SMU News Feed feed contains news and information from SMU News Feed (Gary Shultz) (Aren Cambre)60Chris Roos Research Blackfoot Tribe Burning Prairies Study shows hunter-gatherers used active burning to improve grazing, drive bison, long before arrival of Columbus.

Tue, 24 Jul 2018 10:03:00 GMT
SMU Remembers John W. Nieto ’59 SMU alumnus and internationally renowned Native American artist John Nieto ’59 passed away on July 12, 2018. Nieto’s distinctive works have been displayed in galleries and public exhibitions throughout the United States and the world, including a solo exhibition in Tokyo.

DALLAS (SMU) — SMU alumnus and internationally renowned Native American artist John Nieto ’59 passed away on July 12, 2018. Nieto’s distinctive works have been displayed in galleries and public exhibitions throughout the United States and the world, including a solo exhibition in Tokyo.


Two paintings by Nieto hang in the president’s office at SMU. One titled “Fancy Dancer at SMU”, which Nieto donated to the University in 1996 to commemorate the opening of the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, celebrates the University’s heritage and the artist’s deep roots in the plains of New Mexico, where Nieto traces his family to the 16th century. The second is an untitled painting of a mustang.

“For two decades visitors, staff and I have enjoyed these magnificent paintings for their beauty and their depiction of the many cultural influences that enrich this region,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner said. “We are grateful for this wonderful man and talented artist who focused his creativity on people, cultures and the environment.”

Mr. Nieto earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from SMU. He served on its Board of Trustees from 1992–1996 and on the Meadows School of the Arts Executive Board from 1990–1994. He credited his SMU education for his development as a serious artist known for his artistic vision and technical expertise. Nieto received SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006.

“Mr. Nieto indeed leaves an important footprint on the campus where he honed his artistic vision as a student,” said Brad Cheves, SMU vice president for Development and External Affairs. “In sharing his influence and work, he leaves a unique legacy of creativity, interpretation and influence.”

In addition to paintings, Nieto’s works include etchings, drawings, bronze sculpture, lithographs and silk-screen prints. In 2010, he published Forces of Color and Spirit (Fresco Fine Art Publications) and was featured in numerous publications throughout his career. In 1982, Nieto presented President Ronald Reagan with “Delegate to the White House”, a painting that hung in the White House throughout his term and now resides in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, in Ventura, Calif. 

See more of Nieto’s work.

Fri, 13 Jul 2018 18:36:00 GMT
Dallas Chamber Releases DFW Innovation Study The Dallas Regional Chamber, in partnership with Accenture, SMU, and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas released the results of the DFW Regional Innovation Study which provides a strategy roadmap to accelerate the growth of North Texas’ innovation economy and bolster its reputation as a hub for innovation excellence.

DALLAS –The Dallas Regional Chamber, in partnership with Accenture, SMU, and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas released the results of the DFW Regional Innovation Study which provides a strategy roadmap to accelerate the growth of North Texas’ innovation economy and bolster its reputation as a hub for innovation excellence. 

The study – a six-month-long research project that included stakeholder interviews and analysis of the DFW economy and other global cities — found that the region’s thriving innovation economy results from the diversity of its industries, a skilled and growing workforce, a collection of accelerators and co-working spaces, investment capital, robust academic institutions, and top-ranked arts and culture scenes. The results also suggest that there is additional opportunity to bolster the region’s reputation as a magnet for innovation into the future.

However, it notes that staying ahead of the curve in today’s digital era — with the rapid pace of change and fierce competition — requires that a successful innovation economy combine several key ingredients: growing and flooding the ecosystem with the right talent; creating areas of density for that talent to “collide” to generate creative and innovative ideas; and providing access to funding and resources to allow those ideas to flourish and scale. The cumulative result is a more innovative economy and a place where companies and people want to call home. 

“For this region to continue to be a leader in economic growth, we need to always be looking forward, taking stock of what we have and who we are, growing and empowering innovative companies and people, and creating opportunities for further impact,” said Duane Dankesreiter, Senior Vice President of Research and Innovation at the Dallas Regional Chamber. “This research and these recommendations can serve as a guidebook for a path forward.”

To keep pace and ensure a thriving future, the DFW Regional Innovation Study makes recommendations for key stakeholders in the region — corporations, nonprofits, academia, entrepreneurs, investors and government — that will better enable them to maximize the region’s existing innovation strengths and drive growth, focusing on four key areas:   

Core Area #1: Talent
To build a rich tapestry of talent in the DFW Region, it is important to support an ecosystem that grows innovative talent at all levels. The study’s recommendations focus on relentless improvement of K-4 math proficiency as a key indicator of future success, recruitment of international serial entrepreneurs to flood the ecosystem and build confidence with investors, amplifying area universities reputations as elite programs, and building a critical mass in core technologies, including artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, Blockchain, and extended reality, which align with both DFW and the global market growth potential.

Core Area #2: Collisions  
Innovation has been proven to incubate and accelerate in areas of density. The study recommends working to define and magnify activities in areas where this is already happening (tech, life sciences and transportation) and to encourage face-to-face interactions of entrepreneurs, mentors, organizations, academics, and funders. 

Core Area #3: Resources 
Start-ups and entrepreneurs face a common dilemma: securing funding to stand-up operations or go to market. The study recommends a coordinated effort to facilitate new investment at all stages of startup capital and to build confidence in local start-ups by providing them with the resources, a toolkit and guidance to grow high-impact, high-growth companies. 

Core Area #4: Impact 
Although the DFW Region has been a magnet for corporate relocations and expansions in recent years, the study recommends that city governments and regional public/private partnerships collaborate to do even more to foster an innovation-friendly climate and to sharpen the civic focus on recruiting high-tech firms and departments of well-known innovation companies. The study also recommends supporting local governments and social entrepreneurs as they work to develop innovative solutions that can have a lasting impact on quality of life issues. 

The study suggests that making these recommendations a reality will require the DFW Region form a coalition of key members from corporate, social, civic and academic institutions to drive the innovation strategy, supported by a single strategy office and presenting a united front and its collective strengths to the world.

"Our diverse economy, smart and ambitious people, growing startup community, and bustling arts and culture scenes are some of what makes innovation possible in our region," said Jorge Corral, Dallas Office Managing Director for Accenture. "When our community comes together as one, we can be in the driver’s seat of our future. Innovation is what will fuel our growth, spark more DFW-born ideas and breakthroughs, and let the world know that Dallas-Fort Worth is where you want to live, work and make your vision into a reality.”

"The economic opportunity that Dallas provides is a major factor in recruiting ambitious, talented students to SMU from around the world," said SMU Provost Steven C. Currall. “The entrepreneurial spirit thrives at SMU and in Dallas. This important study with our regional partners will foster a vibrant ecosystem that leverages connections between SMU research discoveries and commercial investment."

“Social innovation is critical for sustainable economic growth, cutting across sector boundaries to create new, grassroots-based solutions to age-old community problems,” said Jennifer Sampson, McDermott-Templeton President and CEO, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “Social innovation provides the unique opportunity to recognize the interconnectedness of social enterprise, business and philanthropy. We need to nurture this work, as its impact grows to better the lives of countless North Texans.”

With the completion of the study and strategy roadmap, the four groups will further engage various stakeholders to assemble a regional coalition to begin executing on the strategic actions outlined in the study.   

In March, the Dallas Regional Chamber, Accenture, SMU, and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas announced that the four groups had embarked on a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder study to better understand the state of the innovation climate in the DFW Region and how to be better recognized as a hub for innovation excellence. The announcement was marked by the release of the inaugural DFW Region Innovation Scorecard, which compiles global rankings to create a snapshot of how experts currently perceive the DFW Region.

To complete this study and build the recommendations, the four-entity team spoke with more than 100 corporate, academic, social, and start-up leaders from a cross-section of regional industry interests. Focus groups were conducted with a strong representation of entrepreneurs and start-ups with corporate and civic leaders across the DFW Region to provide input. In addition, the study benchmarked other innovative cities around the world on key aspects of an innovation economy, including the ability to create stellar talent, produce disruptive ideas, and offer a dynamic quality of life to its residents. In total, the study produced more than 120 potential actions and distilled down to a curated set of the 10 biggest opportunity drivers, addressing the four core areas of Talent, Collisions, Resources, and Impact. 

The full results of the DFW Regional Innovation Study can be viewed at:

About the Dallas Regional Chamber
The Dallas Regional Chamber is one of the most established business organizations in the nation and serves as the voice of business and the champion of economic development and growth in the Dallas Region. We work with our 1,100 member companies and regional partners to strengthen our business community by advocating for pro-growth public policies, improving our educational system, attracting talented workers from around the world, and enhancing the quality of life for all. Our goal is to make Dallas the best place in America to live, work, and do business 

About the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas
 United Way of Metropolitan Dallas is a community-based non-profit organization that treats 360 degrees of need. For over 90 years, we have brought people and resources together to fight complex social problems by surrounding North Texas with efficient, impactful solutions. Since 2011, we’ve invested more than $147M in 200+ local programs that tackle issues across health, education and income, the essential components of a thriving community. We encourage North Texans to get involved by giving, volunteering or advocating and helping lift up those in need now and in the future. United, we help those who want to do good, do great. Learn more at

About SMU
SMU is a nationally ranked global research and teaching university in the dynamic city of Dallas, Texas. SMU’s alumni, faculty and nearly 12,000 students in seven degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they lead change in their professions, communities and the world.

Thu, 28 Jun 2018 14:52:00 GMT
SMU, LIFT Literacy App Named Finalist in $7 Million XPRIZE Competition A puzzle-solving smartphone game designed to teach struggling adults to read was named one of five finalists in an international competition.

Codex game on a tablet


DALLAS (SMU) — A puzzle-solving smartphone game designed by SMU and Literacy Instruction for Texas (LIFT) experts to teach struggling adults to read was today named one of five finalists in an international competition. Codex: The Lost Words of Atlantis is a finalist for the $7 million Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE presented by Dollar General Literacy Foundation

A recent pilot study at SMU found that low-literate, English-language learner adults who played the game for two or more hours a week significantly improved their literacy skills after eight weeks. Anecdotal evidence also shows their improved reading skills also have improved their lives, ranging from a grandmother who finally gained the confidence to speak with her granddaughter in English, to co-workers who praised a participant's improved language skills.

“Clearly we are very proud to have advanced in this important competition,” says Stephanie Knight, dean of SMU's Simmons School of Education and Human Development, which provided faculty expertise in the literacy and instructional design  of the game. “We are committed to finding a successful, accessible teaching tool for low-literacy adults. And we know we are on the right track when we hear that one of our study participants gets to hear her children clap every time her reading skills improve enough for her to advance in the game.”


Screenshot of the Codex game.


To play the game, a player assumes the identity of an enterprising archaeologist searching for clues to the forgotten language of the lost civilization of Atlantis. Hidden among sites like the sandy rocks of the Sphinx of Giza, are letter-sound instruction, word lists and consonant and vowel decoding skill-building exercises, keys to becoming a reader.

More than 36 million adults in the United States are low-literate, reading below the third grade level, according the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. Low literacy skills are linked to inequality, higher unemployment, less earned income and poor health.  In Dallas one in five adults is low literate, according to LIFT, a nonprofit adult literacy provider in Dallas.

"Codex: The Lost Words of Atlantis is an innovative way to use mobile technology to make literacy curricula more accessible to the millions of low-literate adults in this country," says Linda K. Johnson, president and CEO of LIFT. “A significant key to its success is that the game is fun.”

Becoming an XPRIZE finalist represents the latest success of the three-year collaboration between LIFT, SMU's Simmons School of Education and Human Development, and SMU Guildhall graduate video game development program.  Guildhall has been named the No. 1 school for video game design in the world. The Simmons School's experts in curriculum design, LIFT adult literacy experts and Guildhall joined forces in 2015 to become one of 109 teams originally taking on the XPRIZE challenge to develop a mobile literacy learning application for adult learners. 

The team spent months creating and testing a literacy game that was entertaining, rewarding, effective and, most of all, convenient for a time-strapped low-literate adult. 

Their efforts paid off. In June 2017, the SMU-LIFT team, People ForWords, was named one of eight semifinalists. Twelve thousand low-literacy adults in Dallas, Philadelphia and Los Angeles began field-testing the apps in August 2017. 

Finalists were selected based on field-testing performance. The SMU-LIFT team will be recognized Saturday, June 23 at the American Library Association annual meeting in New Orleans, along with the other finalists. Each finalist will be awarded a $100,000 prize.

In January 2019, X-Prize will present the team with the most effective app with $3 million, plus $1 million apiece to the apps with the best performance among native English speakers and non-native speakers.

Recognition is important to the team who has spent months developing, testing and revising the game, but the reward is much greater.

"There are about 600,000 adults in Dallas who have less than a third grade reading level," says Corey Clark, deputy director of research at Guildhall and a key leader of development of the game. "If we could help them read proficiently, that will make a difference in their lives."

Fri, 22 Jun 2018 08:31:00 GMT
Save the Date: Smithsonian to Exhibit SMU Paleontology Research Save Nov. 9, 2018 on your calendar. That's when the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History opens a new exhibit on never-before-seen fossils from Angola. The never-before-seen fossils were discovered, excavated and prepared by SMU faculty and student researchers. They tell the story of how the South Atlantic Ocean formed millions of years ago, and provide clues to understand our planet's present and future.

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Wed, 06 Jun 2018 08:37:00 GMT

The George W. Bush Institute and SMU are joining forces to launch the Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative on June 1. This effort will combine the existing Economic Growth Initiative of the Bush Institute with the public policy-relevant work of the SMU Department of Economics. The objective is to build the initiative into a globally respected policy voice on the most pressing economic issues of our time.

"We have developed a close and successful relationship with SMU since the establishment of the Bush Institute nine years ago, and we are thrilled to partner with SMU on this joint initiative," said Kenneth Hersh, President and CEO of the Bush Center. "Since its inception, the Bush Institute's Economic Growth Initiative has promoted pro-growth economic policies on issues like trade and immigration. The addition of SMU will add a nationally recognized research partner to our work. Importantly, we will also be able to add expertise to broaden our scope."

The Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative will promote policies to support domestic economic growth and strengthen our competitiveness in the global economy. The initiative will also highlight the benefits of continuing American economic leadership, global trade, immigration, and the economic vitality of cities and regions in our country. The new combined initiative will be supported by the George W. Bush Presidential Center Endowment at SMU that was established to support joint programming as well as funding from the Bush Institute, thereby enabling its work to begin immediately.

"As the Bush Center was being developed and constructed, it was crucial to create an endowment that would ensure funding for the University to participate in joint programing," said R. Gerald Turner, President of SMU. "The SMU Department of Economics and the Bush Institute’s Economic Growth Initiative are complementary centers of excellence whose collaboration will create very visible, research-based contributions to the dialogue regarding economic growth in our country and in North America."

"The Initiative combines the Bush Institute's action-oriented approach to policy and its extraordinary convening ability with SMU's research and academic excellence, particularly in economics," said Holly Kuzmich, Executive Director of the Bush Institute and Senior Vice President of the Bush Center.

Steve Currall, SMU’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs said, "The new Initiative will leverage synergies between the Bush Institute’s global visibility on economic policy and world-leading economic analysis by SMU’s Department of Economics and other academic units on our campus such as the Cox School of Business. SMU’s faculty and students will benefit from the intellectual exchange with the Initiative’s leadership to advance thoughtful analyses and innovative solutions to promote economic growth domestically and globally."

The Bush Institute's Director of Economic Growth, Matthew Rooney, and the Deputy Director, Laura Collins, will be joined in the initiative by Dr. Cullum Clark, Adjunct Professor of Economics at SMU, who will serve as a director.

Visit the Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative site for more information:


About the George W. Bush Institute:
Housed within the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the George W. Bush Institute is an action-oriented, nonpartisan policy organization with the mission of developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges. The work is achieved through three Impact Centers – Domestic Excellence, Global Leadership, and the Engagement Agenda – by which the Bush Institute engages the greater community with its important work.

About SMU:
For more than 100 years, SMU has shaped minds, explored the frontiers of knowledge and fostered an entrepreneurial spirit in its seven degree-granting schools. Taking advantage of unbridled experiences on the University's beautiful campuses and SMU’s relationship with Dallas, the dynamic center of one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions, alumni, faculty and nearly 12,000 graduate and undergraduate students become ethical leaders in their professions and communities who change the world.

Thu, 31 May 2018 13:15:00 GMT
Holly Jeffcoat Named New Dean of SMU Libraries SMU announces the selection of Holly Jeffcoat as the new Dean of SMU Libraries.

SMU's announces Holly Jeffcoat as the new dean of SMU Libraries.

DALLAS (SMU) – University of Connecticut Associate Dean of Libraries Holly Jeffcoat, a leader in the use of technology in instruction and library services, has been selected as the next dean of SMU Libraries. She will assume her new duties August 1, 2018.

“Holly Jeffcoat has deep leadership skills, as well as broad administrative experience in the library system of a highly ranked research institution,” said SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven C. Currall. “She will lead SMU Libraries in forging a collective vision in line with SMU’s goals for even greater academic quality.”

SMU President R. Gerald Turner lauded Jeffcoat’s strategic vision.

“Holly is wonderfully forward thinking in her understanding of the role of technology in libraries now and in the future,” Turner said.

As associate dean of UConn Library, Jeffcoat leads core library operations that include access services, administration, marketing, development, facilities, finance, human resources, information technology and strategic planning. She oversees a $22 million budget, and leads the Library’s five-year, $20 million master plan renovation effort.

She is a key contributor to One UConn Library, an endeavor that ultimately will align systems across all UConn libraries. She also serves as interim leader of the strategic library areas of research, teaching, service and outreach. Previously at UConn, she served as the interim vice provost (the head UConn librarian), the assistant vice provost, and as the associate university librarian of planning, finance and assessment.

“It is an honor and privilege to join the SMU community as the new dean of SMU Libraries,” Jeffcoat said. “This is an exciting time of change and growth in academic research libraries and at SMU. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with world-changing faculty, students, staff, and the broader SMU community to create a shared 21st-century vision for SMU Libraries built upon the existing strengths of dedicated library professionals, outstanding special collections, and inspiring facilities.”

Prior to an international search for a new dean, Currall convened a task force to review existing university library organizational structures and processes, and to make recommendations for a new structure favorable to coordination among the libraries, and conducive to future strategic planning. A new unified organization model will take effect when Jeffcoat begins her new post.

As SMU Libraries dean, Jeffcoat will oversee DeGolyer Library, SMU’s principal repository for special collections in the humanities, the history of business, science and technology; Fondren Library Center, including the Norwick Center for Digital Services; the Hamon Arts Library; Bridwell Library, which supports theological education and scholarship; the Business Library; and human resources needs for the libraries. She will serve as ex officio member of the SMU Libraries Executive Board and the Friends of the SMU Libraries.

“Holly understands modern research libraries from the ground up and across all disciplines,” said Thomas DiPiero, dean of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, who chaired the 15-member search committee. “Her terrific strategic planning experience will help her lead collaborations across SMU Libraries.”

Prior to UConn, Jeffcoat held positions at the University of New Mexico College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences as well as the UNM Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center. Her library leadership career began in Galápagos, Ecuador, as the director of the Charles Darwin Research Station. Jeffcoat has published and presented on translational science support, use of virtual reality in education, collection development in health sciences, and numerous scholarly communication topics.

Jeffcoat is a founding creator of BLC Leads, a Boston-based leadership program for mid-career librarians, and serves as a program mentor. She is a 2018-19 fellow in the prestigious Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Library Leadership Fellows program.

She earned B.A. degree in psychology from Greensboro College, where she minored in sociology and French. She earned an M.S. degree in sociology from Utah State University, and an M.A. degree in library and information sciences from the University of Arizona.

Currall thanked Elizabeth Killingsworth, who has served as interim dean since July 2017, for her leadership. "Elizabeth guided us through this period of transition extremely well," he said. "She's a wonderful asset to SMU Libraries and the University."


SMU is the nationally ranked global research university in the dynamic city of Dallas. SMU’s alumni, faculty and nearly 12,000 students in seven degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they lead change in their professions, communities and the world.

Fri, 25 May 2018 10:00:00 GMT
SMU Remembers Patsy Pinson Hutchison ’54 SMU alumna Patsy Pinson Hutchison ’54, a devoted University supporter, passed away on May 15, 2018. Along with her husband and fellow alumnus, Bill, the Hutchisons have long been familiar figures at the SMU-in-Taos Cultural Institute at SMU’s campus in Taos, N.M., supporting The Chapel at Fort Burgwin, which was dedicated in 2014.

SMU alumna Patsy Pinson Hutchison '54

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU alumna Patsy Pinson Hutchison ’54, a devoted University supporter, passed away on May 15, 2018. Along with her husband and fellow alumnus, Bill, the Hutchisons have long been familiar figures at the SMU-in-Taos Cultural Institute at SMU’s campus in Taos, N.M., supporting The Chapel at Fort Burgwin, which was dedicated in 2014.

“Patsy Hutchison’s love for SMU was deep and constant,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner said. “Our University has benefited from the Hutchisons’ enduring commitment to education and enrichment and a special affinity for our Taos campus. Gail and I, along with all those who attend the Cultural institute at SMU-in-Taos each summer, will truly miss her warm, friendly presence each year.”

Mrs. Hutchison earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education from SMU and was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. She served as vice president of the SMU Mother’s Club and on the reunion committee for her 50th reunion year class in 2004.

A noted civic and community volunteer in Santa Fe, N.M., where the Hutchisons reside, she served on the boards of Kitchen Angels – an organization that provides meals for the homebound – and the New Mexico Governor’s Mansion Foundation. She also was involved with the Santa Fe Garden Club. While the Hutchisons lived in Dallas, she was a member of the Junior League of Dallas.

Mr. Hutchison ’54 is an SMU Trustee Emeritus, serving on its board from 1981-1987. In addition to The Chapel at Fort Burgwin, the Hutchisons’ generous support includes the Ima Leete Hutchison Concert series at SMU-in-Taos. They supported many other initiatives at SMU, creating endowed chairs, scholarships and program funds such as the Ima Leete Hutchison Endowment in the Meadows School of the Arts.

SMU alumna Patsy Pinson Hutchison '54

“Patsy exuded such grace and elegance, yet she always made everyone feel like a good friend. She has left a lasting mark on SMU, an institution she loved very much,” said Brad Cheves, SMU vice president for Development and External Affairs. “The Hutchisons’ rich SMU legacy is part of the University fabric extending over four generations. We will forever be grateful for their support and service.”


Thu, 17 May 2018 09:00:00 GMT
Guildhall & eGency Global Announce Major eSports Event SMU Guildhall, the top ranked graduate school for video game design in the world, in collaboration with eGency Global, one of North America’s most experienced esports production, marketing and talent management firms, have announced the launch of OP Live Dallas — a premier esports event featuring high-level professional competition, a 16-team collegiate tournament, a hackathon for high-schoolers, and a showcase for the work of SMU Guildhall master’s degree candidates in interactive technology.


SMU Guildhall, the top ranked graduate school for video game design in the world, in collaboration with eGency Global, one of North America’s most experienced esports production, marketing and talent management firms, have announced the launch of OP Live Dallas — a premier esports event featuring high-level professional competition, a 16-team collegiate tournament, a hackathon for high-schoolers, and a showcase for the work of SMU Guildhall master’s degree candidates in interactive technology.

“We are excited to be part of this collaborative effort with eGency Global,” said Mark Nausha, Deputy Director of GameLab at SMU Guildhall. “OP Live will be interactive, immersive, and unique from typical esports events. We look forward to bringing this awesome fan experience to the Dallas area.”

OP Live Dallas will run September 22-23, 2018 on the 50,000-sq.-ft. main floor of the Irving Convention Center in Irving, Texas.

Through their collaboration, eGency Global and SMU Guildhall will offer esports fans a unique and more robust experience than traditional esports events, the collaborators say. Beyond the interactive and engaging experience, OP Live Dallas will also showcase the multitude of career opportunities available to video game and esports devotees. SMU Guildhall alumni work for the biggest names in the video gaming industry, as well as in gamification sectors in a multitude of other industries like tech, education, business and medical.

“The session for parents will shine a light on career and education opportunities for youth in the video gaming, cybersecurity and other STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, as well as the many upsides of the gaming community. The community is known for its supportive nature and lasting friendships,” says Chris Stone, CEO of eGency Global.

The two-day OP Live Dallas schedule will include non-stop competition and activities, opportunities to meet popular pro players, cosplayers and more. Highlights include:

  • Competitions for 16 collegiate teams and 4 pro esports teams, with prizes to be awarded.
  • Showcases featuring never-before-seen games created by SMU students and alumni.
  • Mini TED-like talks with industry experts.
  • Interactive and personalized experiences.
  • Cosplay and game art gallery.
  • High School Hackathon, where students compete to identify, defend and terminate cybersecurity threats in a fictional small business.
  • Fundraising to benefit Children’s Medical Center Dallas through Extra Life, a division of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

The entire event was designed with esports and gaming fans in mind. According to Stephanie Chavez, Director of Marketing at eGency Global, “In the past year, we’ve spoken with dozens of fans who regularly attend esports and gaming events. We wanted to find out what they love most about the events and where improvements could be made. This insight was invaluable when we were planning OP Live Dallas.”

As experts in the esports ecosystem, eGency Global used their insights to create an elevated esports event that is unmatched in the industry, says Stone. “At eGency Global, we employ the best of the best in every aspect of esports event planning and execution. When esports fans talk, not only do we listen, we make it our mission to respond with innovative solutions that will exceed their expectations. That was our goal with OP Live Dallas.”

Easy access to great, affordable food as well as lodging, restaurants and activities near the event venue are top priorities for esports event attendees. The Irving Convention Center was chosen specifically for this reason. In addition, several popular local food trucks will be on site both days.

eGency Global estimates attendance of approximately 7,000 for the two-day event. Numerous sponsorship and exhibiting opportunities are available to organizations looking to reach fans in the burgeoning esports space.

To learn more about attending OP Live Dallas visit For information on sponsorship opportunities (digital, event app, brand activations, signage, event/activity/workshop sponsor, broadcasting rights, food truck zone and more) or securing exhibitor space, contact Ward Eastman, eGency Global Director, Strategic Alliances, 214-957-7870.

Related link
Dallas Morning News

About eGency Global
eGency Global is one of the most experienced esports firms in North America, offering a full suite of services from event production, customer/fan engagement, sponsorship and talent marketing to data analytics, media and strategic marketing. eGency Global is the leading strategic partner in helping brands, event and media properties, and teams looking to navigate and capitalize on the rapidly expanding esports ecosystem.

About SMU Guildhall
SMU Guildhall is the #1 Graduate Program for Game Design in the world. Many of the school’s founders are industry icons, and classes are taught by industry veterans. Since 2003, the program has graduated over 700 students, who now work at more than 250 video game studios around the world. SMU Guildhall offers both a Master of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development degree and a Professional Certificate of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development, with specializations in art, Design, Production, and Programming.


SMU is the nationally ranked global research university in the dynamic city of Dallas. SMU's alumni, faculty and nearly 12,000 students in seven degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they lead change in their professions, communities and the world.

Wed, 16 May 2018 10:07:00 GMT
Cox Honors Four Alumni 2018 Distinguished Alumni and Outstanding Young Alumni Awards Presented

DALLAS (SMU) — Friday, May 11, 2018—The SMU Cox School of Business honored four alumni at the school’s annual Distinguished Alumni and Outstanding Young Alumni Awards Luncheon on May 11. Two Distinguished Alumni Awards and two Outstanding Young Alumni Awards were presented at the luncheon ceremony in the Collins Executive Center on the SMU campus. Award nominations are submitted to the SMU Cox Alumni Association for consideration by a selection committee. In alphabetical order, this year’s SMU Cox Distinguished Alumni Award winners are: Clark Hunt, BBA ’87, and James M. “Jim” Johnston, BBA ’70 and MBA ‘71. The Cox School’s 2018 Outstanding Young Alumni honorees are: Kris Lowe, BBA ’04 and EMBA ’14, and Jeff Owens, BBA ’01 and MSA ’02.

SMU Cox Distinguished Alumni 2018

Clark Hunt (BBA’87) is the chairman and CEO of the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League and FC Dallas of Major League Soccer. He is a leading voice among NFL owners and a founding investor-operator in Major League Soccer. His love of soccer was evident in college, as he served as captain of what was then the Mustangs’ nationally-ranked soccer team. He was a four-year letterman, and graduated first in his class at SMU, graduating in 1987 with a Bachelor of Business Administration. Hunt has served as a member of the SMU Board of Trustees since 2004, and he’s a longtime member of the Cox Executive Board. In 2004, the Cox School honored Hunt as an Outstanding Young Alumnus. With the 2018 award as Distinguished Alumnus, Hunt becomes only the third alumnus in SMU Cox history to receive both accolades.

James M. “Jim” Johnston (BBA ’70 and MBA ’71) became president of Methodist Health System Foundation in November 2016. Before joining the Methodist Foundation, Johnston was a 40-year mainstay in the Dallas banking industry. He began his career at Republic Bank of Texas, where he held various corporate executive positions. Later, he was named regional chair of Frost Bank, and subsequently, he served as board vice chair for Bank of Texas. He came to SMU on a football scholarship, and became not only a star player, but a dedicated student. Johnston completed his BBA in Marketing in 1970, and went on to earn an MBA in Finance the following year. He has served as chair of the SMU Mustang Club, the Lettermen’s Association, the Planned Giving Council and the Athletics Hall of Fame. He currently serves on the Cox Executive Board.

SMU Cox Outstanding Young Alumni 2018

Kris Lowe (BBA ’04, EMBA ’14) is a director in the Dallas office of HFF, a U.S. and European commercial real estate capital intermediary. In his four years at HFF, he’s participated in the execution of more than $5.5 billion in commercial real estate transactions. Before he went to work for HFF, Lowe served for seven years as the CFO of SMU Athletics. During that time, he got his Executive MBA degree, the second of two degrees he earned from SMU Cox. His first was his Bachelor of Business Administration in 2004. He was originally recruited to SMU to play basketball, and remained with the Mustangs through college. Today, Lowe is active with the Cox Folsom Institute for Real Estate, serving on its executive and associate boards.

Jeff Owens (BBA ’01, MSA ’02) is a partner at Armanino, the fastest growing public accounting firm and one of the top 25 largest accounting and business firms in the country. He leads the Dallas audit department and concentrates on serving the nonprofit and technology sectors. Owens started his career working with KPMG in Sydney, Australia. He earned his BBA in 2001 and the next year, graduated with his Master of Science in Accounting—both at the Cox School. He stays active with SMU and serves on the Cox School Accounting Department’s Alumni and Professional Advisory Board.

SMU Cox Distinguished Alumni candidates must hold: an undergraduate or graduate degree from SMU; a position of distinction in the business community; demonstrate outstanding career success; be active civic leaders and community partners; and be involved with SMU and the Cox School through activities and contributions. Those recognized as SMU Cox Outstanding Young Alumni must meet the same criteria, but can be no more than 40 years of age at the time of the awards luncheon. Nominations for either honor may be sent to Kevin Knox, assistant dean of external relations and executive director of the SMU Cox Alumni Association at

About SMU Cox

The SMU Cox School of Business, established in 1920, is committed to influencing the way the world conducts business via prolific research that provokes innovation, change and global thought leadership. Cox faculty members strive to connect ground-breaking research to the classroom as well as the marketplace. Cox faculty are widely published in the world’s most prestigious management journals in accounting, business analytics, capitalism/economics/free markets, customer engagement, energy, entrepreneurship, finance, information technology and operations management, management and organizations, marketing, negotiations, real estate, and risk management. The Cox School of Business offers a full range of business education programs including BBA, Full-Time MBA, Professional MBA (part-time) and Master’s degree programs, as well as Executive Education. Consistently ranked among the world’s leading business schools, SMU Cox maintains an active alumni network and is accredited by AACSB.


Wed, 16 May 2018 08:29:00 GMT