2014 Archives

SMU honors distinguished alumni and emerging leader

November 17, 2014

DALLAS (SMU) — Philanthropic, civic and business leaders received SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor the University bestows upon its graduates, during a campus ceremony on Nov. 13.

The 2014 Distinguished Alumni were educational leader Mary Brinegar ’69, investment banker Frank M. Dunlevy ’71 and cardiologist John Frank Harper ’68. Alexandra Dillard Lucie ’05, an innovative leader in retail management and merchandising, received the University’s Emerging Leader Award, which recognizes the outstanding achievements of an alumnus or alumna who has graduated in the last 15 years.

The ceremony was hosted by SMU President R. Gerald Turner and the SMU Alumni Board. The event recognized extraordinary achievement, outstanding character and good citizenship, and celebrated past recipients as Centennial History Makers.

2014 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Mary Brinegar

Mary Brinegar has devoted her career to enriching the lives of Dallas residents and visitors. After earning a degree in elementary education from SMU in 1969, she worked in the non-profit sector at KERA-TV, the Science Place and the Dallas Opera. She became president and CEO of the Dallas Arboretum in 1996.

Since Brinegar assumed leadership, the Arboretum has made improvements of more than $100 million and achieved recognition as one of the world’s most beautiful gardens. MSNBC recommended a visit to the Dallas Arboretum as one of the “10 things you should do in America in the spring.” Trip Advisor has chosen it as Dallas’ number one entertainment activity for the past four years. The 2012 exhibit of glass works by Dale Chihuly attracted huge crowds and boosted membership to 38,000. Arboretum attendance now approaches 1 million people a year. The Arboretum has won the prestigious Program Excellence Award from the American Public Garden Association.

Reflecting her passion for education, Brinegar’s crowning achievement is the $62 million Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, which opened in 2013. Educators from SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development participated in curriculum planning for these eight acres, where children’s scientific learning is enhanced through interactive exhibits. Recognizing its innovative education programs serving 4,000 adults and 100,000 children annually, the Arboretum received the 2013 Luminary Award presented by the Simmons School. Local honors for Brinegar’s professional and volunteer service include Theta of the Year, Junior League Sustainer of the Year, Fundraiser of the Year and “100 Women in 100 Years.”

Frank M. Dunlevy 

Frank M. Dunlevy has served his profession, his alma mater and his country with dedication and distinction. After entering SMU in 1964 as a member of the swim team, he interrupted his education to serve three years in the U.S. Army in the 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions in Vietnam.  His numerous decorations include the Purple Heart and Combat Infantryman’s Badge. After his service, he returned to the SMU Cox School of Business and graduated in 1971.

Dunlevy has had a distinguished career in investment banking, including 20 years with The First Boston Corporation. He currently is vice chairman of Cowen and Company, an investment bank, and is based in San Francisco. He played a key role in the early public financing for such companies as Charles Schwab, Infosys, Kohl’s, Magna International and Chipotle.

Dunlevy has maintained strong ties with SMU and received the Cox School’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1999. He was a member of the SMU Board of Trustees from 2000 to 2012, serving on the standing committees on finance and athletics. He currently serves on the executive boards of Dedman College and Cox School of Business. Dunlevy is providing leadership to SMU’s Second Century Campaign as co-chair of the Campaign Steering Committee for the Cox School of Business and honorary chair of the San Francisco Campaign Steering Committee. His daughter and son-in-law, Andrea and Greg Williams, received MBAs from Cox in 1998.  His son, Andrew, is an SMU student, class of 2015.  Dunlevy has supported both academics and athletics at SMU. He also provides support to his city’s civic and cultural organizations, including the San Francisco Zoo, Opera, Ballet, Symphony and Asian Art Museum.

John Frank Harper, M.D.

John Frank Harper, M.D., is a distinguished cardiologist known for his compassionate patient care and passion for excellence. After earning a B.A. in English from SMU in 1968, he graduated from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1972. He received internal medicine training and a cardiology fellowship at UT Southwestern, where he was chief resident. He has been engaged in clinical cardiology practice at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas for 35 years and was chief of cardiology there for eight years. He is consistently included in lists of D magazine’s Best Doctors in Dallas, Texas Monthly’s Super Docs, Best Doctors in America and Top Doctors.

Harper has a strong commitment to the education of physicians, as well as patient care. He is a member of the core faculty at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, teaching medical residents and students, and is a clinical instructor at UT Southwestern. In 2011 he was named the Jennie Ewton Chair of Cardiology at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas. He serves as chair of the Texas Health Resources 16-hospital Cardiovascular Council

Dr. Harper’s undergraduate major in English gave him a lifelong passion for literature. He founded and directs an annual Literature and Medicine Seminar, which uses literature to help physicians connect with their patients on a deeper level through healing words. Presented in cooperation with SMU’s Department of English and Presbyterian Hospital Foundation, the seminar draws practicing physicians, medical and pre-medical students and others. Dr. Harper also initiated the Doctors for Dedman program to reengage physicians who did their undergraduate work at SMU. In 2012 he received the Dedman College Distinguished Graduate Award.

Alexandra Dillard Lucie

Emerging Leader Award winner Alexandra Dillard Lucie has become an innovative leader in retail management and merchandising during the first decade of her career. She graduated from SMU summa cum laude in 2005 with a B.B.A. degree in finance from Cox School of Business and a minor in advertising from Meadows School of the Arts. She received the Distinguished Finance Major Award from Cox.

After graduating, Lucie joined the fashion industry, working for international companies and participating in an independent fashion study in China and Hong Kong. In 2008 she became the corporate merchandise manager for Dillard’s. Building on a family business started by her grandfather, she has brought fresh new ideas to the department store chain and distinguished herself as an outstanding manager. She has rebranded Dillard’s for the modern shopper with changes that include new designers and lines in apparel for women, juniors and children. Now, more than 25 percent of the chain’s products are exclusive to Dillard’s, thanks to her work with designers to create new and unique products. Since she became Dillard’s corporate merchandise manager, the company’s annual sales in her areas have risen from $10 million to nearly $200 million.

Lucie has retained close connections with SMU. She and her husband, Craig ’04, have assumed regional alumni leadership roles, serving on the board of the Atlanta Alumni Chapter and the Second Century Campaign Steering Committee for Atlanta. They have hosted several alumni events in Atlanta. Alexandra Lucie returns to the campus periodically as a consultant and guest lecturer for the fashion media program in Meadows School of the Arts.

During the ceremony, past DAA recipients will be honored as Centennial History Makers as part of SMU’s ongoing Second Century Celebration. Those whose accomplishments will be recognized include James A. Baker, Paul M. Bass, Jr., David M. Bates, George W. Bramblett, Jr., Gary T. Crum, Linda Pitts Custard, Nancy McMillan Dedman, James Lindsay Embrey, Jr., Craig T. Enoch, Larry R. Faulkner, James B. Gardner, Antonio O. Garza, Jr., Frederick B. Hegi, Jr., Rick Herrscher, Zan W. Holmes, Jr., Karen Parfitt Hughes, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Darrell M. Lafitte, Jerry LeVias, William H. Lively, Craig R. McKinley, Malcolm S. Morris, Stephen Mulholland, John W. Nieto, Jeanne L. Phillips, Gary E. Pittman, Richard Ware, Joe T. White and A. Cecil Williams.

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Southern Methodist University is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today SMU enrolls nearly 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.

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