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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.