Schools and Colleges

Second Whitman dean finalist Eugene ‘Gene’ Anderson meets with students

Daily Orange File Photo

Three finalists for Martin J. Whitman School of Management dean position are visiting Syracuse University campus.

The second of three finalists for the dean position at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management met with students Tuesday afternoon in the school’s Milton Room.

Eugene “Gene” Anderson, who is currently a marketing professor at the University of Miami, spoke with students about experiential learning opportunities and community outreach. Anderson, along with the two other dean finalists, is visiting the Syracuse University campus this week to meet with faculty and administrators.

The candidate selected for the position will replace former Dean Kenneth Kavajecz, who was arrested in a prostitution sting last September. Kavajecz received a misdemeanor charge for patronizing a prostitute in the third degree and is scheduled to next appear in court on May 25.

S.P. Raj, chair of the Whitman School’s marketing department, has been serving as interim dean for Whitman, temporarily filling Kavajecz’s position since mid-October.

At Tuesday’s forum, Anderson spoke to students about his previous experience overseeing an experiential learning course at the University of Michigan, where he worked from 1989 to 2011. MBA students at Michigan are sent around the world to get business experience in the last two months of their education, Anderson said.

“We really believed in the power of experiential learning,” he said.

Anderson also talked about the importance of community outreach. He said business schools should be a “force for good” in the community and that students should understand the role of business in society.


Business schools should not only have a positive economic impact on the surrounding community, but they should have a positive social impact, he added.

One of the students at the forum voiced concern with Whitman’s Goodman IMPRESS program, which was created in 2014 to help Whitman students become better business leaders. The student said that the program is a “waste of time” and was only created to help Whitman’s rankings.

Anderson responded by saying that programs are rarely perfect. If there are parts of the IMPRESS program that aren’t working, Anderson said it would be up to the next Whitman dean to make the proper adjustments to the program.

Like the first Whitman dean candidate, Anderson said he would make himself accessible to students. At Michigan and Miami, Anderson set up tables in popular student areas to sit down and listen to student concerns. If selected as dean of the Whitman School, he said he planned to hold similar events in the Whitman building’s atrium.

Anderson’s research interests include marketing and business performance, customer satisfaction and customer analytics, according to his biography. He was dean of the University of Miami’s School of Business Administration from 2011 to 2016. In that position, he was responsible for the academic, administrative and financial leadership of the school.

Rajiv Dewan — a professor of computers and information systems at the University of Rochester — is another finalist for the Whitman dean position. Dewan spoke with students on Monday.

The third dean candidate will speak with students on Thursday at 1:15 p.m. in Whitman room 402. The Whitman dean’s office will announce the third candidate about 24 hours prior to this forum.


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