Lutgert College of Business in the News
This is the text of a story in the Naples Daily News of January 22, 2011
FGCU to Interview Three for Business College Dean Vacancy
ESTERO — When Richard Pegnetter retired from the Lutgert College of Business a week ago, he left the college in a novel spot.
Florida Gulf Coast University’s business school was, for the first time in its history, without its founding dean. And now, the school that oversees the education of roughly 30 percent of the entire FGCU student body is looking for a replacement for the man who molded the very identity of the Lutgert College of Business.
“I think he came in focused on quality, focused on developing good faculty and programs,” said Donna Henry, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at FGCU, and the head of a search committee vetting candidates for Pegnetter’s replacement. “The Lutgert College of Business has been recognized by the Princeton Review as one of the best in the nation. It’s a jewel, and I think it’s ready now for another dean to come in and carry that legacy forward.”
His shoes are big ones to fill, Henry notes.
Pegnetter, who came on board well before the university opened its doors in 1997, helped the school achieve accreditation in record time with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, an international accrediting body for business schools.
Now, officials are nearing the end of a search process for his replacement. In the meantime, an associate dean in the college, Ara Volkan, is serving as interim dean.
Starting Monday, three different candidates will make the rounds for interviews at FGCU, with the last interviews taking place the week of Jan. 31. The three were selected from a pool of 59 applicants.
Henry said the 13-member search advisory committee, made up of faculty, staff and students, will meet following those interviews and make a recommendation to Provost Ronald Toll, most likely on Feb. 7. Toll will make the final hiring decision and execute a contract.
“The process is trying to get a sense of who these people are,” Henry said. “We’ve done a lot of that on paper. Now, getting them on campus — I think we’ve got three potentially good people — this is going to be about fit.”
The candidates are:
Volkan said officials at the university have a clear vision of what they want from Pegnetter’s successor — all of it focused on growing the house that Pegnetter built over 15 years.
“Definitely, we would like to have continued good relations, very profitable and very valued, with the (business) community,” Volkan said. “Because our students do a lot of internships with them — experience they could not have obtained otherwise as they are finishing their degree.”
Among other key parts of the next dean’s job — as they were for Pegnetter, Volkan said — are supporting the college’s growth and attracting the outside money to fund research activities.
“Of course, we expect the new dean to put his or her imprint on it,” Volkan said. “Things will change, but not dramatically, because why would you want to mess around with success?”
One of the biggest initiatives Pegnetter said he would like to see the college continue: the expansion of connections between the Lutgert College and other international business schools. It is a concept Pegnetter calls the “second circle,” to describe the outward effect business schools can have in facilitating trade and interaction for the surrounding business community.
In the 2011 edition of The Princeton Review 300 Best Business Schools in the nation, the Lutgert School was singled out for its “international focus,” among other factors.
“We use our academic relationship to reach out a bit to connect our two business communities,” said Pegnetter, 69. “The dean of the business school is never the person who makes the business interactions, but rather we felt we were in a position to facilitate those interactions.”
That has meant fostering the relationships for local business leaders to travel and meet their counterparts in overseas markets, particularly Germany, which already provides a strong influx of tourism to Southwest Florida.
And as far as advice to his successor, Pegnetter said there is a key requirement in a school that educates young people and business professionals to work in the ever-dynamic business sector: “I think that we have a very entrepreneurial environment in the business school, and I hope that whoever comes in would continue to support that.”
“There’s so much more energy released in an organization when you kind of empower that entrepreneurial spirit,” Pegnetter continued. “I think that’s the spirit that brought a lot of faculty here.”
As for Pegnetter, while he plans to enjoy retirement by soaking up some time outdoors, he also has plenty of plans to stay busy.
In the near future, he will travel to both India and the United Arab Emirates to conduct evaluations of business schools there on behalf of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Additionally, he is certified as an arbitrator in labor management disputes, and said he will continue to conduct those arbitrations when called on.