SMU’s business program combining student feedback and alumni donations for future success

SMU’s business program combining student feedback and alumni donations for future success

As the school plans the next century, officials say they are taking input from current students on how the classrooms and buildings can better serve future generations. News classes were first taught at SMU in 1920, eventually evolving into a school of business in 1941. The school then received its name in 1978. (SMU supports the DMN Education Lab.) Finance students Davis Brooks and Tatiana Butkevits were selected for a building committee tasked with deciding on a few renovations, which included details down to what furniture should go where.

Sheffield is the latest SMU alumnus to gift a big donation. The school received several large donations last year, which will also help with renovation and expansion efforts. “That building’s going to be right there on the boulevard, front and center,” he said. “It’s in a really good spot for us to really kind of show what success means coming out of the Cox school.”

The Cox School of News celebrated its 100 year anniversary last year, but it was bittersweet as the country navigated the pandemic and school’s namesake, Edwin L. Cox, died last November. Matthew Myers, dean of the business school, said Sheffield’s donation is another example of the school’s entrepreneurial spirit and will help modernize the program. The money will help the school incorporate technology-focused collaborative spaces for students and serves as the new hub for those seeking a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

“Oh yeah, I’m forcing my kids to go to SMU,” she said with a laugh.”By the time I have kids in college, maybe it will be outdated by then.” The more updated the campus and classrooms looks, may lead to more admissions to the school, she said. By the school getting bigger and better, it could lead to the program being more renown, which benefits any student with a Cox diploma. Butkevits, a junior, said that even though she will probably graduate by the time the renovations she helped decide are finished, she plans to return to check out the finished project.

“We would talk for 15 minutes about whether a table in a certain room should be square or circle, or whether this chair should be soft or hard,” he said. Spending time on such details was personal for Brooks, whose parents both graduated from the business school. He hopes his children will attend SMU as well.

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