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Andrew Graybill named director of SMU’s Clements Center For Southwest Studies

Andrew Graybill
Andrew R. Graybill

August 29, 2011

DALLAS (SMU) — Andrew R. Graybill, an expert on the American West, has been appointed director of SMU’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies. The Clements Center in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences is internationally known as an incubator for research, writing and programming related to the American Southwest.

Graybill arrived at SMU Aug. 1 after eight years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he directed its interdisciplinary Program in Nineteenth-Century Studies and served as associate professor of history.

The San Antonio native returns to familiar hallways on the Hilltop. Graybill completed his first book, Policing the Great Plains: Rangers, Mounties and the North American Frontier, 1875-1910  (University of Nebraska Press, 2007), while a fellow at the Clements Center in 2004-2005. The center provides year-long post-doctoral fellowships for scholars, enabling them to further develop manuscripts for publication.

He also collaborated with the Clements Center in 2006-2007 to coordinate its symposium, “Bridging National Borders in North America: Transnational and Comparitive Histories,” and to co-edit the resulting collection of papers.

Graybill earned his Master’s degree and Ph.D in history from Princeton University. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles, essays, chapters and introductions on topics ranging from environmental history to changing racial landscapes in the American West to the Texas Rangers. His second book, A Mixture of So Many Bloods: A Family Saga of the American West, is under contract with W.W. Norton & Co. and due to be published in 2013. Graybill was awarded a 2010-2011 National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship to support completion of the book.

“Andy Graybill brings to the Clements Center the perfect blend of academic interests and experience,” says Sherry Smith, University Distinguished Professor of History, Clements Center associate director and chair of the search committee. “He is an exceptional historian of Texas, the borderlands and Western history with an interest in comparative history. He understands the Clements Center strengths, appreciates our well-deserved reputation as an internationally known research center, and takes pride in past accomplishments. But he also has terrific ideas for new initiatives.”

Graybill succeeds Clements Center founding director David J. Weber, the Robert H. and Nancy Dedman Professor of History, who died Aug. 20, 2010.

His research also has been supported by University of Nebraska research grants, a Canadian Studies Conference Grant and a Montana Historical Society research fellowship. In addition, his scholarship has been honored by the Agriculture History Society, the Western History Association, the Canadian Embassy, the University of Nebraska and Princeton University.

“Andy Graybill comes to SMU with top-notch scholarly credentials and a passion for the Southwest,” says William Tsutsui, dean of Dedman College.  “He understands well what makes the Clements Center so special, not just for Dedman College and SMU, but for Texas, the region and the historical profession more broadly.”

Graybill calls directing the Clements Center “the opportunity of a lifetime.”

“The study of the borderlands is poised to go global,” he says. “I’d like the Clements Center to be a leader in that conversation.”


SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls nearly 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.

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