Contact: Robert Bobo or Meredith Dickenson at (214) 768-7650


Oct. 19, 2004


DALLAS (SMU) -- A Partner with Hughes & Luce LLP and former justice with the Texas Supreme Court, a Dallas philanthropist and civic leader, an Emmy-winning children's author and illustrator, and a president and chief executive officer of The Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation will receive the highest honor SMU bestows upon its graduates, the SMU Distinguished Alumni Award. This year's recipients are James A. Baker, Nancy McMillan Dedman, William E. Joyce, and William H. Lively. Mindy Tucker Fletcher, a public relations executive and former national press secretary of the 2000 "Bush for President" campaign, will receive the inaugural Emerging Leader Award.

Each was selected for their extraordinary service and achievement to a particular discipline, organization or cause.

The honorees will be recognized at a formal presentation and dinner at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 4, at the Wyndham Anatole Hotel in Dallas. Tickets for the event are $150 per person. For reservations, call Mindy Rowland at 214-768-2586, or send an e-mail to VISA/MasterCard are accepted.

James A. Baker

James A. Baker (click image for high-resolution version)

JAMES A. BAKER ('53, '58)

James A. Baker has served his profession, his community and his state with distinction. He earned two degrees from SMU -- the B.B.A. from the School of Business in 1953 and the LL.B. from the School of Law in 1958. After 28 years of private civil law practice, he was elected judge of the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas in 1986 and served nine years on that court. Baker was appointed to the Supreme Court of Texas in 1995 by then Governor George W. Bush and subsequently was re-elected with strong statewide support, serving on the Supreme Court until August 2002. He is now a partner and co-chair of the Appellate Law Section of Hughes & Luce, L.L.P. in Dallas.

Baker wrote numerous published opinions as an appellate judge on both the Fifth District Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Texas. He has been named Outstanding Civil Jurist by the Dallas Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates and Judge of the Year by the board's Texas Chapter. His other honors include Distinguished Alumni Awards from SMU's Dedman School of Law and Highland Park High School.

Baker has been an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law and a guest lecturer for SMU’s Dedman School of Law, the State Bar of Texas, Dallas Bar Association and other organizations. He is president-elect of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society and serves on the Supreme Court Gender Bias Reform Implementation Committee. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism.

Nancy McMillan Dedman

Nancy McMillan Dedman (click image for high-resolution version)


Nancy McMillan Dedman is a civic and philanthropic leader whose generosity supports a host of causes including education, health care and the arts. A part of the SMU family for more than 50 years, she graduated in 1950 as a Phi Beta Kappa member with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science.

Nancy Dedman and her late husband, Robert H. Dedman, have shared SMU's dreams and supported its advancement through the years. The fruits of their generosity are evident throughout the campus: in the Dedman School of Law, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman Life Sciences Building, Dedman Professorships in Economics and History, Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports and SMU Dedman Scholars program with North Dallas High School. Nancy also gives generously of her time and talents to her alma mater. She currently serves on the boards of Dedman College and the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series. She previously served on the Dedman College Committee of The Campaign for SMU, which raised $542 million for scholarships, faculty positions, programs and facilities.

Equally committed to her community, Nancy serves on the boards of the St. Paul and Zale-Lipshy University Hospitals, Shelter Ministries of Dallas and the Salvation Army Advisory Board. She has been an active supporter of the Dallas Museum of Art and the Fort Worth-Dallas Ballet. She was honored with the 2004 Annette G. Strauss Humanitarian Award and, with her late husband, received the Flora Award and SMU's Mustang Award. Nancy presently serves on the Board of Directors of ClubCorp Inc.

William Joyce

William Joyce (click image for high-resolution version)


William Joyce has created an enchanting world of whimsy and adventure in his award-winning, best-selling children's books. The author-illustrator has won two Emmy Awards for the popular children's show "William Joyce's Rolie Polie Olie," an animated series based on one of his book characters, which airs on the Disney Channel.

A second television series, based on Joyce's book George Shrinks, runs on PBS stations nationwide. Joyce also has created conceptual characters for such feature films as "Toy Story" and "A Bug's Life." His first major animated feature film, "Robots," is due for release by 20th Century Fox in spring 2005, and another feature film, based on Joyce's book A Day with Wilbur Robinson, is in the works with Walt Disney Feature Animation.

Although Joyce is best-known for his distinctive drawings and imaginative stories for children, his illustrations have appeared on numerous covers of The New Yorker, and his paintings are displayed at museums and galleries across the country.

A native of Shreveport, where he still lives, Joyce earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from SMU in 1981 with a major in broadcast-film and minors in art and journalism. He currently is an artist-in-residence at Centenary College of Louisiana. In addition to two Emmy Awards, Joyce has received six Emmy nominations and numerous other national awards. His book Snowie Rolie was among the top 10 best-selling children's books for 2000, and A Day with Wilbur Robinson was selected by Interview magazine for its 1999 list of 50 Best Books in the World. Joyce was hailed by Newsweek as one of the top 100 people to watch in the new millennium.

William H. Lively

William H. Lively (click image for high-resolution version)


William H. Lively has distinguished himself in diverse fields, including education, development and entertainment. With enthusiasm and dedication, he has undertaken numerous challenges during his career. One of the greatest is his current role as president and chief executive officer of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation, charged with raising $257 million from the private sector toward the total cost of $275 million for a world-class performing arts center for Dallas. When completed in 2009, the new facilities will help Dallas become one of the nation’s leading cultural centers.

A native of Dallas, Lively earned a Bachelor of Music degree from SMU in 1965 and a Master of Education degree from the University of North Texas in 1970. Returning to SMU in 1973, he devoted the next 25 years to a variety of roles, serving for the last seven years as vice president of Development and External Affairs. Lively founded the university's Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series, Doak Walker National Running Back Award, and SMU Athletic Forum. He helped to establish the John G. Tower Center for Political Studies. Lively was director of The Campaign for SMU during its initial stages. His SMU honors include the "M" Award, Outstanding Administrator of the Year Award and honorary Doak Walker Award. During his years at SMU, Lively also served as band director for the Dallas Cowboys and executive producer of game day entertainment.

Lively left SMU in 1998 to become president and CEO of Up With People, headquartered in Denver. Two years later, he returned to Dallas to assume leadership of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation.

Mindy Tucker Fletcher

Mindy Tucker Fletcher (click image for high-resolution version)


Mindy Tucker Fletcher had a lifetime of experience in the world of politics during her first decade following graduation from SMU. After receiving a B.B.A. degree and the prestigious "M" Award in 1992, she spent five years on the Washington staff of Texas Congressman Sam Johnson. In 1997, she became deputy communications director of the National Republican Congressional Committee, which supports the re-election of Republican members of the House of Representatives. The following year she returned to Texas to help with then Governor George W. Bush’s re-election campaign.

When Bush launched his presidential bid, Fletcher joined the campaign as national press secretary, managing day-to-day operations of a 50-person communications division during the 2000 campaign and serving as chief spokesperson for the Florida recount. Following the election, she returned to Washington as one of several press secretaries for the presidential transition team. Soon after, she was appointed director of public affairs for the U.S. Department of Justice, the first woman to hold that position. In 2002, Fletcher became communications director of the Republican National Committee, responsible for national media relations operations. She moved from national to regional focus last year as counselor to the California Republican Party and adviser to the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign in California.

In a change from the political arena, Fletcher recently became senior vice president of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. However, she remains active in politics, spending September and October in Florida to assist the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign and serving as co-chair of the National Steering Committee of W Stands for Women. She was recently appointed to the Board of the California State Alliance at the invitation of California First Lady Maria Shriver and now lives in San Diego.


Southern Methodist University is a private university in Dallas with more than 10,000 students and offers degree programs through six schools. More information about SMU is available at