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Mudd Monthly: December ’23

by Örn Bodvarsson, December 1, 2023

Dear Members of the Atkinson Community,

I hope you all had a safe, restful, and truly enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday with your loved ones. For those who traveled last week, I hope your journeys were as pleasant as they could be. I returned recently from spending the holiday with my family in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. Just as I was leaving to return to Oregon, a cold front moved in and temperatures plunged (only in Minnesota!), so you can imagine how delighted I was to land in clear, sunny, and relatively balmy weather in the Beaver State. Now it’s the final march to the finish line for this semester and calendar year, so onward and forward!

I am writing to you from Hyderabad, India. I, Professors Anusha Ramesh and Pritha Dutta, and full-time MBA student Aryan Bhardwaj, will convene this weekend at the “ShiftEd Conclave'' conference in Hyderabad, where we will meet many graduating undergraduates, their families, representatives from universities in the Hyderabad region, lenders to students who plan to study overseas, and representatives from our USA sister institutions. The ShiftEd Conclave has been organized by GradRight, a company in India that facilitates the matching of Indian students wishing to study abroad with overseas universities and Indian lenders. GradRight’s ultimate goal is to help schools like us to recruit more Indian students into our degree programs and, more broadly, build collaborative bridges with Indian universities. Anusha, Pritha, Aryan, and I will be doing a lot of networking at the conference and our goal is to bring back an incoming class of Indian students to our Early Career/Career Change program. A shout out to Tony (Cass) Cassinerio, Director of Recruitment for AGSM, for setting up the partnership with GradRight and laying the groundwork for us to be able to participate in this conference.

One of the many reasons we’re excited to be participating in the ShiftEd Conclave is that our distinguished alum Punit Renjen, Global CEO Emeritus of Deloitte Touche and now Vice Chair of SAP, has graciously lent his time to participating in the conference. Punit will do a virtual real-time Q/A with one of GradRight’s senior executives and conference participants will also have an opportunity to watch a pre-recorded video-taped message from him. The audience will hear about his journey from India to Oregon, his experience studying in the Atkinson School, and his spectacular career journey following graduation (our school would like to take at least some credit for that! 😊). We’re most grateful to Punit for gracing the conference with his presence.

I’m also excited to tell you about our plans to roll out a noon hour discussion series starting in January at our Portland center. The “Atkinson Discussions for our Time” series will feature experts on important and timely topics and issues in a panel discussion format in the Hoyt Classroom at 200 SW Market Street. For those unable to come to that location, the events will be accessible via Zoom. The target audience is our MBA students, but everyone else is invited to attend. Seating will be limited, so we will ask attendees to RSVP promptly. The discussions will run from Noon to 1 pm and “Grab and Go” lunches will be available to those attending in person. Panels are still being finalized, but I can confirm the following panels will occur:

JANUARY 9 – Panel on disruptions in the health-care industry, organized by EDC Director Kennedy Hawkins, retired health care CEO, and now CEO and Owner of Kennedy Hawkins Consulting;

FEBRUARY 8 – Panel on Corporate Social Responsibility, organized by Jake Hoskins, Guy F. Atkinson Associate Professor of Marketing and Data Science;

MARCH 7 – Panel on the use of Artificial Intelligence in different industries, organized by myself with the help of Tim Johnson, Grace and Elmer Goudy Associate Professor of Public Management & Policy Analysis; and

APRIL 9 – Panel on Manufacturing in Oregon, organized by Atkinson alum and retired CEO and current Board Chair of manufacturer Jewett Cameron Company, Charlie Hopewell.

We’ll publish final details for the four panels as soon as we can. In the meantime, I’d love to see you at these events, in person or via Zoom. In putting this panel discussion series together, my fondest hope is that it will enrich our students’ experiences, allow us to leverage the expertise and experience of our faculty, alums and other outside experts, and enhance Atkinson’s role as a thought leader in the community.

The next issue of the Mudd Monthly will be in January. Let me take this opportunity to thank you all for your support of our school and university and for being voices and advocates for the good work of Atkinson. I wish all of you a safe, healthy, and restful holiday season ahead. Take good care and all the best.

Örn Bodvarsson Signature

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

Willamette University

Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Salem Campus

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

Portland Center

200 SW Market Street, Suite 101
Portland Oregon 97201 U.S.A.