Senator John Cornyn To Speak At Commencement Ceremony

March 29, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Aida Ahmed

SMU News and Communications announced Tuesday afternoon that U.S. Senator John Cornyn will be the speaker for the 2011 Commencement ceremony.

According to the press release, SMU expects to award nearly 2,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees at the 96th Commencement ceremony.

SMU President R. Gerald Turner also said in the press release that he is honored Sen. Cornyn will be addressing graduates at the university’s 100th anniversary.

“Senator Cornyn has been a tremendous leader and public servant for the state of Texas and our nation,” Turner said. “In the United States Senate, he addresses some of the most critical issues of our time, among them the federal budget, technology, the military, immigration and border security. He has pioneered legislation to make government records more accessible to the public.”

Texans re-elected Sen. Cornyn in 2008 for a second six-year term in the U.S. Senate. He was first elected to the Senate in 2002 after serving as a district judge, a member of the Texas Supreme Court and as Texas Attorney General. Sen. Cornyn currently sits on the Senate Finance, Judiciary, Armed Services and Budget Committees.

The ceremony will be held May 14 at 9:30 a.m. in Moody Coliseum.

Campus News Blog: SMU Bachelor of Fine Arts Spring Exhibition About to Kick Off

April 27, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Monica Sharma

With finals rapidly approaching, SMU students are finishing up projects and getting ready to hit the books. Who actually likes to study though?

If you find yourself at Fondren Library in desperate need of a break, head on over to the Pollock Gallery in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center and check out the annual Bachelor of Fine Arts Qualifying Exhibition.

Beginning Monday, May 3 and lasting to May 15, this exhibition showcases the artwork of soon-to-be art graduates.

Featuring work by Lauren Biedenharn, Olivia DiVecchia, Jacob Hicks, Leta Kish, Jessica Michlik, Jolee Miener, Emerald Monroe, Brooks Oliver and Courtney Sanborn, the exhibition will be a diverse collection of art in many different styles and mediums.

There is a kickoff reception on May 2 from 3-5 p.m., and annual division awards will be presented at 3:30.

It is a free show, so go on over and clear your mind before it’s time to cram.

Opinion Blog: Graduation Countdown

April 12, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Elizabeth Siebman

Graduation is three weeks away. It doesn’t seem possible.

It seems like yesterday that I moved into Virginia-Snider and met my roommate for the first time. Her side of the room was completely covered with the PB Teen “Dottie” print accessories. I was a little intimidated. I had no clue that she would become one of my closest friends for the next four years. She currently lives down the hall from me, we still spend the weekends together, and her love for “Dottie” has rubbed off on me.

However, senioritis has officially set in and graduation is around the corner. Many seniors are trying to balance papers, applications, and social activities to fully benefit from the college experience. Caps and gowns have been ordered, invitations are being sent, and families are making travel arrangements.

The dictionary defines “commencement” as a beginning and an end. It is sometimes easier to see the end and tougher to see a new beginning. Leaving the home, friends, school, and teachers, you have spent the past four years with seems more like closing a chapter than beginning a new one. In this way, graduation is both an exciting and nerve-wrecking process. Not being able to foresee to various paths of life, it sometimes feels like your stuck in a purgatory of sorts.

More than anything, graduation is a time to grow-up. It’s about new opportunities and new challenges.

Growing up, I wanted to become an actress, a lawyer, a writer, and a mom. I never settled on a particular job, but always thought about different opportunities. Senior year has helped me realize where my passions lie and what career paths I want to pursue. After sending in my law school application, I feel that I have finally found a career that I can enjoy and be passionate about. Although, I still want to pursue writing and motherhood.

If you search for “Graduation Quotes” on Google, the search engine will return approximately 700,000 results. One of my favorites is by Walt Disney, founder of the Walt Disney Corporation. He said, “All of our dreams can come true…if we have the courage to pursue them.” For many seniors, the next weeks are filled with anxiety, excitement, and curiosity. It is important to remember that if you have the courage to pursue your dreams, you will benefit in the long run.

Graduation is three weeks away. College will be over, but life will only be beginning. If you pursue your interests passionately, then you will be successful in all aspects of life.

Opinion Blog: Dear SMU, Please Stop Sending E-mails

March 3, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Mallory McCall



There once was a time when popularity could be defined by the number of e-mails in one’s inbox, but those days are over, thanks to grandma’s countless forwards, Facebook notifications and the University’s exploitation of the “Student List.”

Some students get between six and 10 e-mails a day from the University. On a good day, one might actually pertain to their studies and social interests; the rest aren’t even opened before they are redirected to the trash.

Sadly enough, students are purging messages from “SMU Mustangs,” Dean of_____________ (insert any school here), Student Affairs, Student Activities and Multicultural Student Affairs (SAMSA), “SMU Information” and any other unknown name from their inboxes.

The bottom line is that the more e-mails the University sends, the fewer students read. Unfortunately this means whenever there is something actually worth opening and reading, it most likely will get lost in the bulk delete.

“My favorite e-mails are the ‘Last Chance’ ones,” said senior Susan Watkins. “Getting eight last chances just defeats the purpose of a last chance—I’ve stopped opening anything that has ‘Last’ in the subject line,” she said.

The inconvenience is ultimately more than the endless clicking of the delete button. Not only is the abundance of SMU e-mails a waste of electronic storage, but it is also a waste of human resources. Time and resources are used to create something that isn’t seen. Why use the energy simply to create trash?

There has to be a way to divide or minimize the use of the “Student List.”

Here’s an idea: perhaps the student body should be segmented, coded by major, year and extracurricular activities, and then appropriately targeted. That would create more specific e-mail lists and guarantee a more receptive audience.

This doesn’t seem like such a crazy idea considering the fact that graduating seniors belong to a “Ceremonies” list serve that distributes commencement memos. If those seniors had the option to unsubscribe to the other e-mails about undergraduate scholarships, study abroad program deadlines and new student orientation leader reminders, then they may be more attentive to the important memos that link to graduation details. Unfortunately for most students, SMU e-mails all belong in junk mail.

SMU, it’s a good thing you’ve gone green, but can you cut back on the e-mails? My inbox is full again.

Video: Top 5 with Sarah Acosta for the week of Feb. 21

February 23, 2010 by · Comments Off 

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Dude, Where Are My Reading Days?

May 4, 2009 by · Comments Off 

By Mari Montgomery

Last semester, students noticed when there were no weekday reading days before finals.

In the past, students had at least one weekday designated to prepare for final exams, but this past semester students were left only the weekend to prepare.

“As someone taking 18 hours, I really could have used those extra days,” sophomore Grace Barlow said.

In reaction, student senator Ryan Meyer drafted and passed legislation asking SMU and the Faculty Senate to always designate a minimum of two reading days each semester.

Meyer said he noticed a downward trend in the number of reading days offered each semester. Last fall students were given the weekend to prepare for finals; this spring students have only a Tuesday to prepare; and in spring 2010 students will end classes one day and begin finals the next.

Blame It on the Calendar

Faculty Senate President Dennis Foster explained that scheduling reading days is an ongoing issue.

Foster attributed calendar issues to the debate over whether or not to distribute diplomas at graduation or to mail them to graduates at a later date. Foster said that if it was decided that SMU was not going to distribute diplomas at graduation, they could cut down the period between the end of finals and graduation to one or two days.

“Those extra days would become reading days,” Foster said.

According to Foster, what originally sparked the reduction in reading days was that the provost asked the calendar committee to reduce the time between final exams and graduation to three or four days. Since President R. Gerald Turner has asked that graduation always be on a Saturday, the calendar committee was left with the option of reducing reading days or extending the time between finals and graduation a full week.

Right now, there are only three days between the end of final exams and graduation.

“The conclusion so far is that there’s insufficient time to do it properly,” Foster said.

Foster explained that exams have to be graded and submitted, and Latin honors have to be calculated. The diplomas themselves have to be printed and distributed to all the departments. The department of records needs more than three days to complete all this, but the calendar committee has purposely left three days, just in case.

“It definitely remains an area of contention,” Foster said.

‘Not a Fair Choice’

Foster said that as a graduate professor himself, he thinks it’s important for students to have time to review during finals, whether it’s finishing up a paper or preparing for an exam.

Meyer agrees with Foster.

“It hurts us and it hurts them too because they’re not getting the student’s best effort,” Meyer said. “I know this grew out of the task force, but I don’t feel that this is a way to accomplish the goals of the task force.”

As a member of last year’s Substance Abuse Task Force, Foster said that this specific issue was never brought up, but there has been a university-wide heightening of awareness and concern for those situations which produce excessive drinking.

“Student affairs certainly keeps track of those things,” Foster said.

As a senior, Sharde Thomas wants her diploma as she walks across the stage.

“I just feel like SMU should put their heads together to work out these logistical problems so that all seniors can have the most special moment possible,” Thomas said. “It really means something to be handed your actual diploma.”

Thomas said she hopes students and administrators won’t have to choose between reading days and diplomas.

“It’s not a fair choice,” Thomas said.

The only other way Foster said he could see adding back reading days indefinitely would be to add an extra week to school, potentially allowing time for reading days and the printing of diplomas.

“But one has to consider all the additional costs of running the university an extra week,” Foster said.

He explained that in a time when everyone is attempting to cut back, it might not make economic sense.

“Essentially several different issues are intertwined and students have to understand that if something is added, something must be taken away,” he said.

According to Foster, the Faculty Senate has authority over the calendar, which should primarily be designed to work for academic purposes. The Faculty Senate tries to balance many different priorities while maintaining a calendar that works.

So, if it boils down to reading days or diplomas when she’s a senior, which would sophomore Grace Barlow choose?

“It’s a big enough deal that SMU needs to offer both, but if I had to pick I guess I’d say reading days,” she said. “As a history major it’s really miserable to turn in a term paper one day and take a cumulative final the next.”

Laura Bush Named Commencement Speaker

April 14, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

From staff reports

Former First Lady Laura Bush will speak at the Hilltop’s 94th Commencement ceremony on May 16.

The SMU alumna graduated in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She worked as both a public school teacher and librarian in Texas, bringing her passion for education to the White House with such programs as the first National Book Festival, Helping America’s Youth and Summit on Early Childhood Cognitive Development.

In 1999, Bush received SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Her achievements were further recogized that year with the Laura Bush Promenade–the flower-filled garden and seating area leading up to Fondren Library–contributed by then Governor George W. Bush.

In a statement released yesterday, President R. Gerald Turner explained the University’s decision to invite Bush as this year’s speaker:

“With her life-long dedication to education and the global insights she has gained from her years as First Lady, Mrs. Bush will offer a unique perspective to our graduates. At the same time, she brings a shared memory of her own graduation from the University.”

Campus News Blog: Former First Lady Laura Bush to Speak at SMU Graduation Ceremony

April 13, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Rachel Orr

SMU students graduating this May have one more thing to look forward to. Former First Lady Laura Bush was just announced as SMU’s commencement speaker for its 94th graduation ceremony. Bush graduated from SMU in 1968, and she is currently a member of the SMU Board of Trustees.

SMU president R. Gerald Turner believes that Bush will offer a unique perspective for SMU students with her role a First Lady for eight years, her lifelong dedication to education and her own memories of graduating from SMU. “We are pleased to welcome her back to campus for this important academic tradition,” he said, in a press release.

Campus News Blog: Students Search for Jobs in Unpleasant Market

February 19, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Morgan Maddox

Many college seniors around North Texas are in a panic, but not about grades or what outfit to wear to their last formal. It’s after graduation that is causing anxiety. Businesses are being put on hiring freezes and internships are no longer paying. For many, looking for a full-time job has become a job within itself.

The idea of going to a college career fair was once on the bottom of most students’ agendas. In the past, many graduates have been able to rely on close contacts or an internship to help them get their foot in the door to their first job. Now, college career fairs are packed with students looking for help. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough jobs to go around.

According to an article in the Dallas Morning News, job postings on college campuses have decreased and long-time job recruiters are turning down invitations to career fairs.

College advisors are encouraging students to make a plan-B or search for opportunities to lead to better jobs down the road

However, it’s not just college students who are searching for a helping hand to free them from the list of the unemployed. College alumni are coming back to their old stomping grounds asking career advisors for help with finding a job. The alumni are either people who have currently lost their jobs or are keeping their options open if they are let go from their company.