SMU Honors 2011 Distinguished Alumni and Emerging Leader

Business leaders, a philanthropic community leader and an innovative entrepreneur will receive SMU's highest honor.

SMU 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award Logo

SMU 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award LogoDALLAS (SMU) — Business leaders, a philanthropic community leader and an innovative entrepreneur will receive the Southern Methodist University Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor the University bestows upon its graduates.

The 2011 recipients include Ike Griffin, David B. Miller and Annette Caldwell Simmons. Blake Mycoskie will receive the Emerging Leader Award, which recognizes an outstanding alumnus or alumna for achievements within the last 15 years.

The Distinguished Alumni Award reception and dinner will be Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011, in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom at Umphrey Lee Center, 3300 Dyer Street, at 6 p.m. Following the dinner and reception, the awards ceremony will be held at McFarlin Auditorium, 6405 Boaz Lane, at 8 p.m. The dinner is sold out, but tickets to a dinner buffet and reception in Centennial Hall at the Hughes Trigg Student Center, 3140 Dyer Street, and the presentation at 8 p.m. at McFarlin Auditorium remain available. To register, visit

During the ceremony, past Distinguished Alumni Award recipients will be honored as History Makers as part of SMU’s Centennial celebration. The honorees this year are Ruth Collins Altshuler, philanthropist and first woman chair and longest serving member of the SMU Board of Trustees; Lila Mae Banks Cockrell, four-term mayor of San Antonio; Edwin L. Cox, visionary business leader and Cox School benefactor; Lee Cullum, leading journalist, writer and broadcaster; Jess T. Hay, international business and civic leader; Mary Ellen Mitchell Jericho, civic leader and philanthropist; Nancy Ann Hunter Hunt, civic leader and philanthropist; Ray L. Hunt, civic and business leader and philanthropist; William King McElvaney, renowned minister, SMU professor emeritus and author; Ruth I. Allen (Mewhinney), Dallas pioneer in medicine; and Marshall Terry, SMU professor emeritus and author.

James (Ike) Griffin III

Ike GriffinJames (Ike) Griffin III has devoted two decades to faith- and character-based rehabilitation efforts for prison inmates. He is president of Horizon Communities in Prison, a multi-faith rehabilitation and education program.

Griffin served as an SMU cheerleader while working on his Bachelor of Arts degree, which he received from the Cox School of Business in 1957. After spending three years in the United States Air Force, he operated an international produce company in the Rio Grande Valley that was influential in developing new trade practices between the U.S. and Mexico. He also engaged in real estate and community development in the Dallas area.

Griffin moved to Florida in 1990 to become executive director of Kairos Prison Ministry, an international program that addresses spiritual needs of prisoners and their families, primarily through retreats led by volunteer teams. He led expansion of Kairos from 50 to more than 240 prisons in 31 states and four foreign countries, while also finding time to earn a doctor of ministry degree. Since stepping down as executive director of Kairos in 2001, Griffin has focused on Horizon Communities in Prison, an organization he developed to provide intensive rehabilitative programming for one-year periods in specialized dorm settings. In recognition of his prison work, Griffin received the Woodrow B. Seals Laity Award from SMU’s Perkins School of Theology and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services named Horizon Communities “A Model for the Future.”

David B. Miller

David B. MillerDavid B. Miller has served his profession, his alma mater and his community with dedication and distinction. He is co-founder and senior managing partner of EnCap Investments L.P., the leading provider of private equity to the oil and gas industry. His professional career began with Republic National Bank of Dallas. He later served as co-CEO of MAZE Exploration Inc., a Denver-based oil and gas company, before the establishment of EnCap in 1988. He is a member of the National Petroleum Council, an advisory body to the U.S. Secretary of Energy.

Miller earned two degrees from SMU — a Bachelor of Arts in 1972 and a Master of Business Administration in 1973. As an undergraduate, he was a letterman on the varsity basketball team and a member of the 1971-72 Southwest Conference co-championship team. He serves on the SMU Board of Trustees and on the boards of the Cox School of Business and Maguire Energy Institute. He has received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Cox School of Business and the Silver Anniversary Mustang Award from the SMU Lettermen’s Association. Through the years, he has provided generous support for academic and athletic programs at SMU. His most recent gift will help fund expansion and renovation of Moody Coliseum.

Miller serves the community on the boards of the Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries and The Senior Source of Greater Dallas. He is president of the David B. Miller Family Foundation, which supports numerous charitable causes.

Annette Caldwell Simmons

Annette Caldwell SimmonsAnnette Caldwell Simmons has maintained a longstanding commitment to education. She earned a bachelor of science in elementary education from SMU in 1957. After graduating, she taught first and second grade at Maple Lawn Elementary School in Dallas and later at Clark Field, a U.S. air base in the Philippines. Her commitment to education culminated in 2007 with the naming of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development at SMU, following a gift from Simmons and her husband, Harold C. Simmons, to endow the school, focused on research-based reform and innovation.

Simmons is a former member of the board of SMU’s Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series and has been active in several other programs on campus. She has served the community on boards of numerous organizations, including the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Parkland Foundation, Kidney Foundation and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She was honored with the Dallas Distinguished Community Service Award and Crystal Charity Ball Hall of Fame Award and has received several awards jointly with her husband.

Aside from her leadership with organized charities, Simmons contributes quietly to causes that benefit children. She has provided children’s playrooms and resources for facial plastic surgery in the Pediatrics Department of Parkland Hospital, supplied funds for a mobile dental van to serve needy Dallas County children and funded an annual Christmas party with gifts for Our Children’s House at Baylor Hospital.

Blake Mycoskie

Blake MycoskieBlake Mycoskie entered SMU in 1995 and got his start as an entrepreneur while he was an undergraduate in Cox School of Business. He credits faculty member Jerry White’s entrepreneurship course in the Cox School with inspiring him to launch his own businesses, and several times has returned to SMU to speak to White’s classes.

Mycoskie’s first venture was a campus laundry service begun during his sophomore year at SMU, which later expanded to seven universities. He launched several other businesses before establishing TOMS Shoes in 2006, combining business savvy with a humanitarian spirit. The idea grew from a trip to Argentina during which he saw countless children of poverty without shoes. He returned to California inspired to manufacture shoes based on a traditional Argentinean design and committed to give a pair of new shoes to a needy child for every pair sold. To date TOMS has given more than one million pairs of new shoes to children in 28 countries.

Mycoskie recently launched a new One for One product line, TOMS Eyewear. With every pair of sunglasses sold, TOMS will help give sight to someone in need via medical treatment, prescription eyeglasses and cataract surgery. Mycoskie’s One for One social enterprise model is now taught in numerous universities. His work has been recognized with the U.S. Secretary of State’s Award of Corporate Excellence and the Footwear News Brand of the Year Award. People magazine featured him in its “Heroes Among Us” section.

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