July 20, 2021 – Academic Career & Executive Search (ACES) has placed Rowena Ortiz-Walters as the new dean of the Greehey School of Business at St. Mary’s University. She is the first Latina to lead the business school. Dr. Ortiz-Walters comes to St. Mary’s from SUNY Plattsburgh, a public liberal arts college that is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) System, where she served as dean and professor of management in the school of business and economics.
“St. Mary’s President Thomas Mengler wanted to find a student-focused leader with a strong grounding in their faither to serve as the dean of the Greehey School of business,” said Jennifer Muller, managing partner at ACES. “Dr. Ortiz-Walters has a record of success as an academic administrator in higher education with experience as both a professor and an administrator. Her unique ability to work effectively with university senior leadership, faculty, and students will enable her to craft a strategic vision for the business program and business community at large. We wish Dr. Ortiz-Walters and St. Mary’s University every success on their path forward together.”
President Mengler praised Dr. Ortiz-Walters as an ideal choice. “After meeting Rowena, I am confident her commitment to her faith and her leadership and work focused on success for all students make her an excellent fit for St. Mary’s University and the Greehey School of Business,” he said.
A Focus on Equity
“It is an exciting time to be embarking on this new role as the next dean of the Greehey School of Business,” said Dr. Ortiz-Walters. “I admire the school’s focus on ethical and global business, and I believe I can add a more intentional focus on equity to complement the academic portfolio and reinforce the mission of St. Mary’s University. As a Hispanic professional, I am also uniquely positioned to engage the Hispanic business community in Texas, which may be an untapped resource for the Greehey School.”
Before SUNY Plattsburgh, Dr. Ortiz-Walters was a professor and department chair at Quinnipiac University, a private institution in Hamden, Connecticut. She received her doctorate in management and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Connecticut, a research-one level university. She earned an MBA in technology management from the University of New Haven.
A Strategic Thinker
Dr. Ortiz-Walters is known among her colleagues to be a strong strategic thinker and collaborator. At SUNY Plattsburgh, she led efforts to develop a culture and vision to position the school of business and economics at the intersection of business and technology. Essential to that vision were new initiatives focused on students’ proficiency in using new technologies and utilizing technology in decision-making.
“As technology continues to change too, this will mean a need to graduate students with the ability to use collaborative software (e.g., Microsoft Teams), advanced discipline-specific technologies (e.g., blockchain in fintech), manage data securely (e.g., cybersecurity), analyze large amounts of data to inform decision-making using different tools (e.g., Tableau) and proficiency with coding languages (e.g., Python),” said Dr. Ortiz-Walters. “These are all relevant skills business graduates need to be well positioned for the jobs of the future in the growing industries of San Antonio and the Silicon Hills of Austin.”
St. Mary’s University, founded in 1852 by Marianist brothers and priests, is the first institution of higher learning in San Antonio and the oldest Catholic university in the Southwest. Personal attention and powerful academic programs have made St. Mary’s, located on 135 acres northwest of downtown San Antonio, a nationally recognized liberal arts institution. With a diverse student population of about 4,000 of all faiths and backgrounds, St. Mary’s is home to four schools: humanities and social sciences; Greehey School of Business; science, engineering and technology; and law. The university provides a Catholic education experience that evokes academic excellence while integrating liberal studies, professional preparation and ethical commitment. St. Mary’s has more than 75 academic programs, including graduate studies and law. The student-to-faculty ratio of 12-to-1 permits small classes and promotes active learning.
Academic Career & Executive Search focuses on executive search services, career planning and candidate coaching. Specializing in challenging faculty to senior administrative positions, the firm offers six a la carte services spanning full search, candidate generation, interim, multi-hire and contingency search. Candidate support services include webinars, career planning and candidate coaching. Its team has served in virtually every capacity in higher education including president, vice president, provost, dean, chief human research officer and faculty members across all types and sizes of institutions.
Ms. Muller has more than 20 years of research and development experience in higher education and Fortune 500 companies. She has led over 70 higher education searches both domestically and internationally spanning presidents, vice presidents, associate chancellors, deans, directors, chairs and faculty level positions. She is former vice chair of the American Council on Education (ACE) Executive Search Roundtable and serves as an advisor in the numerous ACE leadership development forums.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media