SMU’s Edwin L. Cox School of Business was renamed in his honor in 1978 in recognition of his generous support for and service to SMU for more than 50 years. Cox’s leadership and involvement helped elevate the quality of Cox school students, faculty, programs and relationships among the Dallas business community. Cox was a long-standing member of the Cox Executive Board and founded the Cox Distinguished M.B.A. Scholars Program, the Business Leadership Center for graduate students and the Edwin L. Cox BBA Leadership Institute for undergraduates. In 2007, Cox provided a challenge to establish the Edwin L. Cox BBA Scholars Program, which provides merit-based undergraduate scholarships.
In 2020, Cox was named the inaugural recipient of the Cox School of Business’ highest honor, the Cox Visionary Award. Fittingly named so during the school’s centennial year, Cox epitomized the purpose of the award: to recognize extraordinary contributions to the business community and exemplary leadership of the highest caliber.
“Ed Cox was one of the first people I met when I came to campus to interview for my current position,” said Matthew B. Myers, dean, Cox School of Business and Tolleson Chair in Business Leadership. “Warmth, dignity and positivity emanated from him. His presence convinced me that I wanted to move to Dallas and wanted to work with him to take the Cox School to even greater heights. Ed Cox epitomized the can-do spirit that defines the Cox School, SMU and Dallas.” Myers became the ninth dean of the Cox School in 2017.
Cox served as an honorary chair of SMU’s Second Century Campaign Steering Committee during SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign that concluded in 2015 after raising $1.15 billion. He was named a trustee emeritus in 1991, after service as a vice chair of SMU’s Board of Trustees from 1973 to 1976 and chair of SMU’s Board of Trustees from 1976 to 1987. He served on the University’s Board of Governors from 1969–1987, including a term as chair in 1974–76; and as chair of the national steering committee for SMU’s Design for the Third Generation capital campaign from 1975 to 1983. He also served on the Cox School of Business Capital Campaign Committee, the Maguire Energy Institute Advisory Board, the Meadows School of the Arts executive board and on the SMU Foundation for Business Administration.