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2022 Alumni News September 2022 Main

Family Weekend: Fry the Frogs pep rally and more!

Come join the stampede at the Fry the Frogs pep rally including a special football announcement Friday, September 23, at 6:30 p.m. on Doak Walker Plaza. The exciting event will fire up our spirit before we cheer on the Mustangs against TCU Saturday, September 24, in Ford Stadium. Game time will be announced later, but plan to attend the tailgate at the SMU Alumni tent near Clements Hall before it starts. Pony Up!
After the Friday pep rally, attendees receive free admission to these great matches: SMU men’s soccer vs. Florida International University at 7 p.m. at Washburne Soccer and Track Stadium and SMU volleyball vs. University of South Florida at 7 p.m. in Moody Coliseum.
Find a schedule of events and more Family Weekend information here.

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2022 News September 2022

Inspiring spaces for aspiring artists

The SMU community is invited to celebrate the dedication of the transformed visual arts facilities at Meadows School of the Arts Friday, September 16, at 11:30 a.m.
RSVP here.

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2022 Alumni News September 2022

Great things are happening on the Hilltop

We’re excited for what the new year holds, but it will only be possible with the support of dedicated Mustang donors. We hope you’ll be inspired to support our students, faculty and campus with your gift today.

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2022 Alumni News September 2022

Recognizing extraordinary alumni achievement

Homecoming festivities start Thursday, October 20, when we celebrate our Distinguished Alumni Award honorees A. Shonn Evans Brown ’95, ’98; John Cartwright Phelan ’86; and Thear Sy Suzuki ’96; and Emerging Leader Award recipient Emily K. Graham ’07.
DAA recipient C.J. “Don” Donnally ’67, ’68, who passed away in May, will be honored posthumously.
SMU President R. Gerald Turner and the SMU Alumni Board will host the event recognizing extraordinary achievement, outstanding character and good citizenship. The celebration at Armstrong Fieldhouse will open with a reception at 6 p.m. that will be followed by a dinner and awards presentation at 7 p.m.
Read more.

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2022 News September 2022

Football home opener and pre-game concert

The Josh Abbott Band will perform Saturday, September 10, at 4:30 p.m. on Doak Walker Plaza, on the north side of Ford Stadium, before the Mustangs play Lamar in the home opener, kicking off at 6 p.m. Get entry to both with a previously purchased game ticket or a concert ticket.
Read more.

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2022 Alumni News September 2022

Homecoming and Reunion Weekend: October 20–23

Come back to where it all began to reconnect with classmates and SMU. With loads of events, there’s something for everyone. Be sure to stop in at the SMU Alumni tent near Clements Hall. Check out the schedule and make your plans now.
Here are some of the highlights:
Thursday, October 20
Distinguished Alumni Awards
6 p.m. Reception
7 p.m. Dinner and presentation
Armstrong Fieldhouse
Registration and information
Friday, October 21

  • Enjoy tours of campus landmarks and new additions, and visit the George W. Bush Presidential Center and the Meadows Museum.
  • Undergraduate reunion parties at various locations. More information.

Saturday, October 22
The parade, fun on the Boulevard and the SMU vs. Cincinnati football game are just a few of the exciting activities.
Read more.

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2022 Alumni News September 2022

Continuing the legacy of empowerment

Latino Alumni of SMU will host a celebration of the academic achievements of their 2022 scholarship recipients Thursday, September 15, at 6 p.m. at the Meadows Museum. Register by September 9.

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2022 News September 2022

Welcome back, Mustangs!

The Residential Commons are abuzz, organizations are going full speed and the events calendar is already packed. Students are back and ready for the big year ahead.
Read more.

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2022 News September 2022

Tiny, precise device could help spacecrafts land safely

A NASA-funded team led by SMU researchers think that their small, lightweight device developed to measure spaceship velocity will improve the odds of successful landings on Mars and other planets.
Smaller, they say, is better in space.
The optical microresonator built by the team is only 2 millimeters in length, compared to the velocity-monitoring tool most commonly used on spacecraft – the Fabry-Perot interferometer – which can be as long as 500 millimeters. NASA and other space agencies may be able to use the microresonator to get an accurate, quick measurement of how fast a spaceship is moving in a specific direction.
The first proof-of-concept results have been published in AAIA Journal.
“Every gram of a device makes a huge difference in how much fuel I will have to have on a spacecraft and how many other items I can include as payload on that spacecraft,” says SMU’s Volkan Ötügen, one of the creators of the optical microresonator.
Ötügen is senior associate dean of the Mechanical Engineering Department in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering and director of the SMU MicroSensor Laboratory. The device he and other researchers built uses a phenomenon known as “whispering gallery mode.”
A spacecraft’s velocity is a key measurement during its descent, because the time between when a spaceship enters a planet’s atmosphere and the time it lands is usually only minutes at most. And costly accidents like the crashed European spacecraft Schiaparelli on Mars underscore how quickly a mission can go wrong when the spacecraft is given wrong information.
Just 40 percent of Mars missions – launched by any space agency – actually land there successfully.
Read more at SMU Research.

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2022 Alumni News September 2022

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

Check out these quick links to great stories and photos featuring the people, programs, events and more making news on the Hilltop.

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2022 Alumni August 2022 Main News

A great new year starts with you

With new students heading to classes soon, exciting faculty research underway, and progress made on new and improved structures all over the campus, this school year promises to be bigger and better than ever. That’s because of the generous support of Mustangs like you.
Visit the Hilltop this fall to see how your gifts ignite our University’s success today and for years to come.
Give now.

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2022 August 2022

Get ready for game day fun at home and on the road

Plan to meet up with fellow Mustangs at away-game tailgates throughout the football season, beginning September 3, when we play UNT in Denton. At home, check out the SMU Alumni tent on the Boulevard, beginning September 10. And stay tuned for details about a big pep rally for the SMU-TCU game September 24.
It’s time to Boulevard!
When our Mustangs play at home, gather at the SMU Alumni tent near Clements Hall for a pre-game “pop up” experience featuring snacks and drinks from partner purveyors. A cash bar will also be offered. The fun begins two hours before kickoff. Click for information and registration.
Away-game tailgates
SMU football is hitting the road for some great games this season. If you find yourself in “enemy” territory, don’t worry; you’re not alone. SMU Alumni Relations and the Mustang Club will bring a taste of the Hilltop to road games. Enjoy food and beverages with fellow Mustangs at tailgates starting two hours before kickoff at these games:
September 3: University of North Texas, Denton, Texas
September 17: University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
October 1: University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida
November 17: Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Find information and registration here.

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2022 Alumni August 2022

Drumming up support for the Mustang Band

Meet Diamond M Club President Kellie Prinz Johnson ’96, whose connection to the Hilltop seems to grow stronger each year. In fact, she named her son after her best band friend and her favorite SMU professor, and she’s now a proud SMU parent.

What do you do for work?

I am the director of operations at Retro Studios, which is a video game developer and subsidiary of Nintendo. Some of the games we’ve made are the Metroid Prime series, Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. I manage everything that is not involved with making the games or IT. I’ve been there for 19 years.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Basically, driving up and down I-35 coming to SMU events. *Laughs.* I’m also an avid baseball fan, so when SMU isn’t having sporting activities, I fill the void with Major League Baseball. I just got back from Chicago where I saw the Cubs, my favorite team, play five games in four days. But I love going to SMU games; I have season tickets to football and men’s and women’s basketball so I’m here as often as possible.

What is your favorite Diamond M Club memory?

My favorite memory is how I get to do cool things, meet people and represent the club. A few years ago, at Pigskin Revue, we gave Paul Layne ‘76, who is SMU’s superfan, a beanie and he was really honored by that, so it was special for me to be the one to give him something the Mustang Band doesn’t take lightly or give to many who were not in the band.

Read more.

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2022 August 2022 News

Turning plain paper into artful research

Art and science intersect in the hands of SMU junior Travis Nolan ’24. He’s an international origami champion whose fascination with dinosaurs and paper folding come together as a study of the biomechanics of prehistoric creatures.

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2022 August 2022 News

Thinking inside the box

Students tackled the ultimate DIY challenge by building a “baby supercomputer” that not only deepens their understanding of networking and parallel computing, but also shows big potential for their artificial intelligence research.
As SMU’s powerful new NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD supercomputer research system launched on campus, students assembled their own “baby supercomputer.” Small but mighty, it’s capable of running and training artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) models with the potential to make an array of modern conveniences even better at what they do.
“Our student team already has access to a really powerful supercomputer on campus, but having this miniature version gives them a chance to administer their own supercomputer, which is a novel experience,” explains physicist Eric Godat ’18. He’s the team lead for SMU’s Office of Information Technology Research and Data Sciences Services and director of its Student Technology Assistant in Residence (STAR) Program.
Read more.

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2022 Alumni August 2022 News

Working, growing and ‘just trying things’

In a July 3 interview with ESPN staff writer Harry Lyles, Jr., former SMU football safety Ra Kazadi ’22 talks about how the loosening of name, image and likeness (NIL) restrictions on college athletes and the financial freedom it generated gave him the wings to explore and grow as an artist.

EXCERPT:
SMU safety Ra’Sun Kazadi is a unique talent among college football players.
You might see that he’s appeared in 10 games over the past two seasons and registered two tackles and say that’s a stretch, but it’s not. Ra – as he’s often referred to by his teammates, friends and family – has talents that go beyond the football field.
He’s a gifted artist, and last July 1 – with the loosening of restrictions on college athletes making money through their name, image and likeness – Kazadi’s world as an artist opened up considerably.
“I’m able to do more of the work that I want to do because of NIL,” he said. “I can sell my pieces for more, and therefore, I don’t have to do, like, 100 pieces a month.
“It’s funny because it’s been less about money now. It’s been more about just working and growing, and just trying things.”
Kazadi sold his work before NIL restrictions were lifted, but couldn’t put his name on it, have shows or promote his art on his Instagram or website.
“It was just basically relying on people to know that I was an artist and then doing stuff for super cheap,” Kazadi said. Because of these limitations, he said he wasn’t able to sell pieces for much – $30 for a sketch, and maybe around $100 for a painting if he was lucky.
“It wasn’t at the scale, even close to what it was now,” he said.
Kazadi said he’s able to get higher prices for his work now because people know it is his and he’s able to promote it. The greater financial freedom has given him more time to experiment with his art and continue to improve at his craft.
Read the full story.

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2022 Alumni August 2022 News

Active duty and military veterans are allies for the Cox School

During the 2021–22 academic year, 69 Cox School of Business graduate students were currently active duty in, or veterans of, the U.S. Armed Forces. Cox Today magazine profiled a cross-section of the students about what they would like all of us to know about their time in military service. Here’s a sampling of their responses:

Corbin C. Anderson

Former Captain, Aviation Officer and UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter Pilot in the U.S. Army
Full-time two-year MBA in finance
Anticipated graduation in 2023
Originally from Westlake, Texas
“I had the honor of serving with amazing leaders, soldiers and aviators who came from all different walks of life. Those individuals I served with helped mold me to become a successful officer and junior leader in the Army. People are the Army’s most important asset. I was blessed to serve with leaders of character who were incredibly smart, tough and diverse, and who had the ability to solve incredibly complex and time-sensitive problems. I will forever be grateful for the individuals with whom I had the privilege to serve and who continue to serve our country.”

Destiny Perez

Former E-6 Aircraft Maintenance Technician and Instructor for the Air Education and Training Command in the U.S. Air Force
M.A./MBA in arts management and arts entrepreneurship
Anticipated graduation in 2023
Originally from San Marcos, Texas
“Military service afforded me time to figure out who I was and what I wanted in life. A mentor once asked, ‘If you could only do one thing the rest of your life and you never got paid for it, yet you’d still be happy, what would that be?’ Thanks to that question, I changed my undergraduate degree to focus on my passion for dance. Later in my service, as an instructor, I learned I love teaching as much as I love learning. If I could share one thing with you, it’s to ask yourself the same question. Find your passion.”

Drewnard “D” Woods

Current Combat Airlifter, E6 rank, in the U.S. Air Force Reserve
Professional MBA (PMBA) in real estate/finance
Anticipated graduation in 2023
Originally from Chicago, Illinois
“Coming from the South Side of Chicago, it’s a war zone in itself. I chose to join the Air Force because I knew it would challenge me mentally and would propel me forward in other ways, such as being able to pursue a career in business, to look sharp, give attention to detail and be willing to show up early even if that means waiting around a bit. I’ve gained other great attributes, too. Most importantly, I knew I was joining something that I would be proud of the rest of my life, and that maybe one day, I would be able to tell my story to encourage others to join the ranks of the world’s greatest Air Force.”
Read the full story.

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2022 August 2022 News

SMU, AT&T collaboration opens doors to data science careers

A groundbreaking new collaboration between telecommunications giant AT&T and SMU will deliver high-level training, practical experience and a potential employment offer in the field of data science for a group of University students spending the summer together in the classroom and on the job.
AT&T is covering the cost of the training for the students and for the overlapping on-site internship. After the program ends, each participant who earns an SMU certificate for completing the on-campus boot camp and the internship will receive interviews for permanent positions with AT&T after graduation.
“We’ve had interns for years, but we’ve never really done a boot camp where we actually have the formal training using the Artificial Intelligence tools we use here internally at AT&T and then collaborate on projects, too,” says Mark Austin, AT&T’s vice president for data science. “So, this is unique, and we’re excited about it.”
The nine students selected for the program are spending half of the summer in an SMU classroom led by Bivin Sadler, technical assistant professor and course lead faculty for SMU’s online Master of Science in Data Science program. Part of that “boot camp” experience includes a competition between the students, divided into teams, working to solve problems presented by their AT&T mentors. Following the SMU instruction, the group will head to AT&T offices for the second half of the summer to work with the massive data sets and corporate-level challenges that are bread-and-butter to the communication company’s own data science group.
The Data Science Scholars are a mix of undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in various STEM fields – data science, statistics, math and engineering.
Demand for data scientists is expected to increase by 22 percent over the next decade, according to estimates by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, Black and Hispanic workers remain underrepresented in the STEM workforce. Women, who now earn the majority of undergraduate and advanced degrees, are significantly underrepresented in computer science fields.
Read more.

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2022 Alumni August 2022 Spring 2022

Celebrating the Mustang mystique

Curtis has been a creative director for more than 25 years with Wieden+Kennedy, a global agency headquartered in Portland, Oregon. He’s a legend in the field with three Emmy wins for best commercial, and seven Emmy nominations to his credit. In Advertising Age’s 20th anniversary edition of Creativity Magazine, Curtis was named one of the 50 most influential creative leaders of the past 20 years.


His wide-ranging portfolio for Nike, ESPN and other high-profile brands includes an acclaimed commercial featuring Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons fighting over a Coke. In 2010, Adweek named It’s Mine the Super Bowl spot of the decade.


The SMU collaboration took flight during a conversation with SMU Vice President for Development and External Affairs Brad E. Cheves.


“Brad and I were talking about all the amazing individuals who have come through SMU over the years. It’s an impressive list,” Curtis says. “We both thought it would be something interesting to – in a broadcast spot – remind folks of.”


After getting the greenlight, Curtis and his production team faced the challenge of tracking down archival video and images. They worked with Laura Graham ’16, director of photography and video in SMU Marketing and Communications, to locate assets and secure licensing approvals. Curtis supplied his expertise to the project at no charge.


The commercial encapsulates the breadth and achievements of our Mustang family and the reputation for excellence that draws the best and brightest to the Hilltop. (Play the video above to see for yourself.)


It was a labor of love for Mustangs with star power like Academy Award-winner Kathy Bates ’69, whose distinctive voice provides the narration, and fan favorite Brian Baumgartner ’95, who submitted his own video when the cost of licensing footage of him as Kevin in The Office TV series was prohibitive.


Other notable alumni featured include NFL star and sports commentator “Dandy” Don Meredith ’60, real estate titan Trammel Crow ’39 and Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd ’11.


Also shown are Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on campus in 1966 and former U.S. Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and the late George H.W. Bush on campus in 2013 to celebrate the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center with former President Bush.


The ad ends with an intriguing question for the future Mustangs viewing it: What will you do?


The commercial premiered during the TCU game September 25, 2021, where SMU retained the Iron Skillet with a 42–34 win.


“Maybe the spot helped us beat the Horned Frogs, who knows,” Curtis says. “What I do know is it reminds us that we’re all a part of something pretty special around here. That’s inspiring, and worth celebrating.”
– From SMU Magazine, spring 2022

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2022 Alumni August 2022 News

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

Check out these quick links to great stories featuring the people, programs, events and more making news on the Hilltop.

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2022 Alumni July 2022 News

Striking a chord with crowds honoring WWII heroes

The Mustang Band represented the U.S. as thousands turned out for D-Day commemoration ceremonies in Normandy, France, in June. The trip was more than two years in the making because of the pandemic and brought history alive for the young musicians.
Read more:

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2022 Alumni July 2022 Main News

Southern California kickoff supercharges SMU Ignited

On June 13, SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow lit up SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, at the kickoff of our $1.5 billion campaign for impact in Southern California. More than 200 impassioned Mustangs from across the region gathered to celebrate the campaign empowering outstanding students, enriching teaching and research, and enhancing our campus and community.
Read more.

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2022 July 2022 News

Coming soon: Mustang football and Boulevarding

Pony ears and cheers are on the way. The first season under Head Football Coach Rhett Lashlee kicks off September 3 with the Mustangs traveling to UNT. SMU will host Lamar at Ford Stadium September 10. Check out the schedule and get season tickets now.Six big games come to Ford Stadium this fall, highlighted by the Battle for the Iron Skillet against TCU on September 24 during Family Weekend, and a match-up with 2021 CFP participant and AAC Champion Cincinnati on October 22 for Homecoming .
The Mustangs will also host AAC Championship game participant and in-state rival Houston on November 5, as well as Navy in a Friday night contest on October 14, before Memphis visits to close the regular season for Senior Day on November 26.
SMU’s non-conference slate features the season opener at North Texas on September 3, a home game against Lamar on September 10 and a match-up at Maryland on September 17.
The Mustangs finished 8-4 in 2021 and have won at least eight games in two of the last three seasons (7-3 in 2020). The 2021 Fenway Bowl bid was the third consecutive year with a bowl berth. SMU reached as high as No. 19 in the in AP Poll and No. 16 in the Coaches Poll last season.
Kickoff times and TV information will be announced at a later date.
Check out the full schedule.
Purchase tickets.

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2022 Alumni July 2022

Head out with your herd to discover Dallas

If you’re from Dallas, or never left after graduation, then you’re never at a loss for things to do or ways to reconnect with classmates and create impromptu mini reunions at any time of the year.
The warm summer weather presents the perfect time to meet up and head out with your fellow Mustangs and reminisce about how falling in love with SMU meant falling in love with all things Dallas too. Whether it’s hiking or biking, aquariums or botanical gardens, museums or art galleries there’s something for everyone on this list of things to do with your herd this summer!
Read more.

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2022 Alumni July 2022 News

Tapping into SMU’s innovation ecosystem

Our alumni leaders, founders, innovators and creators are ready to guide startup-minded students aiming to transform their bold ideas into businesses.
Some students arrive on the Hilltop with a plan in mind. Others find that spark in a class, through a research project or even in a casual conversation over coffee.
When they decide to bring their vision to life, students can find step-by-step support. Across the campus, a multitude of experiential, academic and research resources provide a framework for entrepreneurial endeavors, while funding from grants and competitions get them off the ground.
Our alumni have blazed new paths in tech, business and just about every other sector of the economy. As mentors, they provide guidance, share expertise, generate opportunities and cheer on students finding new ways to make an impact on the world.
Read more.

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2022 Alumni July 2022 News

SMU alumna crowned first Asian American Miss Texas

Congratulations to history-making SMU alumna Averie Bishop ’19, ’22, the first Asian American Miss Texas.


She currently serves on the Mayor’s Anti-Hate Advisory Council. It was established last year by Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson to advise the city and police on ways to increase tolerance and understanding and engage the private sector and communities in discouraging hate and encouraging diversity.


Bishop received a B.A. in human rights in 2019 and graduated from Dedman School of Law in May. While she was an undergraduate, Bishop and her mother establish the Tulong Foundation in 2015. The nonprofit organization serves an area of the Philippines where Marevi Bishop grew up. The foundation supports children’s education and efforts to develop sustainable farming and clean drinking water. As an SMU Human Rights Fellow in 2018–19, she spent the summer in the Philippines building water wells in rural communities.


On the Hilltop, Bishop displayed her vocal talent as Cinderella in Into the Woods, the student musical presented during Family Weekend in 2017.


Bishop will now start preparing for the Miss America pageant, which will take place in Connecticut in December. She is active on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, offering a candid look at her life as a law student and beauty pageant contestant.


Read more:

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2022 July 2022

A surprising way to tamp down ‘Dark Triad’ personality traits

Want to be less selfish, manipulative or impulsive?  A new study has found that tasks designed to make someone more agreeable also effectively reduce a trio of negative personality traits known as the “Dark Triad” – Machiavellianism, narcissism and psychopathy.
SMU psychology professor Nathan Hudson’s study showed that practicing activities like “donating money to a charity that you would normally spend on yourself” or “talking to a stranger and asking them about themselves” decreased all three Dark Triad traits after four months. That was the case even for people who said they wanted to increase their dark traits, not diminish them.
In a surprise twist, though, Hudson’s study published in the Journal of Personality found that these people did want to become more agreeable – modest, kind, considerate and helpful.
“Thus, interventions targeting agreeableness may be an effective way to help reduce dark traits in a way that people may be likely to cooperate with,” he says.
How does Hudson account for the finding?
“I’d guess that people with high levels of Machiavellianism, for example, do want to be nice, kind people. But they also feel that manipulating others is a good and useful strategy for navigating life and getting what they want.”
And perhaps there’s a mental disconnect for people with high levels of the Dark Triad.
“No one wants to see themselves as bad or evil. So people tend to justify their bad behavior,” he says.
Read more.

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2022 July 2022 News

Trailblazer Barbara Hill Moore honored for stellar career

With an SMU career spanning nearly five decades in the Meadows School of the Arts, Barbara Hill Moore has been named the recipient of the 2022 Faculty Career Achievement Award for her contributions to the teaching, scholarship and service missions of the University.
“I am truly honored to cap off my career at Meadows by accepting this wonderful award of recognition,” says Hill Moore, senior associate dean for faculty and Meadows Foundation Distinguished Professor of Voice. “SMU offered me the opportunity to teach, mentor and advise many of the University’s biggest and brightest singing talents during my nearly 50 years here at the Hilltop, and I’ll be forever grateful for that.”
Hill Moore, a world-renowned opera singer and voice teacher, began teaching at Meadows in 1974 and served as chair of the voice department from 1977 through 1992. In the summer of 2011, she founded and began directing an international study abroad program, SMU-in-South Africa, built around teaching and directing a class in musical theater hosted by the Opera School and Choral Academy (OSCA) of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in Durban, South Africa.
Hill Moore also founded SPIRITUAL VOICES in 1990, an ensemble of five soloists and accompanists who have sung throughout the U.S. and Europe, specializing in performing the earliest composed Negro spirituals and African American art song repertory.
Hill Moore is a recipient of SMU’s prestigious “M” Award. She was named Meadows Foundation Distinguished Professor of Voice in May 2005 and named SMU Distinguished University Citizen in 2009–10. In March 2010, the South Dallas Business and Professional Women’s Club honored Hill Moore as a trailblazer for her excellence in education. Through the Barbara Hill Moore and Bruce R. Foote Foundation, Hill Moore awards scholarships to underrepresented students in SMU’s graduate and artist certificate programs that are pursuing an advanced degree in classical vocal study.
Read more.

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2022 Alumni July 2022 News

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

Check out these quick links to great stories featuring the people, programs, events and more making news on the Hilltop.

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2022 June 2022 Main

Bestowing our highest alumni honor

While our community mourns the loss of Chester John “Don” Donnally, Jr. ’67, ’68, we also look forward to celebrating him and our other 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award honorees on October 20. Don was delighted to know of our plans to honor him, and we hope you will join us for the dinner and presentation during Homecoming Weekend.
Find more information, including registration.

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2022 June 2022 News

Academic leader Robin Poston to join SMU as dean of the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies

Robin Poston has been tapped as the new dean of SMU's Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies

Robin Suzanne Poston, vice provost and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Memphis, has been named dean of SMU’s Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies and associate provost for graduate education. She will assume her position at SMU August 15.
Poston has since 2018 led strategic initiatives at the University of Memphis to modernize academic, scholarly and international approaches that support enrollment growth, student success and timely graduation in its Graduate School. These initiatives serve Ph.D., professional and graduate certificate students across 161 graduate programs in 12 colleges and schools.
Poston also has served since 2015 as director of the Systems Testing Excellence Program (STEP) at the University of Memphis’ FedEx Institute of Technology. In that capacity she has supported interdisciplinary teams of faculty and students on government and industry-sponsored projects to build up research and curricular competencies, helping to promote STEP as an internationally recognized group of thought leaders in the science of systems testing. STEP researchers are currently working with the Department of Homeland Security and the Air Force Institute of Technology and in the past have performed projects for the Defense Information Systems Agency of the Department of Defense, FedEx Corporation and others.
“The Moody School for Graduate and Advanced Studies is focused on improving the quality and success of SMU’s graduate programs in concert with strategic investments in the research enterprise,” says Elizabeth G. Loboa, SMU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “Graduate education is an essential component of a university’s research ecosystem, and doctoral students, in particular, constitute important metrics in the Carnegie Classification, which is used to distinguish universities in terms of their research productivity.
“Dr. Poston is a proven leader with deep experience at the intersection of research and graduate education,” Loboa adds. “She was the chief architect in the rise of University of Memphis from R2 to R1 in the Carnegie rankings, and we are excited that she is joining SMU’s leadership team at this time in our quest for even greater academic quality.”
Read more.

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2022 June 2022 News

Jason P. Nance named new dean of SMU Dedman School of Law

Jason P. Nance, an education policy and law scholar who studies inequalities in public education, has been named the Judge James Noel Dean at SMU’s Dedman School of Law. He will join SMU on August 10 from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he is associate dean for research and faculty development and professor of law.

New SMU Dedman School of Law Dean Jason NanceNance began his career in education, teaching math to middle schoolers and GED and English courses to adults in Houston. After three years, he began to prepare for a career in education administration, intending to become a school principal. But Nance developed a keen interest in education policy and law through his graduate studies, ultimately earning a Ph.D. in education policy and administration before completing his law degree.

“The Dedman School of Law aspires both to maintain its long-standing top status in the region and to rise significantly in the national rankings,” says Elizabeth G. Loboa, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Throughout the interview process, campus stakeholders responded enthusiastically both to Jason’s experience and to his vision for the law school. Dedman Law has tremendous faculty and staff who have for years trained and supported the placement of our students in meaningful and impactful careers. Under Dean Nance’s leadership, we are well positioned to advance our well-earned reputation within the legal and business communities and to expand our impact in line with SMU’s aspirations for even greater academic excellence.”

Nance clerked for Judge Kent A. Jordan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware after graduating from law school. He served as a litigation associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, practicing corporate and securities litigation during the financial crisis of 2007–2010. Nance was a visiting assistant professor of law at the Villanova University School of Law before joining the University of Florida Levin College of Law in 2011.

Since 2021, Nance has served as associate dean for research and faculty development at UF Law. Previously at UF Law, he served as associate dean for academic and faculty affairs, as an associate director of the Center for the Study of Race and Relations, and as an associate director for education and law at the Center on Children and Families. As professor of law, he taught education law, torts and remedies. He oversaw the continued development and implementation of the Introduction to Lawyering and the Legal Profession Program, then directed the program designed to help first-year law students develop key competencies to become effective lawyers.

“We look forward to welcoming Dean Nance to Dedman School of Law,” says SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “His early public education experience combined with a distinguished legal career and passion for education equity issues bring talents that will be valuable on many levels at SMU.”
Read more.

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2022 June 2022 News

Pony Up! Four teams capture conference titles

It was an exciting time on the Hilltop for sports fans as men’s golf, men’s tennis, equestrian and rowing all captured conference titles this spring. Go, Mustangs!
Equestrian
No. 1 seed SMU claimed its fourth straight conference championship, and second Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) title, after defeating No. 2 seed UT Martin, 11-9, March 26.
Four members of the team were tabbed as 2021–22 Ariat All-America selections by the National Collegiate Equestrian Association. Senior Mallory Vroegh ’22 and sophomore Nya Kearns ’24 were named as first-team horsemanship selections. Sophomore Taylor Madden ’24 was given the nod as a first-team selection in the flat, and freshman Elli Yeager ’25 earned second-team honors in fences.
SMU made it to the final four of the 2022 NCEA National Championships April 15, finishing the season with an 11-7 record, including a 4-1 mark in ECAC  play.
Read more.
Men’s golf
The SMU men’s golf team secured its second American Athletic Conference (AAC) title and 10th title in program history, setting a 54-hole tournament scoring record of 835 (282-277-276, -29) April 24.
The season came to a close with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Bryan Regional May 18.
Read more.
Men’s tennis
Top-seeded SMU defeated the No. 2 seed Memphis 4-2 in the AAC tournament championship to claim its first AAC title and 10th conference championship in program history. The victory also gave the Mustangs an automatic bid into the NCAA Championships, marking the school’s 24th appearance.
SMU concluded its season with a 22-7 record after losing to LSU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Read more.
Rowing
SMU won all four races and successfully defended its AAC Women’s Rowing Championship May 15. The Mustangs finished with 168 points to win the team title.
The team wrapped up its run in 12th place at the NCAA Championships with an all-time conference team best 72 points.
Read more.

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Alumni June 2022 News

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2022 Alumni May 2022 Main News

Future-focused change

SMU celebrated the future of the Cox School of Business and its role as a driver of Dallas innovation, breaking ground May 6 on a $140 million renovation and expansion project. As part of the SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow campaign, more than 50 donors have already invested more than $100 million toward the facilities designed to train students for a collaborative and technologically integrated world.
SMU is blazing a trail into the next era of business education. We have undertaken a two-year, $140 million renovation and expansion project to provide the facilities needed to train students for an ever-more collaborative and technologically integrated world. Enter our virtual experience to experience the new classrooms and collaborative spaces in our future facilities.
Read more.

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2022 May 2022 News

Driving innovation at SMU, in Dallas and beyond

Smiles lit up the room and excitement was in the air April 28 at the announcement of the new William S. Spears Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership in the SMU Cox School of Business to encourage business creation, leadership development and economic growth.
A commitment from celebrated energy expert and philanthropist William S. Spears, the largest gift by a non-alumnus in the history of SMU, will establish the William S. Spears Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership in the SMU Cox School of Business. This new addition to SMU’s $1.5 billion campaign for impact, SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow, will empower students, bolster faculty pursuits and ignite our community for future generations.
Read more.

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2022 Alumni May 2022 News

Mustangs in the wild: Sameer Paroo ’01 rides again

“What SMU allows you to do is feel very empowered to create new experiences,” says Sameer Paroo ’01. The former Homecoming king candidate finds new ways to engage and connect with fellow Mustangs as chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Alumni of SMU.
Paroo is an “M” Award-winning, Toronto-born Mustang who grew up in Orlando and completed high school in Plano, Texas. The avid basketball fan has visited approximately 33 countries since finishing graduate school and has worked in both Nairobi, Kenya, and Vancouver, Canada. In fall 2000, as an SMU senior, he represented the Program Council as a Homecoming king candidate in the annual parade. Twenty-one years later, he had the opportunity to ride in the parade again, but this time as chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Alumni of SMU.
Read more.

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2022 Alumni May 2022 News

Applause for our newest alumni

Meet two outstanding Mustangs: At 19, Haley Taylor Schlitz is the youngest law school graduate in SMU history. At 85, Marillyn Burton Seeberger is making history of her own by receiving a bachelor’s degree and aiming for a new career as a screenwriter.

Read about recent graduates.

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2022 May 2022 News

Big idea. Big rewards. Big future.

Seun Suberu ’23 created the CollegePlus app to help students take control of their future. Now it’s shaping his path, too. Over the past three years, Suberu has earned more than $85,000 in funding through multiple SMU competitions to fuel his startup.
Suberu – his first name is pronounced like “Sean” – continues to expand and refine his app while pursuing a degree in computer science and a minor in statistical science. His own experiences inspired CollegePlus. It guides prospective students through a series of questions to help them land on schools that are good matches for their interests and needs.
A strong computer science program, proximity to his family, scholarships and a thriving entrepreneurial community made SMU a clear choice for Suberu. Like many of his peers, however, he struggled during his college search before finding the right fit.
“I didn’t know what was feasible, given my credentials, what was affordable, if I could get a scholarship and so on,” says Suberu, who graduated from Mesquite High School. “I had more questions than answers.”
Read more.

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2022 May 2022 News

Access SMU: Empowering world changers for Texas

SMU is launching Access SMU – additional merit scholarships – beginning with Texas students to meet full need for high-achieving scholars who receive federal Pell Grants and SMU merit scholarships.
Access SMU will break financial barriers to college entry and graduation – first for academically talented Texas students, with the goal to later expand the investment in more students who need help paying for college. The program will help high-achieving Texas students who receive federal Pell Grants to attend SMU regardless of financial means. Access SMU is expected to increase the number of first-generation students and students from underrepresented groups who earn their undergraduate degrees at SMU.
Read more.

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May 2022 News

Men’s golf headed to NCAA regional play

After capturing the American Athletic Conference championship, the SMU men’s golf team was selected to the NCAA Bryan Regional. The three-day, 54-hole tournament will be played at Texas A&M’s Traditions Club May 16-18.
SMU’s regional berth marks the Mustangs’ 26th appearance in the NCAA Regionals since the format began in 1989 and the program’s 37th overall appearance in the NCAA postseason.
The Mustangs received an automatic bid as a result of winning the AAC Championship April 24. The conference named SMU senior Noah Goodwin ’22 and sophomore Nathan Petronzio ’24 to its 2022 All-Conference Team. Jerry Pittman Head Men’s Golf Coach Chris Parra was named AAC Coach of the Year. Parra is in his third season as head coach and eighth as a member of the SMU coaching staff.
Read more.

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2022 May 2022

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2022 News

Art and music inspire a gift from the heart

SMU Distinguished Professor Emerita of Art History Alessandra Comini gained acclaim early in her career with her on-the-ground investigation into an art world mystery. Now, through a $2 million planned gift to SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, she’s setting the stage for a new generation of the bold, curious and creative to make their own discoveries.

Comini’s gift will be split between two endowments:

  • The newly created Alessandra Comini Endowed Professorship in the Division of Music to teach and study 19th-century composers, a period she identifies as critical to our understanding of music.
  • The existing Alessandra Comini Endowed Fellowship Fund, which was launched in her honor with early support from former student Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo ’83 and Charlotte Whaley ’70, ’76, former editor of SMU’s Southwest Review.

“SMU has been my home for so long,” says Comini, who retired in 2005. “It’s an honor to give back to this University and support scholarship and research where my lifelong passions intersect. Art and music are so harmoniously intertwined. Art can’t be art without music by its side.”
The fellowship that bears her name supports the type of research that made her own breakthrough discovery possible. The fund awards $25,000 annually to an outstanding Meadows doctoral or postdoctoral art history student pursuing landmark research abroad that embraces multiple perspectives and cultural influences.
As a young professor, Comini traveled to Vienna in 1963 to study a series of self-portraits by Egon Schiele, an Expressionist painter and protégé of Gustav Klimt. Schiele’s controversial work and lifestyle eventually landed him in jail.
When she learned that no scholar had ever located the place where he was imprisoned, she had to find it. She drove to the nearby village of Neulengbach and quickly identified the local courthouse as the likely site. Initially turned away, she eventually sneaked in and made her way down a dark staircase into the basement. She found and photographed “cell No. 2,” the interior door of which Schiele had faithfully sketched, showing a former prisoner’s carved initials, M H.
Comini later published her research and photographs in Schiele in Prison, which garnered international accolades.
“It was the most exciting moment of my life,” she says.
Joining SMU’s faculty represented a sort of homecoming. Comini’s ties to SMU run deep. Her mother founded SMU’s Italian language program, her father worked as a commercial photographer near campus, and her younger sister attended SMU.

Now 87, Comini has published eight scholarly books, including The Changing Image of Beethoven: A Study in Mythmaking, a German edition of which appeared for the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth, as well as numerous articles, reviews and chapters in exhibition catalogs and opera booklets.

She was awarded the Grand Cross of Honor by the Republic of Austria for her work on art and music. Comini was honored by the Egon Schiele Museum in 2018.

After retiring, she turned to fiction. She now writes the Megan Crespi mystery series, in which her alter ego investigates crimes in the art and music world. Comini will soon publish her 10th book in the series, and all in the series are being translated into German.

“There is such join in giving to and believing in an institution like SMU. ”
– ALESSANDRA COMINI

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April 2022 Main

Celebrate Founders’ Day Weekend April 7–9

Our spring “homecoming” is your opportunity to see the SMU Ignited campaign at work as we celebrate two new campus resources. Festivities begin April 7, with the groundbreaking ceremony for the Holt Hickman Outdoor Pool at the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center at 4 p.m. Head back to the Hilltop on Friday for the dedication of the Washburne Soccer and Track Stadium at 10:30 a.m., and enjoy the spring football game at 7 p.m. in Ford Stadium, a chance to see our Mustangs in action under new Head Coach Rhett Lashlee.
Read more.

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Alumni April 2022 News

Celebrating 24 hours of record-breaking generosity

What can we do in one day? That question was answered by 3,497 Mustang households giving more than $8 million to over 175 causes on SMU Giving Day. Thank you for changing the lives of students, creating new opportunities and shaping a brighter future on the Hilltop and beyond.
Read more.

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2022 April 2022 News

Welcome Rob Lanier, new head men’s basketball coach!

Rob Lanier has been named SMU’s head men’s basketball coach. Lanier, who comes to the Hilltop from Georgia State, arrives with more than 30 years as a collegiate coach, including seven seasons as a head coach.

“We are excited to welcome Rob Lanier and his family to Dallas as the head basketball coach at SMU,” Hart says. “Rob is an excellent coach and has been mentored by some of the game’s best in Rick Barnes and Billy Donovan. He and his staff will build upon the success our program has experienced under Coach Brown and Coach Jankovich. As importantly, his character, integrity and commitment to developing our student-athletes as both players and people align with our mission of shaping champions. Our conversations with individuals in the basketball community only reinforced our belief that Rob Lanier is the right leader for SMU basketball.”

Lanier’s former teams have made 12 NCAA Tournaments and earned 19 total postseason bids.
“I couldn’t be more honored to lead the program on the Hilltop,” Lanier says. “SMU’s location in the heart of Dallas, Texas, the beautiful campus, stellar academic reputation and overall commitment to excellence make it the perfect fit for me and my family. I’m excited to get to work and to take this program to the next level.”

Read more.

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2022 April 2022 News

Gene allowing humans to feel touch may play a role in sense of smell

Can you smell those roses? There’s a real possibility that the gene that helps you experience their heavenly fragrance may also help you feel the prick of their thorns.
Researchers from SMU have determined that a gene linked to feeling touch may moonlight as an olfactory gene. That’s the conclusion drawn from studying a very small, transparent worm that shares many similarities with the human nervous system.
“This gene has previously been identified as a potential therapeutic target for chronic pain. Now that we know the gene is also involved in olfaction, it might present an opportunity for treating or understanding olfactory defects, such as the mysterious loss of smell that many COVID-19 patients have reported,” says SMU’s Adam D. Norris, co-author of a study published in the journal Nucleic Acids Research.
Norris is the Floyd B. James Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. He worked with SMU graduate students Xiaoyu Liang and Canyon Calovich-Benne, who are the lead authors of the study. Both are studying to get a Ph.D. in biological sciences.
Read more.

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2022 Alumni April 2022 News

Theatre alum’s persistence pays off

If Dylan Guerra ’16 had given up after failing to win playwriting fellowships in New York, he would not be where he is today: authoring a screenplay for a well-known production company and co-writing season three of The Other Two, the HBO satire that hilariously spoofs showbiz and celebrity.
“Perseverance is a massive part of it,” says Guerra by phone during a lunch break from The Other Two writers’ room in New York. “I applied to everything more than once.”
It took three tries to become a member of the prestigious Youngblood group of playwrights at Ensemble Studio Theatre and two each for residencies at Ars Nova and Page 73.
“In about a six-to-eight-month period, I got into three of the highest-profile playwriting fellowships in New York, and that put my name on a bunch of lists,” he says. “I also had a solo show, and there was this organic interest in my work.”
Read more.

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2022 Alumni April 2022 News

Changing the narrative on natural hair

Startup founder Mona El-Gharby ’21 won seed funding from SMU’s Big iDeas program three years in a row as a student. D Magazine writes about El-Gharby, founder of CURLē, “a customized haircare company that’s making curls luxurious,” and her entrepreneurial journey in the March 2022 issue.
EXCERPT:
“Take a single strand of your hair and roll it between your fingers with your eyes closed.”
Can you feel it? Is it thin or thick? Is it straight or curly? Odds are, if it’s straight, you’ve never had to think about this before.
But CURLē founder Mona El-Gharby has.
The Egyptian American Dallas native says her classmates used to bully her growing up over her natural hair texture. Her parents had raised her to be confident and elegant, but it was hard to feel that way about her curly hair. Like many other women, she felt her hair wasn’t “professional” or fit European beauty ideals.
And when her peers teased her, El-Gharby didn’t have any celebrities or television characters to point to and say, “these people have beautiful hair, they’re doing great things, they’re representing me.”
Read more.

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2022 Alumni April 2022 News

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2022 March 2022 Main

SMU Giving Day: Mustangs coming together for the causes we care about

SMU Giving Day unites every member of the Mustang community with easy and fun ways to give to our favorite causes and support the SMU Ignited campaign. Watch the spirited video, volunteer to amplify #SMUOneDay as a Champion and decide how you will shape the future March 22.
Learn more.

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2022 Alumni March 2022 News

Reaching a significant milestone

Thanks to the generosity of the Mustang community, SMU Ignited has garnered more than $800 million in donations, more than halfway toward our $1.5 billion goal. Learn how you can be part of this extraordinary drive to make a positive difference in the world around us.
Rest of story

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2022 March 2022 News

National recognition for scientific contributions

Elizabeth G. Loboa, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, and Zhong Lu, the Shuler-Foscue Chair in SMU’s Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Loboa and Lu will be inducted into the organization later this year as part of the 2021 class of AAAS Fellows, which includes 564 scientists, engineers and innovators spanning 24 scientific disciplines who are being recognized for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements.
AAAS Fellows are a distinguished cadre of scientists, engineers and innovators who have been recognized by their peers in the organization for their achievements across disciplines ranging from research, teaching and technology, to administration in academia, industry and government, to excellence in communicating and interpreting science to the public.
“Provost Loboa and Dr. Lu are respected scientists and their work and contributions continue to advance SMU as a premier research and teaching university,” says SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The AAAS recognition from their peers is well deserved, and SMU is fortunate to benefit from their expertise and commitment to excellence in teaching, research and scientific discovery.”
Read more.

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2022 March 2022 News

Partnership yields game-changing medical technology

BALANCED Media|Technology, in partnership with the Retina Foundation of the Southwest and SMU, has announced a patent-pending medical imaging technology (U.S. Patent Application Serial No.16/538,662) that uses automated software and a video game to provide standardized, accurate and precise identification of ocular diseases including age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of visual impairment in the world.

BALANCED, the Retina Foundation of the Southwest and SMU also signed a 10-year exclusive license, development and commercialization agreement for BALANCED to bring the medical imaging technology to the $35 billion artificial intelligence (AI) health care market.

BALANCED created and crowdsourced an original video game, Eye in the Sky: Defender. The game uses optical coherence tomography (OCT) retinal images embedded in the game’s environment to create human-computational image segmentation. As players predict the path of the alien force in the game, they unknowingly learn to trace lines used to perform diagnostic measurements of OCT retinal scans and create new datasets.

When integrated with BALANCED’s HEWMEN AI platform, these new datasets were used by experts at the Retina Foundation and SMU researchers to provide the information needed to train a machine learning (ML) algorithm to analyze OCT images more accurately and precisely.

“Human and machine collaboration is the next step in machine learning and AI,” says Corey Clark, deputy director of research and assistant professor of computer science and engineering for SMU Guildhall, an assistant professor of Computer Science at SMU Lyle School of Engineering and CTO at BALANCED. “This application is a great example showing how injecting human knowledge and intuition into the machine learning process is able to create something that neither were capable of doing on their own. This is just the first step. I believe we will see many more exciting things come from these collaborations in the future.”

Read more at SMU Research.

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2022 Alumni March 2022 News

Compelling authors booked for Dallas Literary Festival

SMU’s Dallas Literary Festival is back March 12–22. This annual celebration of writers and literature will feature more than 100 acclaimed national and local authors as well as special events across the city. Authors representing relevant and diverse voices will converge at a series of in-person events on the SMU campus, at Fair Park’s African American Museum and at other locations throughout Dallas.
SMU football great and NFL Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson ’84 will deliver the keynote conversation at noon Saturday, March 19, in Dallas Hall. After a prolific and often contentious career, Dickerson is telling his side of the story in his new book, Watch My Smoke. Capping the day will be the Friends of the SMU Libraries Tables of Content fundraiser, featuring the presentation of the 2022 Literati Award to culinary historian Adrian Miller, author of Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue. Tickets are required, and proceeds from the event benefit the Friends annual grants program.
2020 Pulitzer Prize winner Nikole Hannah-Jones, author of The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story and recipient of the 2021 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work–Nonfiction, will close the festival at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, at SMU.
The festival’s theme, resilience, was chosen when organizers expected to be looking back at how the country survived the turbulence of 2020 and 2021, says Sanderia Faye Smith, Dallas Literary Festival executive director, SMU creative writing faculty member and author of the award-winning novel, Mourner’s Bench.
“As the festival date approaches, we realize we’re going to need even more resilience to stay the course and not give up,” Smith says. “As Toni Morrison says, ‘During hard times, writers should not remain silent and readers should read, heal, gain knowledge and escape within the pages of a book.’”
While related events begin March 12, the first official festival event is Friday, March 18, featuring National Book Award finalist David Treuer and scholar, poet and author DeMaris Hill. Treuer’s The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is a new narrative that demonstrates how Native Americans have maintained their culture and civilization through dark years. Hill’s Breath Better Spent: Living Black Girlhood is a narrative in verse that takes a personal and historical look at the experience of Black girlhood. Treuer and Hill will speak at 7 p.m. at SMU’s McCord Auditorium in Dallas Hall.
Two full days of author panel discussions, readings and interviews follow, March 19 and 20, with national award winners, memoirists, scholars, romance writers, poets, historical fiction writers and authors of gems you might not have heard of yet, but soon will.
Unless otherwise noted, events are free and open to the public.
Among the highlights:
Saturday, March 19, Dallas Hall, SMU

  • Novelist Nathan Harris, author of The Sweetness of Water, Oprah’s June 2021 Book Club pick.
  • Joaquin Zihuatenejo, National Poetry Slam finalist and Grand Slam Spoken Word champion.
  • W. Bruce Cameron, author of the New York Times bestselling triology, A Dog’s Purpose, A Dog’s Way Home and A Dog’s Courage.
  • Long-form narrative writer Catherine Prendergast, author of The Gilded Edge, named by Artnet as one of top 20 books about art in 2021.

Sunday, March 20, African American Museum, Fair Park

  • Dawnie Walton, author of The Final Revival of Opal and Nev, which was a 2021 Good Morning America Buzz Pick and named one of the best books of 2021 by Barack Obama, The Washington Post and NPR.
  • Elisa Dusapin, author of Winter in Sokcho, 2021 National Book Award winner for translated literature.
  • Scholar and commentator Jelani Cobb, author of The Matter of Black Lives: Writing from The New Yorker.
  • Culinary historian Adrian Miller, author of Black Smoke.
  • Daniel Black, author of Don’t Cry for Me, February 2022 Book of the Month selection.

Additional related events include:

  • Saturday, March 12: South Dallas Cultural Center will present a women’s poetry workshop.
  • Tuesday, March 15–Tuesday, March 22: Dallas Public Library will host a series of in-person and online events supporting the Dallas Literary Festival, including craft and story-making projects, readings, a Shakespeare Adventure Walk and writing workshops.
  • Monday, March 21: SMU’s Tate Lecture Series will present biographer Walter Isaacson. Tickets required.

Find more information at Dallas Literary Festival.

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2022 March 2022 News

Mustangs savor the experience of Dallas Open competition

SMU’s Styslinger/Altec Tennis Complex was the venue for the inaugural Dallas Open February 6–13. With Dallas and SMU hosting the only ATP Tour indoor championship held in the U.S., Mustangs got the opportunity to take part in the event. All four SMU student-athletes faced off with featured players ranked inside the world’s top 200 in singles or doubles.
Caleb Chakravarthi ’22, Liam Crall ’24, Adam Neff ’24 and graduate student Ivan Thamma went toe to toe with top players and came away with a new perspective.
While the match was tough, the overall experience is one Chakravarthi came to relish.
“Watching a few of the matches and practicing with the guys has motivated me to try and achieve greatness in tennis. Being with these pros you see how small the margins are and the differences between a college tennis player and a pro,” Chakravarthi says. “It definitely has motivated me to be the best tennis player I can and has motivated me to play professional tennis after my time at SMU.”
Read more at SMU Athletics.

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2022 March 2022 News

Placing neighborhoods in focus

SMU researchers combined street-level investigations with the University’s supercomputer power to reveal infrastructure deserts. Their study lays the groundwork for improving neighborhoods.
Residents of a neglected corner of southeast Dallas daily navigate crumbling sidewalks, pothole-riddled streets and neglected intersections. Few trees shade their streets, and the lack of access to basic services like internet, health care and grocery stores isolates them within a thriving city. Like residents of 61 other Dallas neighborhoods, they live in an infrastructure desert.

What are infrastructure deserts? Why do they matter?

Those two questions get to the heart of a multiyear research project led by SMU’s Barbara Minsker, a nationally recognized expert in environmental and infrastructure systems analysis.
To find answers, Zheng Li, a Ph.D. student in civil and environmental engineering, and other team members created a computer framework with the ability to assess, at census-block level, 12 types of infrastructure. Neighborhoods were evaluated and compared by infrastructure deficiency, household income and ethnicity.
“This framework enables us to collect data from a huge variety of sources, then analyze the patterns that emerge to discover new information that can be used by scientists, policymakers and residents to improve their neighborhoods,” Li says.
Read more.

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2022 Alumni March 2022 News

Breaking out on her own

From a very early age, Lacey A. Horn ’04, ’05 knew she wanted to use her talents on behalf of her tribe. The former treasurer of the Cherokee Nation now serves as a strategy and financial consultant to tribal leaders as CEO of Native Advisory and heads Horn CPA, a niche cryptocurrency consultancy.
Rest of story

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2022 March 2022 News

Mustang football kicks off September 3 at UNT

Six big games come to Ford Stadium this fall, highlighted by the Battle for the Iron Skillet against TCU September 24 during Family Weekend and a matchup with 2021 CFP participant and AAC Champion Cincinnati October 22 during SMU Homecoming.
Rest of story

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2022 March 2022

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2022 Alumni February 2022 Main News

Expanding Gerald J. Ford Stadium

A $50 million commitment from the Garry Weber Foundation, established by former Mustang football letterman Garry A. Weber ’58, is the largest gift in the history of SMU Athletics and supports a $100 million drive for a new 192,500-square-foot Garry Weber End Zone Complex at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.
The Garry Weber Foundation’s gift continues an exciting new era for Mustang football and SMU as part of the University’s recently announced $1.5 billion campaign, SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow. With the drive, SMU Athletics will reach a new milestone, having invested $250 million to develop and enhance championship-caliber athletic facilities across campus.
The new Garry Weber End Zone Complex will anchor Ford Stadium’s south bowl that will connect the stadium’s existing east and west gate entries. The three levels of the new complex will increase the functionality, efficiency and overall experience of Mustang football for student-athletes and fans, as well as inspire interest and investments in athletics across SMU’s campus.
Read more.

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2022 Alumni February 2022 News

Making a big splash for swimming and diving

This spring, SMU will break ground on the Holt Hickman Outdoor Pool, the newest addition to the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center made possible by lead gifts from the Robson, Hickman and Lindley families. Once completed, the project will establish the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center as the only U.S. university facility with both indoor and outdoor Olympic pools.
The Holt Hickman Outdoor Pool will include an eight-lane, 50-meter-by-25-yard outdoor pool, 1- and 3-meter diving boards and a 20-by-40-foot instructional pool for lessons and rehab/therapy. Other amenities feature a locker room facility – accessible from both the indoor and outdoor pools – including an indoor dryland training area, which will specifically benefit the SMU diving program. Exterior showers and a decorative overhang to provide shade will complete the project.
This outdoor pool addition will be a hub of community engagement and help SMU attract local and national swimming and water polo events to SMU and the city of Dallas.
Read more.

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2022 Alumni February 2022 News

Preserving the histories of our communities of color

So far, 124 Mustangs who lived it have been interviewed for Black History at SMU, part of the Voices of SMU oral history project. Voices of SMU is among hundreds of projects, causes and organizations you can support on SMU Giving Day March 22.
Voices of SMU is a collaboration between students, alumni and entities across campus to diversify the SMU Archives’ holdings. With Voices of SMU, undergraduate research assistants conduct oral history interviews with SMU alumni from underrepresented groups. The oral histories are made available online in the SMU Libraries Digital Collections.
The interviews document not only the history of the University, but Texas as well, including the desegregation of higher education, the experiences of African American and Latinx University students, and Black and Brown student activism in Texas. They speak to growing up in Dallas’ Little Mexico; post-World War II African American community-building in places such as Hamilton Park, Dallas; studying as an undocumented student; organizing as minority seminarians and student activists; and shaping Texas’s churches, social ministries, and business communities upon graduation.
Read more.

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Alumni February 2022 News

From dino drawings to STEM ambassador

Her dinosaur drawings earned Myria Perez ’18 a volunteer position at the Houston Museum of Natural Science when she was just 12. Flash-forward to high school, and her passion for dinosaurs again made a big impression – this time on renowned vertebrate paleontologist Louis Jacobs, now professor emeritus of Earth Sciences and president of the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man at SMU.
Jacobs became her mentor while she earned bachelor’s degrees in geology and anthropology from SMU. Along the way, she helped prepare fossils that Jacobs and his team had uncovered in Angola. They were exhibited in Sea Monsters Unearthed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, where she now works in the Deep Time FossilLab as a fossil preparator.
Perez aims to inspire more young women to enter STEM fields as one of 125 AAAS IF/THEN Ambassadors.
Read more.

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2022 Alumni February 2022 News

Serial entrepreneur’s winning ways

Neha Husein ’19 launched the Just Drive app as an SMU student. Recently she captured the top prize in the WEDallas inaugural pitch competition for ZStash, an innovative platform promoting sustainability by helping wholesalers and boutique owners destash inventory.

Husein’s latest venture, ZStash, is a free website and mobile app designed for wholesalers and boutique owners to buy, sell and destash inventory on an all-in-one, secure platform. Prior to creating Zstash, Husein founded Just Drive, an app that rewards undistracted driving that she created after she was rear-ended by a driver who was texting.

For her triumph, Husein was awarded a $1,500 microgrant from Capital One.

WEDallas is a partnership between the DEC Network and Capital One.

Read more.

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2022 Alumni February 2022 News

Mustang support makes dreams come true

Sienna Dugan ’20 came to SMU wanting to make an impact in global health care. Through Engaged Learning and other projects supported each year by Mustangs on SMU Giving Day, she gained experience that helped her dream come true. Today she helps run a free medical and dental clinic in Honduras. Join with thousands of other Mustangs to support the projects, causes and organizations you care about on SMU Giving Day March 22.
More details about our 24-hour giving challenge will be coming soon.
In the meantime, learn more about SMU Engaged Learning.

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2022 February 2022 News

Black/Africana Church Studies program prepares tomorrow’s leaders

The new Black/Africana Church Studies program in the Perkins School of Theology aims to prepare students for innovative and impactful leadership in the Black church, the academy and the world while providing opportunities for the entire SMU community to learn about the origins, development and diversity of the Black church tradition.
“The program will critically explore Black theology, Black Biblical studies and interpretation, history, pastoral theology, preaching, worship, religious education, ethics, and other practices in conjunction with African American, African and other African diasporic churches, nonprofit organizations and social justice ministries,” says Tamara Lewis, assistant professor of the history of Christianity and program director.
An overall goal of the program is to improve campus quality of life for members of the SMU Black community, starting with a biennial survey of the campus climate as seen through the eyes of students, faculty and staff.
The  Black/Africana Church Studies program will offer a range of opportunities and activities designed to enrich the educational, cultural and communal experiences of Black students at Perkins School and the Graduate Program in Religious Studies as well as the broader SMU community.
Read more at Perkins School.

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2022 February 2022 News

Largest single-year research award for SMU

The U.S. Department of Education’s FY 2021 Education Innovation and Research Competition awarded Professor Leanne Ketterlin Geller an $8 million grant to enhance instructional practices to meet the high needs of students experiencing math difficulties in grades 4-8.
Read more at Simmons School.

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2022 February 2022 News

A camera that sees around corners

Researchers at SMU and Northwestern University are using new technology that enables cameras to record high-resolution images and holograms of objects that are hidden around corners, obscured from view and/or beyond the line of sight.
Called Synthetic Wavelength Holography, the technology computationally transforms real-word surfaces such as walls into illumination and imaging portals, which serve to indirectly illuminate the hidden objects and intercept the tiny fraction of light scattered by the hidden objects.
Capturing images through fog, face identification around corners and imaging through barriers like the human skull are potential applications for the technology, detailed in a study published in Nature Communications.
The technology has defense, hazard identification and medical applications.
Read more at SMU Research.

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2022 Alumni February 2022 News

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

Enjoy these quick links to some of the great stories, photos and more featuring the people, programs and events making news on the Hilltop.

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2022 Alumni January 2022 News

Kelvin Beachum, Jr. ’10, ’12 honored as Arizona Cardinal’s Walter Peyton Man of the Year

SMU alumnus Kelvin Beachum ’10, ’12 is a decade into his NFL career, including the last two seasons with the Cardinals. But in those 10 years, Beachum has never failed to put into motion his parents’ lessons of giving back. He was named the Cardinals’ Walter Payton Man of the Year and is now among 32 players vying to become the NFL’s Man of the Year. But such an honor is merely a detail in a life built on such service.
The oldest of four siblings in Mexia, Texas, Beachum grew up in a family hovering around the national poverty level.
His father, Kelvin Beachum, Sr., worked on cars for a living. His mother, Culetta, worked for Mexia State School in Limestone County.
The family didn’t have a lot of money, but Kelvin Jr. never knew their situation since his parents shielded him from that reality. More importantly, Beachum’s parents – even if they had to struggle financially – made sure their children understood the importance of helping others.
Read more at Arizona Cardinals.

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2022 January 2022 News

SMU senior awarded prestigious Marshall Scholarship

Environmental science major Isabelle Galko ’22 is one of just 41 American university students – and the only student from a Texas university – named a 2022 Marshall Scholar.
Galko will use the two-year scholarship to further her studies on climate and policymaking at both Oxford and Durham Universities in England.
From the beaches of Australia to the bayous of Louisiana, she finds her inspiration in the places where water meets land. The Austin native spent part of her childhood in Australia, where she learned to love snorkeling near the coral reefs, then studied abroad on the North Island of New Zealand and conducted research on the sinking wetlands of southern Louisiana.
“My personal experiences spark my drive to make a difference, but approaching environmental issues from the public policy perspective gives me hope of affecting change,” Galko says. “As a Marshall Scholar, I plan to use my time in the UK to link science with effective policy and gain a British perspective for future policymaking.”
Read more.

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2022 Alumni January 2022 News

Entrepreneurial brothers go ‘all in’

After a decade of working for others in the world of aviation, SMU alumni and brothers Stuart Edenfield ’07 and Curtis Edenfield ’09 founded Thrive Aviation. Read the story of how they got their jet charter company off the ground and why family matters.
Read more at SMU Alumni.

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2022 January 2022

Volunteer to call admitted students

When it comes to telling the stories of student life, alumni are SMU’s best ambassadors. Mustangs are needed to talk with admitted students. Answer general questions, share your experiences or just convey your congratulations.

Sign up today!

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2022 Alumni January 2022 News

Today’s support sparks tomorrow’s innovations

Mustangs never back down from a challenge. That’s why we’re joining together to address the Hilltop’s immediate needs while continuing to ignite the future. Your annual support will make a world of difference.
Make your gift now.

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2022 January 2022 News

Engineering student finds her ‘yes’

Mechanical engineering major Hannah Clark ’23 is interning at NASA – her second stint with the space agency – where she’s working on a challenge for other students. The journey has taught her not to fear failure and to shoot for the stars.Read the story.

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2022 January 2022 News

Studying the impact of youth sports

SMU and Children’s Health through its Children’s Health Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine are launching a collaboration dedicated to leveraging the transformational power of sports to improve the health, activity levels and well-being of kids. The Youth Sports Impact Partnership, a unique university-hospital relationship, will use an evidence-based approach to improve access to youth sports, prevent injury and share age-appropriate training and development practices.
The partnership will feature the expertise of James Andrews, founder and director of the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, and SMU biomechanist Peter Weyand, who directs the Locomotor Performance Lab in SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development – both internationally renowned for their work with athletes across a spectrum of ages and abilities.
Read more at SMU Research.

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2022 January 2022 Main

Dream Week: Reflection, celebration and service

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had already won the Nobel Peace Prize when he spoke before a standing-room-only audience in SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium March 17, 1966. Each year, SMU honors the life and legacy of the slain civil rights leader with special Dream Week events.
SMU’s Office of Social Change and Intercultural Engagement (SCIE) invites everyone to join these Dream Week events:
Wednesday, January 19
Unity Circle
A celebration and reflection of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Noon to 1 p.m.
Main Quad flagpole
Friday, January 21
Screening of the award-winning film, Selma.
6 p.m.
Hughes-Trigg Student Center
Saturday, January 22
Day of service honors Dr. King’s life of service by lending a hand to local nonprofits.
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom A/B
Learn more about Dr. King’s visit to SMU.
Follow SMU SCIE on Instagram.

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2022 January 2022 News

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

Enjoy these quick links to some of the great stories, photos and more featuring the people, programs and events making news on the Hilltop.

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2021 Alumni December 2021 Main News

Graduate education for a better world

On Friday, December 3, 2021, SMU broke ground on the new Frances Anne Moody Hall, named for Frances Anne Moody-Dalberg ’92, SMU trustee and executive director of the Moody Foundation. Moody Hall will house SMU’s eighth degree-granting school, the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. Backed by a $100 million gift from the Moody Foundation – the largest gift in SMU’s history – the Moody School began operations in fall 2020. This gift is already transforming graduate education at SMU.
The expansion of research at SMU – a strategic priority that fuels the University’s steady ascent toward achieving Carnegie R1 status – gained momentum with the Moody gift. This bold investment supports SMU’s research mission by attracting outstanding graduate students – the workforce behind groundbreaking discoveries that bolster the University’s doctoral and research ecosystem. New positions that will help SMU graduate students win nationally recognized external fellowships, thrive in their programs and launch successful careers have been filled with extraordinary faculty and staff. The combination of SMU’s strengths in supercomputing and data science, the University’s growing externally funded research and the outstanding graduate education provided through the Moody School drives impactful ideas on the Hilltop and beyond.
Read more at SMU Ignited.

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2021 Alumni December 2021

Gift ideas filled with Mustang flair

Check out products with purpose, fun-loving foods, interesting books and other creative gifts from our talented alumni.

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2021 December 2021 News

Amplifying support for future military officers

Army and Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) students at SMU with full-tuition ROTC scholarships are now eligible for a new SMU scholarship that will cover the full cost of their campus housing and dining. When combined, these scholarships will cover all costs for tuition, fees, housing and dining.
“We’re really pleased to be able to share this news on a day we traditionally honor our military veterans,” Wes Waggoner, SMU associate vice president for Enrollment Management, said during the Veterans Day announcement. “ROTC tuition scholarships are based on academic achievement, leadership potential and community involvement. These are the traits of the students we recruit to SMU. We hope that the addition of a housing and dining scholarship will encourage more ROTC students to become Mustangs, and SMU is honored to support their goals.”
Read more.

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2021 December 2021 News

Welcome back to the Hilltop, Rhett Lashlee!

It’s official: Rhett Lashlee is returning to the Hilltop, this time as head football coach. Lashlee previously served as offensive coordinator for the Mustangs, including the record-setting 2019 season.
The November 30 press conference about the appointment became a pep rally as the SMU community and Dallas officials cheered Lashlee’s return.
“Rhett’s ability to connect with recruits, his passion and love for his players and his alignment with our vision and values are among the many reasons he has been selected to lead SMU football,” said SMU Director of Athletics Rick Hart.
Lashlee is a one-time finalist (2013) and two-time semifinalist (2019 and 2020) for the Broyles Award, presented to the nation’s top assistant coach. He comes back to SMU after two seasons as the Miami Hurricanes’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Lashlee also has the distinction of being the only coach ever nominated for the Broyles Award four different times at four different schools (Arkansas State, Auburn, SMU and Miami).
Read more at SMU Athletics.

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2021 December 2021 News

Supersizing supercomputing research power

SMU is collaborating with accelerated computing leader NVIDIA to dramatically boost the University’s high-performance computing system – increasing SMU’s current supercomputer memory tenfold and setting the stage for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning 25 times faster than current levels.
SMU is investing $11.5 million in hardware, software and training to strengthen the University AI infrastructure with an NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD, bringing world-leading AI supercomputing capabilities to Dallas. The collaboration will give SMU faculty, students and research partners the ability to integrate sophisticated AI technology across a wide array of research disciplines, ranging from computational biology to human performance, from national defense to digital humanities.
“This partnership will put us in the fast lane for artificial intelligence,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Research universities like ours have an obligation to actively engage in the development and application of AI for societal good, and this partnership gives us the tools to do it.”
Read more.

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2021 December 2021

Who will you nominate for our alumni awards?

Each year, we honor four Mustangs for their leadership and contributions to their communities and their alma mater. Nominations are now being accepted for 2022 Distinguished Alumni Awards and the Emerging Leader Award. Completed forms are due to SMU by December 31.
Read more about the awards at SMU Alumni.

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2021 Alumni December 2021 News

Applications for alumni boards are due by January 31

Volunteers with drive, school spirit and fresh ideas are needed to champion our SMU alumni.
Apply yourself or nominate a fellow Mustang for the following boards:

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2021 Alumni December 2021 News

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

Here’s a look at some of the people, programs, events and more making news on the Hilltop and beyond.

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2021 Fall 2021 News

Fighting the ‘COVID slide’ with one-minute tests

When the pandemic forced her kindergartners online during the 2020–21 school year, teacher Michelle Davis ’21 deployed quick reading assessments to assist with keeping their learning on target.

Last year at F.P. Caillet Elementary in the Dallas Independent School District, Davis used a program called DIBELS to test a range of literacy skills. Students read grade-level passages to display such competencies as identifying letter sounds and comprehending text. The assessments take about one minute and are typically done at the beginning of the school year and continue every few weeks until the end.
“We need to assess the students to know where they are developmentally,” says Davis, who received her master’s degree in bilingual education from SMU in May.
This kind of rapid, low-key test can be an essential tool for teachers as they try to help our communities’ youngest students catch up and remain motivated to learn.
Training teachers to use these tests has been a focus for Diane Gifford, clinical associate professor in SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.
“It’s increasingly important that teachers offer these assessments and determine where weaknesses are,” she says. “Early assessments should be part of school whether or not there’s a pandemic. Every year, teachers get in a new batch of kids, and they need to know what is happening with those kids.”
Last year a lot of the assessments had to be done virtually. “That’s not ideal,” particularly for younger students, Gifford says.
Regular evaluations have become even more vital as youngsters returned to more traditional classroom settings this fall. Davis now teaches third grade at Caillet, and the learning gaps are even more pronounced. None of her 44 students reads at grade level.
“Right now, it’s figuring out how to keep them from falling even farther behind,” she says. “It’s a huge challenge.”

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2021 Fall 2021 News

Launching a new model for community collaboration

The pathbreaking partnership igniting an innovative model for pre-K–8 public education marked a milestone in August when the new West Dallas STEM School welcomed its first students.
The new school is the result of more than three years of collaboration between the Dallas Independent School District, SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, the Toyota USA Foundation and the West Dallas community. Every step – from the beginning of the public-private partnership to what’s happening at the school today – is being documented by Simmons School researchers and educators to codify a process that can be successfully duplicated in other Dallas schools and, eventually, across the nation.
From the beginning, bringing neighborhood stakeholders to the table was crucial to understanding the needs and aspirations of the families served by the school, which is housed in the L.G. Pinkston High School building, a West Dallas landmark. The STEM school launched with seventh and eighth grades this year and will eventually enroll students in pre-K through eighth grade.

Science teacher Elizabeth Blue-Allen, the school’s STEM curriculum coordinator, leads project-based lessons with students working in teams.

Simmons School faculty provided their expertise in developing the project-based, industry-informed STEM curriculum meant to inspire and prepare students for college and careers in a rapidly changing world. That readiness also requires addressing issues outside the classroom that can derail learning.
“Wraparound” academic and social services will be delivered by local nonprofits directly to students to help with such issues as literacy, nutrition and after-school care.
“Together with the community, we have worked on everything from building design, teacher development, curriculum and before- and after-school care. This extends also to addressing broader community needs, including access to transportation,” says Sean Suggs, director, Toyota USA Foundation and group vice president, Toyota Social Innovation.

“We want our students to learn new ways of
thinking and find the best solutions to emerging
challenges. For this to happen, guidance is essential,
so we have created strong professional learning
groups for teachers so they can advance, too.”

– Stephanie L. Knight, Leon Simmons Endowed Dean of the Simmons School

RELATED LINKS

01   Shaping the STEM school
02   Watch: Key partners’ perspectives
03   Watch: Transforming education
04   Watch: Virtual groundbreaking
Prior to the school’s opening this fall, the Toyota USA Foundation approved a grant of $3 million to SMU, adding to the $2 million grant the foundation awarded in September 2018. This is in addition to Toyota’s teacher and community grants, West Dallas scholarship and mentorship programs, and the recently launched transportation circulator in the area.
The school’s innovative ecosystem recently received another boost from business leader Carter Creech ’60, an SMU alumnus with a passion for education philanthropy, who pledged an additional $3.5 million, following his initial gift of $1.5 million to the project. Creech’s contribution will go toward a new middle school career and college readiness pilot program at the school, as well as efforts to replicate the West Dallas STEM School.
Master Principal Marion Jackson has described her school as “the jewel of West Dallas.”
“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for the students and community of West Dallas,” Jackson said during the virtual groundbreaking for the school in May. “This partnership has afforded us the space to realize what’s possible when we focus our collective efforts on changing how we meet the needs of our students and families.”
As the model school continues to take shape, Simmons School educators and researchers will work alongside DISD teachers on state-of-the-art educational practices, professional development, and continuous monitoring and evaluation of the program.

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2021 Fall 2021 News

Mark McCoy’s Maps for Time Travelers shows modern archaeology in action

For digital age archaeologists like Mark McCoy, hands-on research often means using drones that can map far-flung landmarks in a matter of hours; creating 3D models that reveal stunning structures lost for thousands of years; and deploying scanning systems that reveal sites without lifting a trowel.
McCoy harnesses an array of data-rich tools to unearth new discoveries, and he is bringing his findings to the public in a fresh way. His latest book, Maps for Time Travelers: How Archaeologists Use Technology to Bring Us Closer to the Past (University of California Press, 2020), recently earned the 2021 Popular Book Award from the Society for American Archaeology, who called his approach a “first of its kind.” An associate professor in the Department of Anthropology in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, McCoy joins a prestigious list of winners that includes the late Lewis R. Binford, SMU Distinguished Professor of Archaeology, considered one of the most influential archaeologists of the 20th century.

In his new book, Mark McCoy takes a novel approach to explaining modern archaeological practices in action. Photo by Elizabeth Lavin.

Blending fictional storytelling and scholarly research, McCoy’s book taps into readers’ imaginations to show modern archaeological practices in action. It’s engaging and educational, lauded as “a brilliant introduction to the frontiers of archaeology … lucid, entertaining and highly informed in the art and science of geospatial archaeology” in the spring 2021 issue of The Journal of Interdisciplinary History.
McCoy understands the power of a good story. He was hooked by the film exploits of Indiana Jones as a kid growing up in Delaware, but his intense curiosity about history fueled his future. Before he even entered college, he was already fascinated by fieldwork.
“I was very fortunate to have been on my first dig when I was a teenager,” McCoy recalls. “It was at a Boy Scout camp in the Pocono Mountains. The camp was founded on what was an old tannery town built just after the Mexican War. We were just a bunch of kids scraping the ground, but it was a heck of an experience, and it certainly left a great impression on me.”
On his journey from teenage explorer to award-winning researcher, McCoy earned his Ph.D. in 2006 from University of California, Berkeley and soon became a leader in the field of geospatial archaeology with a regional focus on islands of the Pacific. After a stint at the University of Otago in New Zealand, he was recruited by SMU for his interdisciplinary expertise.
“SMU has an established department and a strong reputation in archaeology specifically,” says McCoy. “It was an easy ‘yes’ to SMU.”Reconstructing ancient societies is no easy task, but McCoy is revealing details once lost to time while training a new generation of archaeologists. Three anthropology Ph.D. candidates from SMU are currently working on their own research under his supervision: Adam Johnson and Spencer Lambert in Hawaii and Samantha Lagos in New Zealand. He also advised undergraduate anthropology major Joseph Panuska ’21, recipient of the Edward I. and Peggy C. Fry Award for Academic Excellence in Undergraduate Anthropology, whose senior honors project involved fieldwork in Hawaii.
McCoy keeps the focus of his research on the humanity of both the people he’s learning about and his students.
“The past is populated with real people, and if I can help create for students that kind of empathy that we often lack for each other in the present, then curiosity will follow naturally.”
Chris Kelley is a veteran journalist and founder of The Kelley Group, a Dallas-based strategic communications company, and a fellow at the Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity at the Lyle School of Engineering.

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Alumni News November 2021 Main

Celebrating brave and bold Mustangs

Since 2010, SMU has awarded more than $3 million in scholarships to current and former military service members. There are currently 36 undergraduates and 131 graduate military veterans utilizing the GI Bill at SMU. Support for these brave men and women has been growing over the last several years. These scholarships, in combination with the GI Bill education benefit and SMU’s participation in the tuition matching Yellow Ribbon program, help cover up to 100% of tuition expenses.
Read more at SMU Alumni.

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Alumni News November 2021

Connecting the next generation

Katy A. and Kyle D. Miller ’01 commit $5 million to Cox School of Business expansion and renovation. The Millers’ generous investment will establish the Katy and Kyle Miller Courtyard, part of the future Cox School renovation and expansion project.The new Katy and Kyle Miller Courtyard, an oasis along Bishop Boulevard, will be a place for students, faculty, staff, visitors and corporate partners to gather for lunch, study sessions, discussions and formal events. Enhanced landscaping and seating areas highlight the surrounding historic facades and provide shaded sanctuary. The space features four building entries and a stunning view into the new Commons to the east.
Read more at SMU Ignited.

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2021 Alumni News November 2021

Blazing a new path in Houston

Pony ears, campaign swag and Mustang spirit were out in full force October 30 when SMU Ignited and Mustang football traveled to Houston, home to more than 8,000 alumni and nearly 600 current students.
See photos from the Houston event.

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November 2021

Support our world changers November 30

Make an impact that resonates far beyond the Hilltop with your gift on #GivingTuesday to empower students, enrich teaching and learning, and enhance the campus and community.
Read more about #GivingTuesday.

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News November 2021

Making change for the better

Tower Scholar Nia Kamau ’22 spent the summer in Washington, D.C., where she interned with a nonprofit, studied economics and public policy and learned from innovative leaders helping trafficked and exploited people and communities recover and flourish.
Kamau, a double major in human rights and international studies, talks about how those experiences inspire “thinking outside the box about solutions targeting the developing world” in this SMU Tower Center blog post.
Through the Hatton Sumners Fellowship, I traveled to Washington, D.C., this summer and interned with The Market Project (TMP), an NGO that supports the economic empowerment and trauma healing processes of victims of exploitation and trafficking. …
Read the full story.

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Alumni News November 2021

The magic begins this month

That’s right, a new season of Mustang basketball begins in Moody Coliseum next Tuesday. The men’s team opens against McNeese, and the women’s team – under new head coach Toyelle Wilson – hosts Missouri-Kansas City.
Get season ticket information here.

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2021 News November 2021

The most wonderful time of the year

The SMU Student Foundation kicks off the holidays with Celebration of Lights festivities at 7 p.m. Monday, November 29 on the Dallas Hall lawn. All are welcome to this family-friendly evening filled with music, the story of the first Christmas, dazzling lights and more.
Read more at Student Foundation of SMU.

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2021 News November 2021

SMU researchers partner with technology company to improve pilot training

Researchers at SMU’s AT&T Center for Virtualization are testing the effectiveness of an innovative approach they developed to improve pilot training and better understand what stress factors pilots may experience in the cockpit.

Through a partnership with CAE USA, a technology company that specializes in flight simulation and other digital immersion technologies and platforms, SMU researchers developed a method to use cognitive load sensing and machine learning to capture how pilots react to various scenarios in a flight simulator. This includes measuring pupil size, heart rate and other physical reactions to determine the pilot’s levels of interest, stress, or fatigue.

The researchers are now comparing the physical observations recorded by the flight training staff and the students’ self-evaluations to the results of the SMU biometric analysis. The findings are expected to yield the first real-time analysis of student situational awareness, and will be used to improve flight training.

Read more at SMU Research.

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Alumni News November 2021

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

Enjoy these quick links to some of the great stories, videos and more about the people, programs and events making news on the Hilltop.

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2021 Alumni News October 2021

Fostering enterprising spirit

A gift from Kim and William (Bill) Shaddock ’74 will establish Shaddock Hall as part of the building renovation project of the Cox School of Business. The $6 million contribution will foster educational excellence through dedicated spaces for learning, research and collaboration.
“Through this gift, Bill Shaddock and his family are helping to nurture business education and an enterprising spirit in future generations of SMU and Cox School students,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Additions like Shaddock Hall will help the Cox School of Business grow in prominence and national rankings.”
A vital new addition to the Cox School’s building renovation project, Kim and William C. Shaddock Hall will promote strong partnerships and industry research to meet the needs of an ever-evolving business landscape. Providing students with unique learning and networking opportunities, Shaddock Hall will strengthen the Cox School’s position as a leading institution for business education and leadership in North Texas.
Read more at SMU Ignited.

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2021 October 2021

Remembering Meadows Museum Director Mark Roglán

SMU mourns the loss of Mark A. Roglán, renowned director of the University’s Meadows Museum, to cancer October 5. His death at the age of 50 comes on the heels of the recent 20th anniversary of his leadership of the institution, the foremost center in the United States for exhibition, research and education in the arts and culture of Spain.
A public memorial service is pending.
“Under Mark Roglán’s dynamic leadership, the Meadows Museum has become one of SMU’s brightest beacons,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Through his unflagging devotion, energy and intellect, Mark built a prestigious museum and collection that brings great honor to the vision of its founder, Algur Meadows. Mark leaves behind a profound legacy.”
The museum tripled attendance, developed a major program of international exhibitions and made major acquisitions nearly doubling the permanent collection of Spanish art under his guidance. His tenure at the helm of the museum was marked by major institutional milestones: the construction of a new sculpture garden and outdoor spaces, the prolific publication of insightful research, the creation of meaningful fellowships and accessible educational programs. His leadership was characterized by the formation of strategic alliances with many of the world’s most prestigious arts organizations–including national museums in the US, UK, a number of European countries, and especially Spain.
Read more.

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2021 News October 2021

Energizing the heart of the student community

Alumni returning to campus for Homecoming had a chance to attend the Hughes-Trigg Student Center rededication ceremony showcasing renovations that continue to transform the heart of the student community.
Enjoy these photos from event.

Categories
2021 October 2021

Looking at the world through a math lens

To SMU math curriculum researcher Candace Walkington, the best way for students to understand math is to make it part of their lives. She’ll use her recent $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to help students see that math is in the angle of a giraffe’s neck at the Dallas Zoo and in the flutter of the leaves of the cottonwood trees at Twelve Hills Nature Center in Oak Cliff.
These are just two of the stops on Dallas STEM walks, guided walks that illustrate how mathematical principles can be found in one’s surroundings. During the five-year grant, Walkington will partner with Dallas STEM walk nonprofit, talkSTEM, to better understand how educators can support math education outside of school and the role out-of-school experiences like these play in enhancing math education. First up: developing an app that turns a cell phone into an interpretive math tool.
“In this research, rather than having kids see math as symbols that exist on a worksheet or on a computer screen, we want them to see it as something that exists in the world all around them – the trees, the buildings, the artwork and the things they use every day,” says Walkington, associate professor of teaching and learning at SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development. “We want to help them to look at the world through the lens of math.”
Read more at SMU Research.

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2021 Alumni News

First-generation student scholarship honors Buddy Gray

The family of a beloved SMU professor has established the Dr. Henry L. Gray Endowed Scholarship in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences to celebrate his SMU legacy and his love for students. The scholarship will be awarded on a need or merit basis to first-generation students interested in majoring in mathematics, statistics or the sciences.
Pictured above, from left, are Robert Gray ’87; Henry L. “Buddy” Gray and his wife, Rebecca “Becky” Gray; Scott Gray ’90; and Kelly Gray Doughty ’96. Gray’s children provided $75,000 as the foundation for the scholarship fund, which now totals more than $100,000. It has the potential to help even more students with additional support from former students and friends who wish to honor Gray’s memory.
Gray was a beloved SMU professor, who served as the Frensley Endowed Chair of Mathematical Sciences in Dedman College from 1973 until his retirement in 2006. During his time in Dedman College, he also served as associate dean, 1980–1988; dean ad interim, 1988–89; and dean of Dedman College and vice provost, 1989–1991.
The new scholarship is not the first time Gray’s family has honored his love of teaching and research at SMU. In 2016, Scott Gray and his partner, Duane Minix, on behalf of all Gray’s children, surprised their parents by establishing the Henry L. and Rebecca A. Gray Endowed Chair in Statistical Sciences with a $1.5 million planned gift.
Gray passed away July 24, 2020, and was preceded in death by his wife.
Read more and contribute to the scholarship endowment by searching for “Dr. Henry L. Gray Endowed Scholarship” or “Buddy Gray.”

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2021 Alumni News September 2021 Main

Homecoming 2021: Thursday, September 30–Sunday, October 3

“Perfect Pairs” is the perfect theme for this year’s celebration of Mustang spirit and pride. The festivities begin on Thursday with the Distinguished Alumni Awards. Friday evening is all about undergraduate reunions. On Saturday, enjoy your favorite Homecoming traditions and the SMU-South Florida football game in Ford Stadium (game time to be announced). Throughout the weekend, a nightly light show on campus will commemorate the launch of SMU’s new campaign. See you on the Hilltop!
See the schedule of events.

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2021 Alumni News September 2021

A new era of engagement

The gift of $3 million from Linda P. Custard ’60, ’99 and William A. Custard ’57 is the largest personal contribution in the history of the Meadows Museum. With matching funds of $3 million from The Meadows Foundation, it will establish the Custard Institute for Spanish Art and Culture at the Meadows Museum.
These generous gifts from longtime SMU supporters will launch an exciting new endeavor at the Meadows Museum through the establishment of the Custard Institute for Spanish Art and Culture. Dedicated to the study of the material culture and heritage of Spain, the institute builds on the museum’s excellence in the field of Spanish studies established over more than 50 years. The Custard Institute represents a major stride towards the Meadows’ core mission to be “the leading center in the United States for exhibition, research and education in the arts and culture of Spain.”
“This commitment marks an exciting new chapter at SMU,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The Custard Institute for Spanish Art and Culture at the Meadows Museum illustrates the critical role that institutions like museums play in the study of art and culture and their lasting impact on the world. Through their gift, the Custards and The Meadows Foundation will foster profound partnerships and inspire meaningful scholarship that reaches far beyond SMU’s campus.”
Read more.

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2021 Alumni News September 2021

Sparking student success

A $1 million gift from the Hegi Family – Fred ’66 and Jan Hegi ’66 and their sons and daughters-in-law, Peter and Amy ’96 and Brian and Elisabeth (Libby) – will equip students to navigate today’s fast-changing work environment and find lifelong career success through the renovation and expansion of SMU’s Hegi Family Career Development Center. The Hegis’ generous commitment will modernize conference rooms and the lobby of the center, as well as fund the addition of two new career counselors to equip students with skills that position them for professional success.
“The Hegi name is synonymous with student achievement on campus,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Jan, Fred and their family’s support continues to positively impact countless students during the most crucial point in their lives – their first steps toward a rewarding career. With this new gift, the Hegi Center will be able to provide even more relevant experiential learning and professional development opportunities for Mustangs to gain skills that will situate them for a productive and rewarding future.”

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News September 2021

Football is back. Don’t miss out!

SMU football has returned to Ford Stadium. Buy season tickets and check out game day details. Don’t forget to register for home-game tailgates. More information and registration for out-of-town tailgates are coming soon.
Check out the football schedule.

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2021 Alumni September 2021

Things to do and places to go in Dallas

Whether you’re coming back to the Hilltop for Homecoming or you haven’t been out on the town in a while, you’ll enjoy this quick guide to some of Dallas’ best bets written by SMU alumna Meredith Carey ’15, the travel bookings editor at Conde Nast Traveler and host of the Women Who Travel podcast.
Check out the guide.

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2021 News September 2021

New treatment strategy for virus-induced cancer

Researchers at SMU have found a way to make chemotherapy drugs more lethal to HPV-infected cervical cancer cells without collateral damage to normal cells, a study suggests.
Decreasing the amount of a protein called TIGAR in cervical cancer cells was found to make those cancer cells more responsive to commonly-used chemotherapy drugs at a very low dose. Yet normal cells were not similarly affected, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals.
As a result, developing a drug to target the TIGAR protein could be an effective way to lower chemotherapy doses for cervical cancer patients, bringing fewer side-effects while still killing cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs can have severe side effects, including liver and kidney toxicities, because these drugs may harm normal cells as well as cancer cells.
Read more at SMU Research.

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2021 Alumni News September 2021

A Little Less Lonely , thanks to students and alums

SMU theatre students and alumni helped create the new Public Works Dallas film, A Little Less Lonely, now streaming for free at DallasTheaterCenter.org.
Developed through remote meetings and rehearsals and filmed outdoors, A Little Less Lonely was made through a collaboration of the Dallas Theater Center, SMU Meadows School of the Arts, SMU initiative Ignite/Arts Dallas, Bachman Lake Together, Jubilee Park & Community Center and the City of Dallas Park & Recreation Department.
Public Works Dallas affords SMU graduate and undergraduate students paid work in their chosen fields and a chance to develop professional networks, notes Clyde Valentín, director of Ignite/Arts Dallas.
“This is an opportunity to really experience best practices with respect to community-engaged work,” Valentín says. “They are experiencing a professional hiring process, which is part of what they need to learn.”
Read more.

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2021 Alumni News September 2021

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

Check out these links to great stories, photos and more about the people, programs and events making news on the Hilltop.

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2021 Features News Spring 2021

Seismic-acoustic research awarded an earthshaking $18 million grant

SMU’s Brian Stump and his team will use the grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to continue their work of international nuclear disarmament and peacekeeping significance.
In 2008, when North Texas began experiencing strange underground rumblings in what historically has been a stable region of the country, curious reporters reached out to seismic detective Brian Stump, Albritton Professor of Earth Sciences at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, to explain what was going on.
Once again, Stump is the center of attention as he and his team have been named the recipients of the largest research grant in SMU history. With the funding, the researchers will use a combination of acoustic and seismic waves to better distinguish between human-made events, such as nuclear tests, and nature’s bumps and jolts, like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
SMU’s seismo-acoustic analysis team has been doing this kind of work for over a quarter century. The team boasts other noteworthy experts in the field, including Stephen Arrowsmith, associate professor and Hamilton Chair in Earth Sciences; Chris Hayward, senior scientist in the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences; and Paul Golden, director of the geophysics laboratory in earth sciences.
Using data from two seismic arrays in the Big Bend area of Texas and in Mina, Nevada, SMU scientists analyze data resulting from the acoustic and seismic waves that occur when nuclear weapons are detonated anywhere in the world. These stations, both in extremely quiet areas, record signals accompanying earthquakes and sometimes volcanic eruptions as well. The new funding allows this work to continue.
“In the cases of earthquakes and volcanoes, the waves provide new insight into the physical processes that accompany these natural events,” said Stump. “For human-induced events, the waves similarly allow us to locate the sources as well as the processes that accompany the events. An example is mining explosions at the Earth’s surface, which generate both seismic and infrasound signals that can be used to identify these activities.”
SMU seismologist Brian Stump and his team were awarded the largest research grant in SMU’s history, $18 million, for their work on monitoring the Earth’s acoustic and seismic waves.

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2021 Alumni August 2021 Main News

Mustangs’ ‘goodwill’ at work in the community

A shared commitment to making a positive impact has drawn the SMU community and Goodwill Industries of Dallas together for almost a century. The challenges created by the pandemic sparked new opportunities for that bond to grow stronger.
Under the leadership of SMU alumnus Tim Heis ’01, president and CEO, Goodwill Dallas is expanding its presence and finding innovative ways to augment its mission of “changing lives, one job at a time.”
Over five generations, SMU community leaders have helped advance that goal. Alumni David B. Miller ’72, ’73; Bill Vanderstraaten ’82; Donald Berg ’70, ’77; R. Brooks Cullum, Jr. ’70; Roland K. Robinson ’72; Jim Johnston ’70, ’71; Stephen Sands ’70; Matt Hildreth ’88; Frank Mihalopoulos ’77; Ronald J. Case ’54 and Charles M. Solomon ’61 each served as chair of the board of directors and left an indelible mark on the organization, Heis says.
Through the years, a host of alumni have served on the board, including Pat Bolin ’73, C. Fred Ball, Jr. ’66, Ray Hunt ’65, Harriet E. Miers ’67, ’70 and Jeanne L. Phillips ’76. An active Mustang contingent is currently involved on the board, including alumni Tucker Bridwell ’73, ’74; Wood Brookshire ’05; Pete Chilian ’97; Ward A. Kampf ’85; Craig Keeland ’76; Andrew Levy ’89; Peter Lodwick ’77, ’80; Kris Lowe ’04; John C. McGowan ’03; Douglas C. Nash ’04; Kyle Miller ’01; Kirk Rimer ’89; Mark Sloan ’90; and Brooke Holman West ’96; as well as Matthew B. Myers, dean of SMU’s Cox School of Business.

Building careers, one internship at a time

With companies shifting to remote operations and cutting back on expenses, many summer internships melted away in 2020. In response, Dean Myers and Jason Rife, senior assistant dean of the Cox Career Management Center and Graduate Admissions, reached out to alumni. Heis answered the call.
“We had just reopened our operations in early May after a six-week closure,” Heis says. He and the nonprofit’s board of directors used that time to reflect on the future. A key principle of their plan to move forward was identifying ways to “emerge stronger.”
“We saw an opportunity for SMU students to help, and we recruited and hired five interns to work on our most strategic projects,” Heis says.
A first step was growing Goodwill Dallas’ footprint “to dramatically increase the number of lives we could impact,” Heis says. Although the nonprofit serves eight North Texas counties, it had physical operations in only three.
Heis enlisted Jimmy Tran ’03 to lead the store footprint and real estate expansion strategy. Tran had recently left CBRE, where he headed corporate strategy and mergers and acquisitions, to focus on his own enterprises, including Oaklawn Group, a real estate investment firm he founded in 2007. As BBA students, Tran and Heis were Hunt Leadership Scholars and studied abroad in Australia and Southeast Asia together. After SMU, they went their separate ways before meeting again while each pursued an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School.
Over eight weeks in summer 2020, Tran and SMU intern Gabriela Barcelos ’21 analyzed which of Goodwill’s stores performed best and why, then identified 12 target submarkets where new stores and career centers could be successful.
Barcelos says Tran’s feedback, coaching and mentoring were invaluable. Opportunities to apply concepts learned in the classroom to a real-world project also stood out for her. “It is amazing to see our work come to fruition,” she says. Barcelos received a BBA in accounting in May and is now pursuing her MSA with a tax concentration at Cox School. In summer 2021, she was a tax intern at EY.
Based upon their recommendations, a new Goodwill store opened in Plano June 17. More than a dozen SMU alumni, including board members, friends and employees of the organization turned out to celebrate. Among them was Kate Cox ’21. As an intern she created real-time reports and analytics that Heis describes as “a game-changer.” She also completed a pricing benchmark study.
“I spent the summer working closely with the Goodwill Dallas leadership team to help the organization gain deep data insights into the organization. Along the way, I developed a love for the organization’s culture and began to see an opportunity to make an impact in the community,” Cox says.
She turned down another job offer to become the organization’s first vice president of information technology and business analytics after receiving her full-time MBA in May.
Other summer 2020 projects and SMU interns included: store operations, Alison Sheehan ’21, BBA in marketing, who is now an analyst with Goldman Sachs; telecom and internet sourcing and optimization, Richard Albert ’21, full-time MBA in management and strategy and entrepreneurship; and financial planning and agility, Samantha Stevenson ’22, SMU Dedman School of Law student who previously worked as a senior accountant for EY.
Goodwill Dallas continued its internship program in summer 2021. Full-time MBA student Daniela Garcia Maltos ’22 worked with Kate Cox to help the organization’s business intelligence dashboards and applications move to the next level.
Creating a path for people to reach their full potential is not only at the heart of SMU’s academic charge, but it’s also what Goodwill has been doing in Dallas since 1923 through its donated goods retail operation and workforce development programs. SMU alumni and student interns are helping Goodwill expand possibilities for thousands of people, Heis says.
“SMU has provided each of us with the tools and resources to make a difference in the world, and Goodwill is a benefactor of these combined talents in action,,” he says. “It has been fulfilling to work together to provide more opportunity for people with barriers to employment.”

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2021 August 2021 News

A dynamic new direction

Take a look at the new SMU logo. It’s the result of a community collaboration to create a new logo that reflects who we are – a bold, vibrant University leaning into the future.
While the University’s logo has been redesigned periodically throughout its history, this was not a change made hastily. The endeavor began in 2019 with the Bright marketing agency in parallel with our efforts for the launch of SMU’s third comprehensive fundraising campaign this fall. In addition to interviews with key leaders and influencers in the SMU community, Bright surveyed more than 32,000 alumni, faculty, staff and students about the logo.
Their research revealed that the letters “SMU” had the highest recognition level in any form. Another important determination was the desire for a logo that conveyed both research and teaching excellence and our great campus experience. Research also indicated the need for a logo that worked well in today’s marketing environment.
We incorporated those findings into this new logo that strikes a perfect balance between classic and contemporary styles. It’s also intentionally flexible to work in both academic and athletic contexts. The new logo works great at any size, making SMU recognizable in the digital environment and across all other media channels.
University leadership is extremely enthusiastic about this new direction, and we hope you are, too, as you see it roll out everywhere in the coming months.

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2021 August 2021 News

Counting down to game day

We can’t wait to see the Boulevard abuzz with Mustangs for the football season opener Saturday, September 4. Let’s fill Ford Stadium when SMU hosts Abilene Christian.
Get your tickets now!

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2021 August 2021 News

There’s strength in our numbers

Scholarships for exceptional students, pioneering research, a world-class campus experience, hands-on career opportunities and community partnerships that make a lasting impact are just a few of the ways our collective generosity contributes to a brighter future at SMU.
Band together for Mustangs!

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2021 Alumni August 2021 News

Alzheimer’s research gets personal

A team of SMU biological scientists has confirmed that P-glycoprotein (P-gp) has the ability to remove a toxin from the brain that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The finding could lead to new treatments for the disease that affects nearly 6 million Americans. It was that hope that motivated lead researchers James W. McCormick ’17 and Lauren Ammerman ’21 to pursue the research as SMU graduate students after they both lost a grandmother to the disease while at SMU.
In the Alzheimer’s brain, abnormal levels of amyloid-β proteins clump together to form plaques that collect between neurons and can disrupt cell function. This is believed to be one of the key factors that triggers memory loss, confusion and other common symptoms from Alzheimer’s disease.
“We were able to demonstrate both computationally and experimentally that P-gp, a critical toxin pump in the body, is able to transport this amyloid-β protein,” said John Wise, associate professor in the SMU Department of Biological Sciences and co-author of the study published in PLOS ONE.
Read more at SMU Research.

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2021 Alumni August 2021 News

Stoking fires of change

Photojournalist Stuart Palley ’11 has become famous for stunning wildfire photos like the one above. SMU’s Chris Roos looks at wildfires through a research lens. Ultimately, their perspectives are the same: Wildfires are getting worse, and there’s an urgent need to adopt coexistence strategies.

Read the story.

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2021 August 2021 News

Building tech infrastructure

SMU DataArts, the national center for arts research based at SMU Meadows School of the Arts, is one of 46 arts organizations worldwide selected for the new $30 million Digital Accelerator Program launched July 14 by Bloomberg Philanthropies in New York.
The purpose of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Digital Accelerator Program is to help cultural nonprofit organizations invest in and use technology to speed their economic recovery from COVID-19. The goal is to provide tools and training to help the organizations build audiences, increase fundraising, drive revenue, or continue to deliver dynamic programming virtually and in-person. The program will also support projects with the potential to benefit the broader cultural sector. In addition to funding, Bloomberg Philanthropies will provide leadership development, consulting support, and technical assistance, and share best practices with participants and the wider cultural community.
Read more at SMU Meadows.

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2021 August 2021 News

Collaborating on high-flying research

SMU’s AT&T Center for Virtualization has signed a four-year agreement with the United States Air Force Academy to collaborate on mutually beneficial projects and joint research, providing opportunities for both SMU students and USAF cadets.
SMU and the Academy intend to collaborate on a range of research areas, including immersive environments, artificial intelligence/machine learning/deep learning, autonomy, the internet of things, cyberspace, cognition and context-aware computing and ubiquitous computing. Projects in these areas will expose cadets to important science and engineering opportunities through independent study, cadet summer research and capstone opportunities.
Read more at SMU Research.

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2021 August 2021

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

Read about elite runners testing out the world’s fastest treadmill at SMU, watch students hanging out on the Hilltop and catch up on the people, programs and alumni making news on the Hilltop and beyond.

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2021 Alumni July 2021 Main News

Thinking big: A new model for college and career readiness prepares to launch

The Dallas ISD’s new West Dallas STEM School recently received expanded support from the Toyota USA Foundation and education champion Carter Creech ’60 through SMU. The new public school is scheduled to open in the fall.
The new Pre K-8 STEM school is set to open this August beginning with students in the 7th and 8th grades. The West Dallas STEM School, a Dallas Independent School District Transformation and Innovation School, is the result of more than three years of collaboration between the school district, the Toyota USA Foundation, SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development and the West Dallas community.
“We strongly believe that all children should have equal access to opportunities and a pathway to great careers,” said Sean Suggs, director, Toyota USA Foundation and group vice president, Toyota Social Innovation. “Together with the community, we have worked on everything from building design, teacher development, curriculum and before and after-school care. This extends also to addressing broader community needs, including access to transportation.”
To further support the school, business leader Carter Creech ’60, an SMU alumnus with a passion for education philanthropy, has pledged an additional $3.5 million, following his initial gift of $1.5 million to the project. Creech’s contribution will go toward a new middle school career and college readiness pilot program at the school, as well as efforts to replicate the West Dallas STEM school.
Read more at Simmons School.

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2021 Alumni July 2021

Coming soon: Mustang football and Boulevarding!

Fall will be here before you know it, so get your football season tickets now. With Boulevarding back in full swing, the alumni tent will return for home games. Plans for away-game tailgates are in the works, including SMU at TCU in Fort Worth September 25.
Read more at SMU Athletics.

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Alumni July 2021

Building a stronger network for all alumni

“Never stop learning and improving” is Kristin W. Henderson’s motto. In her new role as SMU Alumni Board chair, Henderson aims to improve communication, expand connections and fortify alumni relationships.
Whether continuing to set world records with her U.S. Masters Swimming relay team or honing her public speaking skills, Henderson always strives for growth.
She is passionate about SMU and the differences it can make in the lives of others. She sees the value for alumni, students and the community. Working in collaboration with Young Alumni Board Chair Stephen Reiff, Black Alumni of SMU Chair Malcolm McGuire ’14 and Hispanic Alumni of SMU Chair Rumaldo Robles ’17, Henderson is leading the charge to champion shared priorities. The board chairs will work closely together to increase alumni engagement opportunities and lift up each other’s unique board initiatives, such as scholarships and mentorships for underrepresented populations.
Read more at SMU Alumni.

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2021 Alumni July 2021 News

We can’t wait to meet our newest Mustangs

College life awaits the SMU Class of 2025, and it all begins at Summer Send-Off Parties. SMU is hosting hometown events across the country to welcome incoming first-year students into the Mustang family.
As students connect with classmates who hail from nearby, alumni and SMU staff will be on hand to answer questions about life as a Mustang and living on the Hilltop. This is a fun and casual community event that brings incoming students, returning students, new families and alumni together. All alumni are invited to join us in welcoming the newest members to our Mustang family.
Find in-person and virtual events.

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2021 July 2021 News

Unlocking a small device’s huge potential

SMU researchers put the COVID-19 pandemic to work as a proving ground for a fast, accurate and affordable immune response test. While its timesaving properties give it an edge, what really sets the “lab on a chip” device apart is the lifesaving potential it holds for rural areas and emerging countries where medical resources are scarce.
Lead researchers Ali Beskok and J.-C. Chiao, professors in the Lyle School of Engineering, are seeking funding to fully develop the potential of their breakthrough test.
Read the story.

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2021 Alumni July 2021

All the right moves for the future

Caeli Blake ’21 learned from a young age the importance of investing in herself. She credits her family, especially her mom, a professional singer and a former professor at Howard University, for instilling in her the drive and fortitude necessary for her to pursue a professional career in dance.
Blake was initially on the path to a double major in dance and advertising, but later decided to switch from advertising to education. “I made the switch, one, because of time, but then I took pedagogy at SMU and realized that I really enjoyed teaching dance. I liked what comes out of seeing what you can do as a teacher and having students.
“My goal with my education degree is to finish my dance career, moving audiences all over the world. Then I would love to teach at a performing high school and eventually become the Dance Division chair at SMU!”
Read more at Meadows School.

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2021 Alumni July 2021 News

Celebrating business leadership and service