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McCombs Alumni Network | Get Involved

Rising Star Award

Each year, the McCombs School of Business is pleased to present two young alumni with the Rising Star Award. Honorees are acknowledged at the annual Hall of Fame ceremony. We present this award to alumni who have been successful professionally, and have helped strengthen the McCombs Alumni Network. These are graduates who have presented themselves as consummate professionals and dedicated business people. Congratulations to this year's honorees! 

Rising Star Award criteria: To be eligible you must be a graduate of a McCombs MBA/MSTC (no more than 20 years after date of graduation) or BBA/MPA program (under 40 years old).

Download a nomination form and submit to by June 1, 2014.

2013 Rising Stars

Jeremy Smitheal

BBA '94, MBA '03
Riverside Resources

Jeremy SmithealJeremy Smitheal is a partner at Riverside Resources, a firm with a concentration on opportunistic commercial real estate investments. Jeremy received a BBA with Highest Honors in 1994 and an MBA in 2003 from the University of Texas at Austin.

Prior to joining Riverside in 1996, Jeremy was a corporate finance analyst at Bear Stearns, & Co., where he participated in aspects of investment banking, including mergers and acquisitions, valuations, and equity and debt offerings. At Riverside Resources, Jeremy has been actively involved in the acquisition and development of vertical mixed-use, office, high-rise residential, adaptive reuse, and master planned communities in Central Texas.

Jeremy has remained involved with the University of Texas through his role as an adjunct professor of Real Estate Finance since 2008. He is also active in local civic and professional organizations, having served as Director of the Real Estate Council of Austin, the Commercial Brokers Association, the Nature Conservancy, and the Advisory Council of the McCombs Real Estate and Investment Center.

Jeremy lives in Austin with his wife and three children.

Cindy Lo

BBA '98
Red Velvet Events Inc.

Cindy LoCindy Lo is the President and Owner for Red Velvet Events, Inc., a full-service corporate event management and destination company. Cindy received a BBA in the Business Honors Program and Management Information Systems in 1998.

Prior to starting Red Velvet Events, Cindy worked for Trilogy Software, Inc. as an Integration Consultant and Technical Pre-Sales. Taking full advantage of her entrepreneurial upbringing and skills taken from working for an aggressive startup, Cindy started Red Velvet Events with the mission to use her project management and creative skills for a very different industry.

Eleven years in the making, and she still thinks she has the best of both worlds – doing something she genuinely does not call work while using technology to maximize the team’s efficiency in producing award-winning events.

Cindy has remained actively involved with The University of Texas at Austin by serving on the Management Information Systems Advisory Board, 1883 Council, Forty Acres Society, Forty Acres Scholarship Committee, and most recently UT Elementary. She also remains very involved with various special events and meeting professional networking groups.

Cindy is married to Scott Francis, and they have two young children who are enrolled in Austin’s Magellan International School.

Rising Star Honorees


Ryan Oliver
MBA '06

Dominic Sung
BBA '03


Matt Chasen
MBA '04

David Anthony Murrell
BBA '01


Daniel B. Nelson
B.A. '96, MBA '06

Matt Polze
BBA '99, MPA '99, J.D. '03


M. Christina Clayton
BBA ’02, MBA ’06 (University of Oxford)

Gregory H. Johnson
BS ’84 (Air Force Academy), MBA ’05


Holly Goodrich McMullan
MBA ’04


Tony Rogers
BBA ’90, MBA ’97


Ted Wang
MBA ’96


Jeff Hoogendam
MBA ’95