Seniors, Are You Ready For Graduation?

February 23, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Aida Ahmed

February is coming to an end and for seniors that means less than three months until graduation.

With midterms right around the corner and the usual chaos of the school year, it is no wonder that many seniors have yet to start planning for graduation ceremonies.

Cate Hamilton, coordinator of administration, said that this year more students than usual have not yet filed to graduate.

“In reviewing credit hours alone, we currently have 2,580 students who may be eligible to participate in May commencement, however 850 of those students have not yet filed their Application for Candidacy to Graduate (ACG) with their school of record,” Hamilton said. “That is a lot compared to the number of students who may be on track to graduate. We find that students are not aware that they need to file an ACG in order to participate in commencement weekend activities.”

Hamilton said if students have not filed their ACG but do intend on participating in commencement weekend, they are missing out on communications from graduation related vendors, as well as from the university.


“Students who have completed their ACG will have a much easier time at the Grad Fair coming up on Feb. 24-25, as we will have their information on file and ready, should they need it to order their announcements, cap and gown,” Hamilton said.

With a significant portion of students yet to file, those who have say that its about all they have done in their preparation for graduation.

Senior religious studies major, Alicia Bos, said she filed for graduation back in January when she realized the deadline was quickly approaching.

“I honestly forgot about it until somebody was like, you have to apply,” Bos said.

Other than filing, Bos says she really hasn’t focused on preparing for the ceremonial part of graduation.

“I’ve notified my family but really I’ve just been spending my time job searching,” Bos said.

She also said she hasn’t received or noticed any e-mails in her inbox with reminders of graduation and the graduation fair.

“I think we might have to meet with our advisor but other than that I don’t know,” said Bos.

Meadows degree counselor, Janet Stephens, said that graduating seniors in the Meadows School of the Arts can technically file up to the week before graduation, but it might mean they won’t be able to graduate.

“We’ll file you at whatever point you come in,” Stephens said. “The negative is that you may discover that you have hours left that you don’t know about. You’ll get to participate in the graduation ceremonies but you won’t actually receive your diploma.”

The actual deadline to file for graduation was January 25, so if students find that they are missing some requirements, they are out of luck.

Students who are only missing six hours or less can participate in the ceremonies, but must complete their remaining hours in the summer term. To do this they must file a “Walk” petition with their school of record.

Stephens advises students who haven’t applied yet to come in as soon as possible.

“Nobody is graduating if they haven’t come to see us, so just come in and let us go through your degree progress report,” Stephens said.

But filing to graduate is just the first step. Hamilton says students should still keep in mind the $45 Apply to Graduate Fee that is due by the time they graduate. If it is not paid, graduates will not receive their diploma during the diploma presentation ceremony.

A good resource seniors can use is the May Graduation Fair that is taking place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday Feb. 24 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday Feb. 25 in the Laura Lee Blanton building in rooms 110 and 112.

At the fair, students will receive ceremony instructions and guest information, as well as order their class ring from Balfour and order regalia, invitations and announcements from Herff Jones. Seniors can also order a yearbook and get professional cap and gown photographs taken.

Students with more questions should refer to the May Commencement section of the registrar’s website or visit their degree counselor.

Handy Contacts:
Cox Undergraduate/BBA Office – 252 Maguire / 214.768.3003
Dedman Undergraduate Records Office – 214 Dallas Hall / 214.768.2298
Lyle Undergraduate Advising & Student Records Office – 400 Caruth Hall / 214.768.1457
Meadows Undergraduate Academic Services – 202 U Lee / 214.768.2754

Election Blog: Dallas Democratic Party Gathers at American Airlines Center

November 2, 2010 by · Comments Off 

9:09 p.m. – Disappointed Democrats as Rick Perry Announced Winner of Gubernatorial Race
Report from Kyle Spencer


8:25 p.m. – Democrat Watch Party at AAC
Report from Aida Ahmed

Although originally planned for the plaza at Victory Park, the Dallas Democratic watch party has been moved inside to the Jack Daniel’s Club inside American Airlines Center. Crowds are slowly starting to file in despite the change of plans due to weather.

People are keeping a close eye on the flat screen TVs tuned to CNN and local Dallas channels. All the major Dallas media outlets have set up shop for the night and are also waiting to see how the local races turn out.

Few candidates are in the house tonight though more reportedly are en route to the watch party. Democratic politicians in attendance include Texas House Representative Helen Giddings, District 109. Dallas County Treasurer Joe Wells is also in attendance as he seeks re-election this year.

Stay tuned for updates on how Democrats are faring in Dallas as well as state-wide.


7:35 p.m. – Steve Pickett of CBS11 Speaks with Texas Democratic Regional Communications Director

A CBS11 Reporter speaks with Mike Ogilnick, Texas Democratic Regional Communications Director at midterm watch party inside AAC. (PHOTO BY KYLE SPENCER / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

TEDxSMU: Virtual Paint Exhibit

October 16, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted By Aida Ahmed

While we were on the sixth floor of the Wyly Theatre we came across an interesting exhibit set up for guests of TEDxSMU. Robert Davidson of Dallas Makerspace showed Andy Garcia how to use a virtual paint canvas, a creation of the inventors at the local laboratory.

Dallas Makerspace is similiar to a hackerspace. The community workshop and laboratory is comprised of local artists, engineers, makers and creators that work together to collect tools and resources for individual and community projects in order to promote science and technology.

The way the canvas works is the “artist” dunks a large paintbrush into a virtual can of paint and begins to draw on the canvas. Check out Andy’s demonstration of the exhibit.

VIDEO: TEDxSMU Dallas Makerspace Exhibit from on Vimeo.

VIDEO: Expert Counselor John Bradshaw Talks About Recent Teen Suicides

October 5, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

New York Times best-selling author and counselor John Bradshaw was in Dallas Tuesday visiting the Simmons School of Education and Human Development. He is the author of six books and a former PBS host of shows on addiction, recovery and spirituality. He spoke with the Daily Mustang about the recent suicides in the gay teen community and how college students can balance their emotional health.

VIDEO: Interview with John Bradshaw from on Vimeo.

Video by Nicolette Schleisman / Editing by Aida Ahmed and Andy Garcia

Eddie Bernice Johnson No Longer Receiving Distinguished Alumni Award

September 27, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

By Aida Ahmed

Southern Methodist University’s Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony will have one less honoree this year.

Missing from the lineup will be U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas), who is no longer receiving the 2010 SMU Distinguished Alumni Award at the ceremony on Oct. 21.

Congresswoman Johnson, who in the past month has been surrounded by a scandal stemming from a Dallas Morning News investigation into her handling of scholarship funds, plans to postpone the award until next year.

According to Dena Craig, director of communications for the congresswoman, it was a matter of timing.

“She is going to receive the award, just next year,” Craig said. “It was a scheduling conflict and she has just finished surgery. It’s better for her recovery.”

Craig said the award ceremony comes at an inconvenient time for the congresswoman but that she still plans to receive the 2011 distinguished alumni award.

Kent Best, executive director of news and communications at SMU, said that Johnson’s scheduling conflict made it impossible for her to be a recipient of this year’s award.

“She notified us that she had a scheduling conflict, and presence is necessary to receive the award,” Best said. “She will be honored at a future date and that date has yet to be determined.”

This news comes after a whirlwind of controversy stemming from her office’s handling of scholarship funds from the congresswoman’s office. Johnson awarded thousands of dollars in college scholarships to four relatives and a top aide’s two children using money from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, one of which is an SMU student. Although she claims to have unknowingly misused the funds, the congresswoman has since paid back the funds to the CBCF.

“Darwin’s Dilemma” Brings New Challenges to Evolution Theory

September 23, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

By Aida Ahmed

The Hughes-Trigg student center was packed Thursday night for a discussion on the origins of life. (PHOTO BY AIDA AHMED / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

A new documentary that is testing Charles Darwin’s controversial theory of evolution brought many to Hughes-Trigg student theatre Thursday night.

The theatre was packed with guests eager to hear what experts in the fields of molecular, cell and evolutionary biology had to say about the claims made in “Darwin’s Dilemma,” a documentary that confronts Darwinism.

The documentary screening and discussion, Four Nails in Darwin’s Coffin, was sponsored by SMU’s Pulse and Victory Campus Ministries.

Pulse member and junior film and accounting major, Sara Nimeh, said she felt it was important that people get to know both sides of the origin of life.

“I think in education they teach mainly Darwinism, at least in college,” Nimeh said. “I feel like they teach it as fact. Creationism is put in a negative light. I hope that people will think about what they learn in school and take what they learn but continue their own research as to what they believe.”

“Darwin’s Dilemma”

“Darwin’s Dilemma” premiered last year, but was not broadcast on public television, mainly because of its controversial nature.

The film, shot on location in southern China, the Canadian Rockies and Great Britain, aims to challenge the theory of natural selection that is widely accepted in the scientific world.

Biologists in the film try to explain that research of fossils taken from the Precambrian period conflict the gradual growth of life described by Darwin, in that the Cambrian explosion is responsible for most of earth’s life.

The Researchers

All four of Thursday night’s speakers were either interviewed or had a cameo in the documentary. Author Stephen Meyer moderated the discussion with molecular biologist Douglas Axe, evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg and molecular and cell biologist Jonathan Wells. The biologists argued in favor of intelligent design.

Sternberg, who is a research scientist at the Biologic Institute, spoke on the Cambrian explosion in terms of the evolution of a marine whale.

“It’s literally hundreds, if not thousands, of engineering changes that had to have occurred,” Sternberg said. “And they had to have occured not in 50 million years, not in 100 million years, not even in ten million years, but in a very narrow interval of time.”

Crowd Reaction

Dallas resident Barbara Baker was at the film screening and found the discussion afterward to be very scientific and unclear.

“It was kind of overwhelming for me,” Baker said. “I’m not a biologist but I thought it was very interesting.”

But others, like Alex Partin, a junior at the University of Texas at Dallas, were not convinced by the biologists’ claims.

“I was just looking for any coherent arguments against Darwinism,” Partin said. “I want to see if they have any publications in favor of intelligent design. This is kind of a circus.”

A New Place Education Majors Can Call Home

September 22, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Aileen Garcia and Aida Ahmed,

The Daily Mustang met with David Chard, the dean of the new Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, this week. The new school is built to give 900 students seeking degrees in education a home. Annette Caldwell Simmons, the school’s biggest contributor, is a graduate from the school of education and has taught in Dallas and in the Island of Guam.

Before the new building, education majors were scattered across campus in any classroom that was available. For the past five years on the same site an old apartment complex housed faculty offices for the school of education. The dean’s office was located off campus for two years.

However, the new building now houses faculty offices and classrooms for both undergraduate and graduate students giving them a place to consider home.

“This brings us all together, before we were in 11 different places,” Chard said. “We had no campus home, so this is the beginning.”

The education school catered to graduate students for years. Last year they started an undergraduate program offering a psychology and sport management major. The building also offers a psychology lab for research on the human development.

On Friday Sept. 24 the unveiling of the red ribbon will take place at the new building from 10 a.m. to noon. Guest speakers will include the Simmons family, President Gerald R. Turner and the Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Assistant professor in the education school, Scott Davis, also gave the Daily Mustang a quick tour of the new applied physiology laboratory in the applied physiology and wellness department. Take a look for yourselves.

The Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development from on Vimeo.

Video and Editing By Aida Ahmed

Q&A With Producer Bonnie Curtis

September 21, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

By Aida Ahmed

Dallas native and film producer Bonnie Curtis came to SMU along with Glenn Close Tuesday afternoon. Curtis and Close are planning to co-produce a film adaptation of “Albert Nobbs,” and were in town to get final financing for the movie.

Curtis, who has worked on films like “Saving Private Ryan” and “Artificial Intelligence”, spoke with the Daily Mustang on how she feels social media and new technology has impacted the art of filmmaking.

DM: Animation and 3-D are a big part of major films these days. How does this new technology affect your work and the art of filmmaking?

Curtis: Well you definitely have much longer time with animation. You have to think different. It’s very different than working with actors and character pieces. Digitial art has brought films like “Benjamin Button.” I like when it’s used like that, to aid a character.

DM: Have you seen social media affect the film industry in anyway?

Curtis: It’s distribution, the new theatrical distribution. I provide content and an iPhone screen is all you need. It’s fine to pass on to all your friends. It’s to be embraced, not pushed away.

David Gergen Sits Down With The Daily Mustang

September 14, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

SMU Daily Mustang Managing Editor Aida Ahmed got a chance to speak with David Gergen, a senior political analyst for CNN and the moderator for the first Tate Lecture of the year. Gergen spoke with Ahmed about President Obama’s approval rating, the ground zero mosque and the upcoming midterm elections. Check out the video below to hear the full interview.

Daily Mustang Exclusive: David Gergen from on Vimeo.

Video and Editing by Andy Garcia

Richard Haass, Robert Rubin and David Gergen To Open Tate Lecture Series

September 14, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Aida Ahmed

The Tate Lecture series kicks off its 29th season with three nationally respected political, economical and foreign relations experts.

Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Robert Rubin, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and David Gergen, a CNN Senior Political Analyst will discuss “The Evolving International Landscape.” The lecture is on Tuesday, Sept. 14 in the McFarlin Auditorium at 8 p.m. Gergen will moderate the evening discussion.

The three will also answer questions at the Linda and Mitch Hart Lecture and the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Tate Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Ballroom. The forum is free and open to all.

For questions about the Tate Series lecture or student forum, please visit their site.

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