Graduating SMU Students Celebrating, Preparing For August Commencement

Members of SMU’s graduating class are usually taking cap and gown photos and preparing for Commencement Convocation in May. While this spring semester has been different in many ways, plans are underway for a ceremony rescheduled for Aug.15 and for other ways to celebrate the graduates in the meantime.

Reunion Tower, for example, will light up May 16 with a special message in support of the university’s 2,634 new graduates. 

The tower will open during the day Saturday for the SMU class of 2020 and their families to enjoy the view and take photos.

Also, all May 2020 grads have been invited to come together (with a little help from technology) to reminisce about their time on the Hilltop ahead of the commencement ceremony. Visit Stories From The Hilltop to see their stories.

“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 CEO 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 the launch of the Scion brand; recognition of Toyota and Lexus brands as leaders in customer experience; and navigating the company through challenges like the great earthquake and tsunami in Japan and one of the worst recessions in U.S. history.

In addition, Dallas Holocaust survivor Max Glauben will receive an honorary SMU degree. Glauben was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1928.

Glauben has shared his story with students and adults around the world for decades as an eye-witness to the Holocaust.



Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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