Working together for a ‘strong future’ for Willamette MBA

by President Steve Thorsett,


Dear Willamette community, 

I am pleased to share the good news that Professor Michael Hand, whom I asked to step in during the recent leadership transition at AGSM, has graciously agreed to serve as interim dean pending completion of a search for a new dean of the Atkinson School

We will begin a national search late this spring and anticipate vetting candidates next fall, with the goal of welcoming our next dean by July 1, 2020. 

Additionally, Professor Tim Johnson has agreed to serve a three-year term as senior associate dean for faculty in addition to his role as director of the Center for Governance and Public Policy Research. Mike and Tim are joined by Senior Associate Dean Alex Subert and Assistant Dean Beth Ursin, rounding out a strong management team that will keep the school on a steady course and moving forward.

Change can create uncertainty, I realize, and there have been significant changes at Willamette over the past few years. 

What hasn’t changed is my confidence in the Atkinson School as an asset to the university; an essential contributor in establishing Willamette as the premier liberal arts university in the Pacific Northwest. Offering the “gold standard” in management education in Oregon, the Atkinson School is emblematic of what Willamette does best: distinctive, student-centered education that prepares graduates to adapt, innovate and succeed throughout their careers.

I am looking forward to this new chapter and the opportunity to work together on our shared vision for a strong future — for the Atkinson School and for Willamette University. 


Steve Thorsett


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