Looking back on my 11 years as dean of the Krannert School, there are many fond memories. Who will ever forget “opening day at the ballpark” when we officially dedicated Rawls Hall in 2003? Sitting next to Jerry Rawls and then-Purdue President Martin Jischke on that wonderful fall day, my heart swelled with pride as our students threw out the “first pitch” to mark the opening of the best business school facility in the world. Years later I had the same sense of pride and fulfillment as we dedicated the Steven A. Webster Undergraduate Programs Suite in the renovated third floor of the venerable Krannert Building.
Other moments provided great joy and satisfaction as well. I have delivered a commencement address to every graduating GISMA class in Hannover, Germany, since the program’s inception in 1999. I will never forget the first processional at GISMA, where a tuba band played “Pomp and Circumstance” during the ceremonies. It actually sounded good!
Then there were the golf outings with alumni. I remember teeing off at Half Moon Bay Links outside San Francisco with Jerry Rawls and Murray Blackwelder, former senior vice president for advancement at Purdue. Jerry and I hit first, and both nailed pretty good drives. Then came Murray. Those of you who played golf with Murray know that his game needed a little work, to put it kindly. Well, Murray hit what was something akin to a baseball pop-up — a drive that netted about five yards in length, but several times that in height. Jerry and I considered calling him out under the infield fly rule. I have many other great golf memories, and would put playing with alumni in Naples, Florida, at the Old Collier Golf Club among the top experiences in my checkered golf career.
The 50th anniversary of the Krannert School was a very special event. Many of our alumni returned to the celebration in October 2007. Speakers included a Nobel laureate, Dr. Vernon Smith, and the former president of the University of Chicago, Dr. Hugo Sonnenschein. Several of our alumni participated in stimulating panel discussions for the students, faculty, staff, and alumni in attendance. And the featured entertainment was none other than the Buckinghams, the Chicago-based band with five top 10 hits in 1967. (We realized that would have been Krannert’s 10th anniversary, but when we requested a band from the promoter from 1957, we were told there weren’t many left still performing from that era.)
My term as chairperson of the AACSB Board of Directors was a great experience. AACSB is the international accreditation agency and deans’ association for the best business schools worldwide. Among my many duties, I helped dedicate the first AACSB office outside the United States. The Singapore office of the AACSB was opened in 2009 to represent the many business schools in Asia, and is integral to the global AACSB strategy.
In general, being associated as dean with the great faculty, students, staff, and alumni from Krannert is my fondest memory. Myriad events associated with these wonderful members of the Krannert family have made me very proud of our school. And, I get to continue to be part of this great organization after I step down as dean on June 30. In addition to keeping my hand in administration as the Avrum and Joyce Gray Director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, I very much look forward to a return to the classroom and my research program in my role as Leeds Professor of Management.
My successor will inherit a great program with great people. We have a solid foundation at Krannert. However, there are challenges. State and private funding have been affected by the weak economy. Krannert needs more faculty and scholarship money to compete with other high-quality business schools. Recruiting and retaining the best faculty and students requires more resources be devoted to Krannert at a time when resources are very scarce.
The new dean will need to continue to identify and implement efficiencies, to be sure. However, Krannert has shown its ability over the years to meet challenges and to emerge even stronger. The future will require a substantial team effort among faculty, students, staff, and alumni. I am certain our progress will continue to reflect the highest in ethical standards. I am optimistic, and can’t wait for the future to unfold.
Richard A. Cosier
Dean and Leeds Professor of Management