Edwin L. Cox Biography

In 1978, the SMU School of Business Administration was renamed the Edwin L. Cox School of Business in honor of Edwin Lochridge Cox—business leader, entrepreneur, public servant, educational pioneer, and faithful supporter of SMU. 

As a native of Mena, Arkansas, Mr. Cox completed his first two years of undergraduate study at SMU in the late 1930s. He went on to earn IA and MBA degrees from Harvard Business School, though his graduate studies were interrupted by his service in the U.S. Navy, where he achieved the rank of lieutenant.

Following his graduate studies, Mr. Cox pursued a career in oil and gas exploration and production before founding his own company. Today, he is chairman and CEO of the Edwin L. Cox Company, engaged in the investment business.

For more than 40 years, Mr. Cox has played a significant role in helping the Cox School improve the quality of its students and faculty; enhance its programs, particularly in the area of leadership development; and strengthen its relationships with the business community. A long-standing member of the Cox Executive Board, he is founder of the Cox Distinguished MBA Scholars Program, the Business Leadership Center for graduate students, and the Edwin L. Cox BBA Leadership Institute for undergraduates.  In 2007, Mr. Cox created an endowment to support the BBA Scholars program, a highly select group of Cox undergraduates who receive financial support based on outstanding academic merit and demonstrated leadership.

A Trustee Emeritus at SMU, Mr. Cox has also served the University in numerous leadership roles, including vice chairman of SMU’s Board of Trustees from 1973 to 1976, chairman of SMU’s Board of Trustees from 1976 to 1987, and chairman of the National Steering Committee for SMU’s “Design for the Third Generation” capital campaign from 1975 to 1983.

Throughout his career, Mr. Cox has been involved in numerous professional and civic activities. He has served on the boards of Halliburton Company, the American Enterprise Institute, and the American Petroleum Institute, among others. He is currently an honorary trustee and member of the Trustees Council at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and he is a member of the Library of Congress Trust Fund and the Dallas Museum of Art. In 1990, he was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame.

Through his leadership vision, selfless character, boundless energy, and unwavering commitment to helping others, Mr. Cox has changed the lives of thousands of students, faculty, staff, and business professionals for the better.