This SMU Magazine represents my last issue as executive editor. It’s been 33 years since SMU recruited me from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education in Washington, D.C., to become editor here. I had previously edited publications at The American University and Georgetown University, but I was attracted to SMU by the opportunity to make a difference at an up-and-coming institution. Today, as we all know, SMU has definitely “arrived” among the nation’s distinguished universities.
As I retire May 31, my hope is that the 92 issues I oversaw have told the story of SMU’s progress and potential in a compelling way. Yes, we reported on the institutional tragedies of the late ’80s, but it was then even more of a joy to report SMU’s turnaround and triumphs under Presidents A. Kenneth Pye and R. Gerald Turner. President Pye showed great respect for the role of consistent communications for our alumni, parents, donors and friends, as does President Turner today.
At the same time, we’ve been fortunate to garner external recognition for SMU Magazine, including being named one of the top 10 university magazines in the nation by our professional association. In this digital age, some may consider magazines to be old school, but as one who has kept up with communication trends at colleges and universities nationwide, I can attest that the best institutions, and those striving for that status, are producing lively, colorful and frequent (usually quarterly) university magazines. SMU Magazine is published twice yearly now, but our content is updated online.
Most SMU staff will tell you that the University is not just a place of employ-ment – it is a community that is embrac-ing and enriching, with an impact on all areas of our lives. My work at SMU has resulted in friendships with many accomplished and caring individuals among the faculty and staff. The most notable relationship, of course, has been with beloved SMU History Professor James K. Hopkins. I interviewed him for a magazine article shortly after arriving in 1983, and this June we celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.
I also became an SMU alumna after completing the Master of Liberal Arts degree in 2005. It has been an honor to become a Mustang, one of the more than 100,000 members of the alumni commu-nity who receive this magazine.
SMU enabled me to advance professionally as well, moving up to my current position as associate vice president for public affairs, but still watching over the magazine as executive editor, working with Susan White as editor.
I have indeed been fortunate in pursuing my career – which became my calling – at SMU, including collaboration with a remarkably talented Public Affairs staff. In telling my own SMU story, it is difficult to separate the personal from the professional, so I will end by simply, but wholeheartedly, saying thank you. And – Go Ponies!
– Patricia LaSalle-Hopkins ’05