SMU’s May 14 Commencement celebrates academic achievement

SMU’s May 14 Commencement celebrates academic achievement

New security and clear-bag policy in place

The Class of 2016

Class of 2016


From the Class of 2016:

Graduating entrepreneur ready to take asthma management device to next level

Edward AllegraEdward Allegra started his SMU journey as a biology major, thinking he wanted to become a physician, but he will be graduating May 14 with degrees in biology and economics, already hard at work marketing a mobile health device for asthma diagnosis and management he developed with a team of SMU students. Read more.


Graduate Ariana Hudson moves from student to teacher

Ariana HudsonAriana Hudson has been doing education volunteer and internship work since she was a freshman at SMU. That kind of service was a natural progression for the child of two police officers, and Hudson intends to stay on that path as she begins a teaching career with Teach for America immediately after May commencement. Read more.


Tiana Johnson: Dedicated to making a change

Tiana JohnsonD Magazine recently turned a spotlight on SMU graduate student Tiana Johnson as one of seven incredible Dallas women who deserve more attention that the “Real Housewives of Dallas.” After receiving her Master of Fine Arts degree May 14, the actress, activist and pageant queen will be a member of the Brierly Resident Acting Company at the Dallas Center Theater. Read more.


Vocalist Maya Jones gives voice to the power of faith, confidence & helping others

Maya JonesAnyone who has witnessed one of Maya Jones’ powerful operatic or gospel performances can recall just how she made them feel: elated, or perhaps sorrowful, but decidedly impressed. As she prepares to earn bachelor’s degrees in vocal performance and music education, she reflects on her evolution from a girl judged “too loud” into a gifted performer. Read more.


Marine Corps vet finds inspiration, safe harbor during time at SMU

Cody MarshallWhen Codey Marshall was just a kid from Garland, he enjoyed watching the SMU football team vigorously chasing its opponents across the field at old Ownby Stadium. He had no idea then the grand journey life held in store, or that it would return him to the Hilltop. Read more.


SMU Dedman Law Grad Pursues Path of Criminal Justice

Katherine MitchellLaw School graduate Katherine Mitchell of Dallas has chosen a career in criminal justice "to serve people who are at the absolute lowest point in their life," she says. She credits the time she spent in SMU's Criminal Justice Clinic - learning from legal professionals, bonding with fellow law students and offering pro bono assistance to community members in need - "as absolutely the best hands-on experience I could've had." Watch the interview. video


Hallie Hovey-Murray: How I overcame autism

Haley Hovey-MurrayHallie Hovey-Murray writes about overcoming the challenges she has faced and speaks up for others who have autism. At SMU she has been an example to others through her active life, being in a sorority, serving as president of SMU speech and debate, and dabbling in Division 1 athletics as a woman’s rower. Read more.


Blind student discovers passion for human rights at SMU

John KalkanliJohn Kalkanli has never seen the campus of SMU, but he says he loves it none-the-less. Born in Turkey with a disorder that robbed him of his sight from day one, his family brought him to Dallas six times in his first five years of life to attempt surgeries they hoped would make him see. None of the surgeries worked, but eventually he found something else in Dallas – a future home at SMU. Read More.


Smart Phones Tested For Cancer Screening In Zambia

Nicholas SaulnierThousands of women in Zambia at risk for cervical cancer will have greater access to life-saving screenings, thanks to a diagnostic phone application developed by SMU graduate student Nicholas Saulnier, who will graduate from SMU on Saturday, May 14, with a Master's degree in electrical engineering. Read more.

May 9, 2016

DALLAS (SMU)SMU will celebrate the academic accomplishments of more than 2,500 students at its 101st annual Commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 14, in Moody Coliseum.

Guests are urged to arrive early as seating in the coliseum is limited to four guests per student. Additional seating will be available for a simulcast of the event at Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports, Crum Auditorium and McFarlin Auditorium. The ceremony also will be broadcast outside Moody Coliseum on Bolin Plaza, and there will be a live webcast of the ceremony at

Commencement guests are urged to familiarize themselves with the University’s security policy for Moody Coliseum, also known as the “clear bag policy.” The requirements are designed to support public safety through restricting items that may be carried in to the coliseum.  Please find details below.

Prior to the start of the ceremony, the digital screens in the center of Moody Coliseum will periodically share social media posts shared by graduates and their guests. Attendees can use the hashtag #SMUgrad on any Twitter or Instagram post to possibly have their post shared on the big screen and show their pride in reaching graduation day.

Richard Templeton and Mary Templeton
Richard and Mary Templeton

Technology and civic leaders Richard and Mary Templeton will share the delivery of the SMU Commencement address. Richard Templeton, a member of the SMU Board of Trustees, is president and CEO of Texas Instruments, and Mary Templeton is a philanthropist and community volunteer who had a 14-year career with General Electric before moving to Dallas. Under Mr. Templeton’s leadership, TI and the TI Foundation have invested generously in programs designed to strengthen global education programs, including K-12 STEM teaching and student achievement. Click here to read more about Richard and Mary Templeton.

During the ceremony, an honorary degree will be conferred upon medical researcher Groesbeck Parham, a leader in cancer prevention in Third World countries. Parham will lead a symposium, “Creating Impact in Global Health,” at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11, at Harold Simmons Hall. The symposium is free and open to the public.

Diploma presentation ceremonies will be held at individual schools. Click here for the commencement schedule.

The Baccalaureate Service for undergraduate candidates and their guests will be held at 8 p.m. Friday, May 13, in McFarlin Auditorium. It will be broadcast live at

For a map of the SMU campus, visit


Clear PurseAll guests are screened with a hand wand; all bags are checked.

Prohibited items include, but are not limited to, animals (except licensed service animals), backpacks, binocular cases, briefcases, camera bags, cans, cinch bags, computer bags, coolers, diaper bags, fanny packs, firearms, glass bottles, guns, inflated balloons, knives of any size and type, laser pointers, luggage, noisemakers, purses larger than a small clutch, radios, seat cushions with zippers, pockets or compartments, selfie sticks, signs, stun guns, throwing objects, umbrellas (unless threat of rain or raining), and weapons.

All bags must be clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and may not exceed 12 X 6 X 12 inches. Bags may be one-gallon clear plastic resealable storage bags.  

Small clutch purses with or without straps, no larger than 8.5 X 5.5 inches, are permitted.  

The clutch DOES NOT have to be clear and may be carried separately or within an approved plastic bag. 

Items that are medically necessary are evaluated individually.  


Those attending Commencement activities at SMU on May 13 - 14 may park for free in any of the University's parking facilities, including the surface lots, at the following locations:

    • Binkley Garage -  At Binkley Avenue and Ownby Drive
    • Moody Garage - Airline Road and SMU Boulevard
    • Airline Garage -  Airline Road and Daniel Avenue
    • Mustang Parking Center – 6001 Bush Avenue at Binkley Avenue
    • Meadows Parking Center – Bishop Boulevard and Schlegel Street north of Mockingbird Lane
    • U Surface Lot – Airline Road and University Boulevard

No parking will be permitted on Bishop Boulevard. Laws and regulations that prohibit parking in fire lanes and limit who may use areas reserved for the disabled are strictly enforced. Please allow extra time to find parking as heavy traffic may affect routes from parking areas to various locations on campus.


Learn more about Commencement weekend by clicking here                      


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.