The "Early" Years...

June 5, 2013
by Maria Loftus

Hi, my name is Maria Lofftus and it has been my great pleasure to be involved with the Rady School of Management since it was just a glimmer in the eye of community members, UC San Diego faculty and our Chancellor.  I was hired by then Senior Vice Chancellor Marsha Chandler to work with faculty across campus to answer the question “Should UC San Diego open a business school?”  San Diego business and community supporters had long lobbied the campus leadership for a business school focused on developing managers with strong management and leadership skills for the region’s innovation-driven economy, and finally the time had come. With the blessings of the UC San Diego Academic Senate and the administration, a proposal to create the new school was sent to the Office of the President where, in late 2001, it was approved for creation by the Regents.

That’s when the fun (and hard work) really began.  We had the approval to create a school, but now we needed a faculty, staff, curriculum and facilities, and did I mention that we would need a founding Dean?  Someone to help show us the way.  We found just the right person for the job with Robert Sullivan, or “Dean Bob” as we affectionately call him. 

Dean Sullivan arrived in January 2003.  The MBA degree was approved by the Regents later that year.  Shortly thereafter our founding faculty, Professors Schkade, Timmermann, Krishnan and McKenzie joined the school and began building our faculty ranks.  They soon recruited On Amir, Ross Valkanov, Jun Liu, Kevin Zhu, Uri and Ayelet Gneezy, Thomas Roemer and Del Foit.   The senior management team was led by Clark Jordan, JoAnne Starr and myself. 

In January 2004, following a generous gift from Evelyn and Ernest Rady and the Rady Family Foundation, our new school was named the Rady School of Management.

Our first MBA students arrived on campus in fall 2004, as part of the FlexMBA program for working professionals.  The Full-Time MBA program began in fall 2005.  The Rady Center for Executive Development has delivered non-degree programs since 2003 and the Rady School started offering undergraduate courses (we now offer the two most popular undergraduate minors on campus – business and accounting) in spring 2007.  The school’s first candidates for a Ph.D. in management matriculated in fall 2009.

Moving on up…

Over the past ten years, our “digs” have improved significantly.  When Dean Sullivan first arrived, the startup team was spread across several borrowed offices in two different buildings.   After about six months we moved to UC 412 – one of the last remaining buildings from the US Marine Corps’ Camp Matthews which occupied the UC San Diego site prior to 1964 (the Student Services Center was built on the former location of UC 412.)  It was a wonderful old building with wood floors, tall ceilings, and openable windows. With the arrival of faculty and students, we needed larger facilities and so we moved once again, this time to Pepper Canyon Hall.  We called Pepper Canyon Hall home for a few years eventually occupying the third and fourth floor and all of the classroom space.

In 2007 we moved to our permanent facilities at Otterson Hall.  Funded almost entirely with donor funds, Otterson Hall was named in honor of the late William (Bill) Otterson, co-founder of UCSD CONNECT, in appreciation for his contributions to the San Diego business community and his impact on the region.  In 2012, the Rady School campus was completed with the opening of Wells Fargo Hall.

Looking Ahead…

The past ten years have been a whirlwind of activity, growth, and accomplishments.  We are now home to the Beyster Institute, the Center for Innovation and Enterprise Development (CIED), the Rady Innovation Fellows, the Rady Venture Fund, the Center for Executive Development and Virtual Business Educational Leadership Assessment (VirBELA) to name just a few.  With this month’s graduation, we will have over 825 MBA alumni with Alumni Chapters as far away as Tokyo, Japan.  And we received AACSB Business accreditation (the youngest school ever!)  What will the future bring…I don’t want to give away any surprises, but I can assure you, it will be amazing!