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


New associate provost to head up Hunt Scholars

This year, Ellen Pryor’s going to be talking to an audience that is, for her, unusual.


After teaching in SMU’s Dedman School of Lawlaw school for 20 years, Pryor was named associate provost in May. Since then she’s taken the helm for the Hunt Leadership Scholar program. She’ll also be working with international programs and other honors programs like the Hilltop Scholars and the highly selective Hyer Society.

“The university wants to get more of an overarching look at its honors programs, and it made more sense to be run out of this office the way Presidential Scholars are,” said Pryor.

When the Hunt program was started 14 years ago, said Pryor, the associate provost’s office had too much on its plate. Judy Mohraz, then the associate provost, recommended Kathleen Hugley-Cook for the job.

Hugley-Cook was enthused.

“All our leadership scholars on campus are really dynamic and energetic and that’s really fun [to work with],” she said.

“The move is wonderful for the Hunt Scholars program. I think [Associate] Provost Pryor will enjoy immensely working with the students.”

Pryor shares Hugley-Cook’s excitement about the program and her new job.

“Over the past five to six years, I’ve really wanted to do more in terms of student programming and mentoring,” said Pryor. “I was attracted to the chance to be involved in a university-wide program with students.”

But it’s not as if she hasn’t been busy.

Pryor has served on the advisory committee that evaluates faculty up for promotion or tenure. In addition, she’s won several awards as a professor and just got back from a trip to Hawaii to accept an award for her contribution to tort and insurance law.

“My portfolio includes a lot of things — this [associate provost position] is just a piece — but I also know that I’m wet behind the ears,” she said.

The job will have extra responsibilities because of the May resignation of former Provost Robert Blocker. Associate Provost Thomas Tunks has left his position to fill in as interim provost, leaving Pryor and Associate Provost Ellen Jackofsky with a larger workload.

“The oar’s a little deeper in the water,” said Pryor. “For example, I’m handling appeals and petitions,” which are usually run by Tunks.

And though Pryor’s looking forward to interacting with more students, the move hasn’t been completely without regret.

“It’s really difficult leaving the teaching of the first-year [law students],” she said.

“I taught first-year torts for 20 years. I’ll miss that.”

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