Tables of Content

Tables of Content events

Tables of Content

Table Hosts

Twenty table hosts will lead discussions on a variety of topics during the Tables of Content dinner. Table host information is still being updated so please check the website often for new hosts and topics.

Ace Anderson, Actor, Graphic Designer & Photographer

Topic: What does it mean to live a good life, and how does Art play a role?


My name is Ace Anderson. I am a professional Actor, Graphic Designer & Photographer. I began a career as a full-time graphic designer in 2013 after I graduated from SMU with a BFA in Acting. Working full-time gave me the experience and clientele to start my own design company (The Striped Heart). I've studied acting since 2002 and am, now, proudly one of eight members of the Brierly Resident Acting Company at The Regional Tony Award® Winning Dallas Theater Center. I've been recognized across the country as a pioneer in the arts and a true Renaissance Man. Google 'Ace Anderson' and you'll find much of my work. In 2014, I won Best Actor in Dallas for my role in August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. I was also handpicked as one of 100 Top Creatives (No. 36).  As a designer and photographer, I love working with movement and exploring the human body as a work of art. I easily adapt to my environment and I am a very fast learner. People say I'm not funny... 

Karen Blumenthal, Journalist and Author

Topic: Researching the Story Behind Roe v. Wade


Karen Blumenthal is the author of several award-winning nonfiction books, primarily for teens. Her most recent book, Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights (Roaring Brook Press, February 2020), is a social history of how birth control and abortion became illegal and then legal again. In many ways, the history behind one of the nation's most controversial Supreme Court cases is a a Dallas story, though there is little in town that recalls it. SMU also played a supporting role--and some key documents were found in the archives at the DeGolyer Library. Karen has also written about Bonnie and Clyde, Steve Jobs, Hillary Clinton and Title IX and she often uses the SMU libraries for research. A native of Dallas who was in eighth grade when the Roe decision came down, she graduated from Duke University and has an MBA from SMU. 

Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, Fashion Historian, Curator and Journalist

Topic: Fashion: The Fabric of History


Dr. Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell is a fashion historian, curator, and journalist based in Los Angeles. She is the author of the award-winning book Fashion Victims: Dress at the Court of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette (Yale, 2015) and a contributor to The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, Ornament, and Politico. Her latest book is Worn On This Day: The Clothes That Made History (Running Press, 2019).

Jodi Cooley, Associate Professor of Physics and Ford Research Fellow, SMU

Topic: Fantastical Dark Matter and How We Find It


Jodi Cooley is an Associate Professor of Physics at SMU and an SMU Ford Research Fellow.  She has won numerous awards for her teaching and research.  Her most recent accomplishments include election as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2018 and becoming the 2019 recipient of the American Association of Physics Teachers Klopsteg Memorial Lecture Award.  Dr. Cooley’s research takes her to into deep underground mines in order to improve our understanding of the universe by deciphering the nature of dark matter.  The existence of this elusive matter was first postulated almost 90 years ago.   However, our only understanding of it comes from observing its gravitational interactions using telescopes.  Dr. Cooley and her colleagues operate sophisticated cryogenic detectors with the hope to be the first people to ever detect dark matter in a terrestrial detector and study its properties.

Fantastical Dark Matter and How We Find It

Looking up in the sky at night, have you ever wondered if there was anything between the stars you see?  Only a small fraction of the universe is made from ordinary, visible matter.   A much larger portion remains dark, its existence known to us only by its interactions through gravity.  The first evidence of this dark matter originates from studies of celestial bodies in the late 1920s and early 1930s.  Since that time, astrophysicists and astronomers have determined that it constitutes the bulk of matter in our universe.  Despite this fact, the composition still remains unknown.  Over the course of the night our table conversations will revolve around this fantastical matter and the novel experiments that scientists like Dr. Cooley and her colleagues conduct to try to find these elusive particles.

Norm Hitzges, Author and Sports Talk Radio Host

Topic: Sports and Travel


Norm Hitzges hosted the first full-time sports talk-show in morning drive time in the country right here in Dallas Ft Worth over 30 years ago. He has been on-air continuously for all those years in the DFW Market. Hitzges is known for his enthusiasm and knowledge of sports trivia and his penchant and success for handicapping all sports. But especially for his first love outside of broadcasting: horse racing. Hitzges has been honored by the Texas Radio Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Dallas All of Sports Association and the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame. Norm also hosts the “Norm-A-Thon”, a yearly 18 hour marathon broadcast to raise money for the area’s homeless.

Sam Holland, Algur H. Meadows Dean and Professor of Music, Meadows School of the Arts, SMU

Topic: Creativity in the Age of AI


Samuel S. Holland is the Algur H. Meadows Dean and an award-winning professor of music at the Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University. A champion of the transformational power of arts and communication, Dr. Holland leads a team that is responsible for raising over $150M in new funding for the Meadows School. Under his leadership, the Division of Music at SMU was ranked #1 in the nation in 2015 by College Factual as reported in USA Today. In addition to artistic and programmatic excellence, the Meadows School is nationally recognized for innovative curricula, sustainable community engagement, and its entrepreneurial approach to arts education. Dr. Holland’s articles have appeared in every major English language professional keyboard journal and he is the author of over seventy critically acclaimed and innovative method books and recordings distributed internationally by Alfred Publishing Co. and the Frederick Harris Music Co. A performance student of John Perry and Abbey Simon, he earned a Ph.D. in music education with an emphasis in piano pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma. He has presented hundreds of lectures and recitals throughout North America, Europe, and Australia and has pioneered in the application of new technology to performance and pedagogy. Dr. Holland is a founding trustee of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy, a not-for-profit educational institution in Princeton NJ that presents the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy and publishes Clavier Companion magazine. He is a co-founder of the Centre for Musical Minds (Frisco, TX).

David Meltzer, Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory in the Department of Anthropology, SMU

Topic: Archaeology, ancient DNA, and the Ice Age peopling of the Americas


David J. Meltzer is the Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory in the Department of Anthropology at SMU, and an Affiliate Professor at the Centre for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. His research focuses on the origins, antiquity, and adaptations of the very first Americans – the hunter-gatherers who colonized North America at the end of the Ice Age. His publications include a dozen books and nearly 190 articles. He’s been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1998), a member of the National Academy of Sciences (2009), The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (2009), and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2013).


His table talk will be on Archaeology, ancient DNA, and the Ice Age peopling of the Americas, and the sea change that’s come about in just the last decade in our understanding of who the first Americans were, where they came from, when and how they made their way to what was then a truly new world, and how these bygone Siberian hunter-gatherers met the challenges of adapting to a vast, utterly unknown, partly ice-shrouded and ecologically diverse landscape. It’s a sea change that’s directly resulted from a raft of newly-discovered (but old!) archaeological sites, and findings about human population history and past environments that have emerged thanks to revolutionary advances in the extraction of DNA from ancient bones, teeth and even sediments.

Stephen Sekula, Associate Professor of Physics and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor, SMU

Topic: Tiny Universes, Big Science


Stephen Sekula is an Associate Professor of Physics at SMU and an SMU Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor. He conducts research at the forefront of the field using a one-of-a-kind machine: the Large Hadron Collider located at the CERN Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. Using this facility he and his colleagues are studying the recently discovered Higgs particle, the primogenitor of fundamental mass in the universe. He is also the co-author of a book for a general audience, "Reality in the Shadows (or) What the Heck's the Higgs?" Together with co-authors S. James Gates Jr. (theoretical physicist) and Frank Blitzer (aerospace engineer), they explore the history of science and physics and take the reader on a journey into what is known, what we wish were known, and how to bridge between the two. His research has been continuously supported by the U.S. Department of Energy since 2012 and he has earned numerous awards and recognition for his teaching and mentoring at SMU, including the HOPE Professor of the Year Award (2016),  Rotunda Outstanding Professor Award (2015), and the SMU Golden Mustang Award (2012).

The table topic will be centered on several key ideas about large-scale modern science including how you conceive of and then sustain large international projects like the Large Hadron Collider and how machines like this can recreate the universe in miniature, capturing a moment just after the universe came into existence, so that one can discern the laws of nature then and now to better understand the history of the whole universe.

Brett Shipp, Journalist and Media Consultant

Topic: War Stories From The Front Lines: 35-Years of TV News


After a 25-year career as an investigative reporter in the DFW market and a 35-year career in television news, Brett Shipp has embarked on a new voyage, taking his journalistic experience to a new level. He left WFAA-TV after 22 years in December 2017 to seek political office. After a brief run for Congress, he started his own consulting and media strategy business, Brett Shipp Media, LLC, focused on helping businesses and individuals gain an advantage, win an election or seek justice. His body of journalistic work speaks for itself. He has won every major award in broadcast news including three George Foster Peabody Awards, two duPont Silver Batons and Brett, along with his former colleague at WFAA, Byron Harris, are the only local tv-news reporters in the country to win the highly coveted Alfred I. duPont Gold Baton. Brett has covered and uncovered scandals and scoundrels, hurricanes and heart-warming adventures and was the first local reporter on the scene near Ground Zero during 9-11.




Matthew Wilson, Director of the Center for Faith and Learning and Associate Professor of Political Science, SMU

Topic: Election 2020: Where Are We Headed?


Matthew Wilson is Director of the Center for Faith and Learning and Associate Professor of political science at Southern Methodist University.  He is also a senior fellow of the John Tower Center for Public Policy and International Affairs and of the Italian Institute for International Political Studies.  His research focuses on public opinion, elections, representation, and the role of race and religion in politics, both in the United States and abroad.  He is the author, co-author, or editor of three books, including Understanding American Politics and Politics and Religion in the United States, and dozens of articles and essays.  His teaching has been honored with awards from the SMU Department of Residence Life and the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility, and in 2016 he received SMU’s President’s Associates Outstanding Faculty Award.  He routinely serves as a commentator on political affairs for local, national, and international media outlets.