Meadows 2050 Council Advises School and Current Students on Strategy to Foster Success

The alumni advisory group strengthens the Meadows community through mentoring, career guidance and strategic planning for the future of the school and its students.

A Meadows alum helps mentor a current student.
A Meadows alum helps mentor a current student as part of the new Meadows Mentor program.

In 2019, a new alumni advisory group called the Meadows 2050 Council was established in order to inform the future vision, strategic planning, and decision-making related to alumni engagement and career development opportunities at SMU Meadows School of the Arts.


Meadows’ existing alumni network is robust, more than 20,000 strong worldwide, and the Council has been working diligently on initiatives that will activate and engage alumni and current students alike. The Council, which is comprised of approximately 20 graduates from the last two decades, meets twice a year to discuss strategies for alumni engagement and plan for the future of Meadows, envisioning what the school’s alumni program could look like by the year 2050.


“One thing that sets this Council apart from other advisory boards is that the conversations that take place during their meetings result in tangible action items for the school to implement,” says Timmie Hathorn, Assistant Dean in the Office of Alumni and Career Success. “The Council is charged with creating a vision for what the school is to become by the year 2050 and they’ve done just that.”


One such action item that has come to fruition is the creation of the Office of Alumni and Career Success (ACS) itself. This new department, established last year, is the first and only of its kind on the SMU campus and a direct result of the Council’s work. Since the group’s inception four years ago, members of the advisory group have been encouraging Meadows to incorporate a career development element into the existing alumni engagement strategy. They felt that the best way for the school to engage its alumni was to let them help current students with their careers and that Meadows graduates would want to be the mentors that they wished they had back when they were studying at SMU.


ACS partners with SMU’s Hegi Family Career Development Center to offer resources, events and programs to assist current and former students in building self-sustaining careers in the arts, media, design and communications. The office can help connect Meadows alumni and students to employers for work opportunities and even connect alumni with current students to share their career expertise as a Meadows Mentor. The mentorship has been a fulfilling experience for both current students and alumni, with nearly 500 alumni signed up to be Meadows Mentors to date.


Members of the Meadows 2050 Council gather for a meeting.

Members of Meadows 2050 Council gather for a meeting in fall 2022. Photo by Kim Leeson.


“Being able to help foster a community for both the students and the alumni where they feel seen and heard has been so rewarding,” says Kayla Griffis (B.A. ’20, M.A. ’21), one of the current members of the Meadows 2050 Council. “I wanted to have an impact in shaping the future of Meadows and make the experience of being a part of the Meadows community as a student and as an alum more engaging, inclusive and fun.”


For alumni interested in making a difference and joining the Meadows 2050 Council like Griffis, you can either be nominated by a current professor or submit an application for consideration. To be eligible for service, candidates must be degreed graduate or undergraduate alumni of SMU who graduated within the prior two decades and be willing to serve a two-year term, with an option to renew service for a third year. Council members are ultimately appointed by the Dean of Meadows School of the Arts.


To learn more about the Meadows 2050 Council, click here.