RMU Names Michelle Patrick the Next Dean of the School of Business
Robert Morris University has named Michelle L. Patrick dean of its School of Business effective August 15.
Patrick comes to RMU from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, where she was dean of the College of Business and Public Management since 2013 and associate dean for six years before that. As dean of a college with 3,200 undergraduate and graduate students, Patrick was a key figure in a $35 million capital campaign to fund a new academic building for the business college. She also oversaw a recent redesign of West Chester's online M.B.A. program, which resulted in it being ranked by U.S. News and World Report for the first time and increasing enrollment by 100 students in one year.
Patrick will be a member of RMU's marketing faculty in addition to serving as dean. Before joining West Chester's marketing faculty in 2003, she was a member of the marketing faculty at the University of North Carolina at Asheville beginning in 1995. She also taught marketing at Kent State University while earning her Ph.D. in that field. Patrick has a B.S. and M.B.A. in marketing, both from Youngstown State University, and has been published widely on the topic in scholarly literature. Patrick and her husband, Ron, are Youngstown natives.
Additionally, Patrick has been a key figure in coordinating efforts to receive and maintain accreditation from AACSB International, twice at West Chester and once at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. The RMU School of Business is also accredited by AACSB International, a designation earned by only 5 percent of business schools worldwide.
“I am inspired by the commitment of the faculty at RMU to student success and by the support of the school by the provost and the president. I am truly honored to be chosen as the next dean of the School of Business,” said Patrick.
Patrick has been active in promoting university involvement in the local business community. For the past two years, Patrick has been a member of the West Chester Chamber of Commerce, and she co-authored a West Chester grant proposal that received $295,000 in state higher education funding to encourage students to pursue entrepreneurial activities in the region.
"We are extremely pleased that we were able to attract to Robert Morris a dean with Dr. Patrick's extraordinary qualifications," said David Jamison, RMU provost and senior vice president of academic affairs. "She brings to us a strong track record of leadership in business education, proven success in every aspect of a dean's work, and a strong vision of how to build on the strength of RMU's School of Business to take us to even greater heights. During her several campus interviews she impressed faculty and administrators alike with her knowledge but also with her enthusiasm and collegiality."
Patrick succeeds Lois Bryan, university professor of accounting, who served as acting dean since June 2015 after her predecessor, John Beehler, was named president of Jacksonville State University in Alabama. Each of the deans of RMU’s five academic schools is a woman, a factor that RMU President Chris Howard cited in February when he chose as his first official act to sign the American Council of Education’s “Moving the Needle” pledge. The pledge calls for half of all college and university presidents to be women by 2030.
“Michelle Patrick is ideally suited to lead the RMU School of Business. Not only is she an accomplished scholar, teacher, and university administrator, but her commitment to civic and student engagement are central to RMU’s core values. Her impact will be immediate and significant,” said Howard.
The School of Business is the oldest of RMU’s academic schools, dating back to the university’s founding in 1921 as the Pittsburgh School of Accountancy. It remains the largest of RMU’s schools, offering bachelor's and master's degree programs in accounting, business administration, economics, finance, hospitality and tourism management, human resource management, marketing, sport management and taxation.
Graduates of the RMU School of Business include Richard Harshman ’78, chairman, president, and CEO of Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI); Morgan O’Brien ’82 M’85, president and CEO of Peoples Natural Gas; Brenda J. Lauderback ’72, chair of the Board of Directors of Denny’s Corp; Kevin Colbert ’79, general manager of the Pittsburgh Steelers; Deborah Cunningham M’86, executive vice president of Federated Investors; and Jada Grandy ’00 M’04, CRA strategies director and senior vice president for community and economic development for Fifth Third Bank.