USM College of Business gets first female dean

southern-miss-logoUniversity of Southern Mississippi alum and Ocean springs native Dr. Faye Gilbert has been selected as the first woman to head the university’s College of Business.

Gilbert, who earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees in business administration at Southern Miss, will return to her alma mater as the next dean of the University’s College of Business.

Pending approval by the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, her official start date will be July 1.

Gilbert, who currently is dean of the College of Business and Economics at Radford (Va.) University, replaces Lance Nail, who left Southern Miss to accept a similar position at Texas Tech University last August.

“Southern Miss has a legacy of excellence in research, teaching and in service to the region,” Gilbert said in a press statement. “The faculty, staff, students and alumni of Southern Miss are distinctive in their approach to other people and in their concern for the world around them. This is an exciting opportunity and a wonderful time to join the team at Southern Miss.”

The search for a new dean began late last year and four finalists were brought to campus in January and February of this year. The search committee consisted of faculty, staff, and students — both in and out of the College of Business – as well as members of the College’s Business Advisory Council.

Dr. Dave Davies, search committee chair and dean of the Southern Miss Honors College, said Gilbert emerged as the clear choice from a pool of well qualified candidates.

“Dr. Gilbert has the energy, drive, and experience to lead our excellent College of Business to the next level,” said Davies. “She has the ability to relate to faculty, students, and the business community. She will bring a tremendous energy, enthusiasm, and drive to work with the faculty to build on the College’s many successes.”

Gilbert, a native of Ocean Springs, Miss., earned her bachelor of science in business administration at Southern Miss in 1982 and her master’s the following year. She received her doctorate from North Texas University in 1988. Before accepting her current post at Radford, Gilbert served as dean of the business school at Georgia College and State University.

Gilbert comes to Southern Miss during a monumental point in the College of Business’ history. Last July construction began on Scianna Hall, a 93,000-square-foot facility that will house the College of Business and sit adjacent to the Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship, facing U.S. 49 South. The building is targeted for completion by spring, 2014.

The new building is named in honor of Southern Miss alumnus Charles “Chuck” Scianna, a Texas oil drilling equipment company owner and USM alum who has committed $6 million toward the project. The building is estimated to cost $30 million. Scianna Hall will transform the Southern Miss College of Business program that includes about 2,200 students, more than 65 faculty members and 17 staff members. The new facility will replace antiquated Joseph Greene Hall, which opened in 1967.

“The College of Business will be inside a remarkable structure with a promise of no limits to connect Southern Miss faculty with students and outreach opportunities,” said Gilbert. “The location is perfect to send a clear signal of the leadership role the people at Southern Miss have provided for a long period of time.”

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