Oct. 5-11, 2001
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Robert S. Harris
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Robert S. Harris

Harris named Darden dean

Staff Report

Robert S. Harris, a senior faculty member at the Colgate Darden Graduate School of Business Administration and chief learning officer for United Technologies Corp., was named dean of the Darden School on Wednesday.

The school’s seventh dean in its 47-year history, Harris succeeds Edward A. Snyder, who resigned last May to become business dean at the University of Chicago. As Darden’s dean, Harris will become the Charles C. Abbott Professor of Business Administration.

“Bob Harris’ strong teaching and research credentials, combined with his global experience as a corporate officer for a Fortune 50 company, make him the ideal choice to lead the Darden School at this promising time in both the school’s and the University’s evolution,” U.Va. President John T. Casteen III said. “He has articulated a vision that will build on the school’s growing international reputation as a leader in addressing today’s critical business issues.”

In the coming year, the Darden School will complete a major expansion of its facilities and technology infrastructure as it prepares to increase enrollment in its MBA program in 2002. The school’s executive education program last year involved more than 120 programs worldwide.

“There isn’t another graduate business school in the world that has a stronger sense of mission than Darden,” Harris said in accepting his new post. “What makes this truly a rare opportunity is the chance to lead an institution that for all of its nearly 50 years has been dedicated to developing leaders who make the world a better place.

“The key to meeting competitive and difficult marketplace challenges is building upon a sound foundation. I have tremendous confidence in Darden’s future as a global leader in management education, based upon our sense of purpose, the strength of our people and the quality of our partnership with a great university.”

Among his near-term objectives for Darden, he said, are developing strategies for increasing the school’s global capabilities and influence, applying emerging technologies to enhance Darden’s professional development mission, and expanding the role of its scholarship in addressing crucial business issues.
As vice president and chief learning officer at United Technologies since 1998, Harris has designed and directed the education, training and development programs for a corporation of more than 150,000 employees with operations and facilities in all but four countries of the world.

“This is an unusual but highly significant qualification for a graduate business school dean,” said C. Ray Smith, Darden’s interim dean since May, who chaired the search committee that unanimously recommended Harris. “He has a unique perspective on the match between marketplace requirements and curriculum and research content that will be invaluable to Darden’s future role in management education.”

With a $60 million gift from U.Va. alumnus Frank Batten Sr. nearly two years ago, faculty and students at Darden’s Batten Institute have begun to explore how new sources of economic and societal value are created. As part of this effort, Darden is developing a new series of executive education programs and conferences for firms in Northern Virginia.

Harris, 51, whose research has concentrated on corporate finance, financial markets, and mergers and acquisitions, has held the C. Stewart Sheppard Professorship of Business Administration since 1990. He has written financial textbooks, numerous articles in academic journals, computer tutorials and a series of business cases and teaching notes.

He joined Darden’s faculty in 1988, having previously taught at the Universities of North Carolina and Pennsylvania and at the London Graduate School of Business Studies. From 1990 to 1993 he was Darden’s associate dean for faculty.

A summa cum laude graduate of Davidson College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, he earned his Ph.D. in economics at Princeton University.


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