Outstanding Researchers Recognized

Four distinguished SMU scholars were named 2014 Ford Research Fellows at the meeting of the University’s Board of Trustees Thursday, May 8. This year’s recipients are Anthony Colangelo, Dedman School of Law; Dieter Cremer, Chemistry, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; Alexis McCrossen, History, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; and Alyce McKenzie, Preaching and Worship, Perkins School of Theology.

Established in 2002 through a $1 million pledge from SMU Trustee Gerald J. Ford, the fellowships help the University retain and reward outstanding scholars. Each recipient receives a cash prize for research support during the year.

Anthony Colangelo, associate professor in Dedman School of Law, is an internationally renowned scholar in public and private international law and U.S. foreign relations law. He is a pioneer on issues of extraterritorial jurisdiction – assertions of legal power outside territorial borders. Numerous federal appellate and U.S. district courts have relied on his scholarship or adopted his theories in addressing international issues that include: extraterritorial application of U.S. law implementing the U.N. Torture Convention to the case of Chuckie Taylor, son of former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor; the exercise of U.S. jurisdiction over claims by South African plaintiffs against corporations alleged to have been complicit in apartheid-era abuses by the South African government; challenges to U.S. Military Commission jurisdiction by Salim Hamdan (Osama bin Laden’s driver); claims against international financial institutions for financing terrorism in the Middle East; piracy off the coast of Somalia; U.S. jurisdiction over drug trafficking on the high seas; and choice of law regarding U.S. military contractors in Iraq. His articles have appeared in top law journals and both U.S. and foreign books on international law.

Dieter Cremer, professor of chemistry in Dedman College and director of SMU’s Computational and Theoretical Chemistry Group (CATCO), is an internationally recognized leader in the field of computational chemistry. His research ranges from the development of state-of-the-art computational methods and computer programs to their application to societal problems. His recent work focuses on computer design of new catalysts to use the greenhouse gas CO2 as chemical feedstock, as well as of cleaner molecules that can pick up toxic heavy metals such as mercury or lead from industrial waste-waters. He has published more than 350 peer-reviewed articles in high-ranking journals, more than 50 of which he published since he joined SMU four years ago. He has presented his research at nearly 200 international conferences, and 18 of the 60 graduate and postgraduate students he has supervised to date have become professors at universities around the world.

Alexis McCrossen, professor of history in the William P. Clements Department of History, is a distinguished cultural historian of 19th-century America and a specialist in temporal markers, consumer culture, and cultural institutions. She has written dozens of articles on these topics, and her most significant publications have focused on the American celebration of Sunday in Holy Day, Holiday: The American Sunday (2001, Cornell University Press), and on the development of time-consciousness in American life in Marking Modern Times: A History of Clocks, Watches, and Other Timekeepers in American Life (2013, University of Chicago Press), supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. A volume she edited, Land of Necessity: Consumer Culture in the United States-Mexico Borderlands (2009, Duke University Press), is a collection of papers produced by a Clements Center for Southwest Studies symposium she organized and to which she contributed important chapters. Her new research project explores how Americans have celebrated New Year’s Eve. McCrossen’s expertise has been recognized most recently with her selection by the Organization of American Historians as an OAH Distinguished Lecturer.

Alyce McKenzie, LeVan Professor of Preaching and Worship in Perkins School of Theology, is renowned as a scholar not only in the theory and practice of preaching but also in the wisdom literature of the Bible. Her scholarship has contributed to reshaping the intellectual interpretations of “words to the wise” and to defining the way that homiletics can be taught. Her published works are used as standard texts in graduate preaching courses and have functioned as continuing education resources for professionals in the field. In addition, McKenzie has been elected by her peers as president of the Academy of Homiletics. In the 2013-14 academic year, she was selected for a Lilly Endowment grant that will establish a Center for Preaching Excellence at Perkins School of Theology, which will explore new ways to teach preaching effectively. In addition, McKenzie has been recruited to lead innovative continuing education programs across the country.