Happenings on the Hill

‘Empowering’ first move

Maybe this spring’s graduation speaker wouldn’t mind if audience members look at their phones and “swipe right” instead of listening closely to her commencement address on May 15.

Then again, they might better pay attention to what the 31-year-old entrepreneur and SMU alumna learned during her quick rise to success.

Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder and CEO of Bumble Inc., became the youngest woman to take a company public when she celebrated the initial offering of her dating app shares on the Nasdaq Stock Market in February.

“Our graduates will feel a sense of kinship with her as it has been only 10 years since she walked across the stage in cap and gown,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner.

The outdoor ceremony, scheduled for 8 a.m. in Ford Stadium, will be streamed live at smu.edu/live.

Wolfe Herd founded two companies while pursuing her international studies degree. After graduation, she volunteered overseas and worked briefly for a customer rewards app company before co-founding Tinder in 2012.

She was determined to reinvent the internet for women. On the Bumble app, women must send the first message to men they are interested in within the first 24 hours of matching. As she told SMU Magazine in 2018, “When you think about it, women are making the first move, which is empowering.”

Sheffield Hall gift
Located on 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.

A $15 million gift from Sharoll and Bryan S. Sheffield (Class of 2001) to the Edwin L. Cox School of Business will empower future entrepreneurs by creating new technology-equipped collaborative spaces.

Their commitment will establish Bryan S. Sheffield Hall, part of the future Cox School renovation and expansion project.

“The Cox School, and its BBA program, in particular, taught me to anticipate future business landscapes,” said Bryan Sheffield, founder and managing partner of Formentera Partners. “This facility will give our next-generation CEOs experience in a data-driven, collaborative environment – and the skills to build trust with customers.”

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. It will house classroom space on the lower level and faculty offices on the second floor.


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William Taylor

William Taylor, editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, shares a name and a birthday with his dad and a love for community journalism with his colleagues at People Newspapers. He joined the staff in 2016 after more than 25 years working for daily newspapers in such places as Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge; McKinney; San Angelo; and Sherman, though not in anywhere near that order. A city manager once told him that “city government is the best government” because of its potential to improve the lives of its residents. William still enjoys covering municipal government and many other topics. Follow him on Twitter @Seminarydropout. He apologizes in advance to the Joneses for any angry Tweets that might slip out about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL season. You also can reach him at [email protected]. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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