Brad Cheves, Vice President for Development and External Affairs at SMU and member of the City’s Centennial Celebration Committee, has been selected University Park’s 2023 Citizen of the Year.
Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Brad attended Abilene Christian University, where he began his career in higher education following his graduation. From there, he served as a chief of staff for a state representative from Abilene and moved to Austin.
He later went to law school at Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law in Malibu, California, where he met his wife, Angela. After he graduated, he was recruited to stay on with the University as a professor and associate dean at the School of Public Policy.
Brad made his way back to Texas in 1998, when he was first recruited by SMU to serve as the Associate Vice President for Development. A couple of short years later, in 2001, he went back to Pepperdine as Vice President for Advancement and Public Affairs. However, it was not long until President Gerald Turner reached out and asked him to return to SMU in 2004 as Vice President for Development and External Affairs, and he has held this position ever since.
When Brad returned to SMU for the second time, his family purchased their current home on Milton Street. Brad and Angela have three sons who all attended HPISD schools and SMU. Kyle and Conner both graduated from Highland Park High School, and Keaton attended HPISD schools through eighth grade and graduated from Shelton School. After graduating from SMU in 2018, Kyle attended and graduated from Pepperdine Caruso School of Law in 2021 and currently lives in Dallas. Conner graduated from SMU in 2020 with a degree in real estate finance and also lives in Dallas. Keaton is a rising sophomore and Hunt Scholar at SMU, and plays for the Mustangs football team.
Brad served as a member of University Park’s Centennial Master Plan Steering Committee from its creation in 2019 until the Master Plan adoption in 2022. This committee assisted in the development of the City’s Centennial Master Plan, which functions as a guide for the community’s future as well as a representation of its vision and core values.
He noted that the Centennial Master Plan Steering Committee, led by Chairs Bob Begert and Dawn Moore, was a great experience where he learned the many facets of local government.
“I came to really appreciate and understand the intertwining nature of how positive it was to have a university and community grow up together,” Brad stated when discussing the history of University Park and SMU. He added that the support of University Park for SMU is like “having a wonderful supportive hometown right in the middle of a big urban center,” where students and faculty are able to engage in various aspects of the City.
Currently, Brad serves on the Centennial Celebration Committee’s Legacy Advisory Group, working in preparation of the City’s Centennial Celebration next April. The Legacy Advisory Group serves to identify historical resources within the community, plan educational programs and exhibits, and identify a legacy project to commemorate the Centennial.
When Mayor Tommy Stewart called him with the news, Brad felt “shocked and appreciative” of the honor.
After riding in the Park Cities 4th of July Parade, Brad will be presented with a plaque during a brief ceremony at the Goar Park Gazebo. The Citizen of the Year award was created by the City Council in 2005 to boost public awareness and appreciation for the many residents who work, often behind the scenes, to better the City’s quality of life.