Guild of Marshals

SMU's Guild of Marshals includes the Chief Marshal, platform and ceremony marshals, faculty marshals, procession marshals, and school marshals. The Chief Marshal recruits members of the faculty to help organize and lead students, faculty, alumni and platform party members during each of our academic ceremonies. Many marshals graciously serve our students and our University at ceremonies year after year.

Marshals Service Awards

3-9 Ceremonies Lapel pin
10-14 Ceremonies Paperweight
15-24 Ceremonies Coaster
25+ Ceremonies Crystal Award
20+ Ceremonies and 30+ Years Added to the Perpetual Plaque

Chief Marshal

 

Professor Thomas B. Fomby,
Presiding Chief Marshal to the University.

SMU’s Chief Marshal is a prestigious appointment by the Office of the Provost to oversee and direct the five academic ceremonies held annually - Opening Convocation, December Commencement, Honors Day Convocation, Baccalaureate, and Commencement Convocation. The Chief Marshal is selected from among the faculty to lead the university in its most cherished traditions. The Chief Marshal is chosen based on proven leadership skills, patience, attention to detail, and his or her ability to garner excitement and anticipation for each ceremony. He or she is tasked with leading the academic procession and acting as the institution’s chief protocol officer, while maintaining the level of elegance for which SMU ceremonies have become known.

Current and Past Chief Marshals

Chief Marshal to the University


2009-Present

Thomas B. Fomby joined the Guild of Marshals as a procession marshal in 1997 under the guidance of Chief Marshal emeritus Brad Carter. Fomby succeeded Professor Carter as Chief Marshal in January of 2009. A Professor of Economics at SMU since 1975, Dr. Fomby is co-author of the textbook Advanced Econometric Methods and has authored numerous articles in professional economics and statistics journals. He has been Senior Co-editor of Advances in Econometrics (Emerald Publishing Ltd.) since 1986. Professor Fomby currently holds Research Associate positions with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the World Bank in Washington, DC, and the Clinical Sciences Department at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He has consulted with the U.S. Treasury Department, The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and various corporations including SAS, Texas Instruments, KPMG, and Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company to mention a few.

 Accomplishments as Chief Marshal
  • Expanded the December Commencement ceremony
  • Created a new generation of ceremonial gonfalons introduced in December 2009
  • Designed the Guild of Marshals Crystal Award and Perpetual Plaque that are presented to our most dedicated marshals
  • Held the first annual recognition and awards ceremony for the Guild of Marshals on December 17, 2015
  • Organized the first Rotunda Recessional for December candidates on December 18, 2015

Chief Marshal emeritus

1990-2008

Bradley Kent Carter served in the Guild of Marshals for 26 years, including 19 years as Chief Marshal. During this time, he continued to shape SMU's ceremonies, beginning many traditions we see today. Dr. Carter came to the University in 1970 and retired as a Professor emeritus of Political Science in 2015. Professor Carter taught political and organizational theory in the Political Science Department. He also taught undergraduate courses in the General Education Curriculum and graduate courses in the Master of Liberal Arts and Master of Liberal Studies programs. He wrote on the political ideas of James Madison and Mary Parker Follett. Professor Carter served the Political Science Department in several roles, including undergraduate director, from 1999–2014.

His service to the University included a 14-year membership on the Faculty Senate, with three terms as secretary and one as president. He has twice been honored as a Rotunda Outstanding Professor, twice received the Willis M. Tate Award for Distinguished Teaching and also received the “M” Award, SMU’s most prestigious honor. Douglas Bauer, a former student, established the Bauer Incentive Scholarship in Professor Carter’s honor.

Accomplishments as Chief Marshal
  • Commissioned SMU Custom Regalia
  • Created the Rotunda Recessional after the Baccalaureate Service
  • Assisted with the reinstatement of Honors Day Convocation
  • Consolidated three December Graduation ceremonies in McFarlin Auditorium into one ceremony in Moody Coliseum
  • Chaired the effort to create new Marshal’s Robes in May 2007
  • Invited Phi Beta Kappa to participate in Opening Convocation
  • Started using the phrase “Guild of Marshals” in December 1995
  • Modernized the look of printed ceremony programs
  • Chaired the effort to create the Lorn Lambier Howard Lantern, which debuted in August 2008
“In our University’s history, we could not have had a more dedicated and able person to carry on the traditions of our academic ceremonies. Brad Carter will go down in history as our most service-driven Chief Marshal.” -Lorn Howard

Chief Marshal emeritus


1987-1990

Jeffrey D. Chalk served in the Guild of Marshals for 15 years, including 3 years as Chief Marshal to the University. Dr. Chalk joined SMU’s Department of Physics in 1965. He has shown his dedication as a member of this academic community through service on a multitude of committees, and the positions he has held over the decades include chairman ad interim of the Department of Physics, secretary of the Faculty Senate, secretary of the Faculty Athletics Committee, and chairman of Division III of the School of Humanities and Sciences. For 20 years he served as a member of the Premedical Advisory Committee. Dr. Chalk was awarded the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series Award for Excellence in Teaching and Faculty Service in April of 1994. He retired January 1, 1995, as associate professor emeritus of physics.

Accomplishments as Chief Marshal
  • Organized the first Rotunda Passage with Bradley Carter in the fall of 1989

Chief Marshal Emeritus

1978-1987

Lorn Lambier Howard served for 28 years in the Guild of Marshals, including 13 years as Chief Marshal. Dr. Howard joined SMU as professor of electrical engineering. Over the course of his 29 years of active tenure, Dr. Howard founded the Biomedical Engineering Program in cooperation with the Southwestern Medical School, established the University's first Electron Microscopy Laboratory and the Thin Films Laboratory, and was the University carillonneur. The collection of Lorn Howard faculty papers are available in the DeGolyer Library.

Accomplishments as Chief Marshal
  • Inaugurated the “Marshal’s Luncheon” for distributing and discussing ceremony plans
  • Compiled written documentation of Marshal’s Instructions, including detailed building and floor plans
  • Moved the student line-up for Commencement indoors, out of the weather
  • Improved the general ambience of the Commencement setting: covered score boards, removed protective structures throughout Moody Coliseum and increased the amount of draping to convert Moody from a basketball arena to a ceremony venue
  • Commissioned the creation of an enlarged version of the University seal that is still used today
  • Introduced trumpet fanfares throughout the processional as well as preludial music
  • Introduced the "Varsity" tradition; Unique to Commencement Convocation, the lights of Moody Coliseum are dimmed as "Varsity" is played by a brass ensemble