In true Texas fashion, both church and football will be primary components of SMU’s weekend of centennial celebration activities.
The festivities begin on Thursday with a ceremony at McFarlin auditorium featuring music, flags, and a speech by school president R. Gerald Turner outlining his vision for the next 100 years.
Members of the school’s Carillon Guild will perform a “change ringing” ceremony, which is a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages that features 100 mathematical ringing patterns instead of a conventional melody. At noon, SMU will join 30 United Methodist churches throughout the state in ringing its bells 10 times, once for each decade of the university, followed by a celebratory pealing.
Thursday’s events — which are open to alumni, students, parents, and staff — will culminate with a picnic with a State Fair of Texas theme.
On Saturday, the university homecoming parade will be highlighted by the “SMU Giants,” which are puppets representing campus heroes from the past century. They’ll march through campus alongside the usual band and cheerleaders, past homecoming royalty, and student floats.
The football game against James Madison University starts at 6 p.m., followed by a birthday salute that will include a giant fireworks display.
Other events that aren’t open to the public include a concert by the Eli Young Band on Wednesday, a worship service and an alumni awards celebration on Thursday, and the “Centennial Stampede of Service” community-service initiative on Friday.
By the way, the university was founded in 1911, but didn’t open until 1915, thus the timing.