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SMU’s Center for Presidential History to host panel on Trump’s first 100 days Thursday, April 27, 2017

White House, line drawingSMU’s Center for Presidential History will look back at the victories, defeats and head-scratchers from President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office during a panel discussion at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 27, 2017 in the Mack Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

The panel will feature perspectives from SMU faculty members specializing in history and communications, as well as from the CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center and the deputy editorial page editor of The Dallas Morning News.

A light coffee will precede the event at 6:30 p.m. The event is free; RSVPs are required. Free passes will be emailed to registered guests before the event. Seating is limited, and not guaranteed.

> RSVP for “Assessing Trump’s First 100 Days” at Eventbrite

“The first 100 days is crucial for setting the tone of a presidency,” said Center for Presidential History Director Jeffrey Engel. “You shouldn’t look so much to measure accomplishments, but rather style and efficiency, which is all the more intriguing when we have an administration with historically limited levels of experience.”

> See video from the SMU CPH’s March 2017 event, “Hope or Alarm in the Age of Trump”

The panelists include:

 — Kenny Ryan

> Visit SMU’s Center for Presidential History online: smu.edu/cph

2017-04-25T15:00:36+00:00 April 20, 2017|Calendar Highlights, News|

NIH director Francis S. Collins to deliver address at SMU’s 102nd Commencement May 20, 2017

Francis S. CollinsFrancis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., the director of the National Institutes of Health who may be best known for leading the Human Genome Project (HGP), will be the featured speaker during SMU’s 102nd all-University Commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Moody Coliseum.

Dr. Collins – whose own personal research efforts led to the isolation of the genes responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington’s disease and Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome – will receive the Doctor of Science degree, honoris causa, from SMU during the ceremony. The entire event, including Collins’ address, will be live streamed at smu.edu/live.

“We are honored to have a pioneering scientist and national leader of Dr. Collins’ stature as featured speaker at Commencement,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “His life is testament to a strong, unwavering commitment to the search for scientific knowledge paired with deep religious faith. He has much to share with us.”

As NIH director, Collins oversees the work of the largest institutional supporter of biomedical research in the world, spanning the spectrum from basic to clinical research. He was appointed by President Obama in 2009 and was asked to remain in the position by President Trump in January 2017. As director, he has helped launch major research initiatives to advance the use of precision medicine for more tailored healthcare, increase our understanding of the neural networks of the brain to improve treatments for brain diseases, and identify areas of cancer research that are most ripe for acceleration to improve cancer prevention and treatment.

While director of NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute, he oversaw the HGP, a 13-year international effort to map and sequence the 3 billion letters in human DNA. HGP scientists finished the sequence in April 2003, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of James Watson and Francis Crick’s seminal publication describing the double-helix structure of DNA. It remains the world’s largest collaborative biological project and one of the most significant scientific undertakings in modern history.

As an innovative evolutionary geneticist and a devout Christian, Collins also has gained fame for his writings on the integration of logic and belief. His first book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, became a New York Times bestseller in 2006. Since then, he has written The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine (2011) and edited a selection of writings, Belief: Readings on the Reason for Faith (2010).

Born in Staunton, Virginia, and raised on a small family farm in the Shenandoah Valley, Collins was home schooled until the sixth grade and attended Robert E. Lee High School in his hometown. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Virginia in 1970.

In 1974, Collins received his Ph.D. degree in physical chemistry from Yale University, where a course in molecular biology triggered a major change in career direction. He enrolled in medical school at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he earned his M.D. degree in 1977. From 1978 to 1981, Collins completed a residency and chief residency in internal medicine at North Carolina Memorial Hospital. He then returned to Yale as a Fellow in Human Genetics at the university’s medical school from 1981 to 1984.

Dr. Collins joined the University of Michigan in 1984 as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, a position that would eventually lead to a Professorship of Internal Medicine and Human Genetics. Collins heightened his reputation as a relentless gene hunter with an approach he named “positional cloning,” which has developed into a powerful component of modern molecular genetics.

In contrast to previous methods for finding genes, positional cloning enabled scientists to identify disease genes without knowing the functional abnormality underlying the disease in advance. Collins’ team, together with collaborators, applied the new approach in 1989 in their successful quest for the long-sought gene responsible for cystic fibrosis. Other major discoveries soon followed, including isolation of the genes for Huntington’s disease, neurofibromatosis, multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1, the M4 type of adult acute leukemia, and Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome.

In 1993, Collins joined NIH to become director of the National Center for Human Genome Research, which became NHGRI in 1997. As director, he oversaw the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium and many other aspects of what he has called “an adventure that beats going to the moon or splitting the atom.”

An elected member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Collins was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2007 from President George W. Bush. He received the National Medal of Science in 2009.

SMU expects to award more than 1,600 degrees at its University-wide Commencement ceremony. The University’s individual schools and departments will host diploma ceremonies throughout the day.

2017-04-11T11:45:41+00:00 April 11, 2017|Calendar Highlights, News|

ESPN the Magazine editor Alison Overholt to deliver O’Neil Lecture in Business Journalism at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Alison OverholtAlison Overholt, editor-in-chief of ESPN The Magazine, will give the William J. O’Neil Lecture in Business Journalism at 4 p.m. today – Tuesday, April 4, 2017 – in O’Donnell Hall, 2130 Owen Arts Center.

The first female editor of a national sports magazine, Overholt will speak about her experiences in rising to the top in a male-dominated industry, and about the growing prominence of women in sports. Admission is free, and tickets are not required. For further information call 214-768-3695.

Overholt serves as editor-in-chief of both ESPN The Magazine (since February 2016), a biweekly print publication, and espnW (since April 2014), a digital product suite targeted to female athletes and their fans. At espnW, she is responsible for developing comprehensive content strategies through digital, mobile, social, print, video and events. At ESPN The Magazine, she drives collaborative, innovative approaches to storytelling, with oversight of producing ESPN’s multiplatform enterprise content. Under her direction, ESPN The Magazine has won the magazine industry’s highest honor, the 2017 National Magazine Award for General Excellence.

The William J. O’Neil Lecture Series in Business Journalism is presented by the Division of Journalism in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. The O’Neil Lecture Series brings outstanding business journalism professionals to the SMU campus each semester. It is part of a cooperative program in financial reporting developed in 2007 by the Meadows School Division of Journalism and the Cox School of Business, through funding from William J. O’Neil, an SMU alumnus and chairman and CEO of Investor’s Business Daily.

> Read the full story from SMU News

2017-04-04T14:45:21+00:00 April 4, 2017|Calendar Highlights, News|

Dallas cardiologist, SMU alumnus hosts 2017 Literature + Medicine Conference Saturday, April 2 in Mack Ballroom

2017 Literature and Medicine Conference logoCardiologist John F. Harper ’68 can still vividly remember waking in the middle of the night to the sound of his father crying out in pain.

It was 1964 and Harper was 17 years old – just a year shy of starting college at SMU. But he was as frightened as a small child that night when he peeked through a cracked-open bedroom into the hallway of his West Texas home. A physician named Bruce Hay was arriving at 3 a.m., impeccably dressed in a three-piece suit, his black doctor’s bag in hand, to offer his father aid.

Harper’s father was a bear of a man, a former basketball player named Frank who was his son’s hero. The doctor walked up to Harper’s father, put a hand on his shoulder and said, “Frank, it’s OK. I’m here now, and I’ll stay until you’re better.”

And then he did. The doctor tended to Harper’s dad, answered his mother’s concerns, and even reassured the young man who was watching from a bedroom door.

That’s the kind of personal touch Harper says is often missing from medicine these days. The key to getting it back, he says, may be literature. That’s why he’s hosting the 7th annual Literature + Medicine Conference from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 1, 2017 in SMU’s Mack Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

“Science has become so complex and hard to keep up with that it’s a legitimate thing to say you don’t have time to be empathetic, but it’s important to try,” says Harper, the Ewton Chair of Cardiology at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. “My argument is that you need good science to be a good doctor, but you also need a compassionate side. The best medicine is science and compassion intersecting at the patient.

“We’re trying to get young physicians, medical students and premedical students to understand that literature can affect the way they approach patients in a positive fashion.”

Though members of the public are welcome to attend the Literature + Medicine Conference, it’s those young physicians and medical students who are the primary audience of the annual event. The conference will feature a series of breakout sessions on topics like “Antidotes to Clinical Burnout: Creative Reading and Writing Foster Physician Satisfaction” and “How Poetry Can Heal the Healers.”

The results of the conference’s annual writing contests will also be revealed, with a cash prize on the line for the winners.

Attendance is $40; the fee is waived for medical residents, students and medical house officers.

— Kenny Ryan

> Learn more at the 2017 Literature + Medicine Conference homepage

2017-03-30T15:33:10+00:00 March 30, 2017|Calendar Highlights, News|

Humans of New York creator Brandon Stanton will speak in SMU’s 2016-17 Tate Distinguished Lecture Series Tuesday, March 7

Brandon Stanton, in colorBrandon Stanton, the creator and bestselling author of the Humans of New York series, will deliver the Ebby Halliday Companies Lecture in SMU’s Willis M. Tate Lecture Series Tuesday, March 7, 2017. The lecture will begin at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium.

Stanton studied at the University of Georgia and worked as a bond trader in Chicago before starting Humans of New York – a photography and storytelling blog – in the summer of 2010. What began as a project to photograph 10,000 people on the streets of New York City became much more as Stanton started to add quotes and interviews to his portraits and providing “daily glimpses into the lives of strangers.” Since then, HONY has built a following of close to 20 million fans across several social media platforms.

> Follow Brandon Stanton on Twitter: @HumansOfNY

In addition, Stanton has appeared on “Ellen,” “Good Morning America,” “Nightline,” MSNBC and CNN, and has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Mashable and dozens of other media venues.

He has also been named a “person of the week” on “The ABC Evening News with Diane Sawyer,” named to TIME Magazine’s “30 Under 30 Who Are Changing the World,” and has photographed President Obama in the Oval Office. He has taken his work to some of the world’s most remote and troubled regions, and has used the storytelling power of his site to raise money for several life-changing altruistic purposes.

Stanton is the author of two #1 New York Times bestsellers, Humans Of New York (2013) and Humans Of New York: Stories (2015), as well as the children’s book bestseller Little Humans (2014).

> Visit Humans of New York online: humansofnewyork.com

All SMU community members are invited to the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 7, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. Doors open at 4 p.m. Tweet questions for Brandon Stanton to #SMUtate.

Tickets for the evening event are sold out. However, students can go to the basement of McFarlin Auditorium at 7 p.m. with their SMU IDs for possible seating on a first-come, first-served basis.

> Follow the Tate Series on social media: Twitter – @SMUtate | Instagram – @smutate

> Participate in a student #HumansOfSMU project:

2017-03-03T16:34:52+00:00 March 3, 2017|Calendar Highlights, News|
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