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.”
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.
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.
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.