraries, spoke at the all-University ceremony.

Read text of Weinstein’s Commencement speech.
See a video. video
Download the address to your iPod. iPod download
More from Commencement 2008.

Faculty in the News: May 23, 2008

Al Armendariz, SMU School of EngineeringGeoffrey Orsak, Engineering Dean, spoke on engineers’ responsibility to society at the recent 2008 Mechatronics Expo. His keynote speech was covered in the May 16, 2008, edition of Design News.

Jessica Dixon, Law, provided expertise for a story by The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals’ recent ruling that the state agency responsible for protecting children from abuse failed to prove that the youngsters it seized from a West Texas polygamist compound were in imminent danger and overreached its authority by taking them from their families. The segment aired May 22, 2008. Listen to the interview. audio

Katherine Presnell, Psychology, and Camille Kraeplin, Journalism, discussed how the media influences eating disorders and how sufferers can get help with ABC Channel 8’s “Good Morning Texas” May 13, 2008. video

Al Armendariz (right), Environmental Engineering, talked about possible avenues of investigation into a gas leak that caused an explosion in a McKinney, Texas neighborhood with NBC Channel 5 News May 19, 2008. video

SMU breaks ground for Caruth Hall 2.0

New Caruth Hall renderingEngineering education at SMU took a major step forward May 9 with groundbreaking for the School of Engineering’s new Caruth Hall. To date, commitments totaling more than $18.4 million toward a goal of $22 million have been received for the building project.

The W. W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation of Communities Foundation of Texas has committed $7.5 million toward the new building, which will be constructed on the site of the original Caruth Hall, the home of SMU’s School of Engineering since 1948. New gifts include $4 million from Robert Palmer of Houston, $2 million from the Hillcrest Foundation of Dallas and $1.5 million from the J. E. and L. E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa.

The building will be constructed to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Standards of environmentally conscious design and will include more than 64,000 square feet of space for teaching, research and innovation – nearly double the size of the current facility. It will serve as home to the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education at SMU, as well as the Department of Engineering Management, Information and Systems, and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

“The new Caruth Hall will provide visible evidence of the growing national significance of SMU’s School of Engineering,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “We are deeply grateful for the vision and generosity of these donors in providing facilities that support our efforts to develop a national center for educating engineers who will be future leaders in the global economy.”

Read more from SMU News.
Watch video from the groundbreaking.

SMU to host Sally Ride Science Festival April 26

Dr. Sally RideDr. Sally Ride, the United States’ first woman in space, has partnered with the SMU School of Engineering and ExxonMobil to bring the Sally Ride Science Festival to the Hilltop April 26.

The festival is designed to encourage more young women to pursue higher education and careers in math, science and engineering. Featured events include workshops for students, parents and teachers led by local scientists and engineers; a street fair with booths, activities, food and music; and a keynote speech by Ride herself.

Advance registration is required; the $18 fee includes all the day’s activities, plus lunch. Register online at the Sally Ride Science Fair website. For more information, visit the School of Engineering website.

Hear Ride’s interview on KERA’s “Think” or download it to your iPod (37 min.).