About the Institute

Hunter & Stephanie Hunt

Hunter & Stephanie HuntHunter Hunt is Chairman and CEO of Hunt Consolidated Energy, Inc., the holding company for Hunt Oil Company, Hunt Refining Company, and Hunt Power. Hunt Oil Company was founded in 1934 by H.L. Hunt and is one of the largest privately-owned energy companies in the world. Hunt Power was established in 1998 to seek opportunities in the utility industry. Hunt Power created Sharyland Utilities, L.P., a Texas-based transmission and distribution electric utility, which was the first new regulated electric utility created in the U.S. in over 30 years. Sharyland Utilities is currently developing a 300-mile electric transmission project to bring wind power from the Panhandle region of Texas into the major metropolitan areas. It now has operations in over 20 counties in Texas. Hunter serves as President of Sharyland Utilities.

Prior to joining Hunt Consolidated, Hunter worked with the investment bank Morgan Stanley from 1990 to 1998, both in corporate finance and commodity trading. In 1999, he took a leave of absence from the Hunt organization to work for the George W. Bush Campaign for President, where he served in the Policy Group focusing on energy, taxes, and the budget. Hunter graduated from SMU summa cum laude with degrees in both economics and political science. He serves in several capacities at SMU, including serving on the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering's Executive Board, the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, and he was recently Chair of the 21st Century Council, a group reporting to SMU's president that consults on a variety of university issues. He co-founded the Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity, which is focused on bringing innovative technological and business solutions to the global poor. Hunter also serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the All Stars Project, a nationwide charity based in New York that focuses on developing underprivileged youth through performance and career training.

A native of Dallas, Texas, Stephanie Hunt attended the University of Texas at Austin, graduating in 1990 with a BBA in Finance. After graduation, she studied at Sotheby's in London and subsequently worked in the Dallas office. Two years later, Stephanie joined the energy research group of the investment bank Wasserstein Perella, continuing her financial work until 1997. She then moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming as co-owner of The Gun Barrel Steakhouse.

In 2009, Stephanie and her husband Hunter, co-founded the Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity within SMU's Lyle School of Engineering. The Hunt Institute is dedicated to bringing technology-driven solutions to improve the lives of those in extreme poverty, and to developing a new generation of engineers who will apply their talents to the challenges facing the global poor.

Stephanie currently serves on the boards of the USA for UNHCR (the UN Agency for Refugees); the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas providing free legal representation and social services to asylum seekers; and The da Vinci School, specializing in early childhood education. Stephanie is a past chair of the AFI Dallas International Film Festival and continues her support of film preservation through the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. Stephanie attended NYU's summer filmmaking boot camp in 1999 and is a passionate supporter of documentary filmmaking. Stephanie resides in Dallas with her husband, Hunter, and their eight-year-old triplets.

Dr. Bobby B. Lyle

Dr. Bobby B. Lyle has excelled as an engineer, corporate executive, entrepreneur, civic leader, professor, and academic administrator during his distinguished and multifaceted career. He has served as an SMU trustee for 20 years and is a member of the Executive Board of the Lyle School of Engineering.

The founder of Lyco Energy Corporation in 1981, Lyle has been a leader in the petroleum and natural gas industry for more than 25 years, exploring throughout the United States. In 2005, he established Lyco Holdings Inc., a private investment firm. During his professional career, Lyle has also helped found a number of private companies and joint ventures and was instrumental in the development of the Dallas Galleria and the InterFirst Bank-Galleria.

Lyle graduated from Louisiana Tech University, received a graduate degree in Engineering Administration from SMU, and earned a doctorate from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He served as a professor and administrator in what is now the Edwin L. Cox School of Business, ultimately serving as dean ad interim and as executive dean.

In addition to the Lyle School Engineering Executive Board, Lyle serves on the Executive Board of the Cox School of Business and as a trustee of the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man in SMU's Dedman College. He is vice chair of the Maguire Energy Institute in the Cox School and the Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility. He is co-founder and current chair of the Associate Board in the Cox School and serves on the board of SMU's Hart Global Leaders Forum. He received the SMU Distinguished Alumni Award in 1995 and in 2006 was named to the Lyle School of Engineering Hall of Leaders. Lyle is convening co-chair of the Engineering Steering Committee for The Second Century Campaign.

His civic activities have included leadership roles with the Boy Scouts of America, National and Dallas-Fort Worth Advisory Boards of the Salvation Army, Texas Trees Foundation, and many others.

On October 17, 2008, the SMU community celebrated the naming of the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering and the unveiling of its new strategic plan. The Lyle School will build on its strong history of preparing graduates for success in areas such as technology, industry and public service. As the University enters its second century, the Lyle School will educate engineers to be leaders and creative thinkers, prepared to take on the most profound challenges confronting society and our planet.

William & Gay Solomon

William T. Solomon served for more than 30 years as CEO of Austin Industries, one of the nation’s largest commercial, industrial, and infrastructure construction companies. Actively involved in the Dallas philanthropic community, Mr. Solomon is chairman of the board of the Hoblitzelle Foundation and vice chairman of the board of Dallas Medical Resource. A past chairman of the board of the Southwestern Medical Foundation, he served on the board of the Belo Corporation and was chairman of the Dallas Citizens Council, Dallas Together Forum, and the Greater Dallas Chamber.

Mr. Solomon earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the SMU Lyle School of Engineering and an MBA from Harvard. He was named to the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 1996 and honored as the Texas Minority Business Advocate of the Year in 1995.  He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the 2000 J. Erik Johnson Ethics Award presented by the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at SMU.  Solomon previously served on the SMU Board of Trustees and is a current member of the SMU Lyle School of Engineering Executive Board.

Mr. Solomon is married to Gay (Ferguson) Solomon, a civic volunteer, painter, and interior designer. Mrs. Solomon supports a variety of civic and religious organizations and is a member of the Executive Board of SMU's Perkins School of Theology. She is an honor graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

Mr. and Mrs. Solomon support various philanthropic organizations in Dallas and endowed the William T. and Gay F. Solomon Division of General Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. The couple also supports UT Southwestern's new William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, where Mr. Solomon chaired the capital campaign and Mrs. Solomon chaired the Art Advisory Committee.

Mr. and Mrs. Solomon have two children: William T. Solomon, Jr. and Meredith (Solomon) Boyd.

Dr. Eva Szalkai CsakyDr. Eva Szalkai Csaky is the director of the Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity in the Lyle School of Engineering. In this position, she is developing projects and initiatives in collaboration with academia, the private sector and not-for-profit organizations that benefit disadvantaged communities, both locally and around the world.

Prior to joining SMU, Eva worked for the World Bank Group for 15 years with a focus on market-based solutions for environmental and social problems. She led the design and implementation of projects in 24 different countries around the world and led programs and initiatives in areas including energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy and clean water access. 

Eva's award winning efforts include a $250 million public-private energy efficiency partnership and a $120 million energy efficiency retrofit for low-income households. She also worked extensively in the area of sustainable value chains in collaboration with major global companies, focusing on agri-food and garment value chains. Eva was recently the recipient of the first ever World Bank Innovation Award.

Eva received her Bachelor of Science in Finance and Accounting from Budapest Business School, Hungary, and her Master of Science in Finance from The George Washington University, Washington, DC.  She was also awarded a Master of Arts in Public Policy and a Ph.D. in Public Policy with concentration in Globalization and Development from Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. Her research has focused on leveraging value chain dynamics for poverty alleviation, in particular in agri-food value chains, and on collective action among small producers to enable their effective participation in modern value chains.

Corrie HarrisCorrie Harris is the program manager for the Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity in the Lyle School of Engineering. Corrie has her M.A. from the Lyle School of Engineering in Sustainability and Development and an Honors B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from UT Arlington with concentrations in Economics, Sustainability, Management, and Cultural Studies. Her master's thesis is titled Resilient Sustainable Development: Localized Transformational Impact to Alleviate Poverty.

Corrie has significant experience in the poverty alleviation and sustainability areas, both locally and globally.  She has also worked across various sectors, including academia, international government relations, non-profit organizations, entrepreneurial ventures, and for-profit institutions. 

Among others, Corrie was the director of Villa Familia Nicaragua (VFN), an orphanage for children in crisis in Nicaragua, managing the day-to-day operations of the orphanage as well as all of its strategic programs. She founded a Coalition of Directors for collaboration. With the collective knowledge of the coalition she created an economic development strategy for retrofitting and expanding VFN. After which, she recruited nationals and internationals for implementation of development. It was highly successful and received the highest governmental recognition from the Department of Mi Familia as the standard by which all other centers for children in crisis should be modeled. 

JD Francis

JD Francis
Senior, Computer Science Major
Student Analyst

JD Francis was born in Ft. Worth, Texas; but when he was a child his parents became missionaries and he moved overseas. His family lived in France for a year and a half and in the Democratic Republic of Congo for seven years. JD got involved with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) in his freshman year, and now he is one of the project leads for the “PlantLab” project. The team is working on designing and building cost-efficient and space-efficient greenhouses to provide sustainable urban agriculture in areas identified as “food deserts” within low income neighborhoods in Dallas-Fort Worth. He found out about the Hunt Institute through his involvement with EWB and now serves as a student analyst here at the Institute. His research interest focuses on sustainable urban agriculture as well as assisting the development of programs. His main career focus is in creative technical software development.

Silvia Rivera

Silvia Rivera
Junior, Finance & International Studies Major
Student Analyst

Silvia is a sophomore at SMU working toward her B.B.A in finance and B.A. in international studies. She is a President’s Scholar and TEDxSMU Young Fellow. As a child, she emigrated to the U.S. with her family from Chiapas, Mexico, and is passionate about social entrepreneurship and empowering underrepresented individuals through business. Silvia is very excited to now be serving as a student analyst here at the Hunt Institute, and is currently assisting in research on artisanal entrepreneurship and empowering folk artists as part of the Institute’s inclusive economy project.

Alex Abebe

Eskinder (Alex) Abebe
Junior, Creative Computing
Student Analyst

Alex is a multidisciplinary student artist at SMU. His primary focus is on product design, fine arts, and currently creative computation. He previously attended Alle School of Fine Arts in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for two years and now continues his study towards a B.A in creative computing with rigorous, and interdisciplinary coursework from the Lyle School of Engineering and Meadows School of Fine Arts. He is currently working toward the intersectionality of art and science. He is charged with the creative design for the Hunt Institute projects.


Barbara Minsker
Barbara Minsker, Ph.D.
Chair, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Bobby B. Lyle Professor of Leadership and Global Entrepreneurship
Senior Fellow in the Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity

Barbara Minsker, a nationally recognized expert in environmental and water resource systems analysis and informatics, joins SMU this fall as chair of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Bobby B. Lyle Professor of Leadership and Global Entrepreneurship, and Senior Fellow in the Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity.

Minsker previously served as professor and Arthur and Virginia Nauman Faculty Scholar in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), where she began her career as an assistant professor in 1996. She was also a faculty affiliate at UIUC’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Prior to her academic career, Dr. Minsker was an environmental policy analyst in the Washington, D.C., area.

She received the ASCE Environmental and Water Resources Institute (ERWI) Outstanding Achievement Award and the ERWI Service to the Profession Award as a result of her extensive leadership background and experience. She has led major collaborative programs in research, education, and outreach in various roles including: PI of the WATERS Network, an NSF-funded project for advancing water resource science and management; Associate Provost Fellow who developed and implemented University of Illinois sustainability education and research initiatives; and founder of two start-up organizations.

Minsker received a B.S. in operations research and industrial engineering and a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering ‒ both from Cornell University.

Owen Lynch

Owen Hanley Lynch, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director of Honor Program and SMU London Internships

Owen Lynch is interested in how the organization is (re)produced through the everyday discourse and routines of its members. His research interests are humor within organizations, qualitative methodology and theory, masculinity, and structuration theory.

Since arriving at SMU he has been engaged in converting three separate ethnographic projects into research articles and a book. Humorous Organizing: Revealing the Organization as a Social Process was published by VDM publishing in 2007. He has published articles in leading research journals, including Communication Theory, Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, Journal of Applied Communication Research, and Management Communication Quarterly, and co-authored the concluding chapter in Perspectives on Organizational Communication (Corman & Poole 2000). Lynch taught in the department of speech communication at Texas A&M from 1996 to 2000. At SMU, Lynch has won several awards for his teaching, including the 2007 “Outstanding Faculty Award” from the SMU Pan-Hellenic Scholarship Association. Lynch and his wife, Catherine, have two daughters, Caelan and Olivia.

Dr. Lynch earned his B.A. in Communication from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and both his M.A. and Ph.D. in Organizational Communication from Texas A&M.

Sila Çetinkaya

Sila Çetinkaya, Ph.D.
Chair, Engineering Management, Information, and Systems
Cecil H. Green Professor of Engineering

Professor Çetinkaya joined SMU Lyle in 2014 as the Cecil H. Green Professor of Engineering in the EMIS Department and holds a courtesy appointment in the Information Technology and Operations Management (ITOM) Department in SMU’s Cox School of Business. She has received numerous national awards, including the prestigious CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. Çetinkaya was also selected for Frontiers of Engineering by the National Academy of Engineering in 2005 and was named an IIE Fellow of the Institute of Industrial Engineers in 2012 for her professional leadership and outstanding contributions.

Professor Çetinkaya has a strong record of academic and professional service and has taken on leadership roles in several areas. Prior to joining SMU’s Lyle School, she served as the Associate Head of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at Texas A&M University. Professor Çetinkaya has served on the editorial board of five (5) scientific journals including IIE Transactions and Naval Research Logistics and on the organization and program committees of several international conferences including IIE and INFORMS.

Professor Çetinkaya earned her Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Istanbul Technical University in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1989. She obtained her Master of Science in Industrial Engineering in 1991 from Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey, and was awarded the Ph.D. in Management Science in 1996 from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.



Coming Soon

Maggie Inhofe
Maggie Inhofe
Graduate Student, Master of Arts in Design and Innovation (MADI)
Student Analyst

Maggie is a graduate student in the MADI (Master of Arts in Design and Innovation) program. She received her B.A. in Architecture from Yale in 2015, and is using her graduate work to build upon her knowledge of user-centered research methodologies. She spent the past year researching architectural solutions for disaster situations, and hopes to eventually implement localized designs in the field. This interest led her to the Hunt Institute, where she now leads a project developing low-cost greenhouses in the Dallas area.

Architect James Pratt generously donated his collection of rare and significant first edition books, architecture-related magazines and monographs, and a diverse group of other books and publications that reflect the interests and opinions of one of Dallas’s leading architects.


The purpose of this reference library, located at the Hunt Institute in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering, is to educate, inform and delight users about the city, its places, its art, and its people.

For more information on Architect James Pratt, the Collection, and his memoir, please visit the James Pratt Collection website.