About Us


Ceremony Team

The Academic Ceremony Team is comprised of the Chief Marshal, appointed by the Office of the Provost, the University Registrar, the Director of Academic Ceremonies and the Manager of Academic Ceremonies.  With the support of the university community, the ceremonies team produces seven annual academic ceremonies – Opening Convocation, December Rotunda Recessional, December Commencement Convocation, Spring Rotunda Passage, Honors Convocation, Baccalaureate Service, and May Commencement Convocation – each filled with pomp and circumstance.  The team’s ultimate goal is to create lasting memories for our students and their families. 

Tom Fomby, Ph.D.
Chief Marshal

Dr. Tom Fomby has been a Professor of Economics at SMU since 1975.  After serving as Procession Marshal of Academic Ceremonies for many years under the guidance of Chief Marshal Emeritus Brad Carter, Fomby succeeded Professor Carter as Chief Marshal beginning in January of 2009. 

Professor Fomby is currently the Director of the Richard B. Johnson Center for Economic Studies at SMU. He is co-author of the textbook Advanced Econometric Methods and has authored numerous articles in professional economics, statistics and medical journals.  Professor Fomby has been Senior Co-editor of Advances in Econometrics (Emerald Publishing Ltd.) since 1986 and currently serves as a Research Associate with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the Clinical and Epidemiology departments at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.  He has consulted with the U.S. Treasury Department, the World Bank, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and various corporations including SAS, Texas Instruments, KPMG, and Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company.

John A. Hall
University Registrar

John A. Hall came to SMU as a student 43 years ago and never left.  John received his Bachelor of Business Administration from the university in 1971 and received his graduate degrees of Master of Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration from SMU in 1973 and 1979 respectively.

Outside his registrar duties, John has served in numerous capacities at the university. He has chaired many committees and events with the SMU Staff Association and served as the Staff Association President from 2008 - 2009.  He was also an active participant of the university’s Judicial Council for nearly two decades, first as a board member and then as Chairman of the Council, a position he held for nearly a decade. 

John is also the recipient of the esteemed “M” Award, the most highly prized recognition bestowed upon students, faculty, staff and administrators on the SMU Campus.

Outside of SMU, John participates actively in regional and national higher education organizations such as the Texas Association of Registrars and Admissions Officers, Southern Association of Registrars and Admissions Officers, and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.  John served as president of TACRAO in 1986. In 2007, John served as president of SACRAO.

Todd Chiscano
Director of Academic Ceremonies

Meghan Budig

Nancy Skochdopole

Stanley Stubblefield

Office of the University Registrar Event Staff

Staff members from the Registrar’s Office play an integral role in all of SMU’s academic ceremonies. They prepare the faculty and students for the ceremony processions, serve as ushers, adorn the ceremony stage with our beautiful gonfalons and other ceremony symbols, ensure that ceremonies are conducted according to plan, and oversee the fine, behind-the-scene details of each event. Without the dedication of the Registrar’s Office Staff, SMU’s ceremonies would not be as elegant and grand as they are today.

Future Ceremony Dates

2017-2018 Events


Opening Convocation
Sunday, August 20, 2017
McFarlin Auditorium
5:30 p.m.

December Rotunda Recessional
Friday, December 15, 2017
5:30 p.m.

December Commencement 
Saturday, December 16, 2017
Moody Coliseum
10:00 a.m.

Spring Rotunda Passage
5:00 p.m.

Honors Convocation
Monday, April 17, 2017
McFarlin Auditorium
5:30 p.m.

Baccalaureate Service
Friday, May 19, 2017
McFarlin Auditorium
8:00 p.m.

May Commencement 
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Moody Coliseum
9:00 a.m.