Civic and business leader Robert H. Dedman, Jr. ’80, ’84, chair of the SMU Board of Trustees, will be the keynote speaker at SMU’s December Commencement Convocation on Saturday, December 15, at 9:30 a.m. in Moody Coliseum.

“We are honored to welcome Robert H. Dedman, Jr. to December Commencement,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Mr. Dedman personifies the enterprising spirit that drives and defines SMU.”

  • Watch December Commencement live at smu.edu/live at 9:30 a.m. December 15.
Robert H. Dedman, Jr.

Robert H. Dedman, Jr. ’80, ’84

Dedman received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Texas at Austin in 1979 before earning an M.B.A. with highest honors and a J.D. cum laude from SMU.

Dedman is president and CEO of DFI Management, Ltd., and the general partner of Putterboy, Ltd., the owner of the Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in North Carolina. After working on Wall Street with Salomon Brothers, he went on to a successful career at ClubCorp, a leading operator of golf courses, private clubs and resorts. He was named president in 1989, CEO in 1998 and chairman in 2002. The Dedman family sold the company in 2006.

At SMU, Dedman is continuing the historic leadership and vision of his parents, Nancy Dedman ’50 and the late Robert H. Dedman, Sr. ’53 LLM, who served on the SMU Board of Trustees from 1976 to 2002 and as its chair from 1992 to 1996. Their major gifts to SMU have had a sweeping impact, including in the areas of humanities and sciences, law and lifetime sports.

Robert H. Dedman, Jr. began his term as Board chair in June 2018 after serving as vice-chair and chair-elect. He was elected to the Board in 2004 and since 1990 has served in numerous SMU committee and board leadership roles. He currently is a member of the Board’s Special Committee on Development, the Pony Power Leadership Committee and the Tate Lecture Series Board. He also serves on the Dedman College Executive Board and the Dedman School of Law Executive Board. He previously chaired the Dedman School of Law Executive Board and 21st Century Council, an advisory organization to the SMU president.

A philanthropic and civic leader, Dedman also sits on the Southwestern Medical Foundation Board, the UT Southwestern President’s Advisory Board and the UT Austin Development Board. He is past chair of the Texas Business Hall of Fame.

Dedman wrote and published Our Star Service Journey in 1998 and compiled two anthologies of quotes, Thoughts on a Purposeful Life and A Journey of Life.

More than 550 undergraduate and graduate SMU students will earn their degrees this fall.

Rotunda Recessional

December Rotunda Recessional for undergraduate candidates will take place at 5 p.m. Friday, December 14, on the Main Quad by the Flagpole. Students should gather by 4:45 p.m.

 December Commencement Convocation

December Commencement will begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, December 15, in Moody Coliseum with a student, faculty and platform party procession.

Doors open at 8 a.m., and guests are encouraged to be seated by 9:15 a.m. The ceremony lasts about two hours.

No guest tickets are required, but seating is limited. Free parking will be available in the University’s parking centers.

No outside food or drink is allowed inside Moody Coliseum. Limited concession service will be available from 8 to 9:30 a.m.

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Security screening instructions and prohibited items at Commencement

Please allow ample time for screening at Commencement. All candidates/guests are screened with a hand wand or metal detector; all bags are checked. Commencement participants and guests should not bring the following prohibited items to Moody Coliseum, including but not limited to, animals (except service animals), backpacks, banners, binocular cases, briefcases, camera bags, cans, cinch bags, computer bags, coolers, diaper bags, fanny packs, firearms, flags, glass items, guns, inflated balloons, knives of any size and type, laser pointers, luggage, noisemakers, purses larger than a small clutch, radios, seat cushions with zippers, pockets or compartments, selfie sticks, signs, stun guns, throwing objects, umbrellas (unless threat of rain or raining) and weapons. No outside food or drink is permitted in Moody Coliseum.

For guests, all bags must be clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and may not exceed 12 X 6 X 12 inches. Bags may be one-gallon clear plastic resealable storage bags. Small clutch purses with or without straps, no larger than 8.5 X 5.5 inches, are permitted. The clutch does not have to be clear and may be carried separately or within an approved plastic bag. Items that are medically necessary are evaluated individually. Candidates are not allowed to bring clear bags but the small clutch is permissible.