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Örn Bodvarsson named dean of Atkinson Graduate School of Management

by Carol S. Long, Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs,

Örn Bodvarsson  headshot

We are delighted to announce that Örn Bodvarsson has agreed to join Willamette University as the next dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management. Bodvarsson is currently dean of the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business and professor of economics at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. He has served in leadership roles at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, where he served as the founding dean of the School of Public Affairs, and at California State University, Sacramento, as dean of its College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies.

Dean Brian Gallini, Willamette University College of Law, chaired the search committee and shared the committee's enthusiasm for Bodvarsson's record of collaborative and forward-thinking leadership. "We are thrilled that he has agreed to join the senior leadership team and are confident that he’ll make an immediate contribution to our institution.”

Bodvarsson holds a PhD in economics from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he specialized in labor economics. His BS in economics with honors is from Oregon State University as is his MS in agricultural and resource economics. Among his many accomplishments, he has taught at University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he won multiple teaching awards, serves as a research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany, was vice president of the Chinese Economics Society and was associate editor of the Social Science Journal. He is widely published, with recent articles on migration theory, and, with Hendrik F. Van den Berg, a volume that is in its second edition, “The Economics of Immigration: Theory and Policy.”

Bodvarsson is married to Mary Bodvarsson, a consulting educational psychologist. Outside of his profession and family, his passions are playing classical piano, Rotary and community service, investing in the stock market and enjoying the outdoors, especially in Oregon. 

In accepting this appointment, which begins July 1, 2021, Bodvarsson said, "Joining the Willamette University community and the Atkinson School as its new dean is truly a dream come true for me. Having grown up in Oregon, I've known about Willamette for most of my life and have always admired the university's commitment to student success and everything it does to enhance the quality of life for the state, nation and world. I really look forward to leading work in Atkinson to welcome our first cohort of undergraduate business majors this fall, collaborating with the Atkinson team and campus leaders to develop innovative cross-disciplinary programming, building external relationships and resources, promoting global engagement and continuing to provide the very high-quality business education for which Atkinson is known around the world." 

Many thanks to the campus community, trustees and alumni who participated in the search and to the search committee, which included Romana Autrey, Susan Chiapella, Will Fruhwirth, George Gu, Andrew Kach, Erin McNicholas, Emily Self and Jon Thompson. Jan Asnicar and her team at Summit Search Solutions guided the search. Ashley T. Stovin and Honey Wilson provided support. 

About Willamette University’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Based in Salem, Oregon, we are the premier private university in the Pacific Northwest — the only university in the country that appears on both the US News Best National Liberal Arts Colleges list and the Forbes and Businessweek best business schools lists. With unique proximity to our state's capitol, we are a national leader in civic engagement, delivering an “Only at Willamette” education.

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