SMU’s 18th annual Honors Convocation celebrates achievements of students
By Maddie Adams
The 18th annual Honors Convocation at Southern Methodist University was held Monday evening in McFarlin Auditorium. The two-hour ceremony celebrated the academic achievements of more than 400 undergraduate students.
“It is a great day to celebrate the academic achievements of our students, and I hope you enjoy hearing about all of the achievements they will be acknowledged for,” said President R. Gerald Turner in his opening remarks.
The stage was set with red and blue backlighting and floral arrangements as students, families, faculty, donors, board members and alumni entered the auditorium. The entire Platform Party was in attendance and seated on stage.
The Imperial Brass Band played throughout the ceremony. Other musical performances included a song by Kelly Silverthorn accompanied by the piano and the SMU Varsity at the conclusion of the ceremony.
Professor Brian Stump, the Claude C. Albritton, Jr. Chair in Geological Sciences in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences in Dedman College, gave the Honors Convocation address.
“It is no exaggeration to say his research and teaching are explosive, earth-shattering, and yes, even world-changing,” Turner said of Stump.
Stump’s message to awardees was a simple message referencing three lessons he may have known but did not appreciate early in life.
These three lessons are to be curious in life, to take risks and accept setbacks, and to give back.
“Uncharted paths, if explored and developed by unanticipated opportunities, provide for growth and development,” Stump said.
The first recognition of the ceremony was for the University Honors Program, a strong academic community within the university.
Awards were given out to members of 16 different honor societies being recognized.
One of the societies, Alpha Chi, is a national college honor society that admits students from all academic disciplines. In order to be a member of the Texas Alpha Omega chapter, a student must be a junior and have a 3.90 or higher GPA.
The next recognition was given to National Fellowships and Awards, for which the entire audience applauded each student.
The deans of the schools announced other awards for academic achievement in all different disciplines of the university.
Jehadu Abshiro was a recipient of one of these awards, Outstanding Achievement in Digital Journalism.
“I am really honored to have received this award; my professors are absolutely wonderful,” she said.
Her proud father, Tadele Abshiro, was in attendance at the ceremony as well.
“I am outstandingly proud of her with my whole heart,” he said.
Senior Rahfin Faruk, student chair on the SMU Board of Trustees, was the most awarded student honored at the ceremony, recognized for nine different achievements: Robert and Nancy Dedman Outstanding Senior Student, Dallas Economists Club Nominee Award, Outstanding Senior in Political Science, Outstanding Communication Studies Student in Debate and Speech, University Honors Program, Harry S. Truman Scholar, Rhodes Scholar Finalist, Marshall Scholar Finalist, and Fellows to the Center for the Study of Presidency and Congress.
After the awards were handed out, SMU Board of Trustees chair Michael M. Boone congratulated the awardees.
“You’ve taken full advantage of SMU’s academic quality and experiences to excel in your disciplines. When the university adopted its slogan, ‘World Changers Shaped Here,’ it had in mind students like you,” he said.
A reception for the awardees and their families followed the conclusion of the ceremony in the Mack Ballroom.