This one cuts pretty deep on a personal level. As an alumnus and an instructor, I have a lot of fond feelings and respect for Dallas’s Southern Methodist University. Meadows School of the Arts has always been a home for me with an incredible, talented, supportive community and a world-class training program. I never had much to do with the thriving Greek scene or the business program and I’ve never attended a sporting event, but the parts of campus where I’ve spent my time have always been welcoming and strong. Since my graduation, things have only gotten better – the arts have become even more vibrant and integrated with the broader community, the University has climbed up the national rankings, and our long-dead sports teams have even begun an impressive comeback (so I’m told). The school even clawed its way off of the Princeton Review’s “LGBT-unfriendly” list.
There have been warning signs (George W. Bush Presidential Center, I’m looking at you AND your ‘Decision Points Theater’…) but they seemed like the exception, not the rule. SMU’s rise has been linked in my mind to that of Dallas itself. A city achieving its global ambitions with a global university to match. The school dreams big. Our colors aren’t red and blue – they’re Harvard red and Yale blue. Our newest branding is “World Changers Shaped Here.” I was under the impression this was a forward-thinking school claiming its place.