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Spring 2013 / Volume 3, Issue 2

School of Business V i r g i n i a

C o m m o n w e a l t h

U n i v e r s i t y

14 Ginter House, located at 901 W. Franklin St., stands as a reminder of the beginnings of the VCU School of Business, founded in 1937.

10 Departments From the editor Newsmakers Overheard VCU Business Alumni Society Class notes By the numbers Calendar

2 3 10 30 32 35 37



Features 12 The buck starts here The Thalhimer family’s longstanding support benefits top business students.

14 Memories and milestones Take a look at the School of Business as we celebrate 75 years of business education excellence.

28 Evolution of a partnership Two alumni discuss the link between the School of Business and the corporate community.

36 Looking ahead Dean Ed Grier talks about the school’s commitment to the future.

27 Celebrating legendary faculty The School of Business Legends Reception pays homage to our esteemed faculty.

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Editor’s letter The heart of the matter In just one word, what does the VCU School of Business mean to you? It’s not an easy question to answer, is it? But that’s exactly what we asked faculty, trustees, retirees, alumni, students, business community and staff members in interviews for this 75th Anniversary issue. Opportunity. Diversity. Collaboration. Community. Great people. Excellence. Change. Family. Connected. Emotion. Awesome. Overwhelming. Proud. What powerful words. What wonderful affirmation of the value of our institution. It’s amazing to think that in just 75 years, we’ve grown from a fledgling program with two professors and 11 students into a nationally ranked school of business with more than 26,000 alumni. Along the way, we’ve made important discoveries through research. We’ve fueled economic and business growth for Virginia. We’ve created opportunities and shaped countless lives. Each of us has contributed to this remarkable legacy in our own way. History is full of examples of our success in tackling complex challenges, driving innovation, learning from our diversity, fostering academic excellence and meeting the changing needs of students and businesses. Impressed as I am by our achievements, it has been in the quieter moments — sitting with friends, colleagues and mentors as they reflect on what VCU Business means to them — that I have come to discover what makes us truly great. Awesome. Overwhelming. Proud. We are a school with tremendous heart. Happy 75th Anniversary! Sincerely,

Vol. 3, Issue 2, Spring 2013 Dean Ed Grier Interim Associate Dean, External Affairs; Executive Director, School of Business Foundation Karen Emmett Coleman Editor L. Katherine Oliver Writer Susan T. Burtch Contributors VCU Office of Public Affairs Design VCU University Relations Photography VCU University Relations Business & Main is published twice each year by the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business. The views and opinions expressed in Business & Main do not necessarily represent the opinions of its editors or the policies of the university or school. Send address changes or comments to: Business & Main Editor Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business P.O. Box 844000 Richmond, Virginia 23284-4000 Email:

Katherine Oliver (M.A. ’08) Editor P.S. I invite you to read more reflections, watch videos and share your memories on our 75th Anniversary website,, or send me an email at

Corrections: Summer 2012 Sibyl Thalhimer was misspelled Sybil Thalhimer. Joseph Stemmle was misspelled Joseph Stemmie. Billy Gifford is president and CEO of Philip Morris USA Inc., not Philip Morris Inc. Business & Main regrets the errors.


©2013, VCU School of Business an equal opportunity/affirmative action university 120208-06

Photo Gary Garbett


VCU Brandcenter welcomes Spivak as its new director

Michael Rao, Ph.D. (left), president, VCU and VCU Health System; John R. Nelson, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief technology officer, Altria Group Inc.; Beverly Warren, Ed.D., Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs; and Kenneth Kahn, director, VCU da Vinci Center for Innovation, celebrate Altria’s recent gift.

Corporation donates landmark gift Corporate giant Altria Group Inc. donated $1.5 million to the Virginia Commonwealth University da Vinci Center for Innovation. Since 2007, the center has focused on producing students who can think across disciplines and bring creative ideas to the market. John R. Nelson, Ph.D., a trustee of the VCU School of Business Foundation and Altria’s executive vice president and chief technology officer, said Altria made the donation because it sees the da Vinci Center as a resource. The company not only recruits heavily from VCU, but it envisions the center as a resource for current Altria employees to enhance their skills and capabilities. Altria’s gift will support the launch of the Master of Product Innovation program, create community partnerships in K-12 education and prepare students for successful careers in a challenging global environment.

Alumnus Vanderland earns prestigious 2012 CFO award

Photo Clement Britt

22nd Annual Real Estate Trends Conference attracts record crowd The VCU School of Business 22nd Annual Real Estate Trends Conference drew a record 1,000 attendees to the Greater Richmond Convention Center in October 2012. The event also received record levels of sponsorship, which provides support for the real estate program and scholarships. Douglas Poutasse, executive vice president and head of strategy and research for Bentall Kennedy, gave the keynote economic overview and forecast. Always striving to be relevant, the conference delivered. One expert panel discussed the housing outlook and another focused on the hot topic of the economic impact of sports and entertainment.

Attendees gather at the VCU School of Business Real Estate Trends Conference in October 2012.

Helayne Spivak, a legendary creative director in the advertising industry, was named the new director of the VCU Brandcenter, the Helayne Spivak university’s graduate advertising program, ranked No. 1 in its field. The Brandcenter is in the process of becoming part of the VCU School of Business. Spivak, most recently the chief creative officer of Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, has enjoyed a varied and successful career. She has led the creative departments at Hal Riney, Young & Rubicam New York, Ammirati Puris Lintas New York and JWT New York. Spivak replaces Rick Boyko, who retired in July after nine years as Brandcenter director.

J. Craig Vanderland (M.B.A. ’85), chief financial officer of the Virginia ABC, won a Virginia Business 2012 CFO of the Year Award at the J. Craig Vanderland seventh annual awards banquet, held June 2012. “The current business and economic environment calls for leaders capable of collaborating and creative problem-solving while continuing to inspire those who work with them,” said Gov. Bob McDonnell. “Mr. Vanderland has exemplified these skills in providing enhanced direction and internal controls to a $700 million retail and law enforcement agency while guiding the agency forward strategically. The commonwealth is fortunate to have such a leader on our state government team.” Vanderland has worked for ABC for nearly three decades and has been CFO since 2005.

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School of Business students, graduates excel at Startup Weekend School of Business senior Josiah Ickes and recent graduates Austin F. Callwood Jr. and Ramzy Ismail made a splash at Richmond’s first Startup Weekend, Sept. 7-9, 2012. A whirlwind experience that has swept the country, Startup Weekend in Richmond began with 38 pitches Friday night by potential entrepreneurs. The School of Business team was one of eight selected for a 54-hour frenzy of business-model creation, coding, designing and market validation. At the end of the weekend, our students took second place for Event Space, a website that lets venues promote themselves online and gives organizations seeking a venue the ability to search based on various criteria.

School’s spring career fair draws record number of employers The VCU School of Business Career Fair drew a record number of employers this spring. Nearly 60 employers met in the Snead Hall Atrium to recruit and hire promising business students. Of these companies, 70 percent returned from previous years, while 18 made first-time appearances. Meanwhile, workshops helped students write their resumes and market themselves, while other specialized career fairs targeted engineering and accounting students.

School of Business launches sustainability initiative

Joshua P. Newton (left), Austin F. Callwood Jr., Justin A. Kauszler and Andrew Wong stand with Dean Ed Grier and Francis Macrina, Ph.D., vice president for research in the VCU Office of Research, after placing second in the inaugural Venture Creation Competition.

Entrepreneurs earn second place in inaugural university competition School of Business graduates Austin F. Callwood Jr., Justin A. Kauszler, Joshua P. Newton and engineering student Andrew Wong won second place in VCU’s inaugural, campuswide Venture Creation Competition. They were awarded $3,000 for Cycle Stay, a publicly accessible bicycle rack system with integrated lock, mobile communication and security features. The competition was hosted by the VCU da Vinci Center for Innovation and involved 40 student teams across nine VCU schools. First prize went to four VCU Brandcenter students for their idea of uniquely flavored ice cream cones.

Gasen moderates technology conference Jean Gasen, Ph.D., director of the Center for Corporate Education, served as moderator for the Women Etc. technology conference hosted by RichTech’s Women in Technology Forum in support of its mission to further empower women — “from the classroom to the boardroom.” Gasen interviewed keynote speakers Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post Media Group, and The Honorable Kristina M. Johnson, Ph.D., CEO of Enduring Energy and former under secretary of energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. Jean Gasen, Ph.D. (right), interviews keynote speaker Arianna Huffington at the Women Etc. technology conference. 4

Faculty and staff across the school have taken steps to reduce paper waste by using two-sided copying and making better use of electronic resources such as Blackboard. Over the fall semester, this VCU School of Business Goes Green initiative cut paper use by more than 500,000 pages! The Executive M.B.A. program had the greatest reduction by going digital with all course materials and replacing student notebooks with iPads. In 2008, VCU joined the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment to neutralize greenhouse gases. Since then, VCU has worked to reduce emissions in all areas of campus life as part of its plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

VCU stars in the spotlight Business study abroad program gets a new twist this summer

School offers new M.B.A. health care concentration

School of Business faculty members earn recognition

Starting summer 2013, undergraduate students will get a chance to gain work experience in other countries while earning VCU course credit through the International Business Consulting Program. Students will participate in a pretrip orientation that includes an introduction to the language and culture of their host country and a practice consulting project. Once in their host country, students will team up with local students and work on business projects developed by faculty and host-country clients. A reflection paper written after the trip allows students to uncover the meaning of their experience. The program is offered in Cyprus, Greece and Prague.

The VCU Executive M.B.A. program will launch a new concentration in health care management beginning summer 2013. Students in the new program, offered in conjunction with the VCU Master of Health Administration program — currently, ranked in the top five in the nation — will complete course work in health care administration over the summer between the first and second years of the Executive M.B.A. program. “It’s a hot combination,” says William J. Miller, executive director of the program. “It’s great to be combining forces within the university.” For information on the new concentration, visit or call (804) 828-3939.

Kenneth Daniels, Ph.D., professor of finance, was elected to serve on the Eastern Finance Association board of directors. In fall 2012, professor of management Robert Trumble, Ph.D., traveled to Ireland on a Fulbright Scholar grant to work with the business school at Dublin City University. While there, he conducted research in the area of human resource management practices by international firms. Trumble also assisted in the development of new graduate programs at the university. He previously traveled to India on a Fulbright grant in 2004.

Kenneth Daniels, Ph.D.

Robert Trumble, Ph.D.

Photo Jay Paul

University recognizes business alumni volunteers

Members of the first class of Christ University M.B.A.-M.S. students, who graduated from VCU in May 2012, gather in front of Snead Hall.

Two School of Business alumni took the stage at the inaugural Alumni Volunteer Service Awards on Nov. 2, 2012. Joseph E. Becht Jr. (M.B.A. ’80) and the Ram to Ram mentoring program received the VCU Service Program Award. Jon B. Hill (B.S. ’85/ACCT, INFO; M.B.A. ’99), former alumni society board member and accounting professor, was recognized with the Alumni Association Service Award for exceptional lifetime service and being a role model to others in the alumni association.

New position aims to develop innovative international partnerships Nanda Rangan, Ph.D., has been appointed to the newly created position of interim associate dean for international and strategic initiatives. Buoyed by the success of its joint venture with Christ University in India, the School of Business is poised to develop new international partnerships. Rangan’s goal is to provide global learning, teaching and research opportunities for students and faculty, while simultaneously enhancing VCU’s reputation worldwide and bringing more foreign students to Richmond, Va.

Joseph E. Becht Jr.

Jon B. Hill

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Faculty experts VCU business faculty members provide analysis and commentary for national media.

Hoping to get beyond the debate over new gun-control laws, a group of economists and legal scholars is floating another plan they say could cut down on spree shootings: require all gun owners to carry liability insurance, similar to what automobile owners must have. The insurance market would have to be complex, and there are many questions still to be answered, said Etti Baranoff, an associate professor of insurance and finance at Virginia Commonwealth University. She said the proposal raised major questions about risk-management strategies and exactly when government entities are immune from such liability. “There are a huge amount of liability policies — insurance companies want to be in the business,” she said. “If [gun owners] went to a private insurance company and bought [a plan], what kind of coverage [is it]?” The Washington Times, Jan. 1, 2013, “Law on liability insurance eyed for gun owners”

Pressure from management to produce results and social pressure among co-workers are among the factors that lead people to take excessive risks or violate ethical rules, said Jodie Ferguson, assistant professor of marketing in the VCU School of Business. Another factor that contributes to unethical conduct is a perceived time lag between decision-making and the resulting harm. “If (a worker) knows that any harmful outcomes may not be for months or years later, then they may be more willing to engage 6

in a potentially risky act,” she said. “Distancing” between the decisionmakers and the customers, employees or investors they serve also can contribute to ethical breaches. Leading up to the financial crisis, for example, “the managers making decisions whether to accept excessive risk were putting distance between themselves and the people who might be harmed,” she said. Richmond Times-Dispatch Sept. 23, 2012, “Are ethics in business still important?”

Dr. David Urban with VCU’s School of Business says diners are enjoying more choices in the counties to spend their scarce discretionary income. Not to mention the eleven percent meals tax on each bill in the city. “The restaurant business is such that you’re only as good as your last meal. It is tough here in Richmond if you’re local and trying to compete against the national chains,” Urban says. “You don’t have to come to town to get a really good restaurant meal.” Sept. 21, 2012, “More choices, meal tax could be to blame for Richmond restaurant closures”

Ron and Melissa Schmitz moved to Richmond from Portland, Ore., and bought a house in the Fan District this past June. Ron Schmitz, chief investment officer for the Virginia Retirement System, factored in the mortgage-interest deduction in his calculations to buy the house. “It was fairly important,” he said. “Without the deduction, it would not have been a deal breaker. But it is one of the few deductions we still get.” “The fiscal cliff has put a number of sacred cows on the cutting table,” said David H. Downs, director of the Kornblau Institute of real estate at Virginia Commonwealth University. “The mortgage-interest deduction is controversial and for good reason,” Downs said. “Proponents and opponents of the deduction have good arguments.” Richmond Times-Dispatch Dec. 23, 2012, “Popular tax break could end”

–C  ontributed by Cassie Williams Jones, VCU Office of Public Affairs


Mallory wins 2012 entrepreneur of the year award

Barker’s ‘Dogs at work’ research story gets a whole lot of bite In March 2012, a strategic communications effort surrounding a study on the benefits of dogs in the workplace led by Randolph T. Barker, Ph.D., professor of management in the VCU School of Business, helped raise national and international awareness of VCU research in business and science. The study was a collaboration across disciplines at VCU, and in addition to the School of Business, included experts from the School of Medicine and School of Nursing. By 11:30 a.m., the morning the release went out, Barker had received requests from Time Magazine, the L.A. Times, Metro International (in the U.K.) and WebMD. At the end of the first week, the story generated close to 500 media hits — which is believed to be a conservative estimate, with an early estimate on impressions at about 169 million. This effort led to media coverage by the L.A. Times, Time Magazine (online), WebMD,, U.S. News & World Report,, The Globe and Mail (Canada), BBC, CBC, The Huffington Post and Metro International (U.K). In addition, stories appeared on a number of blog sites related to business/dog lovers/science, and some trade publications and an international radio broadcast (Hungarian radio request).

VCU alumna and School of Business Foundation trustee Tonya S. Mallory (B.S. ’88; M.S. ’90) received the prestigious 2012 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the emerging category during an annual gala in Palm Springs, Calif. Mallory is co-founder and CEO of Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc., which provides physicians with a comprehensive panel of tests in order to help Tonya S. Mallory personalize treatment based on more complete patient profiling. She was chosen from a field of close to 2,000 entrepreneurs in 10 categories. The award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in areas such as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

High school instructors learn how to teach a new economics course at the VCU Center for Economic Education.

Center helps teach personal finance in area high school classrooms Last summer, the VCU Center for Economic Education in the School of Business, together with the Virginia Council on Economic Education, instructed educators preparing to teach the new Virginia high school course, “Economics and Personal Finance.” The center has provided more than 225 teachers with the knowledge and classroom resources they need to teach this new course most effectively. Thanks to support from the business community, teachers have been able to take the course at no cost, unless they are doing so for graduate credit. New state guidelines call for students to earn one credit in economics and personal finance before they graduate from high school.

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Faculty research Schools collaborate to study uninsured


Edward Temple, Virginia Commonwealth University’s second president, said in his 1975 inaugural address, “A university represents a storehouse of knowledge that forms the foundation for the type of search and research that will enable scholars and practitioners from diverse disciplines to seek answers to problems that confront and threaten human existence.” Case in point, a new joint project among faculty in four VCU schools. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Virginia’s health care system will experience fundamental changes, including the creation of new health insurance exchanges. These exchanges will offer a choice of health care plans and provide information to help consumers — including the nearly 15 percent of Virginians without insurance coverage — better understand the options available to them. But that is a lot of information to absorb, and one critical barrier to coverage expansion through exchanges is the potential for consumers to become overwhelmed with large amounts of information and to fail to use the provided information as the basis for their decisions. This could result in plan choices with higher out-of-pocket costs and less access to necessary services. Through a pilot study, a team of VCU researchers will examine the cognitive attributes of uninsured Virginians and determine the best way to target insurance coverage expansion efforts in the state under health reform. The study titled, “Speaking the Same Language Before Starting the Conversation: Understanding the Literacy Levels and Risk Attitudes of Uninsured Virginians Eligible for Health Insurance Exchanges,” brings together researchers from the VCU schools of Medicine, Business, Allied Health Professions and Pharmacy. This unique collaborative effort was made possible through the VCU Health Policy Collaborative initiative. The pilot study is supported through a newly awarded internal grant. 8

The VCU study will assess uninsured individuals’ attitudes toward risk, their health literacy and the extent to which they are engaged in health care decisions. Ultimately, the project’s aim is to understand how these cognitive attributes influence the quality of insurance choices among the uninsured seeking insurance. Given these influences, how insurance product information is presented to consumers in exchanges could be tailored to improve coverage decisions. “Choosing health insurance is an incredibly complex decision,” says co-principal investigator Andrew Barnes, Ph.D., assistant professor of health care policy and research in the School of Medicine. “With this study we hope to learn how individuals perceive this difficult choice and to find new, more effective ways to communicate insurance information to all those who will be required to purchase coverage under health reform,” he says. According to the VCU experts, many of these “new customers” will be less educated, lower income, more racially and ethnically diverse, sicker and, importantly, will have less experience purchasing health insurance than the current privately insured population. They also may have limited medical and economic vocabulary; find it challenging to use charts; obtain, process, integrate and understand insurance plan information; and make the cost calculations, risk tradeoffs and comparisons needed to reach an informed decision. Unfortunately for these

Andrew Barnes, Ph.D.

Laura Razzolini, Ph.D.

consumers, the health insurance exchanges are predicated on consumers’ ability to comprehend and compare a vast amount of information on numerous insurance plans to make important choices about their coverage. “This joint project between four different schools at VCU offers a unique opportunity for interdisciplinary work and collaboration to bring a new perspective to one of today’s most pressing health policy issues,” says co-principal investigator Laura Razzolini, Ph.D., professor of economics in the School of Business. Investigators working with Barnes and Razzolini include David Holdford, Ph.D., professor and vice chair for graduate studies in the Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science in the School of Pharmacy; Haeran Jae, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing in the School of Business; Edward Millner, Ph.D., professor and chair in the Department of Economics in the School of Business; and Carolyn Watts, Ph.D., professor and chair in the Department of Health Administration in the School of Allied Health Professions.

When you join the Investors Circle,

you “Make it real.”

When you join the Investors Circle, you affect today’s students — the business leaders of tomorrow — in a meaningful way. The Investors Circle recognizes annual donors of $1,000 or more and provides critical funds for strategic initiatives and student support. This special distinction is our way of honoring your generosity and thanking you for your belief in the VCU School of Business.

Investors Circle 2013 signature events: April 2: “Monetary Policy: Opportunities and Limits” with Charles Evans, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, moderated by Al Broaddus, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

Nov. 14: “Creativity Without Borders” with Helayne Spivak,

Join the Investors Circle at

director of the VCU Brandcenter or contact Kathryn West at (804) 827-0075 or

Thank you to all new and renewing members.

School of Business Foundation V i r g i n i a

C o m m o n w e a l t h

U n i v e r s i t y


How has the VCU School of Business

impacted you?

“I guess it’s crafted me to be a better leader. Coming to VCU has definitely been a challenge. Working with different types of students, different personalities … I think that will help me in a professional environment.” Soraya Harris Finance, Class of 2013

“I used to spend hours so I had my lecture down to the minute, knew exactly what I wanted to say. Of course now, you just do it. You rarely take a note in. You’ve got it totally worked out and you know exactly what you’re going to put on the board. You know what the order is going to be and hopefully you’ve gotten pretty good at it. At least I think I have.” D. Robley Wood, D.B.A. Professor of management

“It provides talented, creative young people to work in our companies. Businesses know faculty; faculty know students. Looking back over 20 years — at least four deans worth — my sense is that it’s getting even better. Or maybe corporate engagement is better now, but we’ve got a bigger pool of students, too.” Steven A. Markel Vice chairman, Markel Corp.; chairman, VCU School of Business Foundation Board

“When I came into VCU Business, it really changed me, because when I was a high school student I was the quiet one, not wanting to answer any questions about the class. But once I came in here and immersed myself in the culture and got more involved in the different academic and student organizations, I felt myself evolve into a leader.” Danika Mansfield Marketing, Class of 2011 10

“Being here at the VCU School of Business, I’ve gotten the opportunity to start from being just a student to working with professionals. Being able to transfer what I’m learning in the classroom to doing it in real life with different companies and executives is really exciting.” John Marin Marketing, Class of 2013


“VCU provided a foundation for my life and career. It opened doors that otherwise would not have opened. I got my undergraduate and graduate degrees both from VCU. Back when I attended, a lot of faculty and staff had previously been in business and the military, so they provided a unique experience — an education I couldn’t have gotten elsewhere.” Baxter F. Phillips Jr. (B.S. ’75; M.B.A. ’76) Retired CEO, Massey Energy Co.

Share your story with us! Join the VCU School of Business as it celebrates 75 years of business education in the 2012-13 academic year — from the first classes in 1937 to a top-ranked business school with more than 26,000 graduates today. Tell us how the VCU School of Business impacted your life, your career path, your business or all of the above. Please share your story and a recent photo of yourself at

“It’s just made me more aware of how to tap into different resources. Richmond’s a beautiful city and I didn’t know too much about it until I finally got here. There are a number of opportunities here for students and postgraduates.” Bomani Mintz Marketing, Class of 2012

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One family’s continued support benefits top School of Business students Scholarship steward: Harry Thalhimer

Buck Starts here

Harry Thalhimer cherishes his family’s connection with Virginia Commonwealth University. “Our involvement goes back well over 50 years, yet nobody in the family went there,” he says. “We just know that a top-quality public urban university “Pritam is a very is part of what makes our city great. That feeling predated any philanthropy.” Thalhimer’s parents established the Charles G. Thalhimer Family Endowed appreciative and a Scholarship for the VCU School of Business in 1984. “At the time we were involved with the Thalhimers store. We were in busivery responsible guy. ness, so therefore, the business school was a logical fit,” he says. “It just makes sense to reward top students. My parents thought that was very important.” He acknowledges the Today, Thalhimer serves as president of Thalhimer Headwear and as a memopportunity he got. ber of the VCU School of Business Foundation and the MCV Foundation board of trustees. So, how did he personally become interested in VCU? “Osmosis,” Hopefully, down the he says with a grin. “Generally stuff in our family permeates. Interests change, but major sources and recipients of our support transcend the generations.” road, he’ll do the At the annual luncheon during which scholarships are presented, same for others.” Thalhimer always hands each winner his business card. “I give them the opportunity. If they seize it, we communicate,” he says. – Harry Thalhimer, “I have several students with whom I’ve become very close. I do it because it scholarship steward seems like a good gesture. These kids are obviously accomplished. It can’t hurt. It’s great to see them grow. “We’re blessed to be able to do this,” he adds with a shrug. “But this scholarship is about the recipients. We want to create an opportunity for these outstanding students to lessen their burden and achieve what they want to achieve. Right now, we’ve got recipients I predict will be running major companies, major universities, even major countries — they’re such good leaders.” And Thalhimer remains their champion, always focused on students. “We still need to do a better job,” he says. “We need to raise standards to make VCU attractive for top students who might not be able to afford the full cost. That’s a high priority.” Another of his priorities is giving. “Did you know,” he asks, “that the majority of giving comes not from VCU alums, but from people who live here and appreciate the great work that’s done here? Some of the school’s biggest donors have no academic connection with VCU. They just have community pride and pride in that institution.” Like Harry Thalhimer. 12

This year’s Thalhimer Scholarship recipients Chantel Robinson and Thomas Pelletier (second and third from left) stand with (from left) Marcia Thalhimer, Harry Thalhimer, Sibyl Thalhimer and Charles G. Thalhimer.

The Charles G. Thalhimer Family Endowed Scholarship for the School of Business is awarded to two students every year. It pays full tuition and fees for the last year of each student’s education.

Scholarship winner: Pritam Basu

Every year since 1984, scholar-

ships have been awarded to: It was no coincidence Pritam Basu won the Thalhimer graduate scholarship in 2001. He had planned every step. After graduating from the University ¨¨The undergraduate student of Calcutta and working 18 years as an engineer, Basu determined he with the best overall needed to learn finance to get ahead in business. academic record by the “With my engineering background, I’d have a great synergy. I wanted to become a great project manager. But to be successful, you have to have end of junior year global experiences.” ¨¨The graduate student with So, after meticulous research, Basu chose the VCU School of Business. He thought he had a good chance of winning a scholarship there. And yes, the best academic record he admits, the Virginia climate was a plus: “I am not accustomed to cold after the first year of a twoweather, so I would not choose Michigan.” year master’s degree program At the end of his first year, he had a 4.0 average. “Being an engineer, math was already a core competency. And lots of business school topics are based on statistics, operations research, algebra,” he says. Actually, winning the scholarship turned out to be even more rewarding than he’d thought. “It is not only because of the money. It is an honor,” he says. “When you walk down the hallway, I found people coming from other parts of the world. Nobody knows you. When you become a Thalhimer scholar, you have a stamp on you — not to be ignored. I like that. It was an honor.” Basu graduated in 2002 — still with a 4.0 GPA — having completed his M.B.A. in three semesters. But at that point, the U.S. economy was floundering and he was having trouble finding a job. Still, he never considered returning to India. “You know that saying, ‘The boats are always safe in the harbor, but they are not made for that’? The U.S. and my degree give me a lot: a place I can excel, dignity of work, respect of professionalism,” he says. So the family decided to stay — much to the delight of his then-eighthgrade daughter, who had enthusiastically embraced all things American. In 2003, Basu was hired at GE Energy in project controls. He held a series of positions of increasing responsibility and in April 2012, was promoted to quality leader for 60 Hz gas turbines. He is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt — and a big fan of VCU. “I love my VCU,” he proclaims. “Be proud of your alma mater. VCU “Harry is a part of my life. We are so close. is the best. Wherever I go, I attach Because of this scholarship, I came in contact the name of my alma mater always. I am proud to say I am from VCU.” with a great person. He’s a good man. He has Basu is also proud to be a citizen of the world. “I would say whenever a very good heart — that is the first thing.” somebody comes in a position to give – Pritam Basu, 2001 scholarship winner something good for mankind, they should do that, and not limit themselves to one place,” he says. “I came from India, but I came and became a part of this country. If you are open, a good man, open in mind, you can make the world your family.” Were you a Thalhimer scholar? Let us know what you’re doing now. Email and we will share your news with the Thalhimer family.

Spring 2013 13

Milestones and memories By L. Katherine Oliver

Join us as we celebrate


of business education excellence

Becoming the School of Business The beginning: 1937 Broad Street in Richmond, Va., was lined with bustling department stores and small shops when the School of Store Service Education, forerunner of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business, opened its doors on Sept. 22, 1937, a few blocks west on Franklin Street. Henry H. Hibbs Jr., Ph.D., president of the Richmond Division of the College of William and Mary, had secured a federal grant to train executives for the growing retail sector. The new school would also train educators to teach salesmanship and retailing in schools and colleges, as well as in department store training programs. In 1939, four-year programs in business administration, secretarial science, business and commerce were added. Soon after, the Richmond Division was renamed the Richmond Professional Institute to emphasize the significance and professionalism of the institution. Photo from the 1939 yearbook shows Store Service class members and the program’s director Louise Bernard and assistant professor Anna Mae Johnston.

Coming into our own: 1940s The conclusion of World War II and the enactment of the G.I. Bill of Rights had an enormous impact on enrollment at RPI. In 1944, there were eight men enrolled full time. By 1948, male enrollment had increased to 890 students, transforming RPI from a chiefly women’s college into a true coeducational institution. Many G.I.s were business students. New programs, such as accounting, were added. As a result of this growth, in 1946, the Department of Business Administration became the School of Business.

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One university: 1968 In 1968, Gov. Mills E. Godwin Jr. signed VCU into existence, merging RPI and the Medical College of Virginia. The merger was based on recommendations by a legislative commission led by Edward A. Wayne Sr., president of the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank. The Wayne Commission Report stated that an urban university “must educate for fuller participation in an urban world. While providing specialization, this university must also educate for diversity … It must be a manpower development institution which adapts readily to the changing (and prevailing) economic and social needs of its larger community. Above all it must be a participant in the community problem-solving process.” VCU, opening with an enrollment of more than 10,000 students, was already well on its way.

Today: 21st century

Photo Jay Paul

The VCU School of Business has grown from an initial class of 11 students to a diverse student body of nearly 4,000, including bachelor’s, master’s, certificate and doctoral students. Known for preparing business-ready leaders for the real world, the school has received national recognition from organizations such as Bloomberg Businessweek, The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. While Richmond remains at the core of our identity


and success, we are developing critical partnerships with global brands and universities around the world. Entrepreneurs and executives from Richmond’s 10 Fortune 1000 companies bring new perspectives to classrooms, and thousands of students and alumni – from interns to CEOs – power local businesses. VCU today is a major research university on the move, known as much for its academics and lively urban campus as for its winning basketball team.

Signs of excellence Stamp of approval Accreditation: 1975 and beyond

Winning teams Bringing home the trophy from prestigious student competitions is a tradition at the VCU School of Business. Our students placed first in the nation in Microsoft’s Imagine Cup competition two years running. In recent years, we’ve placed nationally in competitions as diverse as financial planning, risk management, innovation, human resources and the Fed Challenge. Above, a 1971 team sponsored by thenmanagement professor George Rimler, D.B.A., takes the lead in the sixth annual Emory University Intercollegiate Business Games.

A new brand image: 2008 With the move to Snead Hall, the school had a unique opportunity to update its brand image and stand out in an increasingly crowded academic market. Business & Main magazine was launched the following year.

Beta Gamma Sigma Key: 2009 On April 24, 2009, 30 years after the VCU chapter of the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society was established, the School of Business dedicated an official Beta Gamma Sigma Key sculpture in the courtyard of Snead Hall.

Through concerted efforts of J. Curtis Hall, dean of the School of Business, and many others, the school made a giant leap forward by earning accreditation for the undergraduate program in 1975 from the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business. The following year, the school gained accreditation of its master’s programs, and, in 1984, became one of the first to gain separate accreditation of accounting. VCU continues to pass stringent accreditation reviews by AACSB International, keeping the School of Business in the top 5 percent worldwide.

First in the nation: 2004 A data processing program founded in 1965 at RPI grew into one of the country’s first information systems departments. In 2004, VCU became the first business school in the country to see its undergraduate program in information systems accredited by the prestigious Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

National rankings: 2011 Through the years, the School of Business had earned a reputation as the “best kept secret” in Virginia. By 2011, the secret was out. Bloomberg Businessweek ranked the part-time M.B.A. program No. 7 for average salary increase, No. 12 for post-M.B.A. outcomes and No. 51 overall, putting the school solidly on the national map. The same year, the undergraduate program broke into the top 100 in U.S. News & World Report.

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Building business connections

Business student organizations A 1942 yearbook entry for the Retail Club provides insight into the advantage of studying business in an urban university. “Practically every girl majoring in this field is a member of this club. Speakers who work in this field are invited to attend meetings and this provides an excellent opportunity for the students to meet these people and receive the advantages of outside contacts.” In addition, “The Retail Club is not an all work organization, as it conducts various social functions throughout the year.” Organizations such as the Accounting Club, pictured above in 1968, carried on the tradition of combining learning, networking and fun once RPI became VCU. Today, the School of Business boasts 21 student organizations, many of which have won national awards.

Executives on campus Over the past 75 years, countless business leaders have served as guest lecturers, adjunct faculty members, mentors, internship supervisors and more. Pictured here is G. Richard Wagoner Jr., president and chief operating officer of General Motors Corp., addressing a standing-room-only crowd of students and community members as the 1999 Charles G. Thalhimer Family Executive-in-Residence. 18

Center for Corporate Education: 1958 In 1958, the School of Business founded the Adult Business Education Center to serve area companies through short-term courses, workshops and seminars. Institutes were offered at the business’ location or on campus. Today, the Center for Corporate Education carries out this mission. Pictured at right is a 2011 leadership development program for Tredegar Corp.

First endowed chair: 1972 The Alfred L. Blake Chair in Real Estate was created with a gift from Blake’s son in conjunction with the Virginia Realtors Foundation, which recognized the need for increased knowledge in the field. Blake (inset) was founder of the Richmond-based firms Mor tgage Investment Corp. and Alfred L. Blake and Sons. James H. Boykin, Ph.D., held the chair for 30 years, starting the Real Estate Circle of Excellence and annual Real Estate Trends Conference, which has grown to attract an audience of 1,000 professionals and students. David H. Downs, Ph.D., succeeded Boykin upon his retirement. In 2006, Downs was named the first director of The Kornblau Institute, which stimulates real estate research and leverages expertise across the university. The institute was funded through a $2.5 million gift from businessman and philanthropist Sam Kornblau.

Experimental Economics Lab: 1986 Technology from the business world brought research to life in the Experimental Economics Lab, opened in 1986. The facility was the first of its kind to employ the IBM PC network as a tool for replicating actual market environments, allowing researchers to analyze the behavior of real people pursuing real profits. An IBM equipment loan program provided 10 IBM PC/XTs, two IBM PC/ATs and several printers. “We have an obligation to find new ways of using the computer technology that’s available to us,” said J. Curtis Hall, dean of the School of Business. “We try to get as close to the cutting edge as possible in developing useful applications. This lab is one of our success stories.”

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CEO Class: 1988

Photo Jay Paul

For the past 25 years, students selected for this unique course have met with a different chairman, president or CEO each week for a “no holds barred” 2½-hour question-and-answer session. Discussions focus on the key traits of successful senior executives, the firm’s business strategies and issues related to that executive’s particular industry. Pictured at left is the 1995 CEO Class with Stuart Siegel, then-CEO of S&K Famous Brands.

Merit scholarships: 1993-2003 Thanks to generous alumni, faculty and community members, as well as a matching gift incentive from the VCU Alumni Association, 66 endowed merit scholarships were established from 1993 to 2003. These scholarships help recruit and retain the most promising business students. Pictured are professor emeritus Russ Johnston, Ed.D., and wife Harriet, who together funded a merit scholarship, getting to know their recipient Greg Gilliam (B.S. ’10/ACCT) at the annual scholarship dinner.

Fast Track Executive M.B.A.: 1994 Since its inception in 1994, the VCU Fast Track Executive M.B.A. has attracted more than 700 ambitious mid-level executives and professionals. Hallmarks of the program include the weekend format, integration of course material into modules, teamwork, fierce class loyalty, a global business trip and interplay between weekend learning and weekday work experiences. The program became the model for the Fast Track Executive M.S. in Information Systems added in 2006. Pictured is the first class with director Bill Miller (M.B.A. ’89), top right. 20

International Business Forum: 1994 Funded through a grant from Universal Corp., the first International Business Forum brought students and professionals together to explore “Doing Business in Russia and the Newly Independent Republics.” The conference featured Lawrence Eagleburger, former U.S. Secretary of State; Bruce Summers, senior vice president, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond; Randolph Reynolds, president and CEO of Reynolds Metals International; and David Cline, president of TransSiberian Trading and Investment Co. The tradition continues under the leadership of Van R. Wood, Ph.D., Philip Morris Chair in International Business, with a different theme explored each year. Pictured at right is Nirupama Rao, Ambassador of India to the U.S., addressing the forum in April 2012.

Building renovations: 1994

Photo Terry Brown

July 1994 marked the opening of the Alumni Meeting Center, as well as other upgrades to the School of Business building on Floyd Avenue made possible by area companies. Reviewing the plans are longtime faculty member and administrator E.G. Miller, Ph.D., and business owner and donor Josée Covington, who is now a foundation trustee.

Investors Circle: 1996 As the leadership giving society for the School of Business, the Investors Circle has provided essential, consistent support for technology upgrades, dean’s initiatives, student extracurricular activities and more since 1996. Members stay connected with business leaders and faculty, and hear substantive commentary on business-related topics. Investors Circle members (from left) Meg Downs (B.S. ’81), professor David Downs, Ph.D., and Vickie Snead (B.S. ’78) celebrate the 75th anniversary.

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Campaign for the School of Business: 1999-2007 As the story goes, they were together on the golf course when Steven A. Markel, vice chairman of Markel Corp. and chair of the school’s executive leadership committee, and William H. Goodwin Jr., president and CEO of CCA Industries Inc. and chair of the School of Engineering Foundation, came up with the idea to join forces and expand VCU’s campus across Belvidere Street. An initial $10 million gift from Steve and Kathie Markel (the largest in the school’s history) and $1 million from Campaign for VCU co-chairs Tom and Vickie Snead, along with a $15.3 million appropriation from the state legislature, jumpstarted the business campaign. Ultimately, the School of Business Foundation raised $51.5 million, which funded Snead Hall and other priorities. Nearly 1,500 individuals, companies and foundations contributed. Groundbreaking took place Nov. 16, 2005.

Business Career Services: 2007 Prior to 2007, students were given advice and steered toward internships and jobs by faculty, the University Career Center and alumni volunteers. Integrated into the concept of Snead Hall was a dedicated space for career services catered to business students. A director, Mike Eisenman, was hired from industry with marching orders to “recruit more recruiters” to come to campus. Today, the School of Business Career Services not only draws recruiters, but provides counseling, career preparation events, blogs and job postings. It also hosts two business-specific career fairs annually.

VCU da Vinci Center for Innovation: 2008 What began as a great idea to bring together arts, business and engineering has grown into the vibrant da Vinci Center for Innovation, offering an undergraduate certificate program, a master’s in product innovation and a Venture Creation Competition, under the direction of Kenneth Kahn, Ph.D. There is magic in the interplay of approaches by students from different academic backgrounds, and corporate sponsors are eager to fund student teams to create products and discover creative business solutions.


Leadership Henry H. Hibbs Jr., Ph.D., founder Pictured with his wife, Jessie, Henry H. Hibbs Jr., Ph.D., the president of Richmond Professional Institute, organized the School of Store Service Education in 1937 and shepherded the business program and its various directors until his retirement in 1959.

J. Curtis Hall Jr., Ph.D., dean, 1962-88 J. Curtis Hall Jr., Ph.D., worked for 26 years as business dean at VCU, developing a small program into a leading School of Business with six academic departments and full accreditation by AACSB International. The Virginia Council on Economic Education, which he started in 1969, impacts K-12 teachers, students, schools and families across the state, and is regarded as a national role model. Pictured, Hall (at left), and then-president Warren W. Brandt, Ph.D., reviewing the computer room in 1972.

Robert R. Trumble, Ph.D., dean, 1988-93 A former dean at Kent State University, Robert R. Trumble, Ph.D. (far right), brought political savvy to his role at VCU. Both the Philip Morris Chair in International Business and the Hintz Professorship in Accounting were established under his leadership. Groups such as the Business Council, Real Estate Circle of Excellence, Information Systems Advisory Board and Accounting Advisory Board thrived. Trumble was successful in gaining external funding for his research and encouraged others to do the same. He now serves on the management faculty and spent the fall semester as a Fulbright fellow.

Business Alumni Society Board: 1980s The VCU School of Business now boasts an incredible alumni base of more than 26,000 graduates of whom more than 18,000 live in Virginia. The Business Alumni Society board, originally known as the Alumni Board and begun in the 1980s, focuses on giving back and “building successful connections” between alumni, students, the school and the community. Signature programs in recent years include the Basketball Tip Off, Golf Open and Ram to Ram mentoring program. Pictured is a board gathering from the 1990s. William M. Ginther (B.S. ’69/MGMT; M.S. ’74/B), seated third from right in the front row, now serves as vice rector for the VCU Board of Visitors.

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Howard Tuckman, Ph.D., dean 1993-99 During his six-year tenure, Howard Tuckman, Ph.D. (center), raised $800,000 for building renovations and scholarships. He oversaw the installation of a modern computer lab and break-out rooms for group study. Tuckman brought in new department heads and well-known researchers, and drew up a strategic plan that took the school into the 21st century. He created the Fast Track Executive M.B.A. program in 1994.

E.G. Miller, Ph.D., interim dean 1999-2000

Photo Terry Brown

Known for being readily available for faculty, staff and students, E.G. Miller, Ph.D. (left), was active in the acquisition of endowed merit scholarships that continue to benefit today’s students. He went on to serve as senior associate dean and spearheaded the construction of Snead Hall, working day and night during the months leading up to the building opening. Today, he serves as senior adviser to Dean Grier and as interim chair of the Department of Management.

School of Business Foundation: 2005

Photo Terry Brown

Steven A. Markel began a conversation with VCU’s then-president Eugene P. Trani, Ph.D.; Michael Sesnowitz, Ph.D., dean; Peter Wyeth, vice president for advancement; and Wallace Stettinius, senior executive faculty fellow. The group decided that the School of Business needed a foundation to manage private assets and provide meaningful leadership from the corporate community. The inaugural foundation meeting was June 14, 2005, and included founding trustees Markel, Josée G. Covington, Brenton S. Halsey, Allen B. King, Robert E. Rigsby, S. Buford Scott, Thomas G. Snead Jr. and F. Dixon Whitworth. Today, 34 trustees manage close to $80 million in endowment, cash, building and land assets. Pictured is Chair Steve Markel, welcoming faculty, staff and fellow trustees to the 75th Anniversary Kickoff Social in August 2012.

Location, location, location


Ginter House: 1937

Franklin Street Gym: 1950s

Ginter House, former home of entrepreneur and philanthropist Major Lewis Ginter, was the site of the first business classes taught in the School of Store Service Education. Known to students simply as 901 W. Franklin St., Ginter House was built from 1888-92 and is considered the finest example of Richardsonian architecture in Virginia. For decades, RPI operated in old houses in Richmond’s Fan District, and these picturesque former homes are still an integral part of campus today.

RPI got its first new building, the Franklin Street Gymnasium, in the mid-1950s. Hibbs sometimes referred to it as the arts and sciences building because the art department and the secretarial science department of the School of Business were housed there. The director of the School of Business also had his office in the new gym. For more than a decade, the gym would serve as the administrative offices of the School of Business, while faculty offices were sprinkled along Franklin Street.

David J. Urban, Ph.D., interim dean 2009-10 David J. Urban, Ph.D. (below), veteran marketing professor, moved the school forward through initiatives such as increasing communications and leading a successful reaccreditation process by AACSB International. He retires as executive associate dean in June 2013, and will become dean of the Jennings A. Jones College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University.

Michael Sesnowitz, Ph.D., dean 2000-09 In 2000, Michael Sesnowitz, Ph.D. (above), arrived at VCU from a deanship at the University of Vermont. During his tenure, the VCU School of Business grew in size and prestige. He established the School of Business Foundation, and the $51.5 million Campaign for the School of Business completed during his tenure resulted in the move to Snead Hall. Sesnowitz also managed a successful AACSB reaccreditation review, brought in a significant number of new faculty hires, started School of Business Career Services and invested in a branding program.

Celebrating faculty

Photo Jay Paul

Great professors are at the heart of any great business school. Many of our faculty members have spent their careers at VCU and have shaped thousands of lives in the process, while those new to campus bring fresh ideas and energy to their classrooms and research. As graduate Steve Brincefield (M.S. ’74/FIRE) observed, our faculty “really like what they do, and they take that and they give it to the students every single day. That’s what makes this school so different.”

School of Business building: 1972

Snead Hall: 2008

A new 90-classroom School of Business building opened in 1972 thanks to $3,917,000 in funding from the commonwealth of Virginia. A Richmond Times-Dispatch article revealed that the fast-growing RPI “has the smallest campus — 9.7 acres — and the largest total enrollment of any state-supported institution of higher learning in Virginia.” The state appropriation was the last one made to RPI before it became VCU. At last, the business faculty had all of their offices in one building.

Snead Hall opened in January 2008, inaugurating the 11-acre Monroe Park Campus Addition. The building, co-located with the School of Engineering’s East Hall, is named in honor of 1976 graduates Thomas G. Snead Jr. and Vickie M. Snead. In addition to modern classrooms and faculty offices, Snead Hall includes an atrium, cafe, group study space, Capital Markets Center, Business Career Services, and the Center for Corporate Education.

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Ed Grier, dean 2010-present Before coming to VCU, Ed Grier spent 29 years with the Walt Disney Co., a member of the Fortune 500. His work spanned the globe from Paris to Tokyo, giving him invaluable insight into the international perspectives needed for students to flourish now and in the future. Grier has led the School of Business in establishing new international partnerships, beginning in India with the Christ University program. He put

a new focus on the student experience with the establishment of the Office of Student and Alumni Engagement. Grier has invested in faculty research and created four new Dean’s Scholar awards. His support of recruiting and marketing has led to a stronger incoming freshman class and new rankings. Below, Grier cuts the 75th anniversary cake with student organization leaders.

“We have something to be very proud of. Seventy-five years of history. Seventy-five years of success. Seventy-five years of building for the future. It’s quite a responsibility to say you’ve contributed to 75 years of adding to the community, adding to our students, adding to the marketplace. It’s just a wonderful milestone. It gives us something to build upon for the next 75 years.” — Dean Ed Grier Research assistance by Walter Griggs, Ph.D., VCU Libraries, Joe Schilling, Mary Byrnes and Moira Spahic 26

C e l e b r a t i n g

Photo Jay Paul

L e g e n d a r y fa c u l t y

The School of Business honors members of its esteemed faculty at the Legends Reception Alumni and faculty gathered on Oct. 26, 2012, to honor our VCU School of Business faculty legends. The legends, inaugurated as part of the school’s 75th anniversary yearlong celebration, include retired faculty, former deans and current faculty with at least 25 years of service. The earliest legends in attendance, both of whom joined the school in 1955, were John Lambert (first row,

far right) and Dave Willis (second row, second from right). Emotions ran high as friendships were renewed and alumni said thank you to the professors who shaped their lives and careers. Oil portraits of former deans and the school’s founder Henry Hibbs were on display at the event and now hang in the Snead Hall boardroom.

What is the most significant development you’ve witnessed during your years as a professor? “VCU was just a new institution when I came. Now it’s recognized and accepted by the business community. And that is so gratifying, because it’s really all about the students. Tom Snead was one of my students in the ’70s. He went on to become CEO of Anthem Southeast, then WellPoint, and look — today this building is named after him.” Glenn Gilbreath, Ph.D. Management, 41 years “T he availability of data has skyrocketed, and so have the statistical techniques to analyze it. We used to use mainframes and punch cards, and frequently you couldn’t see results until the next day. Miss one comma and you had to do it over again. Today, you can do almost everything on a PC.” Jim Wetzel, Ph.D. Economics, 38 years

“T here is so much more emphasis on research now. I write about experimental economics. VCU as an institution has matured enough to see what a big difference this makes. Those who research bring their experiences into the classroom, and that’s a big advantage for everyone.” Michael Pratt, Ph.D. Economics, 33 years “Accounting as a discipline has grown and matured. Back then, everything was U.S.dominated, but it’s become more global now. Universal accounting standards are in the making. The Big Eight public accounting firms have merged to become the Big Four and taken on new issues. As a result, there’s more opportunity for students.” Ed Coffman, D.B.A. Accounting, 47 years

These four professors retired in June 2012.

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E v olu T ion of a

Two corporate leaders (and accomplished alumni) discuss the connection between the VCU School of Business and the surrounding business community

Kathy Payne (B.S. ’96), human resources specialist, Dominion

Recruiter’s perspective: Right in our backyard


ominion has been recruiting VCU Business students “for a long, long time,” says Kathy Payne, “and that just makes sense. They’re right in our backyard.” As a Fortune 500 Company with 16,000 employees, Dominion needs a large infrastructure. “People think of us as a utility company,” explains Payne, “and we do hire linemen, electricians and mechanics, but we also need all the people who make a big company run. Several business school programs are good matches for specific Dominion jobs: degrees in finance, accounting and IT, for instance.” Payne manages recruiting teams which build partnerships with colleges in 14 states. In recent years, Dominion has created teams made up of subject-matter experts, so students can talk to someone actually doing the job that interests them. 28

“On most teams we have alums from that school,” says Payne, “but for VCU, my entire relationship team is made up of VCU alums.” That includes Payne herself, who earned her undergraduate degree from VCU.

Times change “I think students now are more aware of the companies that are out there,” she observes. They’re doing more research ahead of time. Of course technology has helped that as well, but I would say most students come to career fairs better prepared. They come with specific questions, so you don’t have to spend your time talking about the company in general.” The growth of social media has been another major change. “I’m on LinkedIn,” says Payne, “and I get invites all the time from students I’ve met. It’s smart.”

But not all students are looking for jobs — at least, not yet. “I see more students seeking internships,” Payne continues. “They understand hiring is very competitive. They need an internship on their resume. That used to be an option, but now it’s become more of a necessary component.” Clearly, Dominion has had great success with VCU in the past and will continue working with the School of Business Career Services in the future. “We want to get out more to student organizations,” says Payne. “We want to get into the classroom more — maybe offer speakers or work with a class using real case studies.” It will be just one more way Dominion works to strengthen the bond between the world of academics and the world of business.


Tom Snead (B.S. ’76/B), trustee, VCU School of Business Foundation; retired CEO, Southeast Region, WellPoint Inc.

Corporate leader’s view: An enviable position


om Snead says VCU has always been in an enviable position for a major university. “We’re located in downtown Richmond. Business students also work. It’s a great opportunity early on in your education to see what is required for success when you get out. It’s been that way for a long time, because I saw it in my own company before I retired.” VCU works hard to encourage that synergy. In recent years, the business school started an actuarial program because of the many insurance companies that are potential employers in Richmond. Snead points to real estate as an example of a business sector with longtime investment in the school and vice versa. “We’re the only university in Virginia where you can get a bachelor’s degree in real estate. We just had 1,000 people attend our Real

Estate Trends Conference, with speakers and attendees from all over the country. It’s a huge networking opportunity for both students and employers.”

Students change According to Snead, especially within the past couple of years, “VCU has been focused on attracting the right kind of student with the right kind of preparation, because the curriculum is pretty darn hard. If you’re not good at math, you won’t last long. If you go into finance, you’re going to be crunching a lot of numbers.” He smiles and adds more gently, “In other words, we still believe everybody should have a shot — we just want them to be well-prepared for that shot!” Another change in students has been their ability to work together. “Two or three deans ago,” Snead

reminisces, “I advised them, hey, your students need to know how to work in teams. At my company, the work was complicated. No one human being can know how the whole organization works. And I’ve seen a real transformation over time. The program now requires students to work in teams. They do problemsolving. It’s exactly how you have to function when you get out of school.”

The tie grows stronger In looking back at VCU’s connection to the business community, Snead believes the tie is only growing stronger. “We have active members on the School of Business Foundation Board from companies in Richmond and throughout the state. They provide input into our programming, and we produce students for their employment. Not many universities can point to that deep involvement.”

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business alumni society

In the right place, at the

right time Mary Ann Steiner

“I have to have a reason to do things. When I no longer feel I am adding value, it is time to move on.” That’s Mary Ann Steiner speaking — VCU graduate, former senior manager in information systems audit for Capital One and current president of the VCU School of Business Alumni Society. The quote is telling, since it explains a lot of events in Steiner’s life: why she graduated from college after both her daughters; why she left Capital One after almost 13 years; and why she decided to reconnect with VCU through the alumni society. “Where I am now, I think it’s time to give back,” she says. “I was fortunate enough to go back to school at a later age, so I had a frame of reference for life that traditional-age students don’t have. The alumni society helps students be better prepared to go out into the world. It’s a wonderful resource. Right now, the more I can help promote VCU, the more satisfied I feel.”

Leading her life In her youth, the satisfaction of earning a college degree eluded her. Steiner stopped taking part-time college classes when she married. Her husband was in the transportation industry, and his various jobs meant she became a “corporate gypsy,” moving seven times while raising her family. Eventually, the Steiners landed in Richmond. Determined to complete her college education, 30

Steiner was able to resume her studies at VCU. She graduated in 1998 with a degree in business administration and information systems, and found employment at Capital One. Although she enjoyed her job, after a while it became increasingly challenging to balance her work and personal life. Steiner shrugs. “It was just time for me to move into something I found more fulfilling,” she says. So she quit. Steiner was already vice president of the alumni society at the time, so she saw the presidency as “a great opportunity to network with other alums and help prepare VCU students to enter the business community,” she says.

Leading the alumni society “Everybody talked about UVA, Virginia Tech and William and Mary,” Steiner says, “but I didn’t think VCU was recognized in its rightful place. Focusing on moving my career toward nonprofit areas, I decided to get more engaged and help change the perception of VCU in the business community.” Now, she says, “I can see a change in alumni society membership. We’re beginning to acquire more active members. Part of that is we’re doing a better job of connecting with those people who express an interest.”

A hole-in-one At the most recent VCU Business Alumni Society Golf Open, many students volunteered to help. “I just assumed these students were alumni, because they knew how to present themselves as professionals,” says Steiner. “I can see they’re ready to go into business and make a mark for themselves.”

The alumni society has no lack of opportunities for engagement. Volunteers serve on committees, act as mentors and conduct informational interviews through the Ram to Ram mentoring program. They also support the annual tip off and basketball game, and golf revenueraising events. After her presidency is over, Steiner says she intends to remain engaged with the alumni society and its mentor program. Obviously she hasn’t felt the need to move on just yet. “I’m happy to stay with VCU,” she smiles. “It’s hooked me.” For more information or to volunteer, visit

School of Business

Foundation Trustees James A. Buzzard MeadWestvaco Corp.

A. William Hamill H3 Companies LLC

Charles F. Phillips III Ernst & Young

L. Dans Callans Jr. (B.S. ’66/ACCT) Sunset Ford, retired

Robert E. Henley Jr. (B.S. ’71/ACCT) Ernst & Young, retired

Michael Rao, Ph.D. VCU and VCU Health System

Karen Emmett Coleman VCU School of Business

Allen B. King (B.S. ’77/ACCT) Universal Corp.

Phyllis L. Cothran (B.S. ’71/ACCT) Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, retired

Bryan E. Kornblau Markel | Eagle Partners LLC

Robert E. Rigsby (M.S. ’75/B; Cert. ’77/ACCT; M.B.A. ’81) Dominion Virginia Power, retired

Josée G. Covington Covington Travel

Gail L. Letts

T. Kent Cox (B.S. ’78/MGMT) Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Richard Cullen, Esq. McGuireWoods Michael Dinkins Greatbatch Inc

W. Austin Ligon CarMax, retired Tonya S. Mallory (B.S. ’88; M.S. ’90) Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc. Steven A. Markel Markel Corp.

Pamela Kiecker Royall, Ph.D. Royall & Co. S. Buford Scott Scott & Stringfellow Robert C. Sledd Senior Economic Adviser to Gov. Bob McDonnell Thomas G. Snead Jr. (B.S. ’76/ACCT) Southeast Region, WellPoint Inc. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, retired

Nancy C. Everett (B.S. ’78/ACCT) BlackRock Inc.

John P. McCann United Dominion Realty Trust McCann Realty Partners LLC

Charles H. Foster Jr. LandAmerica Financial Group, retired

James V. Meath, Esq. Williams Mullen

Harry R. Thalhimer Thalhimer Headwear

Mark M. Gambill Cary Street Partners

G. Gilmer Minor III Owens & Minor Inc., retired

F. Dixon Whitworth Jr. (M.S. ’69/B) BB&T, retired

William M. Ginther (B.S. ’69/MGMT; M.S. ’74/B) SunTrust Bank, retired

Thurston R. Moore, Esq. Hunton & Williams LLP

Eric P. Whittleton (B.S. ’84; Cert. ’86/INFO) Rigaud LLC

Ed Grier VCU School of Business

John R. Nelson Jr., Ph.D. Altria Group Inc.

Gregory H. Wingfield (B.S. ’74; M.U.R.P. ’76) Greater Richmond Partnership Inc.

Brenton S. Halsey James River Corp., retired

Baxter F. Phillips Jr. (B.S. ’75/B; M.B.A. ’76) Massey Energy Co., retired

Mary Ann Steiner (B.S. ’98/MGMT) VCU Business Alumni Society

Business Alumni Society Khadijah Abdullah (B.S. ’09/ACCT; M.B.A. ’11) Deloitte

Jennifer Johnson (B.S. ’11/MGMT) Franklin Street Marketing

J. David Rives (M.B.A. ’99) Dominion Resources

Jonathan Bartee (B.S. ’96; M.B.A. ’10) Estes Express Lines

Douglas G. Knapp VCU School of Business

Craig A. Robinson (B.S. ’02/MGMT) PFM Group

Danielle Bazemore (B.S. ’91/FIRE; Cert. ’00/ACCT) Henrico County Department of Public Works

Jesse Lennon (B.S. ’87/MGMT; M.B.A. ’88) 3Talents LLC Pioneer Realty Sloan Construction II LLC

Frank J. Shortall Jr. (B.S. ’96/INFO) Collegiate Marketing Concepts Inc. CMC Printing and Graphics Inc.

Joseph E. Becht Jr. (M.B.A. ’80) Becht Advisory Group Don R. Dame (B.S. ’77/B) Dominion Resources Inc. Glenn A. Davis (B.S. ’86/INFO) BranCore Technologies

Kelly A. Lowe (B.S. ’00/MKTG; M.S. ’04) AMF Bowling Centers Inc. Michael Malinsky (B.S. ’89/MGMT; M.B.A. ’96) Janus Funds

José Dulá VCU School of Business

Gordon A. McDougall VCU Office of Development and Alumni Relations

Brian Epley (B.S. ‘97/INFO; M.B.A. ‘04) North Highland

Regina Nguyen (B.S. ’03/MKTG) Home Team Grill

Karen Gregory-Williams (M.B.A. ’05) Pfizer Consumer Healthcare

Timothy Nguyen (B.S. ’11/MGMT) U.S. Department of Labor

Ed Grier VCU School of Business

Carolyn Norman VCU School of Business

Michael W. Housden (B.S. ’95/MGMT) MetLife Mid-Atlantic Group

Henry Ramey (M.B.A. ’09) Spectrum Laboratories

Lori Jennings (M.B.A. ’06) CRT ProSearch

John (Chip) Richardson (B.S. ’98/MKTG) Wells Fargo Advisors

Gaurav “G” Shrestha (B.S. ’03/FIRE) Virginia Asset Management Wayne Slough VCU School of Business Mary Ann Steiner (B.S. ’98/MGMT) VCU Business Alumni Society David J. Stirrup (M.B.A. ’99) Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co. Garland G. Taylor (B.S. ’86/MKTG) Taylor Weirup Marketing William B. Thompson (Cert. ’89/ACCT) Arista Laboratories Linda M. Warren (B.S. ’75/ACCT) Altria Group Inc., retired

Spring 2013 31



Updates Please send information about your professional and personal accomplishments to Or, mail your news to Katherine Oliver, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Business, P.O. Box 844000, Richmond, VA 23284-4000.



Skip Harris (B.S. ’68/ACCT) retired after

Rob Blandford (M.B.A. ’83) took

32 years as manager of The Country Club of Virginia, having served as outside auditor to the club for 10 years prior. He is credited for leading the club through many changes, including the development of a new pool complex three seasons ago. Harris looks forward to catching up on a backlog of projects, spending more time with his grandchildren and enjoying Lake Gaston.

over as president and CIO of Spider Management Co., which manages $3 billion in assets, including the University of Richmond’s $1.8 billion endowment and money for 22 colleges, universities and nonprofit foundations. He has been with Spider Management since 1999, and most recently served as director of investments. Previously, Blandford served as a portfolio manager at Lowe, Brockenbrough & Co. and a senior investment officer of the Virginia Retirement System. He is married to Nancy Everett

1970s Chuck Bartlett (B.S. ’75/ACCT), senior vice president of health strategies at the American Heart Association’s Mid-Atlantic Affiliate, received the association’s 2012 Earl B. Beagle Award for Staff Excellence on June 26, 2012, during an awards banquet at the association’s national headquarters in Dallas. The award is the association’s most prestigious staff leadership honor and recognizes leadership, professionalism, dedication and excellence in performance. According to a press release, “Bartlett’s innovative and forward-thinking leadership style has driven the MAA to continuous achievements and awards in areas including Government Relations, Quality Improvement, Development, Health Strategies, Health Equity and Volunteerism.” Bartlett has been with the American Heart Association for 29 years. George P. Emmerson (B.S. ’78/MGMT)

is founder of the Highlands Massey Classic, a golf tournament that has raised $1.5 million in six years to support research at the VCU Massey Cancer Center. He is a successful developer and builder of shopping centers, apartments and residential communities such as Meadowville Landing, Mount Blanco and The Highlands in Chesterfield County; Cameron’s Landing in Hopewell; and Brickshire in New Kent County. Emmerson is a member of the VCU Real Estate Foundation and the Henricus Foundation board of directors. He and his wife Darlene live in Chester, Va., near their daughters and five grandchildren. Juanita Leatherberry (B.S. ’73/ACCT)

appeared on “The Price is Right.” Her total prize package was valued at approximately $10,000. 32

(B.S. ’78/ACCT). Cathy Mueller (B.S. ’87/ACCT) is director of operations for People’s Income Tax Inc. She has been with the firm since 1994. In a recent interview with WorkIt Richmond, she shared the insight, “The recession has brought personal and professional challenges for everyone, but I have learned that people are resilient and usually will find a way to overcome obstacles to accomplish those things that are really necessary. The challenge is being able to set the right priorities to decide which things are wants vs. needs.” Sylvia Hoehns Wright (B.S. ’80/INFO)

shares her scoop of who, what, when, where, why, how and benefits of eco choices. She was recognized by Landscape Architect magazine as an industry “Mover & Shaker,” and received the Turning America from Eco-weak to Eco-chic Award sponsored by Hines Horticulture, Project Evergreen and Today’s Garden Center magazine. Wright founded the Plants of CARE recognition program, publishes “The Wright Scoop” blog and recently released a book, “Eco-legacy: A Millennium Woman’s Heritage.” Eco-legacy is written in poetic verse and dedicated to the people of her community, Laurel Historic District.

1990s Michael Housden (B.S. ’95/MGMT)

recently joined MetLife Mid-Atlantic Financial Group located in Richmond, Va., as a case design manager. Previously, he spent 10 years at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. His primary responsibilities at MetLife include analyzing client financial needs and goals, and working with financial advisers to devise and

execute recommendations regarding the advantages and disadvantages of various investment products. Housden resides in Hanover County, Va., with his wife and two children. He serves on the VCU School of Business Alumni Society board of directors.

2000s Rina Amin (B.S. ’07/B; M.S. ’10/B) was

promoted to an account executive position at Big River, a Richmond, Va.-based branding and advertising firm. In her new role, she supports the agency’s Virginia Lottery account. Amin joined the company in 2010 and previously worked for WellPoint, one of the nation’s largest health benefits companies. Courtney A. Beamon, P.E. (M.B.A. ’07),

recently became president of Delta Airport Consultants Inc., where she will oversee operations across the company’s eight offices. She joined Delta in 1996 and holds a B.S. in civil engineering with a minor in communication studies and an M.S. in civil engineering from Virginia Tech, as well as an M.B.A. from VCU. She currently serves as chair of the Airport Consultants Council; recently completed the ACEC Senior Executives Institute leadership training; currently serves as vice chair of the Virginia Tech College of Engineering Advisory Board; and is treasurer and board member for the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society. Peter Clancy (B.S. ’09/MGMT) earned an

M.B.A. from the University of Missouri in 2010. He is a certified SCUBA instructor and serves as manager of the recently launched DiVentures Scuba & Swim Center in Springfield, Mo. Christopher J. Corrada (M.B.A. ’01)

is principal of Riverstone Properties LLC in Richmond, Va. B.J. Crowder (B.S. ’02/B) was promoted to associate principal at Fairfield Middle School in Henrico, Va. He has spent the past two years at the school serving as assistant principal. Scott Stovall (B.S. ’01/B) is a new member of the Science Museum of Virginia Foundation board. Stovall is an attorney with CowanGates PC, where he focuses on tax and estate planning, probate and estate administration, and nonprofit organizations. He is part of the adjunct



faculty at the University of Richmond and the T.C. Williams School of Law and was awarded the Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2010. Wagner Williams (B.S. ’01/ECON) was

promoted to a senior vice president role with PROS Holdings Inc. (NYSE: PRO). He joined PROS in 2004 as director of pricing solutions and has held a number of increasingly responsible positions. Williams was appointed to open the company’s first European office, relocating to London in 2007. As PROS Europe general manager, he built its operations and developed its business-to-business customer base in manufacturing, distribution and services.

2010s Patrick D. Collier (B.S. ’11/B) completed

12 weeks of basic training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, S.C. In addition to a physical conditioning program, Collier spent numerous hours in classroom and field assignments, including first aid, uniform regulations, combat water survival, marksmanship, hand-to-hand combat and assorted weapons training. Training ended with a 54-hour, team evolution process labeled “The Crucible,” followed by a ceremony in which recruits received their Marine Corps emblems. Shane Finnegan (M.B.A. ’11/B) was promoted to vice president of construction and development by Gumenick Properties in Henrico, Va. Finnegan, who previously served as director of construction and development, now hosts all responsibilities for the building of new homes and apartments as well as renovations of the latter. Scott Lints (M.S. ’10/INFO) started work-

ing at Seltek Inc. in July 2011 as the director of operations. He began his career in technology in 2000 with Technology Leasing Concepts. Lints credits VCU with getting him where he is today. He recently told WorkIt Richmond, “In 2009, I found myself wanting to know more about the inner workings of other companies and the IT community as a whole in the Richmond area. I decided to accomplish this by continuing my education through a relatively new master’s degree in information systems program at VCU targeted to early career technologists. The program’s additional emphasis on networking and getting involved in the local IT community was exactly what I was looking for.”

School of Business graduate makes it real School of Business graduate Timothy S. Nguyen (B.S. ‘11/B) shows off some of his prizes from VCU’s “Make it real” contest held on Facebook at the start of the fall 2012 semester. As the first-place winner, he will be featured, along with the two runners-up, in the university’s new ad campaign. Nguyen began turning his dreams into reality when he told his career adviser he wanted to work for the federal government. She immediately helped him secure an internship with the city of Richmond, and, as Nguyen wrote in his contest essay, that position “jump-started” his career. Today, he works in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Richmond office. “The reason I joined the contest was to be able to share with others how VCU has made it real for me and ultimately allow others such as students to see that it is possible to do the same thing,” Nguyen says. To read Timmy’s story and to see how others “Make it real,” visit

Between issues of Business & Main, join the conversation online. Look for the VCU School of Business on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Spring 2013 33



In memoriam Alumni Stephen J. Abbott Jr. (B.S. ’91/B), of

at age 50. William C. Garter Jr. (B.S. ’68/B),

Powhatan, Va., Feb. 16, 2012, at age 45.

of Richmond, Va., Dec. 29, 2011.

Mark L. Amick (B.S. ’85/MKTG), of Glen

Wayne C. Ginder (B.S. ’73/B), of Carlisle,

Allen, Va., March 22, 2010, at age 47.

Pa., March 7, 2012, at age 64.

John R. Anderson Jr. (B.S. ’83/ACCT), of

Alvin E. Hampton III (B.S. ’65/ACCT),

Sandston, Va., Aug. 3, 2011, at age 60. Robert C. Astrop (’51/B), of Richmond,

Va., Oct. 1, 2011, at age 83. Melanie W. Bernier (B.S. ’90/ACCT), of Richmond, Va., July 20, 2011, at age 49. Denise L. Bickford (Cert. ’85/INFO), of

Oakton, Va., May 26, 2012, at age 59. Daniel W. Bird (B.S. ’93/B), of Henrico, Va., May 2, 2012, at age 44. William J. Brady Jr. (Cert. ’95/INFO), of

Midlothian, Va., June 27, 2010, at age 42. Jewel V. Bruce (A.S. ’78/B), of Glen Allen,

Va., July 31, 2011, at age 84. M. Dwight Burgess Jr. (B.S. ’70/B; B.S. ’73/H&S; M.S. ’76/MKTG; M.A. ’98/H&S),

of Glen Allen, Va., July 13, 2011, at age 64. Ronald A. Campana (B.S. ’74/B; B.S. ’76/H&S; M.S. ’81/H&S), of Williamsburg,

of Richmond, Va., Oct. 21, 2011. Douglas K. Hobson (B.S. ’70/B), of

Kenner, La., July 9, 2011, at age 64. Frederick R. Lowery (B.S. ’68/B), of

Midlothian, Va., May 17, 2012, at age 62. Robert M. McCloskey (B.S. ’84/B), of

Richmond, Va., July 25, 2011, at age 49. Dennis W. Melton (B.S. ’77/ACCT), of

Richmond, Va., April 6, 2012, at age 58. Walter C. Miller Jr. (B.S. ’89/MKTG), of

Richmond, Va., May 19, 2012, at age 45. Carolyn S. Moeller (Cert. ’91/INFO), of

Richmond, Va., Aug. 14, 2011, at age 47. Timothy M. Molenda (B.S. ’87/B), of

Mechanicsville, Va., Dec. 3, 2011, at age 49. Mason A. Moore (B.S. ’87/INFO), of Richmond, Va., Sept. 16, 2011, at age 52. William M. Mulvihill (Cert. ’84/INFO), of

Va., Sept. 17, 2011, at age 61.

Richmond, Va., Nov. 28, 2011, at age 74.

Richard F. Clements (B.S. ’80/ACCT), of Colonial Heights, Va., Jan. 7, 2012, at age 71.

Ronald M. Oakley (B.S. ’64/B), of St. Louis,

George T. Conwell (M.S. ’75/B), of

Richmond, Va., Oct. 6, 2011, at age 84. Edward A. Crew Jr. (B.S. ’88/B), of Ruther

Glen, Va., Jan. 17, 2012, at age 58. Theodore F. Doucet (B.S. ’67/B), of

Quinton, Va., Jan. 17, 2012, at age 66. Anita Lynn Dowell (A.S. ’68/B; B.S. ’70/B),

of Mount Airy, N.C., Jan. 27, 2012, at age 65. James L. Dunn (B.S. ’62/B; M.S. ’72/B), of

Richmond, Va., Feb. 19, 2012, at age 72. James H. Dwyer Jr. (Cert. ’78/ACCT), of

Richmond, Va., Feb. 13, 2012, at age 58. W. Edward Ellis Jr. (B.S. ’68/B), of

Richmond, Va., Nov. 15, 2011, at age 66. Gary L. Faria (B.S. ’70/B), of Philomath,

Ore., Oct. 3, 2011, at age 68. Fred C. Forberg (M.S. ’74/B), of

Baskerville, Va., Dec. 19, 2011, at age 68. Nancy L. Forkois (M.S. ’81/B), of


Teresa Garrison (B.S. ’86/MKTG; M.B.A. ’91/B), of Richmond, Va., April 25, 2012,

May 18, 2012. Jack F. Paschall (B.S. ’57/B), of Hanover,

Va., Dec. 26, 2011, at age 82. Mark E. Patrick (B.A. ’85/H&S; Cert. ’89/INFO),

of Ashland, Va., July 10, 2011, at age 49. Thomas A. Pearson (B.S. ’65/B), of Richmond, Va., Jan. 3, 2012, at age 71. Margaret F. Pilcher (B.S./B), of Richmond,

Va., May 8, 2012, at age 74. James A. Racer (B.S. ’81/B), of Berryville,

Va., July 13, 2011, at age 53. Charles D. Reese (B.S. ’69/B), of Fredericksburg, Va., Jan. 17, 2012, at age 67. Linwood R. Robertson (B.S. ’70/B), of Manakin Sabot, Va., Dec. 26, 2011, at age 71. John E. Satterwhite Jr. (B.S. ’67/B), of

Sandston, Va., Jan. 5, 2012, at age 68. Philip A. Schneider (M.S. ’86/B), of Midlothian, Va., Jan. 15, 2012, at age 52. James A. Schwartz (B.S. ’74/B; M.B.A. ’75), of Grundy Center, Iowa, Nov. 17,

Alexandria, Va., Jan. 1, 2011, at age 58.

2011, at age 63.

Gerald L. Freeman (B.S. ’82/B), of Glen

John K. Sheranek (M.S. ’76/B), of

Allen, Va., Nov. 17, 2011, at age 70.

Richmond, Va., Sept. 11, 2011, at age 68.

Marilou C. Shotwell (A.S. ’71/B; B.S. ’74/B),

of McLean, Va., Aug. 5, 2011, at age 59. Sands Smith (B.S. ’49/ACCT), of Aylett,

Va., July 5, 2011, at age 87. Joseph L. Spivey Jr. (B.S. ’75/ECON),

of Batesville, Va., May 2, 2012. Claude Stevens (M.B.A. ’80/B), of

Richmond, Va., Jan. 8, 2012, at age 63. Basil R. Tripp (B.S. ’69/B), of Glen Allen,

Va., Sept. 9, 2011, at age 68. L. Reginald Tucker Jr. (B.S. ’76/B), of Chesterfield, Va., Sept. 26, 2011, at age 60. Erin York Warren (B.S. ’84/MKTG), of

Williamsburg, Va., Aug. 7, 2011, at age 50. Craig O. Washington (B.S. ’97/B), of Tappahannock, Va., Feb. 21, 2012, at age 38. Barbara S. Wilson (M.B.A. ’96/B), of Colonial

Heights, Va., Feb. 19, 2012, at age 62.

Faculty Thomas Clevenger, D.B.A., of Topeka, Kan.,

Oct. 20, 2011. He was an associate professor of accounting at Washburn University and served as an assistant professor in the VCU School of Business prior to 1988. Eleanor C. Snellings, Ph.D., of Richmond,

Va., Dec. 7, 2011, at age 85. She served as associate professor emerita of economics and was a faculty member from 1966 until her retirement in 1992. Snellings earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and her doctorate from Duke University. She worked at the Federal Reserve Bank, where she was an economist in the research department.

Abbreviation Key

Business degrees are noted with year and department; other VCU degrees are designated by year. DEGREES A.S. Associate of Science Cert. Certificate B.S. Bachelor of Science M.A. Master of Arts M.Acc. Master of Accountancy M.B.A. Master of Business Administration M.S. Master of Science M.Tax. Master of Taxation Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy DEPARTMENTS ACCT Accounting B Unknown/General Business ECON Economics FIRE Finance, Insurance and Real Estate INFO Information Systems MGMT Management MKTG Marketing



Climbing scores If test scores and grades are any indication, this year’s freshman class is the best and brightest ever. From 2011 to 2012, the School of Business incoming freshman high school GPA rose from an average 3.33 to 3.42, while the average SAT score jumped 36 points from 1061 to 1097. The business SAT score increase outpaces the overall university’s, which saw a 22-point increase.

3.42 3.33 2011


3.31 3.32 2010

Freshman GPA upon entering VCU School of Business






Spring 2013 35



As the School of Business launched its yearlong 75th anniversary celebration, Dean Ed Grier talked with us about the school’s future. It’s no surprise that he enjoys celebrating milestones, but he regards this particular celebration as an opportunity to stimulate important conversation. : What conversations are you hoping to stimulate during this celebration? Dean Grier : Everyone should be talking, debating and evaluating the current state of higher education. We should be discussing the significant changes out there — the technological, social, economic and political changes that will impact universities over the next 75 years. We should be welcoming conversations about the changing needs of the community: What we’ve done in the past may no longer be relevant or it may be more important today than ever before. We should be talking honestly about the current position of the VCU School of Business — the historical attributes we rely on to sustain us and those that could stifle us. I believe that challenging past assumptions while fully respecting our heritage will help us navigate the uncertainties of the future. 36

: So, what are you most excited about, going forward? Dean Grier : My single favorite activity has to be supporting, rewarding and recognizing people: faculty, staff and students. In August, our foundation trustees hosted a celebration for faculty and staff. “No agenda,” we said, “simply join us and spend a relaxing time with your colleagues.” It was the kickoff to the 75th anniversary but we saw it as an opportunity to say thank you; we appreciate you and we know how hard you work and how important you are. In order to thrive, we must find more ways to support and reward excellent teaching, impactful research and meaningful contributions to the future. : How will your recent meetings with CEOs play out in the business school? Dean Grier : We’ve hosted a series of breakfasts with CEOs asking, “What talents, characteristics and capabilities

will our students, your future employees, need? What will make our students stand out in today’s global marketplace?” Disciplinespecific and analytical skills are important. But companies today are in search of a wide variety of skills in a single individual — someone who can become a leader, communicate effectively and present themselves well — someone with a capacity for creativity, empathy and innovation. How do you teach that? The da Vinci Center gives us a huge advantage when trying to meet these needs. In fact, we are offering a new degree, a Master of Product Innovation — the first of its kind in the nation. : What opportunities do VCU business students have to broaden their horizons? Dean Grier : We’ve just launched a new International Consulting Program. Our students will get the opportunity to work as consultants on substantive business problems in different countries — five weeks here in Richmond and two weeks abroad working with our international partners. This program will build an appreciation for working in a multicultural environment and demonstrate the impact of diversity on business processes. : What else do you think will be important in the coming years? Dean Grier : We need to bolster our financial strength to make our dreams a reality. The VCU School of Business has a new development team in place. We will be reaching out to alumni across the country and our friends and supporters in Richmond. We hope to create a culture of giving at all levels. Our supporters must know that we are committed to the future — encouraging our students to be aware and adaptable, to be creative and innovative, as well as being highly knowledgeable. Fundraising and developing new revenue streams are the lynchpin to all our endeavors.

CALendar For a complete list of events, visit

Spotlight: Career development May 2013 May 16 Business Talks Business Speaker Series (free) “The power of the positive ‘no’” 7 p.m., Snead Hall (804) 828-5394

Photo Louis Venne

May 17

May 11, 2013, School of Business Graduation Ceremony The 2013 School of Business Graduation Ceremony keynote speaker will be Paul J. Ingrassia, a Pulitzer Prize-winning financial journalist and managing editor of Reuters, responsible for global political, general and financial news for the international news agency. In December 2007, he completed a 31-year career at The Wall Street Journal and its parent company, Dow Jones, where he served as a reporter, editor and executive. Ingrassia is the author of two books, “Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars,” published by Simon and Schuster in May 2012, and “Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry’s Road from Glory to Disaster,” published by Random House in January 2010.

To get ahead, go back Thinking about returning to school? Contact the programs below for information session and application details. Executive M.B.A. (804) 828-3939 Traditional M.B.A. (evening or full time), master’s, certificate and Ph.D. programs (804) 828-4622 or (877) 828-4540 Fast Track Executive M.S. in Information Systems (804) 828-7074

Snead Hall open for high school visits Prospective freshmen and transfer students are encouraged to visit us in Snead Hall and see first-hand everything the VCU School of Business has to offer. A typical visit will include a tour of the building by a business student ambassador followed by an information session about the business program with Ginny Wagg, coordinator for undergraduate student recruitment. Visits are scheduled Monday through Friday at 1 p.m. by appointment only. Contact Wagg at (804) 828-1742 or to schedule an appointment.

Winning New Business*+ (cost: $395**) 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Snead Hall

May 28-30 Principles and Techniques of Project Management: A Hands-on Approach*+ (cost: $1,950**) 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Snead Hall

June 2013 June 3-6 Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Course*+ (cost: $3,300**) 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Snead Hall

Fall 2013 Sept. 3-Nov. 19 SHRM Learning System® University*+ (cost: $1,350**) Tuesdays, 6-9 p.m., Snead Hall

Sept. 26-Dec. 6 Extraordinary Women Leaders Program* (cost: $4,995) Three, two-day sessions, Snead Hall * Non-credit programs offered by the Center for Corporate Education ** 10% discount for VCU alumni on select programs + CEUs available

Spring 2013 37

Non-profit Organization U.S. Postage Paid RICHMOND, VA Permit No. 869

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business Snead Hall 301 West Main Street P.O. Box 844000 Richmond, Virginia 23284-4000

Take a look back at the rich history of the VCU School of Business. Learn more on Page 14.

Business & Main, 75th Anniversary Issue  

Celebrating 75 years of excellence in business education at Virginia Commonwealth University.

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