Cox School Celebrates 2021 Alumni Honorees

by SMU Cox|

Distinguished Alumni and Outstanding Young Alumni Honored at Luncheon

Dallas, TX (SMU) May 7, 2021 — The SMU Cox School of Business honored four alumni at its annual Distinguished Alumni and Outstanding Young Alumni Awards Luncheon Friday, May 7. Distinguished Alumni Awards honorees included Brad Brookshire, BBA ’76 and R. Andrew Clyde, BBA ’85. The 2021 Outstanding Young Alumni honors went to Lizzy Bentley, BBA ’12 and Elizabeth Wattley, MBA ’15.

Because of the pandemic, this year’s Alumni Awards luncheon was a small event held off campus at the nearby Beeman Hotel. Awardees were joined by their families and close friends as the Cox School celebrated their achievements and successes in business and within their communities.    

Distinguished Alumnus Brad Brookshire is chairman and CEO of Brookshire Grocery Co., which operates more than 180 stores under the Brookshire’s, Super 1 Foods, Fresh by Brookshire’s and Spring Market banners. Brookshire serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Food Industry Association, Topco Associates and Baylor Scott and White Health Foundation. He was one of only two inductees in the 2020 Hall of Fame for industry publication The Shelby Report. He is a longtime member of the SMU Board of Trustees, a member of the Cox Executive Board and stays active with a number of SMU initiatives and committees. Three generations of the Brookshire family have attended and supported SMU for more than 50 years. Brad’s mother, two siblings, his wife, Ann Warmack Brookshire, and their three sons are all SMU alumni.

Distinguished Alumnus R. Andrew Clyde, a member of the Cox Executive Board, has served as president and CEO of Murphy USA since its spinoff as a public company in 2013. The convenience retailer serves over 2 million customers a day and has grown to over 1,660 stores in 27 states. Prior to joining Murphy USA, Clyde spent 20 years at Booz & Company/Booz Allen Hamilton where he led the Dallas office and N. American Energy Practice. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank and is a National Trustee for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, where, through a national partnership with Murphy USA stores, a consumer round-up program was launched in the midst of the COVID-pandemic and US Mint change shortage that raised over $1.6 million for Clubs when they needed it the most. Clyde met his wife, Jennifer—a third generation Mustang—at SMU, and one of their children, daughter Madeline, earned her undergraduate degree at SMU.

Outstanding Young Alumna Lizzy Chesnut Bentley is founder of CITY Boots, the realization of her lifelong passion for cowboy boots. She earned her BBA from SMU Cox in 2012. While at Cox, Bentley was a BBA Scholar, a member of Pi Beta Phi Sorority and president of the Cox School’s Oil and Gas Club. She began her career as a financial analyst in Halliburton’s mergers and acquisitions group and later transitioned into creating custom cowboy boots for women. Born and raised in Amarillo, Texas, Bentley had an affection for cowboy boots at a young age, after her grandfather bought her a pair of pink cowboy boots. Her boot collection is still growing. When she graduated from SMU Cox, she joined the oil and gas industry and thrived for several years, until oil took a turn for the worst. Calling on her passion for fashion and love for cowboy boots, Bentley put the two together and started City Boots in 2016. Over the past five years, CITY Boots has flourished. She has a showroom in Fort Worth, where she now lives, and ships her boots all over the country. 

Outstanding Young Alumna Elizabeth Wattley is the executive director of Forest Forward, a nonprofit organization fighting the effects of systemic racism in Dallas through neighborhood revitalization. The Dallas native earned her undergraduate degree in economics at Spelman College in Atlanta and chose to pursue graduate school at SMU Cox. She concentrated in strategy and entrepreneurship and earned her MBA in 2015. For more than 12 years, she has been dedicated to driving economic development while maintaining the history, culture and pride of the community. Wattley currently serves on the Majestic Theater Centennial Planning Committee, is an active member the DFW Spelman Alumni group, and is a member of the inaugural Black Women in Nonprofit Leadership cohort, hosted by Dallas Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT). She was named one of Dallas Business Journal's 40 Under 40 in 2020.

Award nominations are submitted to the SMU Cox Alumni Association for consideration by a selection committee annually. SMU Cox Distinguished Alumni candidates must hold an undergraduate or graduate degree from SMU and a position of distinction in the business community; demonstrate outstanding career success; be active civic leaders and community partners; and be active and involved with SMU and the Cox School. Those recognized as SMU Cox Outstanding Young Alumni must meet the same criteria, but can be no more than 40 years of age at the time of the awards luncheon.

About SMU Cox
In 2020, the Cox School of Business celebrated 100 years of business education at SMU. The Cox School is committed to influencing the way the world conducts business via prolific research that provokes innovation, change and global thought leadership. SMU Cox offers a full-range of business education programs including BBA, Full-Time MBA, Professional MBA (part-time), Executive MBA, Online MBA, Direct MBA and Master’s of Science degree programs, as well as Executive Education. Consistently ranked among the world’s leading business schools, SMU Cox maintains an active alumni network in more than 80 countries. SMU Cox is accredited by AACSB.     

From left: SMU President R. Gerald Turner, Cox Distinguished Alumnus Brad Brookshire, BBA ’76; Cox Outstanding Young Alumna Elizabeth Wattley, MBA ’15; Cox Outstanding Young Alumna Lizzy Chesnut Bentley, BBA ’12; Cox Distinguished Alumnus R. Andrew Clyde, BBA ’85, and Cox School Dean Matthew B. Myers.