2019 Alumni January 2019

Three alums recognized as top young innovators by Forbes

The artist and KREWE founder using fashion as his medium. The National Football League social maven harnessing big data for big engagement. The New York Jets tackle with a passion for startups and STEM education. What do they have in common? They’re SMU alums named to the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 list, the magazine’s chronicle of “the brashest entrepreneurs across the United States and Canada.”


Stirling Barrett ’11

Starting when he was a teenager, New Orleans native Barrett found a market for his photographic collages. For five years after college, he supported himself by selling his artwork and flirted with opening a New Orleans gallery. Instead he took his savings and self-financed the launch of KREWE, an eyewear brand that includes sunglasses, prescription glasses and soon, sports eyewear. KREWE’s frames are plant-based Italian acetate with lightweight lenses. The company has two stores in New Orleans, a small Soho boutique that opened in 2018 and two traveling tiny house stores. It replaces any frame that breaks, in perpetuity. KREWE’s celebrity following includes Gigi Hadid, Serena Williams, Beyoncé, Kendall Jenner.

Barrett received a bachelor’s degree in advertising from Meadows School of the Arts.

Kelvin Beachum, Jr. ’10, ’12

When Beachum isn’t protecting quarterbacks, he’s padding his portfolio. With stakes in over 20 companies, he focuses on the manufacturing, agricultural and autonomous robotics industries. He also serves on the advisory board of OneTeam Collective, an accelerator connecting companies to athletes and their IP.

Beachum received the 2018  Emerging Leader Award from SMU and has been nominated for the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and a Master of Liberal Studies degree from the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

Sana Merchant ’11

Merchant advises the NFL’s 32 clubs’ executive teams on their social media strategy. She also oversees all social reporting that is distributed from the NFL to the clubs and helps teams analyze the data. She leads relationships with all major social platforms with which the NFL has deals, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. She launched the Social Managers Workshop, an annual meeting for teams’ social staff.

Merchant received a bachelor’s degree in corporate communications and public affairs from Meadows School of the Arts.

Read more at Forbes.

2019 Alumni January 2019 News

A familiar name returns to the basketball court

“I’ve had an almost five-decade association with this University, and I tell people all the time it’s been a 50-year love affair,” David B. Miller ’72, ’73 said before the SMU men’s basketball game against TCU on December 5.
At halftime, SMU named the Moody Coliseum court in honor of Miller, a basketball alumnus and vice chair of the SMU Board of Trustees. The move cemented Miller’s legacy as a generous and important pillar of the SMU basketball family.
Growing up, it was always Miller’s dream to attend and play basketball at SMU, which was a dominant force in the Southwest Conference in the 1960s.
“The day Bob Prewitt and Doc Hayes came into my high school gym in 1968 and offered me a scholarship, other than the birth of my children and my grandchildren and my marriage, was the biggest day of my life,” Miller said. “That dream came true that day.”
Miller earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from the Cox School of Business. As an undergraduate, he was a three-year starter and letterman on the varsity basketball team and a member of the 1971-72 Southwest Conference Co-Championship team.
Since 2011, Miller and his wife, Carolyn Lacy Miller, have given $20 million toward the expansion and renovation of Moody Coliseum as well as the construction of the Miller Event Center.
He has served on the SMU Board of Trustees since 2008 and also serves as chairman of the Cox Executive Board. He is a recipient of Distinguished Alumni Awards from both the University and the Cox School. In 2009, Miller was honored with the Silver Anniversary Mustang Award by the SMU Lettermen’s Association. He is also a recipient of the Methodist Health System Foundation’s 2017 Folsom Leadership Award.
Read more at SMU Athletics.

2019 Alumni January 2019

Mexico match becomes mini Mustang golf reunion

There was an SMU reunion in Mexico on December 13, when former Mustang golfers Sam Fidone ’15, Harry Higgs ’14 and Austin Smotherman’16 competed in the Go Vacaciones Cozumel Cup.
The fourth annual event pits 10 players from the Mackenzie Tour – PGA Tour Canada vs. 10 players from the Mackenzie Tour – PGA Tour Canada in a Presidents Cup-Ryder Cup-style competition.
The Go Vacaciones Cozumel Cup featured Fidone captaining Team Mackenzie Tour, while Higgs served as captain of Team Latinoamerica and played alongside Smotherman.
In an interesting twist, Fidone is a veteran of both Tours, playing in Canada most recently. This season, he won the Bayview Place Open in Victoria, British Columbia, and finished sixth on the Order of Merit.
Two weeks ago in Miami, at the season-ending Latinoamerica Tour Championship – Shell Championship, Higgs secured the Order of Merit title by $64 over Colombia’s Nicolas Echavarria. In his last four starts, Higgs enjoyed a win (Diners Club Peru Open), finished third (Neuquen Argentina Classic), tied for second (113th Visa Argentina Open) and tied for fourth (Shell Championship).
Read more.

2019 January 2019 News

Honoring a life and legacy of service to community

The University community will join the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the annual Dallas parade on January 21 and honor his life and legacy during SMU’s Dream Week.
Dream Week 2019 events include the annual Unity Walk on the SMU campus on Wednesday, January 23, and service experiences inspired by the civil rights leader’s commitment to bridging barriers and strengthening communities. In 2018, more than 400 SMU students participated in Dallas-area service opportunities during Dream Week.
Read more at SMU Student Affairs.

2019 January 2019 News

Remembering President George H.W. Bush

The SMU community joined the nation in mourning the loss of the 41st president of the United States, George H.W. Bush. President Bush was lauded at home and abroad for his many accomplishments, including his pivotal role in ending the Cold War. He died at his home in Houston on November 30, 2018. He was 94.
The late President Bush is also famous as the father of our 43rd president, George W. Bush. The two were photographed above at the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in 2013. The remarkable photo includes (from the left) then-President Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, the late George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.
In 2001, the late President Bush was honored with the SMU Tower Center’s Medal of Freedom in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the advancement of democratic ideals.
SMU President R. Gerald Turner issued the following statement upon the former president’s death:
“The SMU community joins the nation in grieving the loss of President George H.W. Bush – a servant leader who lived his entire life as a steadfast example of patriotism and the strongest American ideals. Gail and I send our heartfelt condolences to President George W. Bush and Mrs. Bush, and the entire Bush family. We treasure memories of time spent with “Bush 41” when he honored us with visits to our campus, such as when he received the Medal of Freedom from the Tower Center for Political Studies, and when he proudly attended as one of five living presidents the 2013 dedication of his son’s George W. Bush Presidential Center. Our University has unique opportunities to share the lessons from a life well-lived. We intend to use them.”
Read more at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

2019 January 2019 News

Judy Woodruff to discuss personal faith in the public square

Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor of PBS NewsHour, will be the featured guest at the 2019 Bolin Family Public Life Personal Faith Scholarship Luncheon. The event will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, February 8, at the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom of the Umphrey Lee Student Center on the SMU campus.
Woodruff will be interviewed by Peggy Wehmeyer, former religion correspondent for ABC World News Tonight, on the topic of personal faith in the public square.
Judy Woodruff has covered politics and other news for more than four decades at NBC, CNN and PBS. She is the recent recipient of the Radcliffe Medal, the Poynter Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism, the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism from Arizona State University.
The Public Life Personal Faith series, inaugurated in 2010, is a fundraising and outreach event of Perkins School of Theology in service to the larger community. The lecture provides an opportunity for guests to hear prominent people in the public sphere on topics related to how and why personal faith shapes public life. This luncheon is a major fundraiser for student scholarships.
Read more at SMU Perkins.

2019 January 2019 News

Hard times spark bold rethinking by retailers and consumers

Though a decade has passed, the recession of 2008-09 offers perennial lessons to retailers. No one is immune to shopping for groceries and basic household items but shoppers have choice. SMU Cox Marketing Professor Chaoqun Chen analyzes how consumers shop around various retail formats and how their behavior changed during the Great Recession. Her findings uncover truths about how consumers from different income levels adjusted to a new normal in their weekly treks.
Grocery stores have been the dominant retail format for food and related items for decades, Chen’s narrative begins. Households form their impressions about retail attributes of a retail format over a long period, and their impressions are unlikely to change quickly. Their impressions are slightly sticky. In general, retail formats are competing for expenditure shares, a distinguishing factor in her research — not for consumers.
From 2004 to 2007, discount stores such as Target and Walmart grew their market share substantially, the research notes. However, in 2008, the beginning of the Great Recession, discounters lost share to other competing formats like Costco warehouse clubs. Chen observes that in the midst of the Great Recession there was little adjustment to retailers’ pricing policies, despite the changes in market share.
Read more at SMU Cox.

2019 January 2019 News

Winners of prestigious music competition to receive two-year residency at SMU

SMU Meadows School of the Arts announces a new collaboration with the renowned Banff International String Quartet Competition (BISQC) in Canada that will offer SMU’s Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence Prize to the competition’s first place laureate.The Banff International String Quartet Competition, a program of Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Banff, Alberta, is one of the world’s leading music competitions. Founded in 1983 and held once every three years, BISQC invites 10 select quartets from around the globe to Banff Centre to perform various pieces of work over seven days, competing for the top prize: a three-year career development program worth over $150,000. It includes a cash award, concert tours throughout Europe and North America, and a Banff Centre residency that includes the production of a recording.
Now, the first place laureate will also be named the Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence at SMU Meadows. The fellowship was made possible by a generous gift from Martha Raley Peak ’50, a graduate of SMU who had a lifelong passion for the arts, particularly music. She regularly championed young musicians starting their careers.
The next BISQC will take place August 26 to September 1, 2019, and the winner is expected to begin the Peak residency in 2020.
Read more at SMU Meadows.

2019 January 2019 News

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

Enjoy this roundup of interesting stories and videos highlighting some of the people and events making news on the Hilltop.