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Jindal School Celebrates Generous Donors at 40th Anniversary Event
April 8, 2016
The history and progress of UT Dallas’ largest school was recently celebrated at an event marking the 40th anniversary of the Naveen Jindal School of Management.
The evening’s presentations and remarks by faculty, graduates and friends focused on the phenomenal growth of JSOM during the last four decades, with enrollment currently at about 8,000 and the faculty numbering 270.
The March 1 event was further enriched by the presence of UT Dallas President-Designate Dr. Richard C. Benson, who was greeted with prolonged applause and cheers from the approximately 125 guests in attendance. Currently dean of engineering at Virginia Tech, Benson is slated to succeed President ad interim Dr. Hobson Wildenthal on July 15.
In 1973, when UT Dallas first offered a graduate program in management science, four part-time students enrolled and were taught by program director Dr. Raymond P. Lutz and part-time faculty members.
The School of Management, established two years later with Lutz as the first dean, opened the same year undergraduate juniors and seniors were first admitted to UT Dallas. That year, the School of Management awarded 17 bachelor’s and 26 master’s degrees. By spring 2015 graduation, those numbers had jumped to 471 bachelor’s, 934 master’s and three doctoral degrees.
Dr. David L. Ford Jr., JSOM’s longest-serving professor, also arrived at UT Dallas in 1975, and he reflected on his own time at the school in reminiscences he shared with the dinner guests.
Ford particularly credited Jindal School Dean Hasan Pirkul, whose tenure began in 1996, with helping the school establish its identity. Pirkul and former UT Dallas President Franklyn G. Jenifer, who served from 1994 until 2005, understood the importance of getting accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate School of Business International, “a gold standard for business schools,” Ford said.
There had been attempts to gain accreditation before, Ford explained, “but one problem was we had too many part-time faculty, as opposed to tenure-track faculty. That changed. There was a greater focus on the tenure track, and the quality of faculty grew, along with the reputation of the school.”
Pirkul’s work in establishing the UTD Top 100 Business School Research Rankings™, a database measuring researchers’ publication productivity in 24 leading academic business journals, also was important, Ford said. “This added prestige to the University,” he said.
Under Pirkul’s leadership, the number of programs has grown to 77, and the school offers 28 degrees. Pirkul also guided the school’s move into its own building, which underwent an expansion in 2014.
Alumni support played a major role in making the building’s construction possible, Ford said, and Pirkul “has cultivated caring alumni.”
In 2011, alumni Naveen Jindal MBA’92 and Charles Davidson MS’80 and Nancy Gundy Davidson BS’80 gave a philanthropic package valued at $45 million that led to the school’s naming in Jindal’s honor.
Just as important to the school, in Ford’s view, was that Pirkul has achieved buy-in from the business community in school programs and activities. Likewise, he has worked to make the school more responsive to the business community’s needs, Ford said.
Richardson city manager Dan Johnson and Jindal School Advisory Council chairman Steve Penson followed Ford to the stage, where they discussed the school and the University’s roles in creating a thriving community.
Skip Moore, a managing partner at Deloitte & Touche LLP, and past chairman of the Jindal School Advisory Council, shared his optimism about the school’s growing sphere of influence. Having been affiliated with the school for about 15 years, he said, “You have to be impressed with where the school is ranking and its standing among companies looking for employees, and its remarkable growth. The preparation of the students and the commitment to challenging minds just means it should have a great future.”
Pirkul mentioned rankings early in the dinner program, acknowledging that JSOM wasn’t always so strongly regarded.
The Jindal School’s Full-Time MBA program recently earned 37th place in the nation, tying with the University of Florida, in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 rankings. JSOM ranks fourth in Texas, behind UT Austin, Rice University and Texas A&M University.
The school’s Professional MBA program moved up three spots in the same rankings to No. 26, and its Information Systems program remains one of the nation’s top programs in this category at 16th. Production/operations programs were ranked 21st.
At the dinner, Pirkul said his goal for JSOM is to aim even higher.
“The school, all of us together, have earned the right to expect from ourselves to be the very best,” he said.
Former students related their experiences to the audience. Angelica Barriga BS’03, MBA’08, solutions management lead at Google, said JSOM provided her with an important network. Her education also gave her greater confidence, helping her realize that “I can negotiate based on my credentials, and it’s OK to do so.”
She was joined by Mayur Ranoliya MS’10, director of Service Delivery for Ericsson. Ranoliya said that for him and his wife, Nutan Ranoliya-Radadiya MS’13, UT Dallas and the Jindal School have become so engrained in their lives that they automatically turned to the school for counsel when they decided to launch her health care business.
The success the three alumni have enjoyed led them to establish endowments benefiting JSOM.
JSOM alumni are giving back to their alma mater in greater numbers, said Erica Yaeger, assistant dean for development and alumni relations.
“Alumni giving has grown by nearly 176 percent in the past seven years. The increasing dollars we get tell us in a tangible way that Jindal School graduates value the skills and the training the school supplies for their futures.”
This story was reported and written by freelance contributor Eric Butterman.
Media Contact: Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].