2017 Alumni News October 2017

SMU Homecoming 2017: Friends, football and fun

Come back to the Hilltop for Homecoming, November 2–5, 2017! Reconnect with your friends, reminisce where you began an important part of your life and celebrate the achievements and momentum propelling SMU toward an ever-brighter future.
This year’s celebration begins with the Distinguished Alumni Awards, a prelude to a weekend packed with activities. Choose from among a range of concerts and performances, as well as special exhibitions at SMU’s museums and libraries. Celebrate 100 years of Mustang spirit and Mustang jazz with the Mustang Band at the Pigskin Revue. And enjoy the excitement and fun of the annual parade and the Boulevard, all leading up to the Mustang football team’s game against the UCF Knights.
A highlight of the weekend for many returning Mustangs are the reunion class parties on November 3, where alumni catch up on old times, share memories and reconnect with one another at some of Dallas’ best-loved venues as well as great spots on campus with food, drinks and entertainment.
Student Foundation has been hard at work to make this the most memorable Homecoming yet. Join your Mustang family in November and experience the best of SMU.
Read more at SMU Homecoming & Reunions.

Alumni Fall 2017

SMU To Honor 2017 Distinguished Alumni, Emerging Leader

SMU will launch Homecoming Weekend 2017 by honoring four outstanding leaders in education, business and civic life at the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony and dinner on Thursday, November 2, on the historic Main Quad. Randy L. Allen ’73, Richard H. Collins ’69 and Albon O. Head, Jr. ’68, ’71 will receive 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards, and Lacey A. Horn ’04, ’05 will receive the Emerging Leader Award.
Randy L. Allen ’73 has been the head football coach at Highland Park High School since 1999. A 1973 graduate with a bachelor of arts in social studies, Allen attended SMU on a football scholarship and lettered in football and baseball. Climbing the high school ranks an assistant coach, Mr. Allen earned his first head coaching job in 1981 at Ballinger High School. After stops at Brownwood and Abilene Cooper, he led the Scots to state championships in 2005 and 2016. Read more
Richard “Dick” H. Collins ’69, a businessman and entrepreneur, is committed to making quality education available to all children. Collins graduated from SMU in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. A chairman of two commercial banks, real estate developer, wildcatter and media investor, Collins co-founded Istation in 1998. Istation is a global leader in education technology. He has served as its chairman and CEO since 2007. Read more
Albon O. Head ’68, ’71, a partner at Jackson Walker LLP in Fort Worth, is a four-year Mustang football letter winner. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history in 1968 and his juris doctor in 1971. He helped the Mustangs to the 1966 Southwest Conference Championship, and was co-captain of the 1968 Bluebonnet Bowl win over OU. He began his studies at the Dedman School of Law while serving as a graduate assistant coach in 1969 and 1970. Read more
Lacey A. Horn ’04, ’05, treasurer of the Cherokee Nation, is noted for her ability to find optimal solutions for ideal outcomes and making a difference in the governance of organizations and lives of people. Horn earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2004 and master of science in accounting in 2005. Beginning her career with Hunt Oil and KPMG Chicago as an auditor, she has been Cherokee Nation treasurer since 2011.
Read more

2017 Alumni Fall 2017

SMU Hispanic Alumni honor alumnus, award scholarships

Jorge Baldor ’93 was honored with the 2017 Distinguished Hispanic Alumni Award presented by SMU Hispanic Alumni at the chapter’s annual awards celebration on April 27. SMU Hispanic Alumni also presented undergraduate scholarships to Carlos “Alex” Negrete ’18 and Victor Sanchez ’19. Guest speakers included SMU President R. Gerald Turner and Thomas DiPiero, dean and professor of World Languages and Literatures and English, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.
Baldor, pictured at the top of the page with Elizabeth Zamora ’12 (left), chair of SMU Hispanic Alumni, and Cynthia Villanueva ’00, past chair, graduated from SMU with a bachelor’s degree in history. He is co-founder of ResidentCheck, a national tenant background screening service.
An award-winning leader in business and civic affairs, Baldor was named Outstanding Latino Advocate in 2016 by D CEO magazine. He also has been recognized for his support of the Innocence Project and was named an “Amigo de Centroamerica” by Fundación Esquipulas, a nonprofit organization led by Vinicio Cerezo, the former president of Guatamala.
In 2015 Baldor co-founded the Latino Center for Leadership Development (Latino CLD), which strives to develop the next generation of leaders driven by thoughts, values and experiences that will improve the Latino community. Earlier this year, Latino CLD and SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies awarded nine research grants to support meaningful research geared to promoting a stronger understanding of the Latino community and creating a dialogue about key societal issues.
He serves on the executive board of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and as a commissioner-at-large on the City of Dallas’ Cultural Affairs Commission. He also serves on the boards of the Cisneros Center for New Americans, the World Affairs Council and the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce.
SMU Hispanic Alumni also honored scholarship recipients Carlos “Alex” Negrete ’18 of Carrollton, Texas, a business administration major in the Cox School of Business, and Cox finance major Victor Sanchez ’19 of San Antonio, Texas.

2016 Alumni Spring 2016

Cox School Of Business Honors Five SMU Alumni

Al Niemi, Dean of the Cox School of Business; Bryan Sheffield, BBA ’01 and 2016 SMU Cox Outstanding Young Alumnus; John Santa Maria Otazua, BBA ’79 , MBA ’81 and 2016 SMU Cox Distinguished Alumnus; Michael Merriman, BBA ’79 and 2016 SMU Cox Distinguished Alumnus; Jason Signor, MBA ’04 and 2016 SMU Cox Outstanding Young Alumnus; Billie Ida Williamson, BBA ’74 and 2016 SMU Cox Distinguished Alumna; and R. Gerald Turner, SMU President.
SMU’s Cox School of Business honored five alumni May 13. Pictured at the awards luncheon are (from left) Dean Al Niemi, Bryan Sheffield ’01, John Anthony Santa Maria Otazua ’79 , ’81, Michael Merriman ’79, Jason Signor ’04, Billie Ida Williamson ’74 and SMU President R. Gerald Turner.

The SMU Cox School of Business honored five alumni at the school’s annual Distinguished Alumni and Outstanding Young Alumni Awards Luncheon on May 13.
2016 Distinguished Alumni Honorees
Michael Merriman, BBA’79, is Chief Executive Officer of Financial Holding Corporation — FHC — a privately held financial services holding company in Kansas City, Missouri. In addition to serving on other corporate and civic boards, he is a member of the SMU Cox Executive Board. Mr. Merriman’s wife, Ellen, and their four children — Jack, Margaux, Edward and Mattie — are all SMU alumni.
John Anthony Santa Maria Otazua, BBA ’79 and MBA ’81, is the CEO of Coca-Cola FEMSA, the largest public bottler of Coca-Cola products in the world, encompassing franchise territories in 10 countries across Latin America and Asia, with over 100,000 associates operating 63 bottling plants and 327 distribution centers globally. He serves on other corporate boards and helps represent Mexico on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Advisory Council. He and his family live in Mexico City.
Billie Ida Williamson, BBA ’74, served as a senior assurance partner and the Americas’ inclusiveness officer of Ernst & Young LLP until her retirement in 2011. She began her career at Ernst & Young in 1974 in the assurance practice. Ten years later, she became one of the firm’s first women partners. After 19 years with EY, she left to become chief financial officer of AMX Corp., led that company’s successful IPO, and became senior vice president of finance of Marriott International, Inc. In 1998, she rejoined Ernst & Young in its Center for Strategic Transactions and became a senior client-serving partner. Ms. Williamson serves on multiple corporate boards, is active on civic boards and is a member of the Cox Executive Board. Before earning a BBA in accounting in 1974, with highest honors, Ms. Williamson was SMU’s student body treasurer and Homecoming queen. She was honored by SMU with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015.
2016 Outstanding Young Alumni Honorees
Bryan Sheffield, BBA ’01, founded Parsley Energy in 2008 and serves as chairman, president and CEO. He led the company’s growth from a two-person contract operator to a publicly-traded company with more than 200 employees and more than 800 operated wells. In May 2014, he directed Parsley’s initial public offering — the second largest E&P IPO ever — after which the company has established a track record of drilling some of the basin’s most productive wells. Last fall, he presented SMU Cox with a gift to honor his father. The new Scott Sheffield Energy Investment lab bears the name of Bryan’s dad, the chairman and CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources.
Jason Signor, MBA ’04, is a partner and CEO of Caddis Healthcare Real Estate. He began his career designing hospitals in Nashville, Tennessee, then chose to pursue graduate school at SMU Cox, where he served as president of his MBA class. In graduate school, he co-founded the still thriving Real Estate Club at Cox with a fellow graduate student who would eventually become his business partner at Caddis. Modern Healthcare magazine named Caddis the ninth largest healthcare developer in the U.S. this year.
SMU Cox Distinguished Alumni must hold an undergraduate or graduate degree from SMU, a position of distinction in the business community; demonstrate outstanding career success, be active civic leaders and community partners, and be involved with SMU and the Cox School through activities and contributions. Those recognized as SMU Cox Outstanding Young Alumni must meet the same criteria, but can be no more than 40 years of age at the time of the awards luncheon. Nominations for either honor may be sent to Kevin Knox, assistant dean of external relations and executive director of the SMU Cox Alumni Association, at