A portion of the gift, $7.5 million, will fund the transformation of the William J. O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom into the Bridwell Institute for Economic Freedom, with a focus on the scholarly study of the nature, consequences, and causes of free enterprise and economic freedom at the local, state, national, and global level. The allocation of the remaining $7.5 million will be determined at a later date.
Bridwell, president of the Mansefeldt Investment Corporation and the Dian Graves Owen Foundation, manages MDJ Minerals, one of the largest private oil and gas rights holders in the Permian Basin. He also serves on SMU's board of trustees and is vice chair of the Cox School executive board.
"SMU has truly made living the American dream possible for me," Bridwell said. "SMU is a place that encourages students to think and lead. This was true fifty years ago when I came to SMU as a freshman; it is still true today. Gina and I are excited to support Cox and see the future impact of the Bridwell Institute. We can't wait to see how future Mustangs, using their SMU education, change the business landscape."