Following a large-scale, six-month search that ended in late June, Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Ron Daniels announced that Thomas Robertson will become the dean of the Wharton School.
He replaces former dean Patrick Harker, who left Penn to assume the presidency of the University of Delaware.
Robertson, whose appointment began on Aug. 1, came to Penn from Emory University, where he was the executive faculty director of the Institute for Developing Nations. He previously served as dean of Emory's Goizueta Business School.
He had previously served as a Marketing professor at Penn from 1971 to 1994.
As Wharton's 13th dean, Robertson is charged with increasing the school's global presence, diversity and interdisciplinary efforts.
Officials say they feel confident that his experience will lend himself well to those responsibilities.
Robertson, 64, "is a seasoned leader. He knew Wharton, he was a very successful dean of the Emory business school, and he has commitments to . success in international engagement," Gutmann said when asked why Robertson stood out from other candidates.
Gutmann said Robertson's achievements in increasing the faculty and upping the endowment at Emory were particularly impressive to the search committee, which was chaired by Eduardo Glandt, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Outlining his goals for the deanship, Robertson said maintaining and improving the quality of Wharton's faculty, students and staff was his first priority.
He noted that he would like to increase diversity, particularly the number of female MBA candidates.
He said he also hopes to strengthen Wharton's interdisciplinary ties to other schools at Penn.
Next on his list is increasing Wharton's international presence.
"You don't just compete with American business schools anymore," he said.
As a result, Wharton may look into building campuses in other countries, as the business schools at Columbia University and the University of Chicago have done.
Much of Robertson's time will be spent fundraising, and he hopes to provide donors with "visionary opportunities" to sponsor students, faculty and programs.
Marketing professor Jagmohan Raju, who taught at Wharton while Robertson was the Marketing department chair, described Robertson as an excellent teacher with the utmost dedication to helping colleagues and students.
Meanwhile, many of the Wharton faculty have a wait-and-see attitude toward Robertson, said Finance professor Andrew Metrick.
He said the attitude was "cautiously optimistic."
"I don't think that he's thought of as an outsider. . I'm not worried that he's going to come in and have a cultural problem," Metrick said.
Robertson earned his bachelor's of arts at Wayne State University and his MA and Ph.D. at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.
He served in the administration at the London Business school and has also taught at the Harvard Business School and the University of California, Los Angeles.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.