March 5, 2013
DALLAS (SMU) — Former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison will speak at SMU’s all-University commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 18, on the main campus quadrangle.
During the ceremony, Senator Hutchison will receive an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree in honor of her distinguished career in public service and support of higher education, especially in the areas of science and engineering.
“Senator Hutchison will have important insights to share with our graduates,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Her long and distinguished career in public service and her dedication to higher education are a testament to her commitment to providing a better life for all citizens and for our nation’s future leaders. She has helped SMU gain research funding for impactful projects in science and engineering.”
In 1993, Texans elected Hutchison to the U. S. Senate in a special election. She was the first woman to represent Texas in the Senate and was re-elected three times by large margins. In the history of the Senate, only two women have been elected to Republican leadership--Senator Margaret Chase Smith and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. As Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, she was the fourth-highest ranking Republican senator.
Hutchison served as the Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the Appropriations Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice and Science. She also chaired the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee and served on Defense Appropriations for 16 years. In 2012, Hutchison finished her term as Chairwoman of the Board of Visitors at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. She chose not to run for re-election to the Senate in 2012.
Throughout her career in the U.S. Senate, Hutchison worked to improve and expand higher education opportunities for students. She has championed advancements in science, technology, engineering and math education and helped thousands of Texans earn college degrees who could not have otherwise gained access to higher education. Through her efforts, research at Texas universities has grown to make the state among the top three for university research in the nation. In 2007, Hutchison co-sponsored the America COMPETES Act to promote STEM and respond to the National Academy of Sciences report on competitiveness. She also was instrumental in establishing the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas, which brings together National Academy members and Nobel laureates to foster academic research in Texas.
Hutchison’s efforts also helped bring more than $20 million in federal funds for research projects to SMU. Some of the projects that have been funded through her efforts include the Infinity Project, a math and science based engineering and technology education initiative; various NASA and national defense projects; high-tech visual equipment development; and biotechnology projects. In addition to science, technology, engineering and math projects, Hutchison has established the Ray and Kay Bailey Hutchison Scholarship at SMU’s Dedman School of Law and the Hutchison Legal Resource Learning Center.
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