Skip to main content

Atkinson Graduate School of Management Dean's Corner

A message from Dean Örn Bodvarsson

March 2023

Dear Atkinson Alums,

I hope you had a wonderful Summer. The Summer was very busy for me, thanks to some big ongoing projects in the Dean's Office and at the University, but I and my wife Mary were able to take two weeks off to enjoy Italy and Greece. We also went to Iceland, my homeland, to host a Willamette alumni tour. Atkinson MBA-P alum and fellow Rotarian Warren Bednarz and his wife Linda were two of the 20 people on the tour.

One of the joys I experience every Fall is welcoming new and returning students, faculty, and staff. Drs. Anusha Ramesh, Jane Machin, Pritha Dutta, and Foong Soon Cheong, have come from places far and wide this Fall to join the Atkinson full-time faculty team. We're thrilled to have them here! We're also very happy to have our new staff team partners Katrina Garcia, Anne Lapour, and Dave Hanna, who will help out in career development services (Katrina and Anne) and advancement (Dave).

On August 21, we kicked off Compass Week, the annual orientation for our new full-time MBA students, and I had the pleasure of welcoming 48 of them. The campus's New Student Convocation was held on August 23 on the spacious lawn in front of Waller Hall. Looking out into the audience of our new undergraduate Bearcats I thought about how nice it would be to soon welcome some of them into our Bachelor of Science for Business Administration (BSBA) program. That program is one of the most inquired-about programs by prospective new Bearcats and their families. We have a group of new students matriculating in the program this Fall and we will graduate our first crop of undergraduates next May! Orientation for our new MBA for Professionals students was held on August 26, where I had the pleasure of welcoming 28 new students to our Fall cohorts--11 in Portland and 17 in Salem. All four groups of new students are very impressive.

This is our school's 50th year training the leaders of tomorrow in the business, non-profit, and public sectors. The school has grown from being a group of about 5 faculty members teaching courses in a new and highly innovative Master of Management program to a very small group of students in 1974 to now 25 full-time faculty teaching two acclaimed MBA programs and a new Bachelor of Science in Business Administration programs to about 250 students. Our program has been recognized for its stature and high quality both regionally and nationally for years. Earlier this month, Bloomberg Businessweek announced its annual national rankings of MBA programs for 2023. Once again, the full-time (early career/career change) MBA is # 1 for overall quality in Oregon and # 2 in the Pacific Northwest, right under the University of Washington's Foster School of Business. We are in the top 75 programs nationally. Our full-time MBA is the only program that has dual accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). Last July, we were informed that NASPAA has re-accredited the full-time MBA for another 7 years. We are up for 5-year AACSB re-accreditation in July 2025, and work on that project is already underway.

We continue to face the kinds of challenges so many other schools like ours are facing these days; rebuilding our post-pandemic MBA enrollments, building back our staff team, expanding our programming to take advantage of emerging needs in the regional labor market, and preparing the Mudd Building for the school's next generations of students and employees. Our new strategic plan provides a solid and innovative roadmap for doing this and other work. I am blessed to have a great team of faculty, staff, and campus partners to work with on these critical projects.

Thank you for your support and dedication to your alma mater school.

All the best,

Dean Örn Bodvarsson, Ph.D.
Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Dean Örn Bodvarsson, Ph.D.
Dean Örn Bodvarsson, Ph.D.
Willamette University

Alumni and Parent Engagement

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-375-5304 voice
503-370-6830 fax