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AACSB Distinguished Leadership Award: Honoring Recipients Past and Present

July 2014

Margaret Mead, a renowned cultural anthropologist, once said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." Throughout the years, groups of individuals large and small – all committed to the advancement of quality management education worldwide – have demonstrated the power of Mead's sentiment. And often, a few individuals step forward to make an even greater impact. AACSB is committed to recognizing those who embody the kind of leadership that can change the world.

This spring, AACSB presented its Distinguished Leadership Award to two such individuals. The award honors those who have served as an elected leader of AACSB (chair, or president prior to 2000), have made a significant, long-term impact on global management education, and have served their academic institutions in an exemplary manner for an extended period of time.

Scott Cowen

In June, AACSB recognized Scott S. Cowen, President of Tulane University, with the Distinguished Leadership Award for demonstrating significant leadership not only at his university, but also in his community. When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, Cowen's leadership helped transform the fabric of the community by establishing a financial 'renewal plan' to strategically address operations in the post-Katrina era, as well as integrating community service as a component of Tulane's graduation requirement. During the 2012-13 academic year, Tulane students contributed over 485,000 hours of community service, including rebuilding homes, helping Mardi Gras Indians maintain their culture, and working with people in the community who had yet to receive the medical care they needed. A small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens, changing the 'world' in New Orleans.

Cowen's leadership at Tulane coincided with a significant increase in the level of total private giving to the university, a record number of research awards presented to the school, national recognition for its civic engagement programs, and the implementation of a number of innovative academic and research program initiatives that significantly increased its community outreach. In addition, Cowen has contributed his time and service to AACSB since 1980, and has served as chair of a number of committees, including the Accounting Accreditation Committee, the Accreditation Management Committee, and chaired the Board of Directors 1995-1996.

Howard Thomas

In April, AACSB also recognized Howard Thomas, dean and LKCSB chair of Strategic Management of the Lee Kong Chian School of Business, Singapore Management University for his more than 17 years of service to the organization and industry as a whole. Elected to the AACSB board in 2000 and 2008 as a member, and as vice chair-chair elect in 2008 Thomas has served as chair and/or a member of more than 17 committees or task forces including the Asia Advisory Task Force, Committee on Issues in Management Education, Ethics Education Task Force, European Task Force, and the Special Committee on Global Accreditation Strategy. Thomas played an active role in the AACSB Accreditation process by serving as chair and/or member of 10 peer review teams and accreditation committees, and has presented at more than 23 AACSB conferences and seminars around the world.

Thomas also served as chair of the Association of Business Schools and of the Global Foundation for Management Education, is former chairman of the board of the Graduate Admissions Council, and is a past President of the Strategic Management Society. He is an Honorary Life Member at the European Foundation for Management Development, and a Companion of the Association of Business Schools. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Management, Academy of Social Sciences, the Institute of Directors, and the British Academy of Management, where he served on its Council. Thomas is also a Fellow and Dean of Fellows of the Strategic Management Society, and a member of Beta Gamma Sigma.

Read more about Cowen and Thomas' significant achievements here.

In 2012-2013, AACSB recognized four prominent trailblazers for the significant impact they have made for the organization, for their institution, and for society at large. Recipients included:

Jan R. Williams, PhD (February 2013)
Throughout his thirteen years of volunteer service to AACSB, including AACSB Board of Directors Chair, 2011-2012, Williams played an active role in the AACSB Accreditation Process by serving as chair and/or member of 19 peer review teams and accreditation committees, and has presented at more than 20 AACSB conferences and seminars around the world. He has also served as chair and/or a member of more than 15 committees, advisory groups and task forces. He was the Dean and Stokely Leadership Foundation Chair of the College of Business Administration, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, 2000-2013.

Jan R. Williams

Quiester Craig, PhD (April 2013)
With 37 Years of volunteer service to AACSB, Craig was an AACSB President (then known as American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business) during 1992-1993, and Dean of the School of Business and Economics, North Carolina A&T State University, 1972-2014. Craig is one of the longest-serving business deans in the country, and was appointed Professor of Accounting and Dean of the School of Business and Economics at North Carolina A&T State University in July 1972. Elected to the AACSB board in 1988 as a member, in 1992 he became the first African American to serve as President (now Chair position of AACSB), and the first African American elected President of Beta Gamma Sigma.

Quiester Craig

Richard E. Sorensen, PhD (May 2013)
With 24 years of volunteer service to AACSB, Sorensen was the AACSB Board of Directors Chair, 2005-2006, Dean and Professor of Management of the Pamplin College of Business, Virginia Tech, 1982-2013, and continues as the Special Advisor to the President and CEO for Emerging Economies at AACSB. Sorensen has also served as chair and/or member of several Advisory Councils and Working Groups, including the Bridge Program Advisory Council, Doctoral Faculty Shortage Working Group, and the Emerging Economies Advisory Group. He played an active role in the AACSB Accreditation Process by serving as chair and/or member of 37 peer review teams and accreditation committees, and has presented at more than 50 AACSB conferences and seminars around the world.

Richard E. Sorensen

Andrew J. Policano (June 2013)
During his 18 years of service to AACSB, Policano was elected to the AACSB board in 1997 and 2001 as a member, and as vice chair-chair elect in 2010, and then elected Board of Directors Chair in 2010-2011. He has served as chair and/or a member of more than 22 committees, working groups or task forces, and published numerous papers on higher education and media rankings in addition to his recently completed book, Public No More: A New Path to Excellence for America's Public Universities, from Stanford University Press. Policano was the Dean of the Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine from 2004-2013, and serves on the Board of Directors of two public companies. He is an active member of the community. He is currently a member of the Investment Committee of the Orange County Community Foundation, The Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Selection Committee, and the Forum for Corporate Directors Board Member of the Year Selection Committee.

Andrew J. Policano

We are thankful to each for their dedication and service to AACSB, and for their many distinguished contributions. Read more about the recipient's achievements here.