Star of “Waiting For Superman” Talks Education at Tate Lecture

March 30, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

By Meghan Garlich

Students and members of the Dallas community were warned about the severity of America’s education crisis at the SMU Tate Lecture Series Tuesday night.

The audience filled McFarlin Auditorium eager to hear Geoffrey Canada, the president of the Harlem Children’s Zone and the star of the documentary, “Waiting For Superman”, and Margaret Spellings, former U.S. Secretary of Education, discuss the future of education.

“I’m expecting to see how we’re going to address the future and how the kids in school can learn to make our country a better place,” said SMU student Robert Kupchynsky before the event.


After thanking the event sponsor, Omni Hotels, SMU President Gerald Turner introduced Canada, Spelling and the debate moderator, Keven Ann Willey.

The energized crowd fell silent as Willey asked Spellings to discuss the civil rights issue in America regarding education.

“The United States is losing its global competitiveness,” said Spellings, who explained that our strength as a nation starts with education for everyone, not just those who are wealthy.

Canada agreed the country no longer has its competitive edge and that more children need to graduate.

“I don’t care if you’re poor, black or Latino,” said Canada. “You need an education.”

The formerly quiet audience erupted in applause to Canada’s enthusiasm toward promoting education in America.

Willer then asked the speakers about the first step toward improvement in schools.

Spellings explained that schools need to monitor teacher performance throughout the year.

“We now have sophisticated data systems that can monitor a child’s progress,” said Spellings. “Building the right infrastructure and getting talented professionals are what make a great school.”

Canada cautioned that building an effective infrastructure is not an easy task.

“Everyday you’re going to have to be fixing and changing things,” said Canada. “If you’re not prepared to do this, nothing is going to happen.”

Murmurs of agreement echoed throughout the crowd and both speakers advised the audience to play a role in bettering America’s education systems.

“If you’re serious, it’s going to cost you,” Canada said, in reference to changing education in the Dallas Community. “The kids are in trouble.”

When a member of the audience asked how to get involved, Spellings encouraged the listeners to get involved with organizations, such as becoming a mentor for a child.

“Get smart about what the heck is going on,” added Spellings. “You can save a life.”

At the end of the interactive discussion, audience members were shocked about the education crisis at hand.

“I had no idea this was such an issue,” said SMU junior Mary Katherine Rathmell. “The lecture was very informative and we definitely need to become more innovative in our school programs.”

Kupchynsky was also convinced that changes need to be made, or else, as both speakers pointed out, the country will continue to lose its competitive edge.

“We would be mad if half of the items we use everyday didn’t work,” said Kupchynsky. “But as a whole we don’t care about half of our students failing.”

China Expert Joshua Cooper Ramo Speaks at Tate Lecture

February 17, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Brittany Levine

Joshua Cooper Ramo spoke at SMU’s Tate Lecture series Tuesday night. The packed McFarlin Auditorium audience listened as Ramo shared his expertise about China and what the future looks like for the country in a world that he says is getting more complex every day.

Ramo, managing director of Kissinger Associates and former TIME magazine senior editor, started the evening off with some laughs by sharing personal stories about Henry Kissinger. He joked about Kissinger’s lack of knowledge about Facebook and Blackberry phones, which Kissinger mistakenly called “Raspberries.” He introduced his topic by noting that this year marks the 40-year anniversary of Kissinger’s historic visit to China.

Ramo said it is “incredibly difficult” for the United States to establish the best possible relations with China, but throughout his presentation he remained optimistic that it could be achieved.

“It is overwhelmingly one of the most exciting places in the world to be,” he said about China, where he lives.
Ramo discussed obstacles that are a threat to China’s future. One of these threats is population imbalance. China is and will continue to find it increasingly difficult to have a society with so many more men than women. In addition, tens of millions of college students are graduating every year and need to find work. Other large issues include Tibet, the 150 million migrant workers, healthcare, and food safety.

High divorce rates are due in part to the rapidly changing society, Ramo said, which forces a different way of thinking. This year, China is expected to pass Brazil in terms of income inequality.

Ramo never let the lecture become too serious for too long. He gave a lesson on Chinese letters and made fun of his Chinese name. He made the audience laugh when he said, “It takes a bit of getting used to getting called Mr. Lei Mo everywhere.”

Ramo made a point of demonstrating how complex the Chinese are. “China has more networks now than when I started this speech. It will have more networks when I finish this speech.”

He discussed how much attention the Chinese pay to minor details, which been proven in eye tracking studies. The American Google homepage and the Chinese Google homepage show how much more information the Chinese are accustomed to processing. “There is a fundamentally different psychological landscape,” Ramo said.

Ramo emphasized how the western world and China have two very different ways of life and of thinking.
“I love the way of two different cultures looking at the same thing different ways,” said audience member Betty Carter.

“China is struggling to try to figure out how to adapt to the world,” said Ramo. He stressed that the U.S. needs to safeguard national interests and incorporate China into its future. He says the U.S. has not been able to do this well.

Ramo shared advice that he had once been given. He said that it is very important to not only be bilingual, but to be bicultural, as well. He made it clear that the relations between the United States and China are very important. Studies have shown that the world views China much more favorably than China views itself. He says that changing this is important to future success with the country.

Of the presentation, audience member Cecilia Wemheoner said, “It was all interesting because I just don’t know that much about China and it gave me the opportunity to learn more.”

Joshua Cooper Ramo Brings Pop Culture Humor to Tate Student Forum

February 15, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Bridget Bennett

Joshua Cooper Ramo walked on the stage of the Tate Student Forum Tuesday afternoon and stared out at an audience largely composed of area high school students. Ramo said the young audience was a nice change from his usual crowd, so he loosened his tie, removed his suit jacket and apologized that he did not have a Lady Gaga outfit to put on.

The Tate Student Forum is open to area high school and SMU students, faculty and staff. SMU junior and corporate communications major, Derek Hubbard, moderated the forum.

The questions at the Forum focused on Ramo’s areas of expertise: “China, International Relations, Journalism and the Caring Economy.”

Ramo spoke about international relations shaping the way everyone lives for many generations. He also expressed the importance of understanding other people and cultures to create a better global society.

“You want to expose yourselves to as many cultures as possible,” he said.

Several students asked questions involving China’s economy, public policy and human rights implications.

Ramo’s comments on China focused on the country’s changing political structure and economy. He said the Communist Party in China is very different today than it was 50 years ago.

Ramo talked about giving up one of his favorite hobbies, acrobatic flying, when he moved to China.

“The Chinese are not big fans of foreigners flying around in their airspace,” Ramo said. The coment received a big laugh from the audience.
But Ramo said that political reform may be slow in China, but it is clearly changing.

“The surface is generally irrelevant, it’s what’s going on behind the scenes that matters,” he said.

One high school student asked how American foreign policy could actually impact China’s policies, especially in regards to human rights violations.

Before answering the question, Ramo expressed his surprise at such a complex and important question coming from “a kid in an AC/DC T-shirt.” The student then pointed out that the T-shirt was actually an Academic Decathlon T-shirt, generating another laugh from the audience.

Ramo said the relationship between the U.S. and China is going to be strained when the U.S. wants to spend all of their time talking about an issue China does not want to talk about.

“We need to recognize that the process to get there has to be gradual,” Ramo said.

He also pointed out that China has lifted more than 415 million people out of poverty and is pressed with urbanizing a huge part of its population over the next few years.

Ramo also answered a question about American pride affecting foreign relations. Ramo said he believes it is inspiring that Americans are proud of our way of life, but said it can lead to some problems.

“Americans believe so strongly in our way of life, they think that everyone else wants to live that way, but that is not always the case,” Ramo said.

He told a story about a Middle Eastern woman he met as a journalist. The woman helped to lead a terrorist media network. During a casual conversation, she talked about her love of Brittany Spears and Madonna, but then talked about her greatest passion—the destruction of the United States.

“Many people think if we give the world more Brittany Spears and Madonna, people are going to like us,” Ramo said.

He explained that while international people may like some aspects of American culture, it doesn’t change their view of American politics.

Ramo also spoke about the importance of understanding a country’s culture and some historical context for good international reporting.

He touched on some of the reporting going on in Egypt right now and in the Middle East not meeting this journalistic standard.

“It takes years of experience to understand Arab culture,” Ramo said.

Several students asked questions about Ramo’s experience working at AIDS hospice in South Africa and his belief that everyone can change the world.

Ramo expressed the extreme impact his participation in AIDS hospice has had in his life and encouraged every student to participate in what he calls the Caring Economy.

“It’s about taking time out of your life to take care of someone outside of your family,” Ramo said.

He encouraged the students to find an area where they think it is possible to make a difference and start helping.

At Tate Lecture, Jakes Seeks Common Good in the Midst of Diversity

January 26, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Anne McCaslin Parker

Students, faculty, alumni and the community of Dallas packed McFarlin Auditorium Tuesday night for the Tate Lecture Series.

Bishop T.D Jakes, founder of the Potter's House, spoke Tuesday evening on "Seeking Common Good in the Midst of Growing Diversity" inside McFarlin Auditorium as part of the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series. (PHOTO BY SARAH KRAMER / THE DAILY MUSTANG)

“Our speaker tonight is a pastor, entrepreneur, and visionary leader and has been awarded one of the Top 10 Religious Leaders by Time Magazine,” President Gerald R. Turner told the audience.

Bishop T.D. Jakes is founder and senior pastor of The Potter’s House, a 30,000 member Dallas-based multicultural and non-denominational church. He provides leadership to several philanthropic ministries and is widely known by his books, music, plays, conferences and television show that airs weekly in four continents.

“Seeking Common Good in the Midst of Growing Diversity” was the central theme of his speech. Bishop Jakes believes that we have all become too oblivious to notice the world is changing around us. If we do not learn to embrace diversity and start listening to one another’s opinions and ideas, this country will fail.

“Embracing diversity is embracing a willingness to change,” said Jakes. “We must become engaged in a richer, fuller diversity because it affects every last person. We must no longer think in terms of color, there are deeper issues to understand.”

He emphasized the importance of everyone getting out of their comfort zones. If we don’t, we will miss learning about each other.

A few years ago, while doing mission work in South Africa, Jakes met a cab driver who had a lasting impression on him. The man used to be a successful businessman but now his life is shattered and destroyed. All around him is a corrupt country where children are killed daily and people are shot in the street.

“I really didn’t notice how bad it really was,” the cab driver said when discussing the condition of his country.

Jakes said that this saddened him because he realized that we are all like the cab driver, so busy and consumed with our own lives that we forget to think about other people different from ourselves and miss out on our surroundings.

“Truth becomes distorted and efforts of diversity are distorted if we are only with people who look and act like ourselves,” he said. “Diversity begins in your house, in your kids, in your space.”

He compared diversity to a marriage: two different people who have to work hard at loving each other well and communicating.

“Relationships are the most fruitful when two differences come together,” Jakes told the audience. “You must intentionally work to understand diversity… Different can be good, different can be wonderful, we have to work at it or it will be destroyed.”

Jakes encouraged the audience not to become diverse just to meet requirements, but to try to love and understand others for the common good. In the end, everyone wants the same things out of life.

“We have a responsibility in pursuit of diversity to understand that we all want the same things-so we can make each other’s dreams come true. Love is intentional, not accidental. Overcome your fears. That is the joy of love. Run the risk of being uncomfortable to redefine what America is.”

VIDEO: Bishop T.D. Jakes Promotes Honest Communication at Student Forum

January 25, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Bridget Bennett

T.D. Jakes Speaks at SMU from on Vimeo.

Dallas-based Bishop T.D. Jakes spoke at the Tate Student Forum Tuesday afternoon. About 300 SMU students, faculty and staff, Dallas area high school students, members of the community and students from Wiley College in Marshall, TX attended the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum.

After a 20 minute delay due to traffic, the forum began with a question from the moderator, SMU student Derek Hubbard, who asked about the effects technology has had on communication. Jakes spoke about how technology increases honest communication.

“Sometimes people say what is right, not necessarily what is true,” he said.

Jakes said that face-to-face communication leads to saying what is right, while online communication makes saying what is true much easier.

The first student question asked how parents can raise the next generation to be more accepting and tolerant.

Jakes replied, “Exposure, exposure, exposure. People cannot tolerate what they haven’t experienced.”

Jakes came back to this response several times, saying that being removed from one’s racial and cultural comfort zone leads to a tolerant society.

Terrence Muse, a senior at Wiley College, asked how Jakes incorporates the gospel principles into his work in Hollywood.

Jakes began his career in West Virginia where he preached on national television. Antoinette Bullitt, a senior at Wiley College, said she grew up listening to Jakes and was excited to hear what he is doing today.

Over the past 15 years, Jakes has published several best selling books that have been made into feature films. During the forum, Jakes jokingly made a plug for his new film, “Jumping the Broom,” which is scheduled to be released this May.

Jakes discovered from his experience in Hollywood that the people are all about the bottom line.

“Hollywood is not opposed to spiritually as much as you think,” Jakes said.

He said that the popularity and success of the Mel Gibson movie, “The Passion of the Christ,” proved that Hollywood has overlooked a major facet of life that many people deeply care about.

In regard to his roles in mainstream media, Jakes talked about not limiting the roles a person can play in life. Jakes said people often label him a pastor, but there is much more to him beyond that period.

“Don’t let people put a period where God has put a comma,” he said.

Jakes also talked about the importance of communication. He said society must teach people the gift of language and stressed the importance of communicating how you feel.

“When people are articulate, they don’t have to be vulgar,” Jakes said.

The final question of the evening was in reference to the statement that Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America. Jakes said he feels the statement, while less noticeable than in the past, is still applicable to today’s society.

Jakes again said he believes this separation has little to do with racism, but more to do with comfort levels. He said learning about one another’s culture is the best way to overcome separation.

“In today’s society, you can get a PH.D. without understanding anything about my culture, but I can’t get a GED without understanding yours,” Jakes said.

Jakes also commented that in the church where there is no legislation, society still retreats back to separation.

Bishop T.D Jakes, founder of the Potter's House, spoke Tuesday evening on "Seeking Common Good in the Midst of Growing Diversity" inside McFarlin Auditorium as part of the Gregg and Molly Engles Lecture, presented by the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series. (PHOTO BY SARAH KRAMER / THE DAILY MUSTANG)

Video by Fernando Valdes and Editing by Andy Garcia and Caitlin Clark,

Nobel Laureate Concludes Fall Tate Lecture Series

December 1, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Jordan Jennings

Southern Methodist University’s McFarlin Auditorium was packed Tuesday night as many gathered to hear Nobel laureate and global economics specialist Joseph Stiglitz share his pessimistic views on the current economic crisis of the United States and its aftermath.

Stiglitiz’s lecture was part of the SMU Tate Lecture Series’ Jones Day Lecture.

Stiglitz is the author of several textbooks, including his latest, “Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy.” He currently teaches at Columbia University, where he also serves as chair of Columbia’s Committee on Global Thought.

In addition, Stiglitz served on President Clinton’s economic team as both a member and chairman of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisors in the 1990s. He also received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2001, as well as a Nobel Peace Price in 2007, which he shared with Al Gore for authoring the 1995 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Stiglitz began his speech by forewarning his listeners of his pessimistic attitude about the future.

“I hate giving this speech after dinner, it gives people bad indigestion,” he said.

According to Stiglitz, before the economic ”bubble burst,” the American economy was on an artificial respirator. However, as the result of crisis several legacies have been left in its wake, including a downtrodden housing market, excess debt, a weakened banking system and increased unemployment rates.

Stiglitz spoke of his fear that increased unemployment rates would create a “new normal” for the one-sixth of Americans looking for full-time jobs and can’t find them, as well as unemployed youths who risk losing their skills.

He had something to say to those who fear that the United States is experiencing a jobless recovery.

“The problem is not that this is a jobless recovery, but that this is not a recovery,” Stiglitz said.

Stiglitiz also said that the fundamental problem of our suffering economy is our global financial market.

The only solution to the U.S. crisis is a second round stimulus, suggests Stiglitiz, who notes that the underestimated stimulus plan that was enacted in 2009 actually worked.

“We are stuck. A second round stimulus is the only way out of this crisis. We can’t afford not to have another stimulus,” he said.
Stiglitiz predicts that the consequences of the suffering U.S. economy will include a weakened economy, a negatively affect relative global position and a legacy of a divided society.

Despite many negative predictions, Stigilitz concluded his hour-long lecture on a more positive note, acknowledging our unmarketable share of universities that serve as a dynamic part of our economy as well as technological and scientific innovations.

Following the event, several audience members commented on Stiglitiz’s speech. SMU finance major Scott Faulker said: “ Our country’s leadership is lacking. While what Stiglitiz said was valuable, his delivery was less than favorable.”

Another audience members shared a similar opinion.

“I found tonight’s lecture to be insightful. Unfortunately he did not provide any answers to this economic crisis, though I trust his expertise in his field,“ Glenn Franklin said.

The SMU Tate Lecture Series has invited many outstanding leaders from all professional fields to speak for almost 30 years. The evenings event, sponsored by Jones Day, was the first lecture to be sponsored by a law firm.

The Tate Lecture Series will continue next year with the Gregg and Molly Engles Lecture. The lecture on Jan. 25 features T.D. Jakes, chief pastor of The Potter’s House.

Click here for additional information on Joseph Stiglitz and the SMU Tate Lecture Series.

The Future of Technology Through The Eyes of An Inventor

October 6, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Gloria Salinas

Renowned, award-winning scientist and New York Times bestselling author, Ray Kurzweil presented “The Future of Technology” at SMU’s Tate Lecture Series.

Kurzweil’s list of accomplishments include the nation’s highest honor in technology, the National Medal of Technology, one of 16 revolutionaries that made America, according to PBS and the list continues to grow as he is continually involved in projects that revolutionize technology and the world.

Kurzweil’s presentation covered controversial topics of science and technology such as artificial intelligence, solar power and the manipulation of blood cells as advancements of health and medicine using technology.

“There is something special about human beings,” Kurzweil said. “One is that we transcend and go beyond our boundaries…and the other unique thing is that we have knowledge and pass it down through institutions…no other species does that.”

According to Kurzweil, things are getting faster in terms of technological developments. He said it took 50 years for one-quarter of the nation to own a phone, seven years for a cell phone and three years for humans to interact on social media sites, wiki’s, ect.

“I quickly discovered that timing was essential to being a successful inventor,” he said.

He said what now fits in our pockets, like cell phones and iPods, will soon fit onto our clothing and soon after into blood cells. Kurzweil’s mind blowing insight into health and medicine technology that he had a line for questions forming immediately after his presentation.

“Health and medicine used to not be an information technology it used to be hit or miss,” he said. “We are now understanding the information process of biology.”

Using an example he spoke about the fat cells in the human body and how historically man worked long days with a low caloric intake, therefore the body stored extra nutrients in the fat cells to get him through the day.

“Today we don’t need to store fat cells,” Kurzweil said. He confirmed that testing has been done in labs to manipulate cells to turn off the storage of fat in the body and the testing has proven to be successful.

Manipulating cells fed into the topic of “designer babies” but Kurzweil joked that he was more interested in “designer baby boomers.”

Another topic that incited questions after the presentation was the topic of solar panels powering the nation. Kurzweil said he had met with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, several weeks before.

Kurzweil said “the unused desert in all of the Middle East could power all of Europe with solar panels” to which Netanyahu replied, “Is there enough sun to do that?”

Kurzweil assured the humored audience that humans have not even begun to tap into the amount of energy and power the sun can provide.

He closed the evening’s Tate Lecture Series with a few predictions for the future; one was that computers will disappear in this decade.

Kurzweil told that audience that there is not a single organ today that is not being augmentated and said that technological advances in health and medicine are “not to displace us, but to transcend who we are.”

The Daily Update: Wednesday, Oct. 6

October 6, 2010 by · Comments Off 

The Daily Update: Wednesday, Oct. 5 from on Vimeo.

We’ll tell you about a historic meeting talking peace today, the possibility of your favorite mockingbird retailers in the basement of new dorms, and how Obama reacted to something slippery in his speech.

Haass, Rubin, and Gergen Answer Questions at Tate Lecture Student Forum

September 15, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Marissa Belske

SMU and local high school students gathered in the Hughes-Trigg ballroom Tuesday afternoon to ask respected political and foreign affair experts about pressing issues on the U.S. economy and international relations in the Middle East and China.

Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Robert Rubin, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and David Gergen, a senior political commentator for CNN helped kick off the 29th season of the Tate Lecture Series by expressing the importance of U.S. international involvement in a down economy.

The Role of China and Latin America

The experts agreed that with today’s economy the U.S. needs a much broader range of partners. Haass said that a good relationship with China is vital to the future of the U.S.

“They stressed to me the point that the U.S. needs to become and stay allies with China to grow,” said SMU student Daniel Hux.

According to Gergen, China’s renewable energy industry is growing rapidly, at times promoting their economy at the expense of American jobs.

“They (China) are doing a lot of things which are in violation with international law to build up their economy and create these jobs,” said Gergen. “Places, like in Dublin, Massachusetts where there is a renewable energy company, are now shutting down and moving its jobs to China.”

“It surprised me to hear that China has gotten into renewable energy,” said elementary schoolteacher Linda Giesen. “They are taking our jobs and that is scary.”

The experts agree that the U.S. needs to turn their attention to developing relationships with Latin America as well. Rubin says that 10 to 20 years down the road, the U.S. could face conflict in these regions for access to their natural resources.

“We have paid too little attention to Latin America for far too long,” said Gergen.

A Strong Home Front

The U.S. economy was on the minds of all the experts. Haass was especially passionate about the importance of improving the American economy before creating international commitments.

“The most important thing I would say is we need to be strong at home if we are going to be strong abroad,” said Haass. “We are accumulating debt at an alarming rate which leaves us vulnerable. We need to restore again the economic foundations of our might.”

Gergen joked that all students should take history while in college to learn from previous mistakes. While America faces threats from abroad, he says that the America’s biggest threat comes from within.

“I cannot remember a time when our problems have seemed so big and our capacity to solve them have been this small,” said Gergen.

The Future of the Middle East

The experts touched on Iran and the growing threat there due to their economic challenges. Haass said that today Iran is developing nuclear weapons in laboratories and that it is hard to predict what will happen next.

“The question in Iran is what is the timeline of political change in comparison to the timeline of their nuclear development,” said Haass.

While the experts are hopeful that the issues will resolve themselves in the Middle East, they say problems will not be resolved anytime soon.

“The basic message is stay tuned,” said Gergen. “I think almost everything we have said today is stay tuned.”

Although the subject matter of the afternoon was serious, SMU Student Haz said that the student forum was both entertaining and enlightening.

“They are passionate about what they do and it is good to know that we have people out there that are trying to help fix what’s going on here.”
For more information on the speakers visit the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series website. The next Tate Student Forum will be held Tuesday, October 5th and will feature Inventor Ray Kurzweil.

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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