New dean leaves Ivy League for Miami

Barbara E. Kahn left her position as vice dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School to replace Paul K. Sugrue, University of Miami School of Business dean for the past 15 years. Now at UM, she plans to transform Miami into a globally recognized business school.

After obtaining her B.A. from the University of Rochester in 1974, Kahn attended Columbia University where she received an MBA and a PhD. She also published more than 40 articles in consumer, marketing and statistic journals and served as President of the Association of Consumer Research – the top consumer marketing academic society.

Although leaving behind America’s third best graduate school-according to “U.S. News & World Reports”-may be considered a downgrade for some, Kahn looks forward to great opportunities while at UM.

“I see this University under the leadership of President Donna Shalala as having made tremendous strides in the last five to seven years,” Kahn said. “I don’t think any school has had such a steep upward trajectory.”

Robert S. Benchley, the Editorial Director of “BusinessMiami”, commented on Kahn’s arrival at the university.
“[Kahn] is keeping up a very busy schedule and is always in flux, constantly meeting with administration,” Benchley said. “She’s come to this University with a huge list of goals and is knocking things off one at a time”.

Students and staff of the School of Business Administration agree that Kahn is a welcome addition to the community because of her willingness to be a “team player.”

“She is very personable and very open to listening to the ideas of not only her peers and staff, but students as well,” said Blanca Ripoll, first asssistant to Kahn. “[Kahn wants] to make sure everyone is on board for her vision to move the university to the next level.”

Kahn is not the first addition to UM to come from a top-ranking or Ivy League school. She is part of a trend which represents the university’s goal of becoming a more competitive school.

“Coming to a budding university like Miami allows for so much change,” said Dominique K. Reill, UM history professor who recently left her position at Columbia University. “New faculty have great opportunity here.”

Kahn agrees that the opportunity is vast at UM, and said she is thrilled to be part of the university’s growth.

I think [the] University of Miami is the university of the future, and I want to be part of that change.”

Anthony Minerva may be reached at