St. Thomas Names Stefanie Lenway Dean Of Its Biz School
About a year after the University of St. Thomas named its first female president, the university’s business school has named Stefanie Lenway its first permanent female dean, starting August 1.
Currently the dean of Michigan State’s business school, Lenway, 63, will succeed Christopher Puto, 71, who served as dean of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business since 2002 and previously announced plans to retire.
For the past 33 years, Lenway has been a university business professor, department chair, or dean. Twenty-one of those years were spent at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, where she began teaching as an assistant professor in 1984 and went on to become chair of her department and associate dean from 2002 to 2005.
Lenway then became the business school dean at the University of Illinois at Chicago from 2005 to 2010 and later the dean of the business school at Michigan State, a post she has held since 2010.
Although St. Thomas said Lenway hasn’t solidified any specific initiatives for the business school, Lenway said she’s “interested and tremendously impressed with what St. Thomas has done in areas such as entrepreneurship, health care, and ethics. And [that she’ll] certainly be exploring opportunities for online education.”
Lenway said a primary reason she took the job “is St. Thomas President Julie Sullivan,” who became president on July 1. “When Dr. Sullivan and I first talked on the phone, I knew immediately that she is really someone I could work with,” Lenway said.
“Stefanie is a strategic, creative thinker who sees opportunities and knows how to take advantage of them,” Sullivan said in a statement. “She is particularly interested in entrepreneurship and building international programs and relationships. She knows this area well, having been a faculty member and administrator at the University of Minnesota, and will strengthen our networks in the community.”
Richard Schulze, founder of Richfield-based Best Buy and chair of the Opus College of Business Strategic Board of Governors, also voiced his support for Lenway.
“Her interest on building an entrepreneurial focus adds value throughout the university, as well as providing leadership to the importance of competitive advantage for students wanting to control their own destiny,” Schulze said in a statement. “I am pleased she is coming to St. Thomas to focus on the added dimension of high-quality inspiration throughout all our colleges.”
Lenway is the business school’s first permanent female dean, although Jeanne Buckeye served as interim dean from January 2001 and then co-dean from July 2001 until Puto was appointed in June 2002.