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SMU’s Cox School of Business receives $15M gift

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SMU’s Edwin L. Cox School of Business has received a $15 million gift.

Sharoll and Bryan S. Sheffield ’01, provided the gift that will be used to empower future entrepreneurs by creating new technology-equipped collaborative spaces. Their commitment will establish Bryan S. Sheffield Hall, part of the future Cox School renovation and expansion project, which will provide students with innovative learning environments, enabling students to develop critical skills that are vital to success in today’s evolving workplace. 

“Bryan is a wonderful example of how SMU shapes world changers. His forward-thinking leadership in the energy industry is a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit and the financial acumen he developed as a business major in the Cox School,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “We are grateful for this gift, which will foster outstanding business education and encourage our students to tackle big questions and find bold solutions.” 

Located on the southwest corner of the renovated business school quad, Sheffield Hall will feature Collegiate Georgian style construction with up-to-date classrooms designed for collaboration and data-focused problem-solving. Sheffield Hall will serve as the new hub for Cox School’s Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program, including BBA admissions, academic advising and student records. In addition, it will house classroom space on the lower level and faculty offices on the second floor. 

“The Cox School, and its BBA program in particular, taught me to anticipate future business landscapes. Energy is undergoing a huge transition. Data and innovation are starting to take center stage in environmentally responsible energy production. This facility will give our next-generation CEOs experience in a data-driven, collaborative environment – and the skills to build trust with customers. Combined, technology and public trust are critical to supporting our future energy landscapes,” said Bryan Sheffield, founder and managing partner of Formentera Partners. “Sharoll and I are thrilled to give back to SMU and to help educate the next generation of entrepreneurs on the Hilltop. ”

To further enhance the real-world business experiences shaping the next generation of business leaders, the second floor of Sheffield Hall will provide a home for the Brierley Institute for Customer Engagement. The academic institute brings together students, marketing faculty and corporate leaders to examine and explore why customers engage with brands, and how that engagement drives loyalty and value.

“Texas’ unparalleled economic environment has enabled leaders like Bryan Sheffield to thrive. I’m thrilled to see that he is creating opportunity for our next generation,” said Robert Allen, president and CEO of Texas Economic Development Corporation. “Forward-thinking commitments from leaders like Bryan support all opportunities to ‘Go Big in Texas.’”

“The Cox School is proud of the education we offer our future business leaders. Bryan is a testament to the kind of solutions-oriented leadership skills we nurture and the creative, entrepreneurial spirit we encourage at SMU Cox,” said Matthew B. Myers, dean of Cox School and Tolleson Chair in Business Leadership. “We are grateful to Bryan and Sharoll for their commitment to give back. Their generous gift will impact generations of young leaders who come to the Cox School to pursue their business educations.”

Bryan S. Sheffield was awarded his BBA from SMU’s Cox School in 2001. Sheffield is founder and managing partner of Formentera Partners, an energy-focused investment firm based in Austin. Prior to Formentera, Sheffield founded Parsley Energy, an independent oil and gas company where he served in various roles including CEO, chairman of the board and executive chairman. Credited with leading the second-most successful exploration and production IPO in history, Sheffield was recognized among Forbes’40 Under 40 and as Austin Business Journal’s CEO of the Year. He serves on the boards of the governor’s Texas Economic Development Corporation and the Greater Austin Crime Commission and is a member of the Texas Business Leadership Council.

At SMU, Sheffield was honored with the Cox Outstanding Young Alumni Award in 2016.

He serves on the Maguire Energy Institute Advisory Board. In 2014, the Sheffields committed to creating the Scott Sheffield Energy Investment Lab in the Maguire Energy Institute in honor of Bryan’s father, veteran energy industry leader Scott Sheffield. 

Sharoll Sheffield serves as principal at Marbella Interests, where she advises the Sheffield family’s personal interests and philanthropic giving. Under her leadership, the Sheffields have become generous advocates for the millions of neglected and abandoned animals in Texas. Sharoll Sheffield’s efforts have saved hundreds of lives and strengthened Texas’ pursuit of no-kill animal shelters through work with the Midland Animal Shelter and New Hope Animal Rescue in Austin. She is a native of Spain. 

“Sharoll and Bryan are setting the pace for the future of SMU. We are lucky to have them as role models to other young Mustang philanthropists,” said Brad E. Cheves, SMU vice president for Development and External Affairs. “We are grateful to Bryan and Sharoll for the role they have in shaping future business leaders and enriching the lives of Mustangs.” 

Sharoll and Bryan have two children. 

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