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Dean’s welcome message for first issue of Mudd Monthly

by Örn Bodvarsson, August 29, 2022

Dear members of the Atkinson community,

Welcome to the first issue of the Mudd Monthly! I’m delighted to help roll out this e-newsletter, which will fill you in on important news about the people, programs, and events of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management. This is an exciting time in Atkinson and I don’t want you to miss out on important news. I also want to invite you to contribute your news or even an article to the Mudd Monthly. Consider this both a news source and forum for the Atkinson community.

After a very warm and quiet Summer in Mudd Hall and up at 200 Market Street in Portland, a new school year has arrived. On August 15, over 60 new students in our full-time Early Career/Career Change MBA program arrived on the Salem campus for Compass Week, a week-long orientation. It’s a very impressive group. After a busy week of presentations, team-building exercises, the famous “Ropes” course, and other activities, this new class joined the faculty, staff, and other students and alumni for a reception at the Illahe Hills Country Club, hosted by Atkinson MBA alum Monte Hong and his wife Tamara. On August 27, I helped welcome our new Fall cohort in the MBA for Professionals program—about 30 new students—at 200 Market Street. Roughly half of these students comprise the new Salem cohort and the other half the new Portland cohort. Our incoming MBA-P class is very diverse in a variety of ways: Nearly half are working in the non-profit sector, they took their undergraduate degrees in a wide variety of disciplines, and come from many different backgrounds, regions, and countries. We’re also looking forward to welcoming another new cohort of MBA-P students in January.

What are some of the big changes happening around here?:

  • The BS in Business Administration (BSBA) program. Our BSBA is starting its second year and growing rapidly. In fact, when high school students and 2-year college transfer candidates visit campus to check out Willamette, the BSBA is now the most asked-about major.
  • Mudd Hall is getting a major facelift! The university has set aside $11 million to completely renovate Mudd, with construction expected to start in the Summer of 2023. The new Mudd Hall will have about 50% more classroom space to accommodate the expected rapid growth in the BSBA, and a bright, shiny, and spruced up look.
  • We are welcoming new full-time faculty. This Fall we welcomed two new Assistant Professors, Dr. Colin Birkhead (Management) and Dr. Gilbert Park (Finance). This Fall we’re searching for four new Assistant Professors in the Accounting, Marketing, and Management areas, who will arrive next Fall. By next Fall, we’ll be up to 25 full-time faculty.
  • A new strategic plan is underway. Under the leadership of Professor Andrew Kach, a strategic planning steering team has just started work on a blueprint for the school’s future. This work is being done in alignment with the ongoing “Willamette 2042” project, a campus strategic planning effort that started last year.

Serving as the new Atkinson Dean this past year has been for me, both professionally and personally, a true privilege. It’s a great school to lead and, on a personal note I’m thrilled to be back in my home state after being away for many years. I look forward to reporting to you through this newsletter important news about the school and to getting news from you. Happy Fall!

Örn Bodvarsson Signature

Warmly, Örn Bodvarsson
Dean & Professor of Economics

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.