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


Give Mike Rawlings a chance

Obama Texas
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings believes it is a waste of time for the city council to vote on a resolution supporting same-sex marriage. In this picture, President Barack Obama shakes hands with Rawlings after arriving at Love Field in Dallas Oct. 4, 2011. (Courtesy of AP)


Welcome to my unpopular opinion – I’m excited to hear Mayor Mike Rawlings speak at the commencement ceremony this year.

I know he’s not a Bush. He’s also not a senator or nationally-powerful politician.

However, Mayor Rawlings cares about Dallas, and boy if SMU isn’t entangled with everything Dallas I don’t know what is.

Earlier this week, The Daily Campus ran a story that included quotes from other students supporting this decision, but also some who were not as excited to hear that someone more interesting would not join us for that special day.

But here’s the thing – Mayor Rawlings is a perfect fit for our commencement address.

Throughout the past year we’ve touted this new phrase “World Changers Shaped Here” around campus on signs and
in speeches.

If we’re to live up to that message, we have to realize that we learn how to change the world by enacting change on a local level first.

When we get our hands dirty in our own communities, we see the great impact we can have and we are able to develop our skills to enact positive change on a much broader level.

Mayor Rawlings has worked to eradicate poverty (by 57 percent I might add), and build a better, more united Dallas metroplex. When I sat at the Goals for Dallas Leadership Luncheon earlier this year, I was amazed at how many people said that Mayor Rawlings was the first mayor of Dallas they felt so enthusiastic about in a
long time.

Furthermore, he wants us to return to Dallas and work with him to unite the city that has supported us throughout these four years – and that’s a big deal. At that luncheon, he called all of the students out to say that he hopes we will come back and serve our community with him. That’s personal attention few speakers could provide.

Sure, he’s not perfect.

Would I like to see him publically support LGBT rights in the city? Absolutely. Am I critical of a couple of his goals and the means to achieve them? You bet.

However, I sincerely feel that this man loves Dallas and loves this university.

And so why are we so frustrated that someone “cooler” isn’t coming?

That “cooler” person wouldn’t be as invested in the university. They may not have a great understanding of what it means to truly invest in a city and strive to change the world around them.

The “cooler” person wouldn’t stand on stage and tell you to come back some day because you are a valued member of the community.

The “cooler” person hasn’t taken a vested interest in forging a partnership between Southern Methodist University and the Dallas community, one from which we’ve all benefited.

Would it have been awesome to see someone like George Bush up there or a CEO like Warren Buffett? Sure (remember Rawlings was CEO of Pizza Hut for a while).

But standing before us May 17 will be a man who cares for this school, this city and our development more than most speakers we could hire, and that’s an exciting thing. It will be an honor to hear him speak.

Graves is a senior majoring in religious studies and communications.

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