2012 Archives

SMU holds 97th Commencement

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice delivers featured address

Watch Condoleezza Rice's Commencement Address at SMU
Read excerpts from or a transcript of her speech.
Listen to/download her speech. audio

Scenes from Commencement Weekend

SMU Commencement Weekend 2012
Watch the slide shows. camera


Spotlight on the Students

Miracles Amid Adversity

Ella LunaWhile a student, Ella Luna was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis, learned that her youngest son would be born with a brain malformation, lost her husband to colon cancer and lost her mother to a stroke. As a single mother, she has attended graduate school and worked full-time. Instead of asking "Why me?" she says she has learned to ask, "Why not me?" Read more.

Age Is A State of Mind

Sawyer StoneWhat happens to a bright child who skips kindergarten, second and fourth grade? If you’re Sawyer Stone, you start school at SMU before you are old enough to drive, and you get your diploma at the tender age of 18. Read more.

Off To NFL Camp

Kelvin BeachumSMU football player and 2012 graduate Kelvin Beachum recently was drafted by the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. But before he heads back to training camp, he has to meet an important commitment – he is receiving his Master of Liberal Arts degree and presenting the Commencement address to fellow 2012 graduates of Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. Read more.

Life Like A Movie

Yassir DirarYassir Dirar, a native of northern Sudan, is not a professional actor but a soon-to-be graduate of SMU's Dedman School of Law. Yet as he prepares for commencement, he’s also playing a major role in an unfinished independent film already generating buzz on CNN and on the BBC. Read more.

Helping Save Lives

Adriana MartinezAdriana Martinez is widely known at SMU as a dynamic student who served as an SMU Board of Trustees student representative and in other high-profile campus leadership roles. What most do not realize is the important work the soon-to-be graduate has done with the U.S. Department of Justice that will continue to help save the lives of many children in Mexico. Read more.

May 12, 2012

DALLAS (SMU) — Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking at SMU’s Commencement on Saturday, told the graduates that as educated persons they have a responsibility to commit themselves to reason and the pursuit of truth.

“You’ve been encouraged to know that reason and faith are not enemies of one another, but together permit the fullest expression of what it is to be human,” she said. “This experience will sustain you for the rest of your lives.”

She told the some 2,100 graduates, their families and friends crowded into Moody Coliseum that education “is a force that erases arbitrary divisions of race and class and culture, and unlocks every person’s potential. . .  Education is transformative. It literally changes lives. That is why people work so hard to become educated. And that is why education has always been the key to human beings and their dreams.”

Rice, who received an honorary degree (see the citation) during the ceremonies, said, “No one should assume that a life of reason is easy. To the contrary, it takes a great deal of courage and honesty. For the only way you will grow intellectually is by constantly examining your opinions, attacking your prejudices, and completing your journey toward the force of reason.”

Rice has achieved prominence in both government service and higher education. She currently holds three positions at Stanford University: professor of political economy in the Graduate School of Business, Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution and professor of political science.

Rice earned her Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Denver, a Master’s from the University of Notre Dame and a Ph.D. from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver. Her academic career began in 1981 when she joined the Stanford faculty. A dedicated teacher, she has received two of the university’s highest teaching awards. She rose through the faculty ranks to serve as Stanford provost from 1993-99, the first woman and first African American to hold that position.

Rice served for two years on the National Security Council staff under President George H.W. Bush. She was the president’s special assistant for national security affairs during the dissolution of the Soviet Union and reunification of Germany. She served on the staff of President George W. Bush as national security adviser from 2001-05. She then served from 2005-09 as the nation’s 66th secretary of state, the second woman and the first African American woman to hold the post. Rice currently serves as chair of the Board of Advisers of the Bush Institute, part of the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the SMU campus.

Philosophy Professor Nancy CartwrightDuring the Commencement ceremony, SMU conferred an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree (see the citation) upon Nancy Cartwright, considered one of the world's most important and influential contemporary philosophers of science.

Cartwright is a professor in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method at the London School of Economics. The author of seven books, she has produced path-breaking work on issues such as the nature of physical laws, causation and scientific reasoning. She is a pioneer of today’s practice-based philosophy of science and helped develop the philosophy of social policy, economics, sociology, medicine, epidemiology and political science.     

Cartwright is a Fellow of the British Academy and a member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the German Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina) and a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.

The weekend's activities included the Baccalaureate service Friday, May 11, with guest speaker Richard J. Wood, dean emeritus of Yale University Divinity School and former president of Earlham College.

The service was followed by Rotunda Recessional, a tradition in which seniors march through the Rotunda of Dallas Hall, marking the end of their undergraduate years and the beginning of their lifelong association with SMU as alumni.

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