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Think Big. SMU & Dallas.

Big on Vision


Dallas is known for its entrepreneurial spirit and innovative approaches to the business of living. This is the city of Southwest Airlines, which invented a whole new style of travel. This is where TI engineers developed the idea of an integrated circuit that would become the microchip and change the way humans live, work and play.

The can-do spirit of Dallas helps fuel SMU’s intellectual environment to drive cutting-edge research, with far-reaching benefits for our world. It’s one reason why SMU is one of the fewer than 100 universities classified as “high research activity” institutions by the Carnegie Foundation.


SMU physicist Ryszard Stroynowski led a University team that played a critical role in the discovery of a brand-new particle consistent with the long-sought Higgs boson, an elusive particle that scientists say might help explain the structure of the universe. The experimental physics group at SMU contributed a significant portion of the expertise in the hunt for the Higgs at the CERN Laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, a global scientific collaboration of thousands of scientists, including SMU’s high-performance computing system.


Biomechanics experts in SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development are studying NBA players flopping (deliberately falling to create the illusion of illegal contact). Their research has been funded by a grant of more than $100,000 awarded by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.


Dallas is a center of health care innovation. SMU biologists Pia Vogel and John Wise in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences are using the computational power of the SMU high-performance supercomputer to screen millions of drug compounds. Their goal is to find one that can be developed into a drug that re-enables chemotherapy when cancer recurs and chemotherapy appears no longer effective.


SMU’s Engineering and Humanity Week brings together students and leading social entrepreneurs seeking to make the world a better place. SMU students tap into their creativity and channel their ingenuity and knowledge to design innovative solutions that can help millions of people around the world. A recent project showcased student-built structures using a variety of shelter technologies to help victims of war and natural disasters as well as disadvantaged urban dwellers in the developing world.


The Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity makes it possible to lead local efforts with global magnitude, nearly anywhere in the world. For example, the search for solutions to dangerous water quality issues that affect millions of people in impoverished areas is driving an SMU research team’s partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). These SMU faculty and students are working in the lab and on the ground in Africa and South Asia to help develop a database that will help UNHCR planners provide safer drinking water in refugee camps in those regions.


The award-winning House Theatre of Chicago, founded in 2001 in the Windy City by artistic director and SMU Meadows School of the Arts alumnus Nathan Allen '00 and other SMU alumni, is critically acclaimed for creating unique theatrical experiences by successfully exploring the ideas of community and storytelling in its production of original works.



In the summer of 1958, Jack Kilby, a newbie at Texas Instruments, used his lack of vacation time to build the first integrated circuit, which became the microchip. Kilby received the Nobel Prize for his invention in 2000. Kilby also led the team that invented the hand-held calculator.


Dallas is a vital link in the Texas Bio Corridor, which hums with innovation on a 275-mile stretch along Interstate 35 and is home to a variety of startups in health care and biotechnology.


The Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity at SMU brings together the most talented minds from fields including engineering, science, business, international development and global economics to come up with innovative solutions for disadvantaged communities.


Students and faculty form a community of intrepid problem solvers as they take on real-word challenges at SMU’s Innovation Gym and the one-of-a-kind SMU/Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® engineering laboratory. SMU has ranked No. 19 among the top 50 colleges and universities nationwide whose engineering graduates earn the highest salaries, as calculated by College Factual.


The Applied Physiology Laboratory at Simmons School of Education and Human Development is one of the premier labs of its kind in the country, conducting cutting-edge research in biomechanics and the body’s response to physiological stressors.


SMU’s Tate Lecture Series elevates the level of intellectual engagement in Dallas. The series, which brings the leading voices in their fields to the Hilltop, was voted Best Conversation Series in D Magazine’s Best of Big D: Readers’ Choice online poll. Past speakers have included Kenneth Cole, Katie Couric, Sanjay Gupta and Jane McGonigal.