People and Places: June 7, 2022

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Tuesday, June 7, 2022
By AACSB Staff
Sharon Matusik becomes dean at Michigan, Mark Taylor steps down at Washington University, and Purdue receives a gift of nearly 21 million USD.


Starting August 1, Sharon Matusik will be the new Edward J. Frey Dean of Business and a tenured professor of business at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Matusik most recently served as dean of the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado in Boulder. While Matusik was dean, the Leeds School developed a partnership with the university’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, launched two new MBA programs for working professionals, increased the size of the school’s research faculty by 41 percent, and created the “End the Gap” initiative aimed at creating gender parity in business leadership. Before joining the Leeds School in 2014, Matusik was on the faculty at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management at Rice University in Houston. At Michigan, Matusik follows Scott DeRue, who stepped down as dean last year, and Francine Lafontaine, who has served as interim dean since May 2021.
Otgontsetseg “Otgo” Erhemjamts will be the new dean of the University of San Francisco’s School of Management beginning July 1. She is a finance professor and former associate dean of business at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. During her time at Bentley, she oversaw the launch of 10 graduate certificate programs, addressed gender inequities in tenure and promotion policies, and co-chaired a committee that addressed systemic racial barriers at Bentley. She also mentored students who launched a sustainable investment fund at Bentley that currently manages 660,000 USD of the school’s endowment funds. Erhemjamts succeeds Charles Moses, who is heading to the University of the Pacific as dean of the Eberhardt School of Business in San Francisco.
Venky Venkatachalam has been appointed dean of the College of Management and Distinguished Professor of Management Science & Information Systems at the University of Massachusetts Boston. The appointment will take effect in July. Venkatachalam is currently in his eighth year as dean of the Beacom School of Business at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. During his tenure, Venkatachalam oversaw significant enrollment growth and developed strategic partnerships with South Dakota businesses. Among his efforts was the founding of Coyote Business Consulting, which enabled students and faculty to help small businesses in the state survive and succeed during the pandemic. Previously, Venkatachalam was a professor and academic leader at the University of New Hampshire’s Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics. At UMass Boston, Venkatachalam will take over from interim dean Arindam Bandopadhyay.
On July 1, Paul H. Schwager will become dean of the College of Charleston School of Business in South Carolina. He is currently dean and W. Howard Rooks Distinguished Professor in the College of Business at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. There he established the Copeland Diversity & Inclusion Fellows program, the Cunanan Center for Professional Success, and the Thomas D. Arthur Graduate School of Business. He also led a successful AACSB peer review and reorganized the Business Advisory Council to focus on increasing diversity. Prior to his appointment as ECU’s dean in 2019, he served as the school’s interim dean, associate dean, and acting associate dean. At the College of Charleston, Schwager replaces Alan Shao, who will transition to a faculty position as professor of marketing in the School of Business.
Laura Dunham has been named the next dean of the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. She will succeed Stefanie Lenway, who retires on July 1. Dunham has spent the last five years as associate dean of the Opus College’s Schulze School of Entrepreneurship. Under her leadership, the school experienced a nearly threefold increase in the percentage of incoming first-year students declaring an entrepreneurship major, tripled the number of credit hours taught within the entrepreneurship department, and tripled the number of students participating in the school’s co-curricular programs. She also oversaw the launch or growth of programs such as the Schulze Innovation Scholarship and the Fowler Business Competitions.

Shelley Dionne has been appointed dean of the School of Management at Binghamton University in New York. Dionne has been the school’s associate dean of faculty development and the PhD program since 2018. Dionne joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 2001, was promoted to associate professor three years later, and became a professor in 2017. She has been the associate director of the Center for Leadership Studies since 2007 and a fellow of the center since 2001. She also serves as the area chairperson for leadership and organizational sciences for the School of Management. She begins her new role June 9. 

On July 1, Mark Higgins becomes the new dean of the Kania School of Management at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. He joins the Kania School from the Chaifetz School of Business at St. Louis University (SLU), a sister Jesuit university in Missouri, where he is a professor of accounting. From 2015 to 2019, Higgins also served as SLU’s Edward Jones Dean. During his time at SLU, he worked with faculty to repurpose facilities into a multipurpose data analytics lab for finance and a behavioral lab space for marketing; he also worked with faculty to revise SLU’s one-year, full-time MBA program to focus on data analytics and ethical leadership. He currently serves as chair of the AACSB Accounting Accreditation Policy Committee and is a member of the AACSB Business Accreditation Policy Committee.
Sharmistha Self has been named the new dean of the Sam Houston State University College of Business Administration. She begins her new role June 15. Self comes to SHSU from the College of Business at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, where she was the Robert James Waller Professor of Economics; head of the department of economics; head of the department of finance; and co-chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. In addition, she managed the Center for Economic Education and the Center for Real Estate Education. Prior to her time at the University of Northern Iowa, Self was a faculty member at Missouri State University in Springfield.
Michael Johnson-Cramer has been named the new dean of Ithaca College’s School of Business in New York, a position he will take up July 1. Johnson-Cramer most recently was a professor of management at Bentley University, where he also served as Dean of Business at Bentley and the McCallum Graduate School of Business. Before joining Ithaca College, Johnson-Cramer was on the management faculty at Bucknell University, where he chaired the interdisciplinary global management program, served as associate dean of faculty for the College of Arts and Sciences, was founding director of the School of Management, and served as interim dean of the Freeman College of Management. At Ithaca College, he will succeed Alka Bramhandkar, professor of finance and international business, who has been serving as interim dean of the School of Business since 2020.
Mark P. Taylor, dean of Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, will conclude his deanship June 30, having held the position since 2016. He will continue to serve as the Donald Danforth Jr. Distinguished Professor of Finance after taking a year of academic leave. Under his deanship, the school added EFMD accreditation to its accreditation by AACSB and the Association of MBAs. Taylor also oversaw the launch of new programs and increased access to the business school. Taylor joined Washington University from the University of Warwick in the U.K., where he served as dean of Warwick Business School and professor of finance. In addition to holding professorships at other schools, he has served as an adviser at the Bank of England, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. While the school searches for his replacement, Anjan V. Thakor, the John E. Simon Professor of Finance, will serve as interim dean.

Grants and Donations

The Krannert School of Management at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, has received a nearly 21 million USD gift from the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation, the largest gift in the school’s history. In recognition of the gift, the university has announced the launch of the Dean V. White Real Estate Finance Program, an academic minor that will begin this fall. The gift will fund four new faculty positions and pay for renovations at the Krannert Center for Executive Education and Research, which will house the program.

Rutgers Business School in Newark and New Brunswick, New Jersey, has announced a 3 million USD gift from Robert Platek; his wife, Laurie; and private investment firm MSD Partners, where Robert Platek is a senior executive. The money will be used to support diverse students selected for Road to Wall Street, which provides approximately 55 sophomores with deep knowledge of the financial markets. The gift will create the MSD Scholars Initiative, which will work closely with Road to Wall Street and the business school’s office of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access. The initiative will also provide specialized training and mentoring to MSD scholars.

The Strome College of Business at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, will use a 6 million USD gift from real estate developer Richard B. Thurmond to inaugurate the Thurmond School of Professional Sales and Negotiations. Funds from the endowment will be used to offer undergraduate degrees, graduate courses, and professional certificates in negotiations and professional sales, as well as communications workshops for women and underserved groups. The Thurmond School will also fund grants for researchers at the university. The new school builds on the Thurmond Negotiations Lab, which was established in 2017 to serve the local business community through educational programs.

Centers and Facilities

The David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City will break ground this summer on a new Impact and Prosperity Epicenter. The 284,808-square-foot, six-story living-learning space will act as a multidisciplinary hub for innovation and impact. The first floor will include The Forum, where users from all over the campus will gather in an open, collaborative space. The Center for Business, Health, and Prosperity and Sorenson Impact Center will occupy space directly above The Forum, and the building will also offer student housing, including more than 775 resident beds. The 114 million USD project, which is due for completion in August 2024, is made possible by the support of anchor donations from Jim Sorenson and Robert and Lynette Gay.

Other News

The KPMG U.S. Foundation has launched a new 125,000 USD grant and matching gift program, Reaching New Heights, which is designed to promote access and equity in higher education. The organization will award five eligible institutions 25,000 USD each to fund new or existing diversity programs within schools of business, technology, or law. In addition, donations made by KPMG U.S. professionals, partners, and retired partners will provide two-to-one matching funds of up to 500,000 USD. Schools must express interest by June 30 and submit applications by August 15. Visit the online application to learn more.

If you have news of interest to share with the business education community, please send press releases, relevant images, or other information to AACSB Insights at [email protected]

The views expressed by contributors to AACSB Insights do not represent an official position of AACSB, unless clearly stated.
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