Photos We Love

These 30 Graduation Day Photos Will Make You Smile

Dance major Takia Hopson walks the stage. All photos by Kim Leeson.

On a stormy May 19, SMU Meadows moved commencement indoors. Keynote speaker Ian Derrer, general director of the Dallas Opera, reviewed his notes backstage. Students hugged their professors. Willie Baronet, Stan Richards Professor in Creative Advertising, took group selfies. There is nothing like the happiness and joy of graduation day. Photographer Kim Leeson was on hand to capture the scene.

Students Lauren Steele and Roderick Woodruff
Grads wait backstage before commencement
Meadows Scholar Stejara Dinulescu kills time in line before commencement

Prof. Steve Edwards (left) with advertising students
Jeremy Pope-Levison, left, and Caleb Vandaveer wave to family
Matthew Holevas waves to family in the balcony
(From left) Jeremy Pope-Levison, Xxavier Carter, Miranda Helm and Prof. Ira Greenberg
(From left) Jasonica Moore, Lauren Steele, Brandi Mcleain, Mikaela Brooks and Curtis Faulkner
Dance chair Christopher Dolder (center) with dancer students
(From left) Gabby Grubb, Kat Allen, Dyala Ashfour and Prof. Willie Baronet
Rachel Gan, left, and Jordan Pyle
Welcome and Gratitude speech, by Jasonica Moore, Division of Theatre
Keynote speaker Ian Derrer, general director of the Dallas Opera
Curtis Faulkner sings “SMU Forever”
Curtis Faulkner hugs Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Kevin Hofeditz after singing “SMU Forever”
Commencement moved to McFarlin Auditorium due to weather
Prof. Ira Greenberg congratulates Xxavier Carter

Graduates backstage waiting to receive diplomas
Sarah Hoffman waits her turn to walk the stage
Dance student Takia Hopson celebrates her big moment walking the stage
Michael Garcia walks the stage.
Lauren Steele walks the stage
The Varsity.
Sara Magalio hugs Caleb Vandaveer

Zeinab Ali celebrates in front of Dallas Hall
Keynote speaker Ian Derrer, general director of the Dallas Opera, reviews his notes bakstage before commencement


Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship Photos We Love

“The Arts are for Everybody”: 10 Quotes That Inspired Us from Jane Chu, Former NEA Chair and Recipient of SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Award

NEA Chair Jane Chu
The NEA thrived under Jane Chu’s leadership. (All photos by Kim Leeson)

Jane Chu earned a Master of Music degree from SMU and has spent her career in arts administration and philanthropy. During her four-year term (2014–18) as chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, Chu traveled to all 50 states, visiting more than 400 arts organizations in 200 communities.

It was a bustling Homecoming weekend at SMU. The Division of Art hosted a conference that brought in experts in the field from around the world. Opera soared from the lobby. That morning, Jane Chu sat with the students of the joint M.A./M.B.A. (with Cox Business School) in Arts Management and M.M. in International Arts Management to chat about ethics, career paths, and what it means to lead. Chu led with optimism on the state of the arts, and recalled her time at SMU Meadows. Her responses to the students of the graduate programs, like her memories, were crackling with inspiration. Later that day, she was presented with the SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

“The arts belong to everybody each and in their own ways. You don’t have to solve all of the problems in the world. We have the opportunity to show that arts are leading the community. It’s in you already.”

Photos We Love

16 Photos from the 2018 SMU Meadows Graduation Ceremonies Guaranteed to Make You Smile

All photos by Kim Leeson

As faculty and staff at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, it’s one of the most joyous days of the year: The Meadows Spring Commencement ceremonies. It’s a feeling of unbridled accomplishment, unmatched by events that have unfolded before it. On a warm day, no matter how warm, we sit in the grass of the Boulevard, and hear the passionate words from our friends and classmates–like “arts and communication inform, uplift and challenge”–and our friends and family cheer as we walk the stage. 

Photos We Love Student Work

The SMU Meadows 2017-2018 Academic Year in Photos

smu opera
Costume Shop Manager Melissa Panzarello readies her work for SMU student Alissa Roca–one of the stars of the Opera Theatre’s production of Alcina.

There were awards, electric blue lights, and tears of nostalgia. In the final hours of the 2017-2018 academic year at SMU Meadows, as Dean Sam Holland delivers his commencement speech, we will reflect on the events of a challenging and rewarding year. Jazz dance artist retires in May after 13 years of teaching at SMU. Ignite/Arts Dallas, our community engagement movement, celebrated its third year. There was swing dance. We talked the future of the word “entrepreneurship” at an event called MPower. We saw Frankenstein’s monster. This was the year in photos. All photos by Kim Leeson unless noted.

Photos We Love

10 Photos That’ll Make You Nostalgic for SMU Homecoming

SMU parade
SMU Meadows students walk the boulevard during the Homecoming parade.

2017’s Homecoming began with the Distinguished Alumni Awards, a prelude to a weekend packed with activities. SMU Mustangs chose from among a range of concerts and performances, as well as special exhibitions at SMU’s museums and libraries. We also celebrated 100 years of Mustang spirit and Mustang jazz with the Mustang Band at the Pigskin Revue. The Meadows parade began a couple of hours before kickoff, where Dean Sam Holland led the parade down Boulevard–and we eat copious barbecued meats from Sonny Bryan’s–all leading up to the Mustang football team’s game against the UCF Knights.

Photographer Kim Leeson was on the scene to capture photos.