Smith-Hutson Endowed Chair of Banking

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The Smith-Hutson Endowed Chair of Banking was established in 1996 with a two-fold mission. The primary mission was to educate and prepare students to be bankers and the second to provide educational programs for community bankers.

We believe the program speaks for itself. It is the most tenured accredited degree program offering a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Banking and Financial Institutions. Banks, state, and federal regulatory agencies throughout the state of Texas quickly hire graduates of this program. Additionally, the program places paid interns in banks and regulatory agencies whereby students receive three semester credit hours not to exceed six semester credit hours for total internship credit. Click on the link to the right entitled “BBA Degree in Banking” for more information.

In fall 2005, the banking program accepted the first cohort to the newly established Executive MBA in Banking and Financial Institutions (EMBA). The EMBA is a unique cohort program that offers flexibility to bankers and regulators who have difficulty pursuing a conventional MBA due to scheduling and time constraints. This is a two-year cohort program with a new cohort beginning each fall semester. An annual one-week residency at the main campus is required prior to the start of each fall semester along with a one-day conference each spring semester. Outside of these two residencies, students will complete their coursework entirely online. 

All of the banking courses are taught in the high-tech banking room, which has the latest teleconferencing equipment and many other outstanding amenities. (See picture above)

Bankers all over the state are quick to see the value of these unique programs and embrace and support them. Likewise, our two outstanding state banker trade associations have been supportive of the programs.

Jill Vaughan

Jill Vaughan
Smith-Hutson Endowed Chair of Banking
College of Business Administration
Sam Houston State University


News From The Smith-Hutson Endowed Chair of Banking

Jill Sharp Vaughan Named SHSU Smith-Hutson Endowed Chair Of Banking

July 8, 2021
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti

Sam Houston State University College of Business AdministratJill Sharp Vaughan ion has named Jill Sharp Vaughan as the Smith-Hutson Endowed Chair of Banking. In this position, she will oversee the college’s accredited Bachelor of Business Administration and Executive MBA degrees programs in Banking and Financial Institutions.

Established in 1997 under the leadership of the founding chair, the late James B. Bexley, the primary mission of the Smith-Hutson Endowed Chair is to prepare students for careers in banking and to provide educational programs for community bankers.

“We are so fortunate to have Jill Vaughan join SHSU as the Smith-Hutson Endowed Chair of Banking,” said Mitchell J. Muehsam, dean of the College of Business Administration. “SHSU has a long-standing reputation for preparing students for successful careers in banking, as well as serving the banking community. Jill’s wealth of experience in the banking industry, combined with her passion for serving others, makes her the ideal person to build on this history of success. We look forward to her using her expertise in leading the program to new heights.”

Vaughan, an SHSU alumna, will join the university in January upon retirement from Zions Bancorporation where she currently serves as executive vice president of Southwest Regional Credit.

“I have been truly blessed working for a great organization and with people for the past 25 years that I consider my friends and family. The many opportunities presented to me by the Zions/Amegy organization allowed me to find success in a very fulfilling and rewarding career which made it difficult to retire.”  Vaughan said. “This next opportunity is a once in a lifetime chance to recruit and educate students to join our great industry, while working from my own alma mater. It allows me to continue to serve the industry that has been so good to me and my family for the past 38 years.”   

Upon receiving her Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance at SHSU in 1982, Vaughan began a successful career in banking. From 1986 to 1996, she served as the senior lending officer and later president of ProBank in The Woodlands. Vaughan then joined Klein Bank and Trust as an EVP with oversight of the Montgomery County Commercial lending market. After the bank merged with Amegy Bank of Texas, Vaughan served as EVP for Regional Commercial Lending where she managed various geographies within the Harris County and Montgomery County Regions. In 2016, she transitioned to an enterprise role at Zions Bancorporation as Southwest Regional Credit Executive, supporting Amegy Bank, National Bank of Arizona and Nevada State Bank.

SHSU's Jill Sharp Vaughan and James B. Bexley at 2018 SHSU Texas Bankers Hall of Fame event.
Jill Sharp Vaughan and founding chair James B. Bexley at the 2018 Texas Bankers Hall of Fame.

Vaughan has spent the majority of her career working with community and regional banks and has enjoyed a background in not only front-line lending, but also in operations, credit and risk. A third-generation banker, she has deep roots and a strong passion for the industry. 

Active in her community, Vaughan has served on numerous boards in leadership positions for Conroe-Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce, Montgomery County Community Foundation, Lone Star College Foundation, Montgomery County United Way and North Houston Association. She also served as an elected Trustee for Montgomery Independent School District for 14 years and a Trustee of Region 6 Education Service Center. 

Vaughan has also remained active at SHSU, serving on the Smith-Hutson Endowed Chair of Banking Advisory Board and on the Advisory Board of the College of Business Administration. In 2006, she became an inaugural member of the SHSU College of Business Administration Hall of Honor. She was later inducted into the Texas Bankers Hall of Fame in 2018.

“The banking industry is something I have great passion for. I grew up in a community banking family watching my dad, grandfather and grandmother share a life of love for banking,” Vaughan said. “The fact that SHSU has this wonderful program, generously endowed is an incredible benefit to our banking industry. This next chapter in my life has very special meaning to me. I can’t think of a bigger honor than following in the footsteps of my friend and mentor, Dr. Jim Bexley, to continue his passion and good work for our industry as the next chair.”

Remembering Dr. Jim Bexley

Oct. 25, 2019
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti

The Bearkat community is mourning the loss of Dr. James “Jim” Bexley.

Passionate about banking and education, Bexley served as the Smith-Hutson Endowed Chair of Banking for 24 years at Sam Houston State University. The community, university and students have greatly benefited from his knowledge, abundant energy and commitment to serving others.  He leaves behind a legacy, not only to the university but also to the banking and finance industry.

Bexley significantly impacted the college through his instrumental work in developing curriculum at SHSU for the first four-year accredited BBA degree in banking and financial institutions in the United States. He also pioneered the curriculum for the university’s Executive MBA degree in banking and financial institutions.

“Dr. Bexley was an iconic figure in the banking sector and his efforts raised the reputation and image of Sam Houston State University in both the business and academic worlds," said Mitchell Muehsam, dean of the College of Business Administration. "Jim’s passion for helping others succeed changed the lives of countless students. Bankers throughout Texas have praised SHSU for the quality of students we have produced. Jim Bexley has created a foundation of success for SHSU’s banking program and we can best honor him by building on that legacy."  

With more than 40 years in senior management positions, Bexley applied his considerable experience and knowledge in the classroom, educating new generations of service-oriented banking professionals. During his tenure, he helped place more than 1,000 students in either internships or career positions in the industry. He was honored for his dedication to education with a Texas State University System Regents’ Professor Award – the highest recognition given to a professor in the university system.


Bexley was also highly involved in SHSU athletics and enjoyed serving and cheering on the Bearkats. As Sam Houston’s faculty athletics representative, he worked tirelessly to promote academic integrity and institutional control of intercollegiate athletics to enhance the student-athlete experience.

“I had the privilege to work with Dr. Bexley for more than 20 years as a friend, colleague and faculty athletic representative. His support of our athletic program has been exemplary. I will always remember and appreciate his counsel and more importantly, his friendship,” said Bobby Williams, SHSU athletic director.

With over 35 years of experience in the banking industry, Bexley received the Lifetime Achievement Award from The Texas Bankers Association. He also served on the Federal Reserve Bank eleventh district Board of Directors. During his tenure, he served on both the executive and audit committees. He used his knowledge and expertise to consult for banks all over the United States as well as the largest private bank in China and a bank in Malawi, Africa.

From comments shared online since his passing, his significant impact on the campus and on his students is apparent:

Dr. Bexley is the reason why I decided to go into Banking and tomorrow I will be celebrating 20 years at my bank. He was an amazing professor and was always very generous with his time.

He has touched and influenced so many lives in the banking and teaching community and we will continue to honor him and his legacy.

He had such an impact on everyone he met and made those around him always feel welcome and appreciated.

Dr. Bexley was my mentor, colleague, friend and the man I most admired. I’ve never known anyone who gave so much to so many and never expected anything in return except the joy that it brought him.

Dr. Bexley - TBA Lifetime AchievenmentBexley Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

The Texas Bankers Association presented its first Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Jim Bexley, chair of the Smith-Hutson Endowed Chair of Banking at Sam Houston State University. The award, in recognition of Dr. Bexley’s contributions to the university’s banking program and the industry, was presented at the Texas Bankers Hall of Fame Gala on April 21, 2016. Dr. Bexley was also recognized at TBA’s Annual Convention in May 2016 held in Grapevine.

TBA $250K Donation - PhotoTexas Bankers Association Awards Matching Endowment at Texas Bankers Hall of Fame Gala

Texas Bankers Association presents a $250,000 check for a matching endowment for the Smith-Hutson Endowed Chair of Banking at the College of Business Administration at Sam Houston State University. The award was presented at the Texas Bankers Hall of Fame Gala on April 21, 2016. The presentation included, left to right, TBA President Eric Sandberg; Dr. James B. Bexley, Chair, Smith-Hutson Endowed Chair of Banking; TBA Member Relations Officer Donny Palmer; Dr. Dana Hoyt, President; TBA Treasurer Jay Dreibelbis; Frank Holmes, Vice President, University Advancement; and Dr. Mitchell Muehsam, Dean, College of Business Administration.