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$11 million gift to SMU from Jack Knox
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$11 million gift to SMU from Jack Knox

Dallas-Fort Worth business leader and entrepreneur Jack Knox has given $11 million to SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow.

As a prominent alumnus and longtime University supporter, Knox hopes his support of the University’s campaign for impact encourages others to participate.

“Jack’s generous gift will help to strengthen the University and encourage others to support SMU,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “We are deeply grateful to Jack for his dedication to his alma mater and to our enduring impact.”

A successful entrepreneur, Knox has long been a strong advocate for the University and its enduring traditions. His love for the University and his fond memories of student life have continued to drive his support for and participation in SMU’s growing momentum.

“SMU helped shape me as a person and as a professional,” said Knox. “I am pleased to support the exemplary work SMU does for its students, the North Texas community and beyond.”

Knox, a native of Weatherford, Texas, and a two-time SMU graduate, holds a bachelor’s in English from the Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and a Juris Doctor from the Dedman School of Law. As an undergraduate, he served as president of Phi Delta Theta during the year the chapter won the prestigious National Chapter of the Year Award.

A longtime champion of children in need, Knox established a chair in the SMU Dedman School of Law to support teaching, research and promotion of legal issues related to protecting the welfare and legal rights of children. He is active in many charities and lobbying groups directed toward helping children in need, as well as stopping animal abuse.

SMU’s Board of Trustees was notified of the gift at their February meeting and celebrated the enormous impact this gift will have on the campaign.

“Having known Jack Knox for many years and having seen his tremendous business achievements and his love for our community and our University, I’m delighted he has chosen to take a significant leadership position in this campaign,” said Carl Sewell ’66, SMU trustee and SMU Ignited campaign co-chair. “Through this gift, Jack is setting an example for other Mustangs and SMU friends to follow.”

“Jack and I have been close friends since we were both students at SMU,” said Ray Hunt, SMU trustee and SMU Ignited campaign co-chair. “Jack has always been a leader – and has often seen opportunity long before others recognized it existed. Typically, Jack has worked hard to keep his many successes low profile in nature – but this important gift from Jack to SMU is the exception to that rule. In my opinion, Jack hopes that his gift will cause the very promising future of SMU to become even more evident to others.”

SMU Ignited donors like Knox create widespread impact. Gifts to the campaign allow the University to attract and support outstanding students and faculty, explore new fields and technologies, inspire athletic excellence and positively impact Dallas and the world.

“Jack Knox’s gift to SMU highlights the importance of our alumni to every part of the University,” said Brad E. Cheves, SMU vice president for development and external affairs. “Our alumni inspire our students to pursue their goals and they fuel the school’s development and growth. We thank Jack for his ongoing support of the University and its impact.”

Jack Knox received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from SMU in 1960 and a Juris Doctor from SMU Dedman School of Law in 1963. Knox was bestowed the law school’s highest honor with the Robert G. Storey Award for Distinguished Achievement in 2011.

As an SMU volunteer, Knox has served on the Dedman School of Law Executive Board (2011-14), the A Time to Lead Texas Campaign Steering Committee (1996-2002), the Dedman College Executive Board (1991-97) and the Cox School of Business Associate Board (1970-80).

Knox is general partner of Texas Flags Ltd., formerly Six Flags Over Texas Fund Ltd. (founded 1969), which owns the real estate and facilities of Six Flags Over Texas. He also is owner of Café Pacific Restaurants Inc., parent company of the popular restaurant based in Dallas’ Highland Park Village since 1980.

In addition, Knox is chairman of the board of Sixx Holdings Inc., founded in 1988 to operate the Italian-concept brand of Patrizio’s restaurants, which he sold in 2006.

Knox has been involved in the oil and gas industry for several decades, previously serving as chairman and CEO of public companies Summit Energy, Inc. (1970-89) and Western Oil Fields (1969-71). He has also been director of Sunshine Mining; BancTEXAS Group, Inc.; El Chico Inc. and Bryson Oil and Gas Ltd.

Additionally, Knox continues to be active in the ranching business west of Fort Worth, where he has served as managing director of Knox Land & Cattle since its formation in 1960. He also maintains close ties to the Weatherford community through civic activities.

Knox’s civic and honorary appointments and directorships have included the board of trustees of Medical City Hospital in Dallas, the Friends of Scott and White Hospital in Temple, the MD Anderson Hospital Board of Visitors in Houston, the board of directors of the Dallas Petroleum Club, the board of directors of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, the board of directors of the Metropolitan YMCA in Dallas, the advisory board of directors of the Texas Humane Legislative Network, and a member of the advisory committee to the City of Dallas Animal Shelter Commission.

Knox is founder and president of the Fund for Sick Children, a private foundation supplying medicine and equipment to hospitals and doctors in developing nations. He is also active in many charities and lobbying groups directed toward helping children in need, as well as stopping animal abuse. He received the Man’s Best Friend Award from Paws in the City in 2011. He also received the Humanitarian of the Year award from Operation Kindness in 2005.

SMU is the nationally ranked global research university in the dynamic city of Dallas. SMU’s alumni, faculty and more than 12,000 students in eight degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they direct change in their professions, communities and the world. Building on its history of excellence, the University has launched SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow – a multiyear $1.5 billion campaign to empower outstanding students, to enrich teaching and research, and to enhance our campus and community.

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