Remembering the lives and legacies of two distinguished scholars

The University community mourns the loss of two SMU legends whose scholarship and leadership made a lasting impact on the Hilltop.

The University community mourns the loss of two SMU legends whose scholarship and leadership made a lasting impact on the Hilltop.
Luís Martín
Luís Martín’s passion for history, philosophy and people was contagious. Although he officially retired from SMU in 1993 as professor emeritus of history in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, he never stopped teaching and exploring ideas and issues.
Martín died at his home in Dallas on December 11, 2018. He was 91. Former students, colleagues, friends and community members were welcomed to campus for a memorial service in his honor on January 4.
Born in Seville, Spain, he earned a bachelor’s degree in classical studies and completed master’s-level study in philosophy in Spain. As an ordained priest, he was assigned to the Jesuit mission in Japan and served the church until returning to secular life at age 40. He received a doctorate in Latin American studies from Columbia University in 1966 and joined the SMU faculty in 1968.
In 1973 he became a U.S. citizen and the inaugural holder of the Edmond and Louise Kahn Endowed Chair in History at SMU.
After 25 years of teaching, he retired from SMU but continued to lecture on Spain and Latin America at SMU’s Meadows Museum.
Memorials may bemade to Luís Martín Graduate Fellowship by contacting Mary Lynn Amoyo at or 214-768-9202; or to the Meadows Museum Education Fund by contacting Jessica Whitt Garner at or 214-768-2610.
Bishop Wiliam B. Oden
Bishop William B. Oden served on the SMU Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2004 and was a member of the Perkins School of Theology faculty from 2004 to 2008. He is remembered by those who knew him best for his “gentle demeanor” and “gracious spirit.”
Oden had been in failing health and was surrounded by family when he passed away on December 22, 2018 in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
As a leader in The United Methodist Church, he was known as a “peacemaker” for his ecumenical and interfaith advocacy, according to a remembrance published by United Methodist News.
While growing up in Shawnee, Oklahoma, he preached his first sermon at age 16. He earned his undergraduate degree from Oklahoma State University, a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School and a doctorate from Boston College.
He traveled the world for the church and served many roles including president of the Council of Bishops from 2000–2001 and Council ecumenical officer from 2004–2008.
In 2004, he retired as an active bishop. That year, a scholarship honoring him and his wife was established in Perkins.
Memorials may be made in his memory to the William B. Oden Scholarship at Perkins by contacting John Martin at or 214-768-2026.
The article was originally published in the February 2019 issue of Shaping SMU newsletter.

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