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Take the tour and begin an odyssey of education
By D Magazine |

ONE OF THE best views on the SMU cam-pus is upward-toward the stained glass skylight in the center of the great copper dome that caps Dallas Hall. In 1915, Dallas Hall was the university. It contained classrooms, offices, all departments and schools, a library, post office and barber shop. Placed upon the campus’ axis, Dallas Hall commanded a fine view of the distant village of Dallas. Today, it is the home of the humanities and sciences in Dedman College-and the heart of SMU.

The pathways from Dallas Hall are many. To the left and north is the Fondren Science Building. Inside, classes examine the laws of physics, chemistry, and bioloqv. Molecular-level sciences are pursued here, with concentration in biotechnical and bio-medical application.

A large wing was added on the traditional Georgian building in 1969 to accommodate ISEM, the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man. The program combines the talents of anthropologists and geologists in an environment for inter-disciplinary research.

ISEM houses the Shuler Museum of Paleontology, which contains 150,000 fossils from the American Southwest, Central America and Africa. ISEM also has a seismology observatory, radio carbon lab, geophysical and geother-mal labs and a pollen analysis lab among others.

Turning south from fossils, you will pass through the Central Library complex. More than two million volumes rest here, many of which are rare and special collections.

The Science/Engineering Library is strong in the earth sciences and its collection of more than 180,000 geologic, topographical, aeronautical and navigational maps make it one of the country’s largest repostories.

Nearby is SMU’s herbarium, a plant library with specimens from all over the world. Specializing in the Gulf Coast region and the American South, the herbarium is considered a national treasure.

South from the Fondren Library, Clements Hall is a busy classroom and office building that was Dallas Hall’s lone companion in 1915. It was a women’s dormitory then, and SMU’s first president and his family lived on the top floor. Old photographs show early SMU students sipping lemonade on the roof. Their view was nothing but grass and a few trees and farmhouses.

South of Clements is the Cox School of Business, where a growing number of students are learning to be the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Each year, hundreds of seminars and conferences are sponsored in addition to visits by such notables as Lee lacocca and T. Boone Pickens.

Just east is Caruth Hall, home of SEAS, SMU’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. Established in 1925, SEAS is a small engineering school with special emphasis on personalized instruction and “hands-on” experience in robotics, computer-aided design and traditional engineering sequences. The broadcast tower in front of Caruth is part of the TAGER TV Network, closed-circuit program broadcasting graduate level courses to nine other university campuses and area industrial plants.

To the east and south of the Cox School are the sporting complexes. You can usually hear the distant crack of shoulder pads, the huffs and puffs from the outdoor track and splashes from the pools. Beyond are the dorms.

Southwest, across the long promenade that is Bishop, you’ll find Perkins School of Theology and the Bridwell Library. The quadrangle is anchored by the Perkins Chapel, the setting for weddings and a place of solitude and beauty.

Northward, you’ll pass the sculpture garden in front of the Meadows School of the Arts. Henry Moore, Claes Oldenburg and Isamu Noguchi are represented. Inside, improvisational dance may be under way in the Owen Arts Center.

To the left is the 500-seat Caruth Auditorium, an acoustically perfect recital hall. Directly ahead is the Bob Hope Theatre, the site for numerous film screenings and theatre performances. Off to the right is the Meadows Museum, where a collection of Spanish art is considered the finest outside Spain.

Beyond Meadows, past the student health center and residence halls, is the Umphrey Lee Student Center, hub of many student activities and home of the SMU Book Store. The store sponsors the Premier Author Series, a project that has brought such luminaries as former president Jimmy Carter to discuss his book on the Mideast.

North is another landmark, McFarlin Auditorium, in which 2,407 seats have been filled countless times since it was built in 1926. It is the site of diverse cultural events, from symphony concerts to SMU’s Distinguished Lecture Series.

Perkins Administration Building, just north of McFarlin, was built to resemble the much older Hyer Hall across the main quadrangle. And next door, the four-building quadrangle of the SMU Law School contains the classrooms, offices and visiting quarters (the Lawyers Inn) for students, teachers and visiting law professionals. The Underwood Law Library constantly flows with legal experts seeking additional knowledge in their fields.

Leaving the Law Quad, you’ll approach the back entrance to Dallas Hall, impressive from any direction. People are gathering at the McCord Theatre, a small, intimate theatre high in the rotunda to await the arrival of a promising new poet.

This is SMU. Almost every day of the year. A diverse community of learning that offers an endless stream of activities. Take the tour and the share the knowledge.

Sharing the knowledge: A faculty committed to excellence

A UNIVERSITY serves as a bridge between adolescence and maturity, between nescience and knowledge, between yesterday and tomorrow. Historically, SMU has maintained a special philosophy regarding its faculty: classroom teaching was, and is, of highest priority. The University’s first faculty of 15 handled burdensome workloads to meet this obligation. Today, SMU’s faculty is nearly 500. The teacher-student ratio of one to 14 stands as a hallmark of this commitment.

This standard helped SMU build one of the finest teaching faculties of any private university, without neglecting accomplishments in research. Among current professors are Howard Taubenfeld, author of the first serious work on outer space law; Richard Heitzenrater, decoder of the Wesley diaries; Ting and Shirley Chu, field leaders in the development of inexpensive solar energy converters; Schubert Ogden, an internationally renowned theologian; Fred Wendorf, principal archeologist in the effort to salvage treasures from Egypt’s Aswan Reservoir; and Paul Packman, a foremost accident reconstruction/failure analysis expert whose work helped resolve such cases as the MGM Grand Hotel fire, the Hyatt Regency collapse, the 1982 crash of an Air Florida jetliner into the Potomac River and many more.

New programs to attract renowned faculty are central to the recently adopted five-year plan, The Decade Ahead. In the first year after the plan’s adoption, SMU added 47 new faculty members, recruiting from as far away as Oxford University and the Vienna Technical University, and from such prestigious institutions as Juilliard, Harvard and the California Institute of Technology.

One of the most important aspects of faculty recruitment is the establishment of endowed professorships. These posts, funded in perpetuity by individuals or foundations outside the University, assure a continued focus of high quality in their respective specialties.

The first endowed professorships at SMU were created in 1920; the latest this spring with the establishment of the Harold Simmons chair in marketing. Nearly 30 such positions are filled at the university. This year, the Perkins School of Theology named professor Richard Heitzenrater to the newly created Albert C. Outler Chair in Wesley Studies.

Last spring, the Cary M. Maquire University Professorship was filled by Dr. William May, one of the nation’s most prominent ethicists. His appointment represents a new category of faculty whose work will be universitywide in order to maximize impact.

Not that an emphasis on attracting new, “star-quality” faculty to the Hilltop precludes recognizing the outstanding professors currently on board. In May 1982, the Board of Trustees authorized the creation of the new position of University Distinguished Professor. The guidelines stipulate that the appointees be “outstanding scholars who meet the most rigorous scrutiny of academic achievement” Among these are professor Alessandra Comini, author of numerous books about German Expressionism; and professor Alan Bromberg, a leading authority on securities law.

Students at SMU are also brought into contact with a variety of other field leaders. In 1982, SMU saw the first of its Distinguished Scholars in Residence. This innovative program is designed to bring scholars of international repute to the university for extended periods of time.

Also last year, retiring Sen. John Tower accepted a special appointment as a Distinguished Lecturer in political science.

Paramount in the programs that bring visiting faculty is the Algur H. Meadows Award for Excellence in the Arts. Award winners, including Ingmar Bergman, Martha Graham and John Houseman, spend much of their time holding workshops and instructing classes.