A letter from Dean Sam Holland Photos by Kim Leeson
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SMU Meadows Dean Samuel S. Holland Algur H. Meadows School of the Arts
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The gift of legacy comes with high expectations. As I begin my service in the role of dean of SMU Meadows, I am grateful to have spent the past 20 years experiencing the school's growth firsthand. I feel blessed by the opportunity to help ensure the future for this great institution.

My most important objective as dean is to sustain the energy and momentum that we have collectively built with the Edge for Excellence gift from The Meadows Foundation during the past eight years, with Dean Bowen at the helm. Meadows is an amazing place right now thanks to an extraordinary combination of unparalleled leadership, innovative faculty, bright students and engaged volunteers who not only embrace our mission but encourage and challenge us to go further.

I will do everything I can to support and advance the initiatives that promote Meadows’ core values and set us apart from the competition: innovation, entrepreneurship and impact. In this issue of MPRINT, you will read more about these key ideas including the National Center for Arts Research, the Meadows Prize, Meadows Scholars and entrepreneurship. Crossing disciplinary boundaries, these initiatives build on the excellence of our foundation, attract students, make a difference in this community and grab the attention of a global audience. Academic achievement remains critical, but instead of being our sole goal, it serves as the base upon which we build the platform that sets us apart from our peers.

During the transition, we can’t rest. Meadows students, faculty and alumni deserve our creative and relentless pursuit of resources to attract people and build programs as we move into the final year of SMU’s Unbridled Campaign. We’ve come a long way, but there is still much work to be done.

We must continue our commitment to recruiting and retaining the very best students, faculty and staff. Every hire should make us better and more diverse than we are now. Every hire should add more individuals to the bench who bring vision, leadership, tenacity and hard work. Our rock-star ranks are simply too deep to profile everyone in this issue, but we are excited to share a sampling of Meadows thought leaders on page 18. This fall, we also add to our creative capital with exciting new team members Stefan Engels, Professor of Organ and Leah Fullinwider Centennial Chair of Music Performance; Amy Freund, Assistant Professor and Kleinheinz Family Chair in Art History; Stephanie Langin-Hooper, Assistant Professor and Karl Kilinski II Chair in Hellenic Visual Culture; and Melissa Panzarello, Costume Shop Manager.

Meadows has become a model for arts education in the 21st century. Our work to prepare our students for lives in the arts and communications must continue to evolve with, or ahead of, the world around us. Rather than Meadows emulating work in aspirational schools, I am beginning to hear that schools all over the country are adopting our approach and, therefore, our way forward becomes even more critical as the impact extends beyond our own students.

Finally, we must continue to be an engaged community partner with the people and the city of Dallas – through our arts and urbanism initiatives, the Meadows Prize and collaborations with key organizations. Though we have already begun integrating our work with the needs and ideas of this great city, tremendous opportunities lie before us. Showing our students that distinct, meaningful lives are available to them through community and collaboration may be among the greatest gifts we can give them.

It has been my privilege to serve as director of the music program at SMU for the past five years. I have been able to make a difference there because my values, goals and priorities align strongly with those of Meadows leadership. We agree that, at the end of the day, the School exists for student learning. We believe in the transformative power of arts and communication in human experience. We are certain of the quality, craft and integrity of the work itself, but realize that for art to have impact, it must be relevant in community. We recognize the essential need for artists and communicators to be entrepreneurial. We know that our students, faculty and alumni can and do start movements that change the world – and not only in concert halls, museums and studios, but in board rooms, remote villages and schools across the globe. And that, in short, is what drives Meadows. It’s what gets me up early and keeps me up late, not only this year, but for the past 20 years, and in the years to come.

Dean Samuel S. Holland
Algur H. Meadows Chair and
Professor of Music