People and Places: January 10, 2023

Article Icon Article
Tuesday, January 10, 2023
By AACSB Staff
Esade Business School and Fordham University appoint new deans, and the business school at the University of Texas at El Paso receives a naming gift.


On January 1, Lerzan Aksoy became dean of the Gabelli School of Business at Fordham University in New York City after acting as interim dean for six months. She joined Fordham’s marketing faculty in 2009 and served as associate dean of undergraduate studies and strategic initiatives within the school from 2015 to 2022. She was also managing director of the Responsible Business Coalition at the Gabelli School. Aksoy began her academic career as a marketing professor in the College of Administrative Sciences and Economics at Koç University in Istanbul. In 2022, Aksoy received the Christopher Lovelock Career Contributions to the Services Discipline Award from the American Marketing Association (AMA). She currently sits on the Academic Council of the AMA and will serve as president of the Academic Council beginning in 2024.

Joan Rodon has been appointed the new dean of Esade Business School in Spain. Rodon’s career at Esade has spanned more than 20 years, during which time he has held positions as deputy dean of research and faculty, associate dean of the bachelor in business administration program, and head of the department of information systems. His areas of interest and research include the creation, evolution, and governance of digital infrastructures and platforms. As dean, he will oversee the school’s increased emphasis on internationalization, as well as programmatic changes that focus on artificial intelligence, data analysis, and sustainability. Rodon succeeds Josep Franch.

Ann M. Olazábal has been named interim dean of the University of Miami Herbert Business School in Florida. As a professor and vice dean of Lifelong Learning and Executive Education at the business school, Olazábal expanded online and nondegree offerings to reach new adult learners with customized executive education. She has served in leadership roles at the Miami Herbert Business School for more than 10 years, holding positions such as vice dean of undergraduate business education and chair of the business law department. Before her career in academia, Olazábal worked as an attorney in private practice in Arizona and later as vice president and general counsel of an international exporting firm in Miami. She started as interim dean on January 1.

Executive Scott Wheeler has been named interim dean of the College of Business at Texas A&M in Commerce. He will begin his new role on January 9. Wheeler has taught as an adjunct professor of finance in the College of Business for 11 years and served on its advisory board for more than 18 years. During his 35-year business career, Wheeler has been president, CFO, and board member at multiple public and private companies. He served as president and CFO of Daseke Inc., one of North America’s largest providers of flatbed freight transportation. Wheeler was also one of the original shareholders and CFO of One Source Virtual, a technology-enabled services company in the U.S. Wheeler succeeds current dean Mario Hayek, who has been in the position since November 2020.

On January 3, Michael Visser became interim dean of Sonoma State University’s School of Business and Economics in California. As part of Sonoma State for the past 17 years, Visser has served as the faculty associate dean of the School of Business and Economics, an economics professor, and former chair of the department of economics. Visser, who was a first-generation college student, has actively supported initiatives dedicated to inclusiveness and student success. Visser succeedsJean-Francois Coget.

Daniel Pullin has been named president of Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth. Pullin is the John V. Roach Dean of the TCU Neeley School of Business, where he also is a professor of entrepreneurship and innovation. Under Pullin’s leadership, TCU Neeley has experienced faculty and staff growth, curriculum innovation, and increased civic engagement. Prior to joining TCU Neeley in 2019, Pullin was dean of the Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma, where he also served as university vice president. Before transitioning to higher education, Pullin worked for global consultancy McKinsey & Company and the private equity firm Hicks Muse Tate & Furst. He will begin his new role February 1.

Stepping in as interim dean at TCU Neeley will be Hettie Richardson. Since January 2020, Richardson has been associate dean of undergraduate affairs, a position she will continue to hold. As associate dean, she established the annual Neeley student satisfaction survey; created the Finance Crash Course, the JPMorgan Chase Inclusive Excellence Mentoring Program, and the Neeley Mentorship Program; expanded experiential learning opportunities for students; and expanded the BNSF Neeley Leadership Program. Richardson joined the Neeley School in 2013 as chair of the management and leadership department. She will become interim dean on February 1, when Pullin assumes the TCU presidency.

New Programs

The Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School in Baltimore is creating a new capstone course in partnership with Rehab Warriors, an organization that trains veterans to revitalize communities through home building and property development opportunities. The course, which will be a part of the MS in Real Estate and Infrastructure, will examine problems within communities and identify practical solutions that can be developed and executed.

Goizueta Business School at Emory University in Atlanta is adding new options to its analytics programming. Starting in fall 2023, the full-time Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) will offer a new track focusing on artificial intelligence (AI) in business. Courses will cover topics such as deep learning, reinforcement learning, AI at scale, and advanced network analytics. The new track aligns with Emory University’s AI.Humanity initiative, which aims to ensure that artificial intelligence protects human health, generates economic value, and promotes social justice. Goizueta also will launch the Master of Science in Business Analytics for Working Professionals (xMSBA). Based on the MSBA, the new part-time program is aimed at professionals who have five or more years of experience in the data, IT, and analytics fields. In addition to attending evening and Saturday classes, students will participate in two Atlanta residencies and two three-day international trips. The program also offers an analytics practicum, in which students address real-world problems their own companies are facing.

Grants and Donations

The college of business administration at the University of Texas at El Paso has received a 25 million USD gift from the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation, the largest donation in the university’s history. In recognition, the business school will be renamed the Woody L. Hunt College of Business. The money will be used to fund initiatives that focus on trade and commerce between the United States and Mexico, including scholarship and experiential learning opportunities for business students. The gift also will create two distinguished chairs, a new distinguished professorship, and multiple endowed fellowships. Additionally, the donation will help strengthen The Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness, a research center at the university that provides economic analysis and research tools that strengthen regional and binational cross-border economic and social development.

The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa has received a 2 million USD commitment from alumnus Ari Deshe and his wife, Ann. A little more than half of the money will go toward the 4 million USD fundraising campaign to renovate Mary Hewell Alston Hall, home of the Culverhouse College of Business. The gift also will include 400,000 USD in scholarships for first-generation business students and 500,000 USD for the Bloom Hillel Student Center, a gathering place for Jewish students at the university.

London Business School has received a 1 million GBP gift (about 1.2 million USD) from Transmed, a consumer goods and food service manufacturer based in Lebanon. The money will be used to establish the Transmed Scholarship Program, which will award two full-tuition scholarships to Lebanese candidates across all degree programs at the school. The gift will become part of the school’s Forever Forward Campaign, which aims to raise 200 million GBP over five years to invest in scholarships, research, innovation, and the learning environment.

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]

Subscribe to LINK, AACSB's weekly newsletter!
AACSB LINK—Leading Insights, News, and Knowledge—is an email newsletter that brings members and subscribers the newest, most relevant information in global business education.