2017 Archives

Honorary degree recipients to speak, participate in public symposia leading to SMU Commencement

May 16, 2017

DALLAS (SMU) – The work and contributions of four prestigious leaders in science, theology and the arts will be the focus of public presentations and discussions at SMU in the days leading to their receipt of honorary degrees at the University’s May 20 Commencement ceremony. All the events are free and open to the public.


Francis Halzen, a pioneer in the field of astrophysics, will give a public lecture at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 18, in Dallas Hall’s McCord Auditorium.

A reception will precede the lecture at 5 p.m. in the rotunda of Dallas Hall. Organizers are offering a special welcome to students from Adamson High School’s “Living Physicist Program” and area high school teachers and students who participate in the QuarkNet program. Halzen will receive the degree Doctor of Science, honoris causa, at Commencement.



E.P. Sanders, an internationally respected New Testament scholar, will be honored with a symposium examining his work from 10-11:30 a.m. Friday, May 19, in SMU Perkins Chapel. Moderator for “Comparing Early Judaism and Early Christianity: The Scholarship of E. P. Sanders,” will be Mark Chancey, professor of religious studies in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.  Panelists will include:

  • Craig C. Hill, dean and professor of New Testament, Perkins School of Theology, SMU
  • David P. Moessner, Bradford Chair of Religion, Department of Religion, TCU
  • Beverly Gaventa Roberts, Distinguished Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Department of Religion, Baylor University and Helen H.P. Manson Professor of New Testament literature and Exegesis Emerita, Princeton Theological Seminary
  • Sze-kar Wan, Professor of New Testament, Perkins School of Theology, SMU


A Conversation with Nancy Nasher,” is scheduled for 1-2:30 p.m. Friday, May 19, in Taubman Auditorium of the Owen Arts Center.  The attorney, businesswoman and philanthropist whose vision for public engagement with the arts has been transformative in Dallas will receive the degree Doctor of Arts, honoris causa, at Commencement.


Francis S. Collins, the physician-geneticist who led the landmark Human Genome Project before becoming director of the National Institutes of Health, will participate in a symposium focused on his life and work at 3 p.m. Friday, May 19, in Crum Auditorium in the Collins Executive Education Center. Collins also will deliver the Commencement address Saturday, May 20, and will receive the degree Doctor of Science, honoris causa, at the ceremony.

 Collins will join these panel members in discussing: