Author: Larry B. Dendy
Contact: Arnett Mace

Published

Robert T. Sumichrast, dean of Louisiana State University's business college, has been chosen to be dean of the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business, effective July 1.

Arnett C. Mace Jr., UGA's senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, announced May 10 that Sumichrast, who has been dean of LSU's E. J. Ourso College of Business since 2003, will succeed P. George Benson, who left UGA to become president of the College of Charleston.

Sumichrast, an authority on management and operations science, was on the faculty of Virginia Tech University from 1984 to 2003, and also taught at Clemson University where he received a doctoral degree in management science. He holds a bachelor's degree in physics from Purdue University.

"I was extremely pleased to accept the recommendation of Provost Mace to hire Robert Sumichrast, the sitting dean at LSU, to be dean of the Terry College," said UGA President Michael F. Adams. "The faculty, search committee and administration are all in agreement that Dr. Sumichrast can take an already outstanding college of business at UGA to the next level. I believe that all our constituencies will be impressed with his intellect, vision and manner of dealing with people. I look forward to a very bright future for the Terry College."

Adams said an event will be held within the next few weeks for the university community to meet and welcome Sumichrast to campus. Details of the event will be announced later.

As dean of LSU's Ourso College, Sumichrast had notable success in increasing private financial support through such steps as instituting a professional fee structure for MBA students, increasing the fundraising staff and strengthening contacts with alumni. Annual private donations to the college rose from $1.5 million to $4 million and the college recently received a pledge of $15 million.

The college has also moved up markedly in rankings for academic quality. Programs in internal auditing, accounting and entrepreneurship are in several top-five national rankings and the MBA program, previously unranked, is in the Wall Street Journal's top 10 for programs with regional recruiting patterns.

Sumichrast led in developing plans for a new $60 million building for the Ourso College that the Louisiana legislature has included in its capital outlay process. The college has received more than $11 million in private donations and pledges and expects to receive $30 million from the state for the building.

Sumichrast instituted a new admissions system for the college that raised both the number and academic qualifications of student applicants, and he started a program on Chinese business and culture that enables MBA students to travel, study and hold internships in China.

At Virginia Tech, Sumichrast was associate dean for graduate and international programs and taught courses in management science and information technology. He developed three upper-level courses and served on more than 35 doctoral committees.

"I am delighted that Dean Sumichrast has accepted our offer to become dean of the Terry College," said Mace. "He has a proven record of outstanding accomplishments as a faculty member, associate dean and dean. His expertise and outstanding leadership of the Ourso College at LSU in improving national rankings of programs, raising the academic quality of students and increasing state and private support are significant, particularly in increased private support.

"His perspectives and vision for the Terry College, in concert with the University of Georgia, are outstanding. I look forward to working with Robert to advance the Terry College of Business commensurate with the University of Georgia."

Sumichrast is co-author of two books dealing with management science, as well as numerous articles in professional journals and papers presented at professional meetings. He has been a reviewer for many professional publications and publishers and served on the editorial boards of three leading professional journals.

He received a number of research grants at Virginia Tech, including a $264,539 award from Hughes Telecommunications and Space for a study of satellite spectrum auctions. He has been a consultant to such firms as Ingersoll-Rand, Burlington Industries and Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp.

Sumichrast is active in a leading professional organization, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (InfORMS), formerly known as the Institute for Management Sciences. He has been president, vice president and secretary/treasurer of the organization's southeastern chapter and received the chapter's Outstanding Service Award.

He is a Fellow of the American Production and Inventory Control Society and was president of the organization's Southwestern Virginia chapter and editor of its newsletter. He has held several leadership roles in the Decision Sciences Institute and received a first-place award for a paper he presented at the DSI annual meeting in 2004.

Sumichrast is taking the helm of one of the top public business schools in the South. Named for the late Jacksonville, Fla., insurance executive Herman Terry and his wife, Mary Virginia, the Terry College was founded in 1912 as the first business school established at a southern university.

The college has 148 full-time and part-time faculty and 3,063 students including 2,100 undergraduates. Along with a bachelor's in business administration, the college offers several master's-level graduate programs and a Ph.D.

Terry's curriculum spans the full range of business disciplines with programs in accounting; banking and finance; economics; insurance, legal studies and real estate; management; management information systems; and marketing and distribution. The college also has a strong program in leadership advancement and includes a number of specialized research centers.

U.S. News and World Report ranks Terry's undergraduate program 18th among public business schools and 29th among all business schools, and ranks the MBA program 46th among all business schools. The undergraduate programs in insurance and real estate are both ranked second in the country and the undergraduate programs in management information systems and accounting are ranked in the top 20. The graduate program in management information systems is ranked 17th.