Walter Isaacson to give Tate Lecture at SMU March 27, 2012

Walter IsaacsonWalter Isaacson, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute and author of a best-selling biography of the late Steve Jobs, comes to SMU March 27 as part of the 2011-12 Tate Distinguished Lecture Series. He will give the Lacerte Family Lecture at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium.

As chief executive of the Aspen Institute, Isaacson leads the senior management of the nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington, D.C. He also serves as chairman of the board of Teach for America, which recruits recent college graduates to teach in underserved communities.

Follow Walter Isaacson on Twitter @walterisaacson

Isaacson’s most recent book, Steve Jobs, was published by Simon & Schuster in October 2011, mere days after the inventor’s death from pancreatic cancer. It was named one of the “Best Books of 2011” by, where it also became the best-selling book of that year. In addition, it topped the New York Times nonfiction best-seller list for nine weeks and has remained on the chart continuously for 21 weeks as of the April 1, 2012 list.

Other books by Isaacson include Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007), Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003), and Kissinger: A Biography (1992). In addition, he was coauthor with Evan Thomas of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made (1986).

Isaacson began his career at The Sunday Times of London and then worked for The New Orleans Times-Picayune/States-Item. He joined TIME in 1978 and served as a political correspondent, national editor, and editor of new media before becoming the magazine’s 14th editor in 1996. Isaacson became chairman and CEO of CNN in 2001 and president and CEO of the Aspen Institute in 2003.

He was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as the chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other international broadcasts of the United States, a position he held until 2012. For two years after Hurricane Katrina, from 2005-07, Isaacson served as vice-chair of the Louisiana Recovery Authority.

Currently, Isaacson is vice-chair of Partners for a New Beginning, a public-private group tasked with forging ties between the United States and the Muslim world. In addition, he serves on the boards of United Airlines and Tulane University, as well as the Board of Overseers of Harvard University.

A New Orleans native, Isaacson is a graduate of Harvard College and of Pembroke College of Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He lives with his wife and daughter in Washington, D.C.

The evening lecture is sold out, but SMU students may attend for free with their University ID if seats become available. Isaacson will answer questions from University community members and local high school students in the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. March 27 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. Doors open at 4 p.m.

The Forum is free, but seating is limited. SMU faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend; RSVP online to ensure a place. To ask Isaacson a question via Twitter, send a tweet with the hashtag #IsaacsonSMU. Student moderator Derek Hubbard will ask some of these questions during the event.

Learn more about this year’s Tate Lectures at

Calendar Highlights: March 29, 2011

Margaret Spellings and Geoffrey CanadaTate Series focuses on the future of education: A discussion of the future viability of American education will be the focus of the next 2010-11 Tate Distinguished Lecture on Tuesday, March 29. Former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and Harlem Children’s Zone founder and CEO Geoffrey Canada will discuss “How Will We Teach America’s Children?” at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium. Moderator for the event will be Keven Ann Willey, vice president and editorial page editor of The Dallas Morning News. Spellings was the U.S. Secretary of Education from 2005-09 and led the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act. She is president and CEO of Margaret Spellings and Company and a leading national expert in public policy. In 2009, SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development recognized her contributions to education with the Simmons Luminary Award. The Harlem Children’s Zone was featured in the 2010 film “Waiting for ‘Superman’.” Through this program, Canada has dedicated the past 20 years to helping impoverished, at-risk youth to rise above their circumstances. The Zone Project today covers a 100-block area of Harlem and serves 10,000 children and their families through in-school and after-school programs, social services and community-building programs. The evening lecture is sold out, but the speakers will answer questions from the SMU community and local high school students during the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Tate Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. Admission to the Student Forum is free. For more information, call Program Services at 214-768-8283 (214-SMU-TATE).

In addition, the Simmons School will present a free screening of “Waiting for ‘Superman'” at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 31, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with panelists Charles Glover, executive director of Teach for America, Dallas; Israel Cordero, principal of the Dallas Independent School District’s W.W. Samuell High School; and Deborah Diffily, Simmons faculty member. The discussion will be moderated by Lee Alvoid, chair of Simmons’ Education Policy and Leadership Department. Refreshments will be provided. Cosponsored by the SMU Program Council, Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity Inc. and SMU Colony.

Main cast of 'Indigenes'French Film Festival continues: The 15th-anniversary celebration of SMU’s French Film Festival continues through April 9, 2011. Among the upcoming screenings is Daratt (2006) on Friday, April 1. Written and directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun and winner of a Grand Special Jury Prize (UNESCO Award) at the 2006 Venice Film Festival, the film deals with themes of family, vengeance and redemption in the aftermath of the devastating civil war in Chad. The festival continues Wednesday, April 6, with Indigènes (Days of Glory, 2006). César and Lumière award-winning cowriter and director Rachid Bouchareb tells the stories of four North African recruits who fight to liberate France during World War II, as well as for equal treatment in the French military and society. All screenings are at 7 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater, and all films will be shown in French with English subtitles. Admission is free and open to the public. These films are intended for an adult audience and may contain sexual content, nudity and violence. Sponsored by the SMU French Club, the SMU Students’ Association and the Tournées Festival. For more information and a complete schedule, visit the 2011 French Film Festival homepage.
(Right, Roschdy Zem, Samy Naceri, Jamel Debbouze and Sami Bouajila in Indigènes.)

Answering the call: 18 students join Teach for America

TeachforAmerica.jpgWhen Rachel Jessee learned she was accepted to Teach for America, the first person she contacted was her high school math teacher.

“She was a terrific algebra teacher. She made me love math enough to become a finance major,” says the Cox School of Business graduate.

Jessee is one of 18 SMU graduating seniors who will spend the next two years with Teach for America, a nonprofit organization that recruits and trains outstanding college graduates to teach in low-income rural and urban public schools. They join more than 6,200 “corps members” who are teaching in 1,600 schools across the country. This year more than 35,000 students applied for 4,000 Teach for America positions.

In photo: Seven of the SMU 18 graduates who are joining Teach for America.

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Teach For America founder to give 10th anniversary Raggio Lecture

wendy-kopp-150.jpgWendy Kopp developed the idea for Teach For America as part of her senior thesis at Princeton University. Now in its 18th year, the nonprofit organization sends 4,400 college graduates – including 18 SMU students in 2007 – to teach each year in 26 of the nation’s poorest school districts. The Dallas-area native will give SMU’s 2008 Louise B. Raggio Lecture in Women’s Studies at 8 p.m. Oct. 4 in Crum Auditorium, Collins Executive Education Center.

The day’s events will include a Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, free to SMU students, faculty and staff. Tickets for the evening lecture are $20 each. For reservations and more information, call 214-768-1384 or visit