SMU names new dean of Residence Life and Student Housing

Melinda Carlson

Melinda Carlson

Melinda Pullen Carlson, a student affairs professional with expertise in residence life and student learning, has been named assistant vice president and dean of Residence Life and Student Housing at SMU. She will begin her duties January 22, 2019.

“Melinda is a dynamic leader who strongly believes in creating vibrant residential communities that promote academic engagement and student development,” said K.C. Mmeje, SMU vice president for student affairs. “Her compelling vision for SMU’s Residential Commons, her student-centered approach and her depth and range of experiences made her the clear choice for this position. I look forward to the continued growth of our Residential Commons under her leadership.”

Carlson was selected after a competitive national search, which was coordinated by a campus committee chaired by Adam Cebulski, assistant vice president and chief of staff in Student Affairs.

Carlson has 25 years of experience in higher education, most recently at Saint Louis University, where she served as director of housing, residence life and student involvement, and provided oversight for campus dining.

She previously served as associate dean of students and chief judicial officer at the University of Mississippi, where she advised student government, supervised fraternity and sorority life staff and coordinated campus crisis response.

Her other positions have included associate director for residence life at the University of Mississippi, associate dean of students and director of student housing and residence life at Arkansas Tech University, assistant director of residence life at the University of Northern Colorado and coordinator of academic enhancement services at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Carlson attended Eastern Illinois University and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, with a focus on guidance and counseling/college student personnel. She is involved in the Association of College and University Housing Officers – International and the American College Personnel Association, and has served as faculty for the National Housing Training Institute.

2018-12-18T13:56:49+00:00 December 18, 2018|News|

Robert H. Dedman, Jr., to speak at December Commencement

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 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.

  • Click for more information for Commencement candidates, students, faculty and guests
  • On social media: Share your happiest graduation moments with us using #SMUGrad!

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.

2018-12-12T13:28:19+00:00 December 12, 2018|News|

Grad Fair is October 19 for December candidates

Students graduating in December 2018 are invited to learn about Commencement on Friday, October 19, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the SMU Grad Fair on the first floor of the Blanton Building.

At the Grad Fair, December candidates may:

  • Order regalia for special early pricing
  • Record a “shout-out” to be played on the jumbotron in Moody Coliseum for family and friends
  • Take a cap and gown photo or professional headshot
  • Purchase a class ring and announcements
  • Learn about career services available through the Hegi Family Career Development Center

More information about December Commencement is online.

2018-10-10T17:18:20+00:00 October 10, 2018|News|

Honors Convocation and Hilltop Excellence Awards set for April 16

Honors Day Convocation - Jodi Cooley, Bob Kehoe and studentsSMU’s annual celebration of high achievement in academics and community life takes place during the 2018 Honors Convocation and Hilltop Excellence Awards on Monday, April 16.

Honors Convocation begins at 5:30 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium, and the Hilltop Excellence Awards ceremony takes place at 7:30 p.m. in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

> Coming April 16: Watch Honors Convocation live on the web at

SMU reserves one Monday each April to celebrate the achievements of students, faculty, staff members, trustees and administrators in the two ceremonies. The Honors Convocation recognizes academic achievement at the University and department levels.

> Read the full list of SMU’s 2018 Honors Convocation award and honors recipients

Maria Dixon HallThis year’s convocation speaker is Maria Dixon Hall, senior adviser to the SMU Provost, associate professor in the Division of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs in Meadows School of the Arts, and adjunct associate professor of homiletics in Perkins School of Theology. Appointed in August 2016 as Senior Advisor to the Provost for Cultural Intelligence, Dixon Hall is charged with oversight of the University’s efforts to ensure that all members of the SMU community are equipped to effectively create, collaborate, and work on solutions to change the world. In this role, she is responsible for development and implementation of the University’s new cultural intelligence curriculum and training program.

As director of mustangconsulting, Dixon Hall heads a staff of some of SMU’s best and brightest communication students. The group serves a global client list that includes corporate, nonprofit, and religious organizations such as Southwest Airlines (Dallas), The Dance Theatre of Harlem (New York), the Ugandan American Partnership Organization (Kampala/Dallas), The Lydia Patterson Institute (El Paso), and Carry the Load (Atlanta/Dallas).

A graduate of the Culverhouse School of Business at the University of Alabama, Dixon Hall earned her Master of Divinity and Master of Theology from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, as well as a Ph.D. in organizational communication and religion from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

> Find more information on Honors Convocation

Later, the University will present several awards for excellence – including its highest honor, the “M” Award – during the 2018 Hilltop Excellence Awards. The ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

Follow SMU Student Activities @SMUStuAct for live updates from the ceremony, and share your Twitter and Instagram posts from the Hilltop Excellence Awards with the #HilltopExcellence hashtag.

> Learn more about the Hilltop Excellence Awards from SMU Student Life

– Kathleen Tibbetts

2018-04-03T14:01:12+00:00 April 3, 2018|News|

AT&T CEO Randall L. Stephenson to deliver Commencement address

Randall L. Stephenson, ATT CEORandall L. Stephenson, chairman and chief executive officer of AT&T, will be the featured speaker during SMU’s 103rd all-University Commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 19, 2018 in Moody Coliseum.

Since rising to the position of CEO in 2007, Stephenson has guided AT&T through a number of major milestones, including the ongoing acquisition of Time Warner, the 2015 acquisition of DIRECTV, and the purchase of Mexican wireless companies to create a North American network.

Stephenson also has led AT&T’s breakthrough “It Can Wait” campaign – an awareness program educating drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. The program has amassed more than 19 million pledges of support.

“We are honored to have a pioneering business and technology leader of Mr. Stephenson’s stature as featured speaker at Commencement,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He is a striking example of what can be accomplished when someone possesses a clear vision of where they want to go. I know he will inspire each of our graduating students to form their own grand vision of what they want to accomplish in their lives with the knowledge they’ve acquired at SMU.”

AT&T contributed $2.5 million to SMU in 2016 to endow the AT&T Center for Virtualization and fund its research into the fast, reliable cloud-based telecommunications necessary for global activity. SMU and AT&T have also partnered with other organizations to create the Payne Stewart SMU Golf Training Center at the Trinity Forest Golf Club, which will become home to the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson this year and annually host NCAA invitational tournaments and additional high-profile professional and amateur events.

Stephenson began his career with Southwestern Bell Telephone in 1982 in Oklahoma. He served as the company’s senior executive vice president and chief financial officer from 2001 to 2004, and from 2004 to 2007 as chief operating officer. He was appointed to AT&T’s board of directors in 2005.

Stephenson is a member of the PGA TOUR Policy Board and National Chairman of the Boy Scouts of America. He received his B.S. in accounting from the University of Central Oklahoma and his Master of Accountancy from the University of Oklahoma.

SMU expects to award more than 2,500 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees in the University-wide ceremony. The University’s individual schools and departments will host diploma ceremonies throughout the day.

— Written by Kenny Ryan

> Keep up with the latest SMU Commencement information at

2018-04-03T14:03:48+00:00 April 3, 2018|News|

Protect against the flu: A message from the SMU Health Center

The following message was emailed to parents January 10. If you do not currently receive SMU emails but would like to get them, please fill out this form with your contact information.

Dear SMU Parent,

As SMU prepares for the spring term, we are reminding students to take precautions against the flu and help prevent its spread by getting a flu shot as soon as possible, if they have not yet already done so.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases of flu are increasing in Texas and across the country. While reports indicate that this flu season’s vaccine may be less effective than in previous years, getting vaccinated continues to offer the best protection against the flu. We are closely monitoring flu advisories and reports from Dallas County and the CDC.

A flu shot and additional precautions

Because flu can spread by contact with people who are ill, we recommend that students get a flu shot at a local pharmacy, clinic or physician’s office to develop protection against the flu before the spring term begins, if they did not already get vaccinated this fall at campus clinics or during winter break.

At SMU’s Dr. Bob Smith Health Center, flu shots are available to students at no cost, while supplies last. The Health Center is currently open during its normal operating hours, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Students are asked to bring their SMU IDs to the Health Center. Update: Appointments are not required for flu shots.

We are reminding students to take additional precautions when they return to campus, including to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, and to get plenty of rest to keep the immune system working at its best. Students also are reminded to be aware of flu symptoms.

More information about the flu is on the SMU website, at, including campus resources and guidelines for preventing and treating the flu.

We look forward to continuing to provide services that support your student’s health and well-being in 2018.


The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center staff

2018-01-11T10:33:05+00:00 January 11, 2018|Health and Safety, News|

Tune in: Happiest of holidays from SMU

SMU wishes you the happiest of holidays with scenes from a season of joy. Gary Shultz of SMU News has created a page full of images and video from the 2017 Celebration of Lights, December Commencement Convocation, and SMU Football’s trip to the DXL Frisco Bowl.

Here’s a sample: Student musicians perform songs of the season and President R. Gerald Turner reads the Christmas story from the New Testament during Celebration of Lights. Tap the YouTube screen to watch, or click here to open SMU’s 2017 Celebration of Lights video in a new window. video

2017-12-22T09:49:24+00:00 December 21, 2017|News|

SMU to celebrate 2017 December Commencement Convocation

December Commencement 2013, blue mortarboards

The SMU community will celebrate 2017 December Commencement Convocation on Saturday, Dec. 16. Kenneth A. Hersh, president and CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, will give the address.

The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. in Moody Coliseum with a student, faculty and platform party procession. Guests can enter Moody Coliseum starting at 8:30 a.m. Student line-up begins at 8:30 a.m. in Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports. Processional groups begin forming at 9:15 a.m.; doors close at 9:40 a.m.

On Friday, Dec. 15, undergraduate candidates will participate in Rotunda Recessional. Candidates should wear SMU regalia and begin lining up at 5:15 p.m. at the flagpole on the Main Quad. Hot cider will be served.

> Watch the December Commencement Convocation livestream at

> More information for students and guests at SMU’s December Commencement homepage


2017-12-12T10:09:27+00:00 December 12, 2017|News|

Message from President Turner regarding fliers found on campus

The following message from President R. Gerald Turner was sent to the campus community December 6:

As reported in the media and in my email to the campus on Sunday evening, our campus was invaded by five followers of what appears to be a state chapter of a national group espousing white nationalism. SMU Police Chief Rick Shafer reports that our police force is diligently trying to identify one or more of these individuals and has asked for assistance from the University community and beyond.

The faculty, staff, and students of SMU have been, and are committed to, protecting free speech rights in an atmosphere of civility and meaningful discourse. Those individuals who took advantage of our openness and accessibility to violate the policies of the University posted messages that by their sexist, racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, and other deplorable contents basically denigrated every group but their own. We will continue our efforts to put names on faces to expose publicly those who engage in such unacceptable behavior. However, we must be vigilant in ensuring that as a community we rebuke those seeking to plant seeds of distrust and hatred on the Hilltop.

Throughout our history, the faculty, staff, and students of SMU have made great strides in ensuring that our university community is reflective of the larger world that we are called to serve. We realize that we must continue to cultivate a campus culture where all Mustangs have the knowledge and skills to learn, teach, and work with different individuals in diverse contexts.

On November 27th, the Provost, Professor Maria Dixon Hall, and I announced the launch of a Cultural Intelligence Initiative (CIQ@SMU). The mission of CIQ@SMU is to ensure that every member of our campus is equipped to create, collaborate, and implement innovative solutions to change the world regardless of the background of those with whom they work. CIQ@SMU emphasizes that our differences are more complex than only race or ethnicity but also include religious, gender, sexual, political, and socio-economic identities.

Our efforts are only beginning. This is important work that will not be finished overnight. Our hope is that through CIQ@SMU, all of us at SMU will embrace learning from and teaching one another how to work effectively with people in culturally diverse settings.

As the fall semester winds down, with finals beginning this Thursday, followed by Commencement on December 16th, I urge our students to finish strongly this semester, enjoy the semester break with family and friends, and be ready when they return for the spring semester to continue efforts to improve our ability to live and work together. Our ability to counter the abhorrent messages of those who invaded our campus is best reinforced by rejecting the division and denigration desired by those who carry messages of hate. I ask that you join with us as we seek to improve and strengthen the understanding and unity of our University community.

2017-12-06T10:23:54+00:00 December 6, 2017|News|
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