DALLAS (SMU) —Gifts totaling $3.4 million from energy industry leader Bobby B. Lyle of Dallas will support initiatives in SMU’s Cox School of Business and School of Engineering with a focus on entrepreneurship and leadership.
“Bobby Lyle has provided visionary leadership and dedicated service to SMU for almost 40 years in several capacities — as a student, faculty member, dean, alumni leader, donor, trustee, and executive board member. This latest gift reflects not only his generosity, but also his deep understanding of the University’s unique role and needs as we educate leaders in business, engineering, and other fields,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “As an industry leader, he exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit and skills he is fostering in others.”
A new gift of $1.4 million to the Cox School of Business includes funds for an endowed Professorship in Entrepreneurial Studies bearing Lyle’s name. An endowed M.B.A. Scholarship in Entrepreneurial Studies and a Faculty Innovation Award will honor C. Jackson Grayson Jr., a former dean of the SMU business school. Another Faculty Innovation Award is named in honor of Eugene T. Byrne, a former business school associate dean and faculty member. The annual awards will recognize faculty members who demonstrate innovation in teaching. Lyle also has given $300,000 for the James M. Collins Executive Education Center, which opened in 2005.
“Entrepreneurship has long been a major focus of the Cox School of Business,” said Cox Dean Albert W. Niemi. “Bobby Lyle’s wonderful gift will provide a great boost to the Cox School and help us to educate entrepreneurs who can meet new challenges in the rapidly changing world of business. The new faculty awards will encourage innovative approaches to teaching that will prepare students in moving from classroom to career.”
A new gift of $1.4 million to the SMU School of Engineering provides funds for both a strategic planning initiative for the school’s future and development of a new program in Engineering Leadership and Entrepreneurship. Lyle also has given $300,000 toward the construction of the new J. Lindsay Embrey Engineering Building, to open in fall 2006.
“SMU’s School of Engineering is known not only for educating outstanding engineers, but also for developing students as technical leaders and entrepreneurs. As the global work environment increasingly asks more from engineers, we here at SMU are expanding our emphasis on technical leadership skills,” said School of Engineering Dean Geoffrey Orsak, “Bobby Lyle’s generous gift will enable us to equip our engineering students with the special tools that will put them in the forefront as leaders and innovators.”
Bobby Lyle has strong ties with both the Cox School of Business and the SMU School of Engineering. He received an M.S. degree in engineering administration from SMU and later earned a Doctor of Education degree with a concentration in strategic planning and leadership from the University of Massachusetts. A faculty member in the Cox School of Business from 1967-75, Lyle also served as the school’s acting dean from 1971-73 and executive dean from 1973-75.
“SMU has been an extremely important part of my life for the past 40 years, and I have never been more proud of and excited about the University than I am today,” Lyle said. “President Gerald Turner, Provost Robert Blocker, Engineering School Dean Geoffrey Orsak, and Business School Dean Al Niemi constitute the perfect team to lead these two great schools into the next decade. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be associated with both schools. And I hope these gifts will help both achieve the levels of academic excellence to which they aspire.”
Lyle served on the SMU Board of Trustees from 1982 to 2000 and was a member of the Executive Council of The Campaign for SMU, which raised $542 million from 1997 to 2002. He is a current member of the executive boards of Cox School of Business and the School of Engineering and serves as vice chair of the advisory boards of both the Maguire Energy Institute and Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility. He also is a member of the advisory board of the Hart Global Leaders Forum and a trustee of the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man at SMU. He was one of the creators of the Cox Associate Board, whose 250 members mentor Cox M.B.A. students. A former president of the SMU Alumni Association, he received the SMU Distinguished Alumni Award in 1995. Lyle is one of six alumni of the SMU School of Engineering to be honored February 17 at the school’s 2006 Hall of Leaders Award Celebration.
Lyle is founder and president of Lyco Energy Corporation, which is involved in petroleum and natural gas exploration and production in Montana and North Dakota. Lyle’s civic leadership has included serving as chair of the Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation, vice chair of the Dallas County Salvation Army Advisory Board, president of the Circle Ten Council of the Boy Scouts of America, president of the Texas Trees Foundation, and president of The Center for Nonprofit Management. A founding trustee of the Dallas Alliance for Minority Enterprise, he was appointed to the President’s National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprise during the Nixon administration.