2015 Archives

SMU Santa Peruna visits RISD schools with gifts and good advice

December 23, 2015

Scenes from Santa Peruna's Visit

Santa Peruna Visit

DALLAS (SMU) –SMU's Santa Peruna recently visited two Richardson schools, bringing gifts, healthy snacks and important reminders to students: "Keep reading over the holidays" and "go to college." 

Each student received a book from Half-Price Books, healthy snacks from the North Texas Food Bank and backpacks, pencils and bookmarks from SMU, as well as lots of good cheer at fun-filled assemblies.

The visits coincided with college and reading incentives at Richardson Independent School District elementary schools Forest Lane Academy and Thurgood Marshall. Sponsors included SMU, Half Price Books, North Texas Food Bank and Dallas Public Libraries.

SMU graduates and former Mustang football players Uzooma Okeke and Eric Neal spoke to Forest Lane Academy students about the importance of working hard in school at a wrap up of the school's college week. Okeke, a 1992 communications major, is a Canadian Football League Hall of Famer and scout for the Montreal Alouettes. Neal, a 2005 economics graduate, is a Dallas commercial banker.

At Thurgood Marshall Elementary, students who read for 20 minutes a day for 20 consecutive days were treated to a book-themed carnival, complete with a book walk, cookie decorating, bookmark making and photos with Santa Peruna. Students went home with new books and backpacks filled with apples as a reward for their good work.


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