A $15 million gift from Sharoll M. and Bryan S. Sheffield, BBA ’01, to SMU’s Edwin L. Cox School of Business will empower future entrepreneurs by creating new technology-equipped collaborative spaces. Their generous commitment will establish Bryan S. Sheffield Hall, part of the future Cox School renovation and expansion project, which will provide students with innovative learning environments, enabling Mustangs to develop critical skills that are vital to success in today’s evolving workplace.

Sheffield Hall
Bryan S. and Sharoll M. Sheffield

“Bryan is a wonderful example of how SMU shapes world changers,” says SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “His forward-thinking leadership in the energy industry is a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit and the financial acumen he developed as a business major in the Cox School. We are grateful for this gift, which will foster outstanding business education and encourage our students to tackle big questions and find bold solutions.”

Located in the southwest corner of the renovated business school quad, Sheffield Hall will feature collegiate Georgian-style construction with up-to-date classrooms designed for collaboration and data-focused problem-solving. Sheffield Hall will serve as the new hub for Cox School’s Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program, including BBA admissions, academic advising and student records. In addition, it will house classroom space on the lower level and faculty offices on the second floor.

“The Cox School, and its BBA program in particular, taught me to anticipate future business landscapes,” says Bryan S. Sheffield, founder and managing partner of Formentera Partners. “Energy is undergoing a huge transition. Data and innovation are starting to take center stage in environmentally responsible energy production. This facility will give our next-generation CEOs experience in a data-driven, collaborative environment — and the skills to build trust with customers. Combined, technology and public trust are critical to supporting our future energy landscapes. Sharoll and I are thrilled to give back to SMU and to help educate the next generation of entrepreneurs on the Hilltop.”

To further enhance the real-world business experiences shaping the next generation of business leaders, the second floor of Sheffield Hall will provide a home for the Brierley Institute for Customer Engagement, a unique academic institute that brings together students, marketing faculty and corporate leaders to examine why customers engage with brands and how that engagement drives loyalty and value.

Ultimately, the new Sheffield Hall will add to Cox School’s already stellar reputation and will enable it to continue attracting outstanding students, faculty and industry partners.

“Texas’ unparalleled economic environment has enabled leaders like Bryan S. Sheffield to thrive, and I’m thrilled to see that he is creating opportunity for our next generation,” says Robert Allen, president and CEO of Texas Economic Development Corporation. “Forward-thinking commitments from leaders like Bryan support all opportunities to ‘Go Big in Texas.’”

“The Cox School is proud of the education we offer our future business leaders,” says Matthew B. Myers, dean of the Cox School of Business. “Bryan is a testament to the kind of solutions-oriented leadership skills we nurture and the creative, entrepreneurial spirit we encourage at SMU Cox. We are grateful to Bryan and Sharoll for their commitment to give back. Their generous gift will impact generations of young leaders who come to the Cox School to pursue their business educations.”

Sheffield is founder and managing partner of Formentera Partners, an energy-focused investment firm based in Austin. Prior to Formentera, Sheffield founded Parsley Energy, an independent oil and gas company, where he served in various roles including CEO, chairman of the board and executive chairman. Credited with leading the second-most successful exploration and production IPO in history, Sheffield was recognized in Forbes’ 40 Under 40 and as Austin Business Journal’s CEO of the Year. He serves on the boards of the governor’s Texas Economic Development Corporation and the Greater Austin Crime Commission and is a member of the Texas Business Leadership Council.

Sheffield Hall
Front Row, left to right: SMU Vice President for Development and External Affairs Brad Cheves; SMU President R. Gerald Turner; Sharoll M. Sheffield; Bryan S. Sheffield, BBA ’01; Bob Dedman Jr., MBA ’80, SMU Board of Trustees Chair. Back Row, left to right: Tucker Bridwell, BBA ’73, MBA ’74, SMU Board of Trustees and Cox Executive Board Vice Chair; Cox School of Business Dean Matthew B. Myers; David Miller, BBA ’72, MBA ’73, SMU Board of Trustees & Cox Executive Board Chair

At SMU, Sheffield was honored with the Cox Outstanding Young Alumni Award in 2016.

He serves on the Maguire Energy Institute Advisory Board. In 2014, the Sheffields committed to creating the Scott Sheffield Energy Investment Lab in the Maguire Energy Institute in honor of Bryan’s father, veteran energy industry leader Scott Sheffield.

Sharoll M. Sheffield serves as principal at Marbella Interests, where she advises the Sheffield family’s personal interests and philanthropic giving. Under her leadership, the Sheffields have become generous advocates for the millions of neglected and abandoned animals in Texas. Sharoll’s efforts have saved hundreds of lives and strengthened Texas’ pursuit of no-kill animal shelters through work with the Midland Animal Shelter and New Hope Animal Rescue in Austin. She is a native of Spain.

“Sharoll and Bryan are setting the pace for the future of SMU. We are lucky to have them as role models to other young Mustang philanthropists,” says Brad E. Cheves, SMU vice president for development and external affairs. “We are grateful to Bryan and Sharoll for the role they have in shaping future business leaders and enriching the lives of Mustangs.”

The Sheffields have two children.

Expected Impact

  • Provide modernized spaces that foster collaborative learning inside and outside the classroom.
  • Strengthen Cox School’s BBA admissions and program.
  • Offer a new home for highly engaged projects for corporate partners and for SMU’s leading customer engagement institute, the only such academic research institute in the world.