History of the Deans

Throughout the years, the College of Business has been led by an outstanding series of deans.



1919 – 1942
Charles M. Thompson, Dean
College of Commerce and Business Administration

Charles Manfred Thompson was the longest-sitting Dean in the College’s history. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s he traveled around the country and expanded the College’s reputation through public speeches, in which he infused academic lectures with folksy bon mots. He also found time to sit in on classes and prompt class discussions with students. Before becoming Dean, he was an economic historian who traced the route of Abraham Lincoln’s family through Illinois, fought in the Spanish-American War, and grew up in a log cabin.



1947 – 1950
Howard Bowen, Dean
College of Commerce and Business Administration

Howard Bowen was a brilliant economist and academic. When he accepted the deanship, the College had only a skeleton crew of faculty, massive numbers of new students, and other problems caused by years of stress. Bowen made logical decisions to begin correcting the issues, but ideological differences that split the faculty in the Economics Department – compounded by accusations of stifled academic freedom and a public fear of communist infiltration – led to greater political problems, and his eventual resignation.



1952 – 1967
Paul M. Green, Dean
College of Commerce and Business Administration

Paul Green became Dean of the College in the aftermath of the “controversy” that had seen a rapid turnover in leadership. His 15-year tenure as Dean restored order to the College and included many milestones in its history, including the establishment of the Department of Finance, Master of Accounting Science, Graduate School of Business, MBA, PhDs in Marketing and Finance, the world’s first Center for International Education and Research in Accounting, and the Commerce West building (now Wohlers Hall). In 1996, the Paul M. Green MBA Fellowship was established in his honor and was awarded to the incoming MBA student with the highest academic credentials.



1968 – 1971
Joseph McGuire, Dean
College of Commerce and Business Administration

Dean Joseph W. McGuire initiated the Executive-in-Residence program, in which leading executives lived on campus for a week to meet and exchange ideas with students and faculty. McGuire’s tenure as Dean also saw a large spike in enrollment in the College, from 1,987 in 1968 to 2,289 in 1969. In 1971, Dean McGuire resigned to become Vice President of Planning for the University of California. Prior to his appointment as Dean, he served as consultant to several corporations and to the State of Hawaii, and was awarded Ford, Danforth, and Fulbright fellowships and professorships.



1971 – 1985
Vernon Zimmerman, Dean
College of Commerce and Business Administration

Vernon K. Zimmerman was regarded as one of the College’s best Accountancy professors before he became Dean. In addition to championing the early development of international accounting in the US, he was also a Fulbright Scholar, recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and fellow alumnus of the College.



1986 – 1991
John Hogan, Dean
College of Commerce and Business Administration

Dean John D. Hogan was once quoted as saying, “Innovation is the key to productivity, which in turn is the basis for America’s future.” He was a senior executive with a large insurance company in Houston before becoming Dean of the College in 1986. During his tenure as Dean, the College’s Accountancy program was cited by the Public Accounting Report as the best in the country. In 1991, Hogan resigned to accept a position as dean of the Business School at Georgia State University.



1991 – 2000
Howard Thomas, Acting Dean / Dean
College of Commerce and Business Administration

Howard Thomas first became the Acting Dean in 1991 before becoming Dean in 1992. His tenure began with financial crises brought on by a drop in state funding, but through his leadership the College succeeded in several private fundraisers that led to the advancement of curricula and technology education, named faculty chairs, the Office of Business Consulting, and the eventual Wohlers Hall renovation and building of the Business Instructional Facility.



2001 – 2007
Avijit Ghosh, Dean
College of Commerce and Business Administration / College of Business

Avijit Ghosh spearheaded a number of new initiatives during his deanship, including the College’s historic rebranding as the College of Business. Under his leadership, the College sharpened its focus on graduate and professional education, and formed new centers and programs. Ghosh also initiated a massive fundraising campaign to construct the Business Instructional Facility (BIF) and endow named chairs, programmatic initiatives, research support, and student scholarships and fellowships.



2007 – 2015
Lawrence DeBrock, Interim Dean / Josef and Margot Lakonishok Endowed Dean
College of Business

Larry DeBrock started as Interim Dean in 2007. When he stepped into the long-term deanship in 2009, he became the first Josef and Margot Lakonishok Endowed Dean of the College of Business. He began his tenure as dean with the opening of the first building at any public university business school to receive LEED Platinum certification for its green design and construction. He advanced technology and innovation in the College through the creation of an online business minor, multiple online courses in partnership with Coursera, the first-ever 3D printing lab in a college of business, students’ education in professional responsibility through Business 101, and the establishment of the iMBA – the first online MBA program to be offered through Coursera.