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SMU alumni take center stage
By D Magazine |

SINCE SMU OPENED in 1915, more than 60,000 alumni have traveled across its 164 acres. Many graduates stay in Dallas because of the great career opportunities, later becoming the city’s business and philanthropic leaders. Others, however, choose to leave Dallas for out-of-state opportunities, adding to America’s melting pot of talent.


Neurologist Floyd Bloom (56) is director of the Division of Preclinical Neuroscience and Endocrinology at the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in La Jolla, California. His field research deals with the effects of alcohol on the brain. Specifically, he studies the narrow balancing act between the minimum amount one can drink safely and the maximum amount one can drink occasionally without becoming addicted.

Bloom ranks SMU at the top of America’s schools with outstanding pre-med programs. He credits Professor Emeritus of Chemistry Harold Jeskey with building a program that, in recent years, has seen 70 to 80 percent of SMU applicants admitted to leading medical and dental schools throughout the country.


Playwright Beth Henley also left the bright lights of Big D for the bright lights of the West Coast. She wound up on the East Coast, however. In 1981, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for her Broadway hit, Crimes of the Heart.

Her next play, The Wake of Jamey Foster, opened in New York the following fall. Henley became the only woman playwright in recent history to have two Broadway plays running simultaneously.

Her recent play, Debutante Ball, was presented at the South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa, California. Shooting may start in 1986 for Crimes, with Bruce Beresford (Tender Mercies) directing.


He went through SMU on a football scholarship. He co-founded an investments firm. He served four years as a county judge, four terms on the Dallas City Council. He lost a close race for mayor. He dives for sunken treasure.

Man-of-many-talents Garry Weber stayed in Dallas and did well. In 1957, he earned Ail-American Honorable Mention on the ’57 SMU football team. In 1958, he graduated with a finance degree that enabled him to buy a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. He later became CEO of the brokerage firm Weber, Hall, Sale, and Associates Inc.

In ’75, Weber linked up with deep-sea salvager Captain Tracy Bowden off the coast of the Dominican Republic. By researching 400- to 500-year-old Spanish archives, Weber and company found two Spanish galleons loaded with jewelry, decorated swords and household goods, which had sunk off the coast of the Dominican Republic in 1724. Weber has also been involved in salvage projects in the Mediterranean and off the coast of Jamaica.

He serves on the SMU Board of Trustees, the Institute of Nautical Archaeology and Yosemite National Park, among others. His new investment, Satellite Music Network, produces live radio formats for stations across the country.


From September to March, SMU turns loose a quiet but persuasive volunteer on the Dallas business community. He is 1925 graduate Howard Martin. During 47 years as a volunteer, Martin has raised more than $1 million. “I used to get $50,000 to $100,000 a year,” he said. “In the last three or four years I’ve been getting more than $100,000.” In 1985, Martin broke his own record with $136,640 in contributions, calling on 409 businesses. “Corporations give money to SMU because they know it’s a good investment,” he says.


Bobby Lyle is a volunteer for all seasons. The CEO of Lyco Energy Corporation, as well as co-developer of the Dallas Galleria, is currently president of the SMU Alumni Association. In 1984, he led the University’s Susentation campaign, which raises annual operating funds for the university.

After graduating from SMU’s graduate engineering school, Lyle was employed by the University for many years, first as a business professor, later as the youngest dean of a major college in the nation at the Edwin L. Cox School of Business.


When Harriet Miers got her law degree in 70, she was one of 10 or 15 women law graduates. Today, 40 percent of each class is women.

Downtown, she is making legal history. Miers is currently president of the Dallas Bar Association, the first woman to be elected president in the organization’s 110-year history.

A graduate of Hillcrest High School, Miers is proud of her city and her university. “SMU will provide a student as fine an education as that student is interested in pursuing.”


Before the Texas Sesquicentennial even begins, thousands of visitors will have traveled to Dallas to visit the John F. Kennedy memorial in downtown Dallas. Each year, many leave disappointed. They want to see more than Dealey Plaza and a couple of plaques.

Historic preservationist, humanitarian, and civic leader Lindalyn Adams 1948 SMU graduate, is doing something about that. As president of the Dallas County Historical Foundation, she’s organizing a capital campaign to raise $3 million for an educational and historical overview of the Kennedy assassination.

Raising money for historical projects is nothing new for Adams. She has headed every major preservation group in Texas. Adams was the first woman ever elected to the presidency of the Dallas Historical Society. She led development of Dallas’ Old City Park.

As the Park Cities Historical Society president, she’s been involved in moving the Costello House, the Park Cities’ oldest home, to Old City Park. In 1984-85, she was a boardmember of 25 organizations. And in 1986-87, she’ll be president of the SMU Alumni Association.

SMU International: Students span the globe

MAPS, OF COURSE, locate SMU precisely five miles from downtown Dallas. For some of its students, however, the university reaches halfway around the world.

Each year, approximately 450 American students fan out to study at universities far beyond the Dallas campus in one of SMU’s 15 International Programs.

Blending life and learning experiences is a mainstay of SMU philosophy. On campus in Dallas, professors bring the world of intellectual achievement into the classroom. By taking professors, students and classrooms out into the world, the university helps learning come alive.

Since its inception 16 years ago, study abroad in SMU’s international programs has become a vital educational experience for almost 3,000 students. Special programs in Spain, France, Japan and Great Britain (as well as Denmark, Italy and Austria, available through affiliate institutions) permit students to live, study and travel abroad for one semester or an entire school year, while earning SMU academic credit.

SMU also offers study programs in the summer in Salzburg (Austria), Oxford (England), Toldeo (Spain), Tours (France) and Cuernavaca (Mexico).

Additionally, in the inter-term (between the close of the spring semester and the opening of summer school) SMU annually offers accredited study tours. Most recent programs have included stays in Britain, Greece, Italy, Spain and the Soviet Union.

Each international study program is characterized by solid academic content and a variety of courses emphasizing language, history, business and the arts, says Dr. John Mears, SMU professor of history and acting director of the University’s international programs. Mears is also a former director of SMU-in-Austria.

“All of the international programs offer immersion in a foreign culture, which provides new ways of seeing ourselves and our world from wholly different perspectives,” Mears says.

Instruction in all programs is offered in English by a faculty of selected SMU and native professors from host country universities. Even language courses are taught in English by bilingual professors, so that students need not be fluent to participate. Although there are no language requirements, students must complete their freshman year in college and meet certain minimum academic standards to qualify.

Most long-term programs offer unique accommodations through a special “home-stay” option, which allows students to experience host country cultures by living in private homes. Other options include living in university dormitories or approved apartments.

Although populated largely by SMU students, the international programs (most extensive of those of any school in the Southwest have attracted an increasing number of students from other Texas schools. Participants come from Texas Christian University, the University of Texas at Austin and Baylor University, as well as from more distant campuses such as Northwestern University, Tulane and the University of Southern California.

Mears says there is a sense of excitement about the future of the programs. SMU is anticipating the development of new programs in the Far East and the Caribbean Basin.

Additional plans are currently under way to expand existing international study programs to involve more academic areas of the university and a larger number of Southern Methodist University faculty members.

Most programs currently are weighted heavily in the humanities but breakthroughs are ahead for cooperative engineering programs, offered through the University of London.

“In the future,” says Mears, “we want to respond to the needs and priorities of science and professional education in addition to the humanities in arranging foreign study.”