SMU's annual Women's Symposium set for March 8

Wendy Davis to be keynote speaker at SMU's March 8 Women's Symposium

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU's annual Women's Symposium, Wednesday, March 8, will feature a keynote address by Wendy Davis, former Texas state senator and 2014 candidate for Texas governor.

Wendy Davis
Wendy Davis

An attorney and long-time public servant, Davis served on the Fort Worth City Council from 1999 to 2008. She represented District 10 in the Texas Senate from 2009 to 2015, but made her mark, nationally, with an impassioned, 11-hour filibuster in June 2013 that delayed passage of a bill restricting abortion regulations in Texas.  She ran for governor on the Democratic ticket in 2014, losing to Republican Greg Abbott.

In 2016, Davis launched a new initiative, Deeds Not Words, designed to train and equip young women to make changes in their communities.

“We invited Wendy Davis to be our keynote speaker because she was a major advocate for women during her time in the Texas Senate and during her gubernatorial campaign,” said Aurora Havens, Women's Symposium co-chair and a senior engineering major. “We believe she is an inspiration to all women, especially in Texas.”

The theme of the student-planned 2017 symposium, “My Body, Not Their Politics,” will focus on the politics surrounding issues such as sexual violence, reproductive justice, and women and politics.

“The theme addresses issues women face as well as the current political climate,” Havens says. Sachi Sarwal, a junior electrical engineering major, is also co-chair.

The symposium is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at SMU's Hughes-Trigg Student Center, 3140 Dyer. St. Visit for registration and more information. Registration is requested.

Women's Symposium PosterFeaturing a community resource fair, book signing and community awards reception and dinner, the symposium also features the Profiles in Leadership Awards. Recipients include:

  • Sharon King, for 35 years a fundraising professional and volunteer leader of numerous Dallas women's organizations;
  • Cheryl Pollman, past president of the Dallas chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women and a leader dedicated to helping children in Dallas' Vickery Meadow area;
  • Sandra Sedillo-McGlothlin, co-founder of Empire Roofing and Empire Texas Equities and leader in numerous industry and community organizations including the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce;
  • Teri Walker , founder and CEO of CommonTeri Services, a technology consulting firm and statewide leader of adult and family literacy programs;
  • Cynthia Yung, executive director of the Boone Family Foundation, which advances equity for women and girls.

The Ward Award for Excellence in Mentoring will be presented to Angela Fields, founder of Rae's Hope, a Dallas nonprofit designed to empower at-risk girls to become productive members of their communities.

More than 500 attendees are expected to attend SMU Women's Symposium, created in 1966 as part of the University's commemoration of its 50th anniversary. One of the longest running events of its kind, the symposium has challenged, changed and broadened women's perspectives on campus and in the community.

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