Baccalaureate Speaker

Richie Butler

Richie Butler ’93 is a leader in both the faith and business communities of the greater Dallas area. Butler currently serves as senior pastor at St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church. He previously founded Union Cathedral, an independent interdenominational church, which he successfully merged with the historic St. Paul United Methodist Church in downtown Dallas in 2014.

In addition to his role as a senior pastor at St. Luke’s, Butler has been responsible for nearly $1 billion in real estate investment activity throughout the United States as a private equity real estate fund manager with Prescott Group and CityView.

As a civic leader, Butler launched Project Unity in 2017 to help heal race relationships between law enforcement and the Dallas community. During the pandemic, the organization has also been devoted to improving access to COVID-19 testing and vaccinations in minority communities.

Butler is the recipient of the 2021 Dallas Business Journal’s Leaders in Diversity Award and the 2021 Collin County Business Alliance Leadership Award. He previously received the SMU Distinguished Alumni Emerging Leader Award in 2008 and the Dallas Bar Association 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Justice Award. He was also named a 2018 Minority Business Leader award honoree by the Dallas Business Journal and a 2018 SMU Silver Anniversary Mustang (SAM) recipient.

Butler played football for SMU from 1989 to 1993. He holds two bachelor’s degrees from SMU and a master’s in theology from Harvard University. He has also done extended studies in urban planning at MIT and was the recipient of a Ford Foundation Fellowship to study art history and political science in Europe.

Butler resides in Dallas with his wife, Neisha, who is a 1993 graduate of SMU, and their two children, Emily and Ford.