When Mustangs band together, we empower students filled with passion and purpose. Thanks to YOUR support, SMU’s creators, innovators and problem-solvers will push harder, dream bigger and accomplish more this year. Because tuition only covers about 70 percent of a University education, your gift fills the gap with crucial funding for scholarships, research and so much more. There’s strength in our numbers. Thank you for banding together for these world changers to shape experiences they’ll never forget!
Enjoy this roundup of interesting stories and videos highlighting some of the people and events making news on the Hilltop.
- Family Weekend: Scenes from the exciting 63-27 Mustang win
- Video: Campus experts weigh in on senatorial debate at SMU
- Men’s golf places second at Trinity Forest Invitational
- Southwest Review begins a bold new chapter
- Paleontologists field questions about ancient ‘sea monsters’
- Stars align for Dirk Nowitzki Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic
- Explore art and ideas with international experts
- Pollack Gallery hosts Debora Hunter-Mary Vernon retrospective
SMU parents Daniel M. Doyle, Jr. and Nicole Kudelko Doyle ’94 continue their long-standing commitment to expanding educational opportunities and supporting academic excellence with a $1 million gift to the University.
The Doyles are the parents of Danny Doyle, III, a business major at SMU and a member of the Class of 2021. Danny enjoyed his first year of classes, new friendships, attending football and basketball games, and looks forward to his sophomore year. Their daughter, Madeline, began her first year at SMU in the fall, and is excited to be a Mustang.
After more than a dozen years of active participation in the education of their three children, the couple has learned “that it takes donors stepping up to help a school achieve peak performance,” said Mr. Doyle, the president and CEO of Tampa, Florida-based DEX Imaging. “We realized that schools can’t survive just on tuition.”
After approaching SMU leadership to learn about the University’s needs, the Doyles decided an open-ended gift made sense. “We are grateful for the Doyles’ continued generous support of SMU, even beyond sending two of their three children here for their education,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “We are thankful to receive a gift that we can direct toward the University’s highest priorities.”
The couple’s SMU giving began in 2015 with the Dan and Nicole Doyle Endowed Scholarship Fund. Their support also includes the SMU Fund for Greatest Needs, the Mustang Athletic Fund and the SMU Student Foundation Fund.
Mrs. Doyle appreciated the family feeling that SMU provided when she was a student. Just like daughter Madeline, she also attended the University with her older brother. She was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority and graduated in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in English. She recalls the sense of community and the delight she felt when professors invited students to dinner.
“I’m thrilled that my children will have the opportunity to enjoy many of the same great experiences,” she said. The Doyles’ gift to SMU will have an impact across campus. “Discretionary gifts let us quickly act on emerging opportunities that directly benefit our students and faculty,” said Brad E. Cheves, SMU vice president for Development and External Affairs.
The Doyles’ philanthropic involvement encompasses their core interest in helping children and families succeed. They support The Arc Tampa Bay, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County and the local chapter of Jack and Jill of America, among others.
Mr. Doyle serves on the board of the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation. His other board service includes Big Brothers Big Sisters for Pinellas County, in Florida, and Lynn University, in Boca Raton. From 2014–17, he served on the Board of Governors of the State University System of Florida. In 2013, he received an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the technology category. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Lynn University in 1993.
SMU is ranked 59 among the nation’s universities in the 2019 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges. The ranking represents an increase from the 2017 ranking of 61.
The new ranking again places SMU in the first tier of the guide’s 312 “best national universities.” Among Texas universities, only Rice University and the University of Texas at Austin rank higher. SMU tied with the University of Washington, Pennsylvania State University, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
SMU saw key improvements in the peer assessment score, which is the rating of academic reputation by college admission deans, provosts and presidents, and in the high school counselor assessment score. In addition, SMU ranked 31 for best national universities for veterans, tied with the University of Washington.
“SMU’s national ranking is a reflection of a dedicated effort to provide our students with the opportunity to become society’s innovators and leaders,” says SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “It also reflects the contributions of high-impact research and inspired teaching by our faculty members. We are grateful for the recognition and inspired to continue SMU’s positive momentum.
“As students and parents evaluate universities, it’s important to note, however, that rankings are just one of the factors to consider in this important decision. We encourage parents and anyone considering a college education to visit institutions for firsthand evaluation of academic offerings and campus experience.”
Read more at SMU News.
The Mustangs open the 2018–19 basketball season in Moody Coliseum, when the men’s team hosts Northwestern State on November 8 in Moody Coliseum, and the women’s team faces Louisiana Monroe on November 9.
Men’s basketball is entering the third season under Head Coach Tim Jankovich. Under Jankovich, the Mustangs are 56-21 with a 38-5 mark at Moody Coliseum. The Mustangs won the 2017 American Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles, reaching the NCAA Tournament. In the past two seasons, the Mustangs have five wins over teams ranked in the top 15 of the Associated Press Poll. See the full schedule and find ticket information.
Women’s basketball under Head Coach Travis Mays welcomes back three-time all-conference honoree Alicia Froling, returning after missing last season due to injury. The Mustangs also will have the services of Colorado transfer Makenzie Ellis after the post player sat out last season. The roster also includes seven first-years. See the full schedule and purchase tickets.
SMU Alumni Relations and the Office of Social Change and Intercultural Engagement are joining forces for the annual Stampede of Service on October 13. During the daylong volunteer effort, members of the SMU community will lend a hand with 10 Dallas-area nonprofits to help those in need.
Read more at SMU Student Affairs.
Erin Nealy Cox ’95 is truly a crime fighter for the 21st century. The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas is an expert in prosecuting cybercrimes.
Nominated by President Trump last September, the 48-year-old magna cum laude SMU Dedman School of Law graduate oversees federal prosecutions in 100 Texas counties with a combined population of about 8 million. Nine of the state’s 20 biggest cities are under her jurisdiction. She’s in charge of roughly 100 government attorneys and a like number of support staff in five divisions.
Few lawyers in America possess her combination of training and career experience in the law, technology, business, and administration. In addition to her SMU Dedman Law degree, Nealy Cox holds a degree in finance from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. After law school, she clerked for U.S. District Judge Barefoot Sanders of the Northern District of Texas and Chief Judge Henry Politz of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She also served as a litigation associate at two prestigious law firms—Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York City and Carrington Coleman Sloman & Blumenthal in Dallas.
Read more at Dedman Law.
Scholarships and the chance to double major in music and electrical engineering brought Jay Appaji ’19 to SMU. Now his music cognition research is gaining an international audience.
As a high school student, Jay Appaji was on the radar of multiple colleges.
They liked that he was an accomplished musician, having mastered the South Indian classical mridangam (“mrih-dun-gum”) by the time he was 13. They liked that he was performing in Texas and in India, and helping raise funds for music education in underprivileged communities in both countries. They noted that he received the 2013 Percussive Arts Society’s M&J Lishon/Franks Drum Shop national scholarship in his junior year, and the Texas Commission on the Arts Young Masters Award his senior year.
Then there was his interest in the sciences. He had already started doing research while still in high school, working with music cognition veteran Dr. Jay Dowling at The University of Texas at Dallas.
All of the colleges pursuing him offered him scholarships.
When Appaji thought about college, he wanted to major in music but he also wanted to study the sciences. “You can double major in music and the sciences at SMU,” he says. “A lot of other schools, especially music schools, won’t let you double major. If you’re doing music, then you’re only allowed to do music and nothing else.”
Read more at SMU Meadows.
Find out how a Dedman Interdisciplinary Research Cluster created new connections between students and faculty from religious studies, art history, art and world languages and launched conversations exploring biases and inclusion.
One of the great rewards of graduate school is meeting like-minded individuals with whom one shares intellectual curiosities. These newfound relationships not only make graduate life enjoyable but also enrich one’s thinking and research work.
At SMU, we have been fortunate to find a multidisciplinary community of students and professors with whom to exchange ideas in and outside of the classroom. During the spring of 2018, we had an opportunity to bring that community together through the Dedman Interdisciplinary Research Cluster titled “On Decolonial Options and the Writing of Latin American History.”
The cluster brought together students and faculty from Religious Studies, Art History, Art, and World Languages. The conversation centered on the writing of Latin American history in the U.S academy and the ways in which we should think about the decolonial question in our future research and teaching pedagogies.
By Susan White ’05
Owen Lynch harbors a “crazy” idea – one that just might help eliminate the food deserts scattered throughout South Dallas. Driving through the impoverished area surrounding the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center, Lynch points out abandoned lots and vacant dirt areas under nearby freeways that hold possibilities as future community gardens.
“One of the unexpected assets of a food desert is the large availability of property or lots for farming and food system development,” Lynch says. “These properties are at best eyesores detracting from their neighborhood’s home values, but at worst they are a breeding ground for vermin, wild dogs and other negative neighborhood effects.”
Lynch is associate professor of corporate communication and public affairs in Meadows School of the Arts and a senior research fellow in SMU’s Hunt Institute for Humanity and Engineering. But he and his Hunt Institute colleagues are looking at a bigger picture for South Dallas, advocating for something more sustainable than community gardens through an extensive food production system.
“Each lot could become part of a functioning food system by providing the city with a local, sustainable food source and creating jobs for the immediate community,” he says. “There is a large amount of unemployed or underemployed people and youth in these local communities who could gain employment and training within these urban farms.”
South Dallas is one of the largest food deserts in the country, Lynch says. Urban food deserts are short on fresh food providers, especially fruits and vegetables; instead they are rife with quick marts selling processed foods heavy in sugar and filled with fats. In South Dallas many residents live at least a mile from a grocery store and don’t always have access to ready transportation to drive farther.
SUSTAINING COMMUNITY GARDENS
Lynch, who also serves as president of the nonprofit, urban farm consulting agency Get Healthy Dallas, and the Hunt Institute took the first step toward reducing the gap in available healthy food sources by establishing the Seedling Farm, dedicated at the MLK Freedom Garden last November, in collaboration with numerous local urban farm organizations. The Seedling Farm aims to overcome some of the barriers to successful local agricultural production and help improve the health of South Dallas residents.
During a visit to the Seedling Farm on a cool but sunny April morning, manager and horticulturalist Tyrone Day shows off the seedlings that have sprouted in the recently built greenhouse and soon will be transferred to local private and community gardens and farmers markets. The greenhouse packs in up to 4,000 4-inch plants started from seedlings that will grow into a variety of vegetables ranging from asparagus to zucchini, as well as herbs such as cilantro, basil and thyme.
Plans are to produce 20,000 seedlings each year through all four seasons to sell at a discount to area residents who grow their own produce. Providing seedlings is an important factor. “The process of going from a seed to a seedling is the most vulnerable stage in a plant’s life,” Day says. “At the farm, we raise them in controlled conditions with constant monitoring, and also prepare them for transportation to community and home gardens.” Jump-starting gardens by planting viable young seedlings means the plants are more likely to survive, mature faster and produce fruits or vegetables more quickly, he adds.
A LEARNING EXPERIENCE
Lynch involved several of his corporate communication students in the development of the Seedling Farm. Caroline Davis, a senior majoring in corporate communication and public affairs and public relations and strategic communication, knew little about food deserts until taking several courses from Lynch. She helped plan and coordinate the launch of the Seedling Farm, and asked area residents about their food knowledge and access to various foods, particularly vegetables. “The Seedling Farm is about much more than food for these communities and farmers,” Davis says. “Community members have the chance to receive the necessary education and training to co-develop a self-sustaining resource.”
Sara Langone ’17, who received degrees in political science and corporate communication and public affairs from SMU, and DeAngelo Garner ’18, who graduated in May with degrees in organizational communications and public relations with a minor in Spanish, conducted a survey with the area residents on the need for the Seedling Farm. Garner, who will begin a master’s degree in business analytics in fall 2018 at Cox School of Business, says the experience helped drive him toward his interest in data analytics.
“It was eye opening seeing the human aspect of statistical information that I had previously studied,” he says. “Having the hands-on experience humanized the very real problems that residents of South and West Dallas experience.”
Lynch, who was designated a 2018 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Fellow, is moving to Rhode Island where his wife has a job, but will return weekly to Dallas to teach at SMU and continue to build on the Seedling Farm initiative. He emphasizes that a local food production system requires well-organized distribution systems, which includes support from community foundations, nonprofits and experts. And investment in local micro-urban farms requires upfront capital and experience to design, build and maintain, but the payoff is huge. Micro-food systems have the potential to provide innovative and economical solutions to reducing food poverty and unemployment, Lynch adds.
“Hundreds of micro-farms, community gardens, personal gardens, greenhouses or even small raised beds can be linked into a vibrant food chain providing sustainable fresh local produce to the DFW market.”
A “crazy” idea that is blooming where it’s planted.