Volume 11 No. 1 SPRING 2010

Last Word

Dean Anand Anandalingam

Here at the Smith School, we who worked on a frequent basis with Bob Smith are affected deeply by the news of his unexpected death on December 29, 2009.

His passing is such a loss to us—not just because of his tireless advocacy on our behalf or his incredibly generous financial support. More than all those things, I will miss the way Bob challenged us to pursue ever greater, higher and better dreams.

The greatest of the gifts he gave us was his unwavering commitment to excellence. Bob was never content with the status quo; he was never satisfied with ‘good enough.’ Whenever new rankings were published, he would call me—eager to discuss our current standings and the standards by which we were judged. He always asked penetrating questions. And he always ended the conversation by saying, “I know that with you at the helm we are going to do even better.” Bob’s confidence in me was almost scary. I always felt like I had no choice but to succeed!

I believe the best way to honor the life and memory of this remarkable man is to become what he hoped for: a top-ranked school delivering excellent programs that have great impact on our students and the world around us.

Greater engagement is going to be one of our keys to greater impact. We are working on getting our thought leadership out where it can make an impact on business practices and government policy. Our new, practitioner-oriented centers will help us develop strong ties with leaders in the corporate community and in governmental and nonprofit agencies, solving problems and addressing urgent challenges in a relationship that is mutually beneficial to both the school and the organization.

We are also committed to lifelong learning for executives and our alumni. Our series of ThoughtLeadership@Smith breakfasts in the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area give practitioners and policy-makers a chance to hear top faculty deliver short presentations on their latest research. We plan to roll out new open enrollment programs through our executive education department. Our centers will begin offering more programs for executives through conferences and forums.

We’ve already made some progress as we move toward greater engagement and influence, but as Will Rogers said, “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” So we’ve got to keep moving!

And for that I’ll need your help. Please take advantage of these new opportunities to engage with our faculty and our Centers of Excellence, and help us make connections with your organizations as well.

I also hope you’ll take the time to be engaged with each other, and with us. The Smith School’s influence is judged in part by the reach of our alumni, and your reach is multiplied a hundredfold when you work with other alumni—helping each other, hiring each other, and widening your reach together. Visit SmithConnector today—right now!—and log in. Join your fellow alumni in creating greater opportunities for yourselves, for each other, and for the Smith School.

There is still much to do in our pursuit of excellence, and we are committed to the task of sustaining Bob Smith’s vision and becoming one of the best business schools in the world. We are honored to be part of his legacy—a legacy that is reflected in each and every alumnus. He had an unwavering belief in the potential of his fellow alumni to do what he himself had done: pursue their careers with integrity; succeed beyond their wildest dreams; and go on to give back in ways that would make the world a better place forever.


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