SMU Cox Honors Six Alumni

Three receive Distinguished Alumni Award and three are named Outstanding Young Alumni.

Left to right: Vik Thapar, MBA ’09; Liz Youngblood, MBA ’05; Peter T. Dameris, BBA ’82; Al Niemi, Dean, Cox School of Business; Kevin Knox, Assistant Dean, SMU Cox External Relations; Amber Venz Box, BA ’08; Baxter Box, MBA ’11.
(Left to right): Vik Thapar, MBA ’09; Liz Youngblood, MBA ’05; Peter T. Dameris, BBA ’82; Al Niemi, Dean, Cox School of Business; Kevin Knox, Assistant Dean, SMU Cox External Relations; Kirk L. Rimer, MBA '89; Amber Venz Box, BA ’08; Baxter Box, MBA ’11.

Dallas, TX (SMU) Friday, May 19, 2017—The SMU Cox School of Business honored six alumni at the school’s annual Distinguished Alumni and Outstanding Young Alumni Awards Luncheon on Friday, May 19.

Three Distinguished Alumni Awards and three Outstanding Young Alumni Awards were presented at a luncheon ceremony in the Collins Executive Center on the SMU campus. Award nominations are submitted to the SMU Cox Alumni Association for consideration by a selection committee.

This year’s Distinguished Alumni honorees are, in alphabetical order: Peter T. Dameris, BBA ’82; Kirk L. Rimer, MBA ‘89; and Liz Youngblood, MBA ‘05. Outstanding Young Alumni honorees are: Amber Venz Box, BA ’09; Baxter Box, MBA ’11; and Vik Thapar, MBA ’09.  

SMU Cox Distinguished Alumni 2017

Peter T. Dameris (BBA’82), CEO of On Assignment, Inc., is responsible for overseeing company growth as a leading provider of staffing services in the technology, creative, healthcare technology and life sciences sectors. Since Dameris joined On Assignment in 2003, annual revenue has grown from $200 million to more than $2.4 billion. Fortune Magazine ranked On Assignment the nation’s third fastest growing company in 2014 and the fourth fastest growing company in 2015. In 2012, Staffing Industry Analysts ranked it the country’s second largest IT staffing company.

Kirk L. Rimer (MBA ’89) is a principal and co-head of Crow Holdings Capital-Investment Partners, which functions as an outsourced investment office for a select group of partner families. Since joining CHC-Investment Partners in 2011, Rimer has played an integral role in building the firm’s investment strategy and expanding its partner base. Before CHC, he spent 21 years at Goldman Sachs, working with individual investors and corporations on risk management and equity investments.

Liz Youngblood (MBA ‘05) serves as CEO of the University of Mississippi Medical Center – Adult Hospitals. She is a veteran senior health care executive who’s held leadership roles in for-profit, nonprofit and academic health care systems. Before she moved into healthcare leadership, she began her career as a nurse, working with thoracic and general surgery patients. Youngblood is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. She has an extensive background in health care strategy, operations, coordination of care, and operational improvement.      

SMU Cox Outstanding Young Alumni 2017

Amber Venz Box (BA ’08) is the president and co-founder — with Baxter Box — of rewardStyle, the largest global monetization platform for top-tier style influencers and retail brands. She co-conceptualized and launched rewardStyle at age 23. As the creative visionary behind the company, Venz Box set the tone for rewardStyle’s mission-driven approach to empower content creators’ growth and development. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communication and Public Affairs at the Meadows School of the Arts in 2008.

Baxter Box (MBA ’01) is CEO and co-founder — with Amber Venz, now Amber Venz Box — of rewardStyle, the world’s largest monetization platform for top-tier style influencers and retail brands. Baxter began his career as an engineer and investor in several early-stage technology start-ups. The same year he completed his MBA, Amber Venz and Baxter Box conceptualized an effective way to monetize the content of fashion blogs. The company represents one of the most influential and measureable marketing platforms worldwide, with over a million brands and retailers in network.

Vik Thapar (MBA ’09) is a principal with Cypress Growth Capital. He has more than 18 years of experience spanning venture capital, private equity and information technology consulting. With the Cypress team, he is responsible for all aspects of the investment lifecycle, from identifying promising companies to providing ongoing support to portfolio companies. While working toward his MBA at Cox, he changed careers, moving from technology consulting to venture capital and private equity. He serves on the Board of Directors of TeXChange, the Southwest Venture Forum at SMU Cox, the U.S.-India Chamber of Commerce and the University of Texas at Dallas Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

SMU Cox Distinguished Alumni must hold: an undergraduate or graduate degree from SMU; a position of distinction in the business community; demonstrate outstanding career success; be active civic leaders and community partners; and be involved with SMU and the Cox School through activities and contributions. 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. Nominations for either honor may be sent to Kevin Knox, assistant dean of external relations and executive director of the SMU Cox Alumni Association at

About SMU Cox 

The SMU Cox School of Business (, originally established in 1920 on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and was named in honor of benefactor Edwin L. Cox in 1978.

SMU Cox School of BusinessSMU Cox is a nationally and internationally ranked business school with undergraduate (BBA) majors in accounting, finance, financial consulting, general business, management, marketing, real estate finance and concentrations in energy management, entrepreneurship, real estate finance and risk management and insurance.

The Cox School offers four Master of Business Administration programs, including the Executive MBA (EMBA) and Full-Time MBA, Fast Track MBA, and Professional MBA (PMBA), with concentrations in accounting, finance, general business, information technology and operations management, management, marketing, real estate and strategy and entrepreneurship. The school also offers the JD/MBA with Dedman School of Law; MA/MBA with Meadows School of the Arts; Specialized Master’s of Science (MS) programs in Accounting, Business Analytics (Full and Part-Time), Finance, and Management; Sport Management and Health Promotion Management with Simmons School of Education and Human Development; and Engineering/MBA and MS in Engineering Entrepreneurship with the Lyle School of Engineering.

For professionals not seeking a degree, SMU Cox Executive Education and multiple certificate programs cover a broad range of disciplines. The Cox School of Business maintains an active alumni network globally.