The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Literary festival honors esteemed professor

This weekend, The SMU 30th Anniversary Literary Festival will honor SMU professor and esteemed novelist Marshall Terry. The festival will mark the farewell to Terry as an SMU professor and also serve to pay him tribute for his long career of literary excellence.

Terry, along with colleague Jack Myers, began the Literary Festival in 1975. Terry praised the festival for receiving national recognition and for hosting some of America’s best writers for readings, classes and networking opportunities.

“This year it is called the 30th anniversary, and it is great that the writers attending are all our alumni,” Terry said.

Terry’s career as a novelist has been very successful. He has published 7 novels and a book of short stories. He has received many accolades and awards, including his lifetime achievement award in 1991, the Barbara McCombs/Lon Tinkle Award for a “career of excellence in letters,” which is the highest honor of the Texas Institute of Letters. He has also received the Institute’s Jesse H. Jones Fiction Award, and the Short Story Award, as well as the PEN Texas Award.

He has been selected three times for the SMU Rotunda Outstanding Professor Award and twice for the SMU Willis Tate Award for Outstanding Faculty. In 2003 he was named a Distinguished Alumnus of SMU.

The weekend-long Literary Festival honoring his extensive career, held in DeGolyer Library, will begin with student readings on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Winners of the Margaret Terry Crooks Award for Outstanding Creative Writing, the David R. Russell Poetry Award, the SMU Fiction Award, and the Lon Tinkle Prize for Outstanding English Major in Creative Writing will share their award-winning pieces.

Highlights on Friday will include readings by Terry’s former students. They will read from his works, including “Old Liberty,” “Tom Northway,” “Dallas Stories” and Terry’s unpublished novel, “The Murder of Milo.”

Terry expressed his pleasure in reuniting with students he has taught from the early sixties to the present.

“I’m looking forward to dozens of my former students coming back,” Terry said. “I have kept track of so many writers, and the writers doing the readings are very successful novelists.”

The festival will conclude with a series of panels and readings on Saturday from many writers who were SMU students.

Terry will retire at the end of the spring semester with 52 years on the Hilltop behind him. During his time at SMU, not only has he profoundly affected the fabric of the university, he was also one of the writers of the master plan. The plan outlined the school’s curriculum and educational philosophy and has impacted the lives of countless students.

Chip Hiemenz, one of Terry’s former students, said that “we’re going to miss him, that’s for sure.”

Hiemenz, who graduated from SMU in 2006, was a business and political science major who decided to take Terry’s Introduction to Fiction Writing class after hearing other students’ glowing reviews. He believes that Terry is the “gold standard” of teachers.

“I took him spring semester of my junior year, and I was student body president that year. I went up to him and introduced myself, and he turns around and goes, ‘I know who you are.'”

According to Hiemenz, this introduction is just one example of Marsh’s enthusiasm for really getting to know his students.

“He would really go above and beyond to develop personal relationships with his students,” Hiemenz said. “He really wanted to work with students to make sure that they did succeed.”

Hiemez said he developed a friendship with Terry very quickly, and that he would often go to his office to discuss a paper and end up talking about life or the history of SMU.

“I valued how much he knew about the history of SMU,” Hiemenz said. “He’s a man who’s stuck with SMU for so many years as it’s gone through so much change.”

Terry feels that it is an honor to have his career honored at the festival. He is likewise grateful to have spent so many years at SMU, and has loved watching it grow from a small college to a true university.

“SMU has given me the opportunity to develop my talents, to learn, write, teach and to explore,” Terry said. “I am very proud of SMU and the liberal arts basis we still have.”

Although Terry will leave his office in Dallas Hall, he will still be with the university in spirit. He plans to spend part of his retirement writing his memoirs, titled “Loving U: The Story of a Love Affair (and Some Lover’s Quarrels) With a University.”

“I will definitely miss the talent of the students, and the teaching…when it goes well,” Terry said. For a schedule of the festival, visit and click on “Marsh Terry Lit Fest ’07.”

More to Discover