Just as the Robins School of Business nears completion of a new academic building, the administration also added a new dean, Nancy A. Bagranoff.
"I think she's just what we need," said University of Richmond President Edward L. Ayers. "She's so engaged and so invested in the university's mission. She has ambition for the Robins School and she's experienced in all the right ways."
Bagranoff served as dean of Old Dominion University's College of Business and Public Administration since 2003, and joined the Robins School Aug. 9. She succeeded interim dean Robert M. Schmidt, who had served since June 2009.
"She built ODU's Business School from the ground up," said recent graduate Chris Leith, Richmond College '10, who served as president of the Robins School of Business student government last year. Leith was the student representative for the search conducted last year for the new dean.
"She had a lot of energy and made it seem like she would come in and do a lot of good things," Leith said.
Bagranoff received an accounting degree at Briarcliff College and moved on to an M.S. in accounting at Syracuse University.
"The first class I taught was at Syracuse University, and once I taught that class, it was all over," Bagranoff said. "I have taught accounting for 31 years."
In addition to tenured experience teaching accounting, Bagranoff also completed a doctorate of business administration in accounting and information systems from The George Washington University.
"I love accounting and I've loved being an accounting professor," Bagranoff said. "We always say accounting's the language of businesses."
Darrell Walden, chairman of the accounting department, gave a full endorsement of the new dean.
"We are really happy to have Dr. Bagranoff as our colleague in our department," Walden said. "With the fact that she is now a past president of the American Accounting Association, she brings name-recognition immediately to our deanship and to our school, and that type of recognition is an honor."
Bagranoff served as president of the American Accounting Association just last year. She said she hoped to integrate the contacts she made through her position in the association, through her deanship at ODU, and through serving as president of the Chamber of Commerce in Hampton Roads to create corporate relations for Richmond business students.
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"She's a real leader among businesses," Ayers said. "People have told me from [Hampton Roads] how influential she is in connecting the school with local employers for internships and connecting with alums."
Bagranoff also said she hoped to get the chance to start teaching next year after she settled into her new position.
She has many goals for the school and her new position as dean. She emphasized a 'do no harm' policy, given the Business School's well-established national standing.
Robert Schmidt, who served as interim dean, emphasized a few goals he handed over to Bagranoff when he succeeded the position.
"Some of the things we worked on had to do with funding research for our faculty for continued faculty development," Schmidt said. "We're also very strong in coupling a solid, rigorous academic classroom with experience and practical education. She'll carry that forward."
Bagranoff said her accounting background would help her work with the budget and with strategic planning.
"She is on her 90-day listening tour," Walden said. "She wants to listen first, then assimilate the information that she gets from us and hopefully lead us in the right direction."
Bagranoff said she hoped to expand on the business school's past successes.
"I really care about the students passionately and I think that I will really encourage the faculty to continue on the great model that they have with the students," she said.
Bagranoff's experience in serving a deanship through her years at ODU was the key point to her candidacy at Richmond.
"She was a dean for seven years, so she's coming in and she's not training as a dean, she's actually been a dean," Walden said. "She has that experience, so she'll be able to hit the ground running."
Leith agreed on her qualifications.
"Bagranoff was the big-time leader," he said. "She came in and nailed everything and there wasn't one person who I talked to who said they didn't enjoy her coming to campus."
Bagranoff said she hoped to get involved with the rest of the university as well.
"I'm really trying to work with each of the deans to see how we can interface best," she said. "I hope to be involved in all parts of the university. It's the people, and I can't single out a group. I've loved meeting the students and I'm so impressed with the quality of the faculty and the staff."
Contact staff writer Liz McAvoy at email@example.com.
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