SMU celebrating now, gathering in August

May is the month when members of SMU’s graduating class are usually staging cap and gown photos on the lawn in front of Dallas Hall and preparing for pomp and circumstances in a big Saturday morning Commencement Convocation. However, this spring semester has been different in almost every way and the actual ceremony has been rescheduled for Saturday, Aug. 15.

There’s plenty of anticipation for the ceremony in August. But the joy in finishing big? No waiting necessary for the 2,634 new graduates.

Keep your eyes on the Dallas skyline Saturday night, May 16, when Reunion Tower will light up with a special message in support of our 2,634 graduates. The Tower will open during the day Saturday just for the SMU Class of 2020 and their families to enjoy the view and take advantage of a great opportunity for photos.

Didn’t get a chance to say goodbye? All May 2020 grads have been invited to come together (with a little help from technology) to reminisce about their time on the Hilltop in advance of SMU’s Commencement ceremony on August 15. Visit Stories From The Hilltop to see and hear them share their memories.

Degrees being awarded to May 2020 graduates will be posted to academic records on or about May 29 and diplomas will be mailed around June 19.

“I know how hard our students have worked for their degrees and what an accomplishment it is for our graduates and their families. It’s very important to all of us that we come together and celebrate their success stories in August,” said SMU president R. Gerald Turner. “After the past few months of relative isolation, we are looking forward to this Commencement Convocation with a special level of anticipation.”

Jim Lentz, the former chief executive officer of Toyota Motor North America, talking with workers.
Photo courtesy of Tundra Headquarters

Jim Lentz, the former chief executive officer of Toyota Motor North America, will be the featured commencement speaker. During his 38-year career at Toyota, Lentz oversaw all business for Toyota’s North American region and contributed to a number of key milestones in Toyota’s history, including the launch of the Scion brand; recognition of Toyota and Lexus brands as leaders in customer experience; and successfully navigating the company through significant challenges such as the great earthquake and tsunami in Japan and one of the worst recessions in U.S. history.

Lentz earned both his undergraduate degree and M.B.A from the University of Denver. He retired from Toyota in April of this year.

In addition, Dallas Holocaust survivor Max Glauben will receive an honorary SMU degree. Glauben was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1928 and is recognized across Texas and the nation as a passionate advocate for Holocaust and human rights education, a mentor for future generations and the embodiment of human hope, resilience, and Upstander behavior.

For decades, Glauben has shared his story with students and adults around the world as an eye-witness to the Holocaust. In December 2019, Max was named “Texan of the Year” by The Dallas Morning News for his unceasing calls to resist hate, stand up for others, and strive for peace.