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Charlinda Davis Gray ’84

Charlinda Davis Gray, CPA, CPM, was recently promoted to senior vice president-retail management and accounting at Lincoln Property Company in Dallas.

Gray earned her BBA from SMU’s Cox School of Business. Her son, Parker Davis Gray ’16, graduated in in May with a BFA in theatre from Meadows School of the Arts.

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Ed Housewright ’81

BeyondJustWinCoverEd Housewright explores the impact of a longtime high school football coach on the lives of scores of young men he coached and mentored. Beyond Just Win: A Profile of G.A. Moore, Texas High School Football’s No. 1 Coach, which will be released August 1, covers the 45-year career of G.A. Moore, who coached teams in the small Texas towns of Bryson, Celina, Pilot Point and Sherman. Moore was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2012, a tribute to his eight state championships and influence on Lone Star high school football.

Housewright earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from SMU and was an award-winning reporter for The Dallas Morning News for more than 25  years. He has written five books, including Dallas Cowboys: America’s TeamGame Changers: The Greatest Plays in Dallas Cowboys Football History and 100 Things Cowboys Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, with a foreward by Tony Dorsett.

Beyond Just Win can be pre-ordered through Amazon and other booksellers.

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Susan Cancelosi ’88

SusanCancelosiSusan Cancelosi ’88, an associate professor at Wayne State University Law School, will receive the Donald H. Gordon Award for Excellence in Teaching at the 2016 Treasure of Detroit April 21. The annual event recognizes those who have made a lasting contribution to the practice of law.

Cancelosi teaches elder law and employee benefits, as well as trusts and decedents’ estates. She focuses her research on elder law and retiree benefits, with particular attention to the interaction of the Medicare system with employment-based retiree health benefits.

Before joining the Wayne Law faculty, Cancelosi was a research professor with the Health Law & Policy Institute at the University of Houston Law Center, where she focused primarily on research into various health care finance issues and taught both employee benefits and elder law. Previously, she was a director in tax and legal consulting cervices for Buck Consultants, a national human resources consulting firm. Before joining Buck, Cancelosi worked as a manager with Deloitte & Touche in its employee benefits consulting practice. She began her legal career as an employee benefits attorney with Jones Day Reavis & Pogue, later joining the benefits practice at Taft Stettinius & Hollister in Cincinnati. She also served for several years as assistant general counsel for The Associates, a large publicly traded finance company based in Dallas.

Cancelosi earned a bachelor’s degree in history and bachelor of business administration degree in marketing from SMU. She graduated from Cornell Law School and holds a master of laws degree in health law from the University of Houston Law Center.

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Sean T. Higgins ’87

HigginsSeanSean T. Higgins has been named senior vice president of government affairs and business development by Las Vegas-based Golden Entertainment, Inc. In this role, Higgins will work with federal and state elected and appointed officials on issues relating to the company’s business activity. In addition, Higgins will oversee business development for the company as it pursues both distributed and traditional gaming opportunities.

“Sean is an incredible addition to our company and brings a wealth of federal, state and policy expertise, including many years of lobbying before the Nevada Legislature,” noted Blake L. Sartini, chairman, president and CEO of Golden Entertainment. “His extensive industry knowledge as well as his legislative and developmental experience will be tremendous assets as we continue to expand on a local, regional and national level.”

Higgins comes to Golden Entertainment after serving as principal of STH Strategies, a firm he founded in early 2015. Previously, Higgins was managing principal of Porter Golden Silver Communications, a full-service government affairs and business strategic consulting firm. In addition, he was a partner in the law firm of Gordon Silver. Prior to that, he spent 17 years as general counsel and head of government affairs for a multijurisdictional gaming company.

Higgins is a member of the International Association of Gaming Advisors. He previously served on the Nevada Governor’s Gaming Policy Committee, Nevada Governor’s Advisory Committee on Problem Gambling, National Gambling Impact Study Commission and the Clark County Blue Ribbon Panel on Fuel Reliability. In July 2015, he was appointed by Governor Sandoval to serve on the Nevada Equal Rights Commission.

Higgins received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from SMU and his law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law. He is licensed to practice law in the state of Nevada.

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Margaret Tyson ’80

The Rev. Margaret Tyson was named pastor of Ironton Quinn Chapel AME Church in Ironton, Ohio, in November 2015. She also serves as pastor of Allen Chapel AME in Portsmouth, Ohio. She is a member of AME 3rd District Board of Christian Education and director of creative arts. She earned  a master of sacred theology degree in homiletics and a master’s of divinity from Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia. Before entering the ministry, she was a teacher in New York City public schools. She graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of fine arts degree from SMU in 1980.

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Steve Booth ’82

BoothSteveSteve Booth has been named CEO of Baird, an employee-owned international financial services firm. Booth will continue in his role as president, which he has served since 2014. He succeeds Paul Purcell, who will continue as chairman of the firm.

Booth both joined the firm in 1994 and previously led Baird’s investment banking team and had served as co-head of the firm’s equity capital markets business since 2006.

“I’ve had the pleasure of being a mentor, friend and business partner with Steve for more than 25 years,” sys Purcell. “For the last several years, we’ve worked side-by-side to pursue Baird’s most important opportunities and to transition responsibilities. Baird is tremendously well positioned for the future with a fantastic team of leaders and associates. We are in great hands with Steve at the helm.”

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Martin B. Cominsky ’81

MartinCominskyMartin B. Cominsky has been named president and CEO of Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston (IM).  Cominsky, who earned an MBA from SMU’s Cox School of Business, oversees IM’s $17 million budget and 150 employees, as well as its programs: Meals on Wheels, Refugee Services, Interfaith Relations and Disaster Preparedness and Response. Cominsky previously served for more than 15 years as regional director of the  Anti-Defamation League in Houston. He has spent more than 33 years working with nonprofit organizations serving communities in the arts, human services, education and advocacy.

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Shari LeMonnier ’80

LeMonnierPaintingShari LeMonnier’s bold and vibrant acrylic artworks are featured in a solo exhibit at The Village Gallery at Pines Village Retirement Communities in Valparaiso, Indiana, from December 13 through January 21, 2016. Her spiritual and peace-related paintings and murals are inspired by the Bible and have been exhibited around the globe.

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Melissa Eastman ’84

Melissa Eastman has been featured in the inaugural edition of D CEO magazine’s The Dallas 500, which recognizes the most influential leaders in North Texas. Eastman serves as senior vice president and commercial services manager for Stewart Title. She was recognized in the Title Insurance – Commercial category among five other peers and legends representing both the residential and commercial industries.

Her career spans more than 25 years in the real estate industry. She joined Stewart in 1987, and today she manages the Stewart Title Commercial Services Dallas office. During her tenure she has successfully secured multi-state, multi-site, portfolio and single-asset transactions across the U.S. as well as internationally.

“I’m happy D CEO recognized her business savvy disposition and impressive track record, making her a clear stand out among Dallas’ most influential, dynamic business executives,” said Bruce Hawley, executive vice president and director of commercial services for Stewart Title.

In 2011, Eastman was recognized by Real Estate Forum magazine as a Woman of Influence, and in 2009 she was named one of the 25 Women to Watch by the Dallas Business Journal.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in business marketing and international studies from SMU. She is a member of the Real Estate Council, Urban Land Institute, NAIOP | Commercial Real Estate Development Association, Downtown Dallas, Inc. and Dallas Regional Chamber.

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Scott Wheeler ’85

Scott Wheeler, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Daseke Inc., has been named CFO of the Year in the middle market category ($25 million to $750 million), by the Dallas Business Journal.

ScottWheelerMug“The award to Scott could not be more well-deserved,” says Don Daseke, CEO of Daseke Inc., which has become the largest owner of flatbed and specialty equipment in North America. “He has overseen and helped ignite our growth from $50 million in 2011 to an estimated $675 million by year end. He’s my invaluable business partner, a mentor for our operating divisions’ CEOs, and a primary driver of our company’s success. I’m extremely proud of Scott, and I’m heartened that others have taken notice of his achievements.”

Wheeler launched his career after earning an MBA from SMU in 1985.

“I’ve had a rewarding and varied career having served as CFO at different firms for a number of years,” he says. “But the present is what has me most excited. What we’re accomplishing with Daseke, the team we’re building and the growth we’re seeing with our trucking company is truly remarkable.”

Finding and developing great talent is both the most difficult and most satisfying aspects of his role as CFO, he told the DBJ: “It is tough to find those diamonds in the rough. Yet once you have found them, watching them learn, develop and grow is one of the most rewarding parts of being in business.”

In the community, Wheeler served as mayor of Addison, Texas, for six years and serves and on the board of the College of Business at Texas A&M Commerce, his undergraduate alma mater, where he is an adjunct professor of finance. He has received the Alumni Ambassador award from the college’s Department of Economics and Finance, the highest honor it bestows on alumni.