Happenings on the Hill

1. Distinguished Alumni

SMU in October celebrated A. Shonn Evans Brown, the late C.J. “Don” Donnally Jr., John Cartwright Phelan, and Thear Sy Suzuki with the highest honor bestowed upon its graduates.

The 2022 Distinguished Alumni Awards recipients were honored during homecoming week, as was Emily Graham. Graham received the Emerging Leader Award, which recognizes the outstanding achievements of someone who graduated in the last 15 years.

About the honorees:

Brown, chief global litigation counsel for Kimberly-Clark Corporation, advises the Fortune 500 company on matters related to public policy, champions social justice and equity in the workplace, and helped establish the first minority affiliate of SMU Alumni. 

Donnally died in May. The son of SMU graduates was a prominent financial adviser who donated to many projects and programs on campus. 

Phelan, co-founder and chairman of Rugger Management LLC, a Palm Beach-based private investment firm, serves on the Investment Committee for the SMU Endowment. 

Suzuki serves on EY’s Americas Inclusiveness Advisory Council and champions development programs that build inclusive, innovative, and courageous leaders. She supports the university as a scholarship donor and SMU parent. 

Emily Graham, chief equity and impact officer at Omnicom, has been named the Top Diversity Officer in the U.S. by the National Diversity Council and had her work profiled by Forbes and Essence.

2. Celebrated sculptor

Deviled Egg and Okra Column by Tamara Johnson, Museum’s 2022 Moss/Chumley Artist. (Photo: Courtesy Tamara Johnson)

Dallas sculptor Tamara Johnson, co-founder and director of Sweet Pass Sculpture Park, a one-acre outdoor space featuring emerging and mid-career artists, is the Meadow Museum’s 2022 Moss/Chumley Artist.

The annual award with a $2,500 cash prize recognizes distinguished professional artists with proven track records as community advocates for the visual arts.

“It not only provides a financial boost to my studio practice but feels validating to know my work and service outside of the studio is seen and appreciated in North Texas,” Johnson said. 

3. More Spanish art

The Meadows Museum recently added seven new works, including three paintings donated to celebrate the leadership of the late Mark A. Roglán, who served as museum director for 15 years.

The gifts in honor of Roglán, who died last year, support the museum’s “mission to tell new stories about the history of Spain and its art,” said Amanda W. Dotseth, curator and museum director ad interim.

The museum also expanded its holdings of works by Texas and SMU artists.

4. Improved arts complex

University leaders expect $34 million in newly completed improvements to the Meadows School of Art to help foster creativity and sustain better teachings. 

Work included an Italian lighting installation, added indoor and outdoor spaces, renovated educational and administrative spaces, and a new entrance on the north side of the wing. 

Students, faculty, and others gathered on Sept. 16 to celebrate the grand opening of the improved visual arts facilities in the heart of the campus between Bishop Boulevard and Hillcrest Avenue.

Banderillas with firecrackers by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (Photo: Kevin Todora)
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