St. Thomas Biz School Dean Chris Puto to Step Down

Christopher Puto, who has served as dean of the University of St. Thomas' Opus College of Business since 2002, will step down on June 30.

Christopher Puto, dean of the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas, will resign from his post on June 30, the university announced Wednesday.

Puto will take a sabbatical and return to the Opus College in the 2013 spring semester but only to teach classes, the university said.

Susan Huber, chief academic officer at St. Thomas, said in a statement that she will appoint an interim dean for the 2012-2013 academic year, during which the college will search for a permanent dean.

Puto joined the Opus College of Business as dean in 2002 after serving as dean of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University for four years.

St. Thomas said that it was Puto who directed Opus College's effort to earn the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International accreditation, which it received last year. The accreditation, also held by University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, is held by fewer than 5 percent of the world's business schools and is considered the highest standard for business education, according to the university.

Puto also inaugurated Opus College's full-time day MBA programs to complement its night-school MBA programs and doubled the number of full-time faculty members at the school. The business college today offers undergraduate concentrations in 13 fields and seven master's degree programs.

Since Puto took over as dean, the school also established the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship; built and opened the $22 million, state-of-the art Schulze Hall; received several individual donations of $50 million or more; and increased the number of students enrolled in MBA programs, of whom there were 1,172 in fall 2010.

“I am heartened by the transformation that has occurred during the past 10 years,” Puto said in a statement. “Our faculty and staff have succeeded in recruiting outstanding students during exceedingly difficult times for business schools.”

Puto is a board member at a number of organizations, including AACSB International, Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest, The BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota, the National Black MBA Foundation, the Minneapolis Downtown Council, and Spring Hill College.