SMU’s May 14 Commencement celebrates academic achievement

SMU’s May 14 Commencement celebrates academic achievement

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 15, 2016

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

The SMU Baccalaureate and Commencement services were broadcast live. Video of the keynote addresses are at below.

Technology and civic leaders Richard and Mary Templeton shared 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. 

The Templetons talked about lessons learned from a swimming accident two and a half years ago that left Mrs. Templeton paralyzed.

"It is my enduring belief that you can let things either strengthen you or weaken you," Mr. Templeton told the graduates. "It is entirely your choice. I found out just how true that is. Needless to say, if you ask for the list of personal characteristics that I believe are critical must-haves, resiliency is now among the top few. I learned that from my wife."

In her closing remarks, Mrs. Templeton said, "I’ve heard that the ultimate challenge for each of us to leave everything we touch and every person we meet a little better than we found them. When I first graduated from college, I certainly didn’t have a profound or strategic understanding of this concept. I just saw opportunities to make a difference and jumped in. With people, I found it rewarding and satisfying to be positive and help them. As each of you heads off into the next phase of your life, I encourage you to think about that challenge, leaving everything you touch or every person you meet a little better than you found them."

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 was conferred upon medical researcher Groesbeck Parham, a leader in cancer prevention in Third World countries.

The Baccalaureate Service for undergraduate candidates and their guests was held Friday, and the featured speaker was the Rev. Paul Rasmussen, senior minister of Highland Park United Methodist Church.

"Did you know that your assignment here was not to complete the work?" Rasmussen said. "Your assignment was to grow from it so that ultimately you will know who you are and what you are all about. The British philosopher John Ruskin said this, 'The primary reward for human toil is not what you get for it but what you become by it.' "

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See the Commencement Keynote Address

See the Baccalaureate Service Keynote Address


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.