Al Niemi announces plans to step down as dean of SMU’s Cox School of Business after 2016-17 academic year

dean search

Al Niemi announces plans to step down as dean of SMU’s Cox School of Business after 2016-17 academic year

Albert W. 'Al' Niemi Jr., dean, SMU Cox School of BusinessAlbert W. Niemi, Jr., the dean of SMU’s Cox School of Business during a time of great growth and increasing national stature for the school, has announced his intention to step down from his administrative post at the end of the 2016-17 academic year.

He will continue to serve as dean during the University’s search, which will begin immediately.

Dean Niemi, who currently holds the Cox School’s Tolleson Chair in Business Leadership, will remain on the faculty as the William J. O’Neil Chair in Global Markets and Freedom after he completes his administrative duties.

“We just finished SMU’s first century and the Second Century Campaign, so now is a time to look ahead,” Niemi said. “We need someone with a vision to lead the Cox School to success in its next era. By stepping down as dean, but remaining to teach, I have the opportunity to support the next dean if he or she wants my advice, and I can be with my students, work with my faculty and staff colleagues, and continue to be part of this great campus. It will be a privilege to end my career the way I began it – in the classroom, doing what I love best.”

Since arriving at the Cox School in June 1997, Niemi has increased the school’s national and international visibility. Cox’s B.B.A., full-time M.B.A., Professional M.B.A. and Executive M.B.A. programs are ranked among the best in the world by Bloomberg BusinessWeek, The Economist, Financial Times, Forbes, and U.S. News & World Report. Niemi is the eighth dean – and, as he begins his 20th year at SMU, the longest-serving dean – in the Cox School’s history.

Niemi also has been an effective fund-raiser who has dramatically increased the school’s endowment from $78 million to more than $200 million. The new endowment funds have created 10 new endowed faculty positions, eight new endowed centers and institutes, and 60 new endowed scholarships. In addition, he helped raise $19 million to support the construction of the James M. Collins Executive Education Center.

During his tenure, donors have honored his service by establishing the Albert W. Niemi Center for American Capitalism at SMU Cox and the Maria and Albert Niemi Endowed Centennial B.B.A. Scholars Fund. The Niemi Center is a partnership with the George W. Bush Institute that puts the tenets of Niemi’s teaching and research into action through research fellowships, academic programs and community outreach. The Niemi Endowed Centennial B.B.A. Scholars Fund provides scholarships to support B.B.A. students in the Cox School.

“My professional relationship with Al Niemi pre-dates my own arrival at SMU as president,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He had already earned a reputation as an outstanding educator and business school administrator at the University of Georgia, so when the opportunity arose to recruit him to serve as the dean of the Cox School, it was an easy choice and one that has greatly benefited both Cox and the University. Under his leadership, the Cox School has strengthened its connection to the Dallas and North Texas community of which SMU is a part and has also become a globally prominent business school.”

Before coming to SMU, Niemi served as dean of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia from 1982-1996. An expert in economic growth, economic forecasting, and the history of capitalism in America, he has taught more than 15,000 students and consistently has been recognized for distinguished teaching. He also has written six books and more than 200 articles for leading academic journals and business periodicals.

“As an academician, administrator, and university citizen, Al Niemi is second to none,” SMU Provost Steven Currall said. “The business school faculty he leads enjoys a stellar global reputation. Both the undergraduate and graduate programs rank highly. The Cox BBA Scholars program, which allows first-year students with outstanding academic qualifications to be admitted directly into the Cox School, continues to attract the nation’s best and brightest undergraduates. In turn, the BBA Scholars program has helped enhance SMU’s student academic profile campus-wide.”

Niemi has served on and led search committees that have brought new leaders, including the current provost, to SMU. He has worked extensively in business school and university accreditation. In addition, he has chaired or served as a member on accreditation review teams to more than 20 universities, including Emory, Washington University, DePaul, Vanderbilt, Claremont, William and Mary, North Carolina, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Syracuse, Monterrey Tech (Mexico), INCAE (Costa Rica), University of Monterrey (Mexico), the Autonomous Technological University of Mexico, and IESA (Venezuela).

The dean also served three-year terms on the Board of Governors of the American Association of University Administrators and Beta Gamma Sigma, and he served a six-year term on the Board of Trustees of Stonehill College, his alma mater, in Easton, Massachusetts.

Active in the business community, Niemi speaks to numerous civic and business groups across the nation. He is currently a member of the advisory board of the Bank of Texas and the Advisory Council of The Catholic Foundation.

Originally from Massachusetts, Niemi is the grandson of Finnish and Irish immigrants. He earned a scholarship to Stonehill College, from which he graduated cum laude with an A.B. degree in economics, and went on to earn his M.A and Ph.D. degrees in economics from the University of Connecticut.

The dean and his wife, Maria, have two grown children, Albert III and Edward Charles, and three grandchildren.

August 25, 2016|For the Record, News|

Duke theologian, researcher and administrator Craig C. Hill named dean of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology

Craig C. Hill, dean of Perkins School of Theology, SMUCraig C. Hill, a Duke University leader in theological education with strengths in practice, research and church relations, has been appointed the new dean of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology, effective July 1, 2016.

Current Perkins Dean William B. Lawrence announced in September 2015 that he will retire from the position on May 16 and take a leave of absence during the 2016-17 academic year, possibly returning to SMU as professor of American church history after that time.

Since 2010, Dr. Hill has served as executive director of the Doctor of Ministry and Master of Christian Practice programs at Duke, as well as research professor of theological pedagogy.

He previously served the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., where he held several positions: professor of New Testament, executive director of academic outreach, director of the Wesley Ministry Network, co-director of the dual degree program with The American University and director of the Master of Theological Studies degree program.

> Learn more about the SMU Perkins decanal search committee

“Dr. Hill’s broad achievements as a scholar and pastoral leader make him well-equipped to guide and strengthen the next century of theological higher education at SMU,” said Steven C. Currall, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Theology was one of the first subjects taught when SMU opened in 1915, and today Perkins School of Theology remains central to the mission and character of the University. Dr. Hill will further cement the close relationship between Perkins and The United Methodist Church, as well as with other faith-based organizations in the region, nationally, and around the world. We are delighted that Dr. Hill will join the academic leadership of SMU as dean of the Perkins School of Theology.”

“Perkins School of Theology has from the beginning sought, in the words of Charles Wesley, to ‘unite…knowledge and vital piety,’ to pursue the highest standard of theological scholarship, not simply for its own sake, but for the benefit of the Church,” said Dr. Hill. “I was delighted to discover one of the school’s earliest mottos: ‘Take the School of Theology to the Church.’ My own career has been defined by that same goal, so I feel incredibly privileged to join the Perkins community as it seeks faithfully to fulfill its mission in its second century of service to the Church.”

From his experience at theology schools of other distinguished universities, Dr. Hill brings a broad overview of best practices and evolving challenges in different regions of the nation and world. These positions include those at seminaries in Moscow, Russia; Seoul, Korea; and the University of Cambridge, England. In the United States, he has been a visiting professor at Howard University Divinity School and at Indiana University and was a Henry Luce Fellow at Yale Divinity School. Based on his experience at Duke University, Dr. Hill will bring insights into how theological education aligns with other academic programs in a global research university with a liberal arts tradition, such as SMU.

“Trends in theology education, the growing need for outreach to underserved communities and the importance of preparing ministers for new challenges and opportunities – all demand the balance of theological practice and reflection that Dr. Hill will bring to his leadership of Perkins,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner.

Among Dr. Hill’s church positions, he served as director of Christian Education at First United Methodist Church, Meriden, Connecticut; as chaplain at Christ Church College, University of Oxford; as associate pastor at First United Methodist Church, Peoria, Illinois; and as associate pastor at Woodside United Methodist Church, Springfield, Illinois.

“In a very competitive field, Dr. Craig Hill stood out for a number of reasons,” said Samuel S. Holland, chair of the search committee and dean of SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. “He has served in various executive positions at Duke Divinity School and Wesley Theological Seminary, in other words both in a theological school embedded in a research university and at an independent institution. He brings an international perspective to SMU. In all, he will provide ecumenical breadth and theological depth that Perkins School of Theology will need going forward.”

Dr. Hill is the author of numerous scholarly articles and the forthcoming book, The Greatest Among You: Reclaiming a New Testament Perspective on Status and Ambition. His previous books include In God’s Time: The Bible and the Future and Hellenists and Hebrews: Reappraising Division within the Earliest Church.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in religion from Illinois Wesleyan University, a Master of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a Ph.D. from the University of Oxford (Christ Church College).

Review Craig C. Hill’s curriculum vitae

April 15, 2016|For the Record, News|

Perkins dean search committee named; open faculty-staff forums scheduled for Sept. 14, 2015

SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs ad interim Harold W. Stanley has named the members of the search committee for the next dean of Perkins School of Theology.

Dean William B. Lawrence has announced that he will retire from the position on May 16, 2016 and take a leave of absence during the 2016-17 academic year, possibly returning to SMU as professor of American church history after that time.

Samuel S. Holland, dean of SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, chairs the Perkins Dean Search Committee. The committee members include:

  • Rev. Richie Butler ’93, senior pastor, St. Paul United Methodist Church, Dallas
  • Dodee Frost Crockett ’75, ’03, managing director, Crockett, McBride & Associates, member of the Perkins Executive Board
  • Bishop Michael McKee, SMU trustee, Resident Bishop of the North Texas Annual Conference
  • Rev. Paul Rasmussen ’04, senior pastor, Highland Park United Methodist Church
  • Kay Prothro Yeager, community volunteer and civic leader, member of the Perkins Executive Board
  • Chris Anderson, Sacred Music, Perkins School of Theology
  • William Jennings Bryan III, associate dean for student affairs, Perkins School of Theology
  • Carlos Cardoza-Orlandi, World Christianities and Mission Studies, Perkins School of Theology
  • Kate Carté Engel, History, Dedman College
  • Steven Lindquist, Religious Studies, Dedman College
  • Natalia Mirandiuc, Christian Theology, Perkins School of Theology
  • Peter Moore, professor of mathematics, senior associate dean and associate dean for general education, Dedman College
  • Evelyn Parker, Susanna Wesley Chair of Practical Theology, associate dean for academic affairs, Perkins School of Theology
  • Rev. Dr. Stephen Rankin, SMU chaplain
  • Abraham Smith, New Testament, Perkins School of Theology
  • Pavielle Chriss, Master’s degree candidate, Perkins School of Theology
  • Geoffrey Moore, doctoral candidate, Religious Students, Dedman College

Dr. Ann Die Hasselmo, senior consultant of Academic Search, Inc., will serve as consultant to the Search Committee. She has worked with SMU on several previous academic searches, including the most recent dean searches for Dedman College and Meadows School of the Arts as well as the current searches for the provost and the vice president for student affairs.

Dean Holland has invited all Perkins faculty and staff members to meet with members of the Search Committee and Dr. Hasselmo. Two open forums have been scheduled for Monday, Sept. 14, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in 121 Prothro Hall in the Theology Quad.

September 2, 2015|For the Record, News|

Sam Holland named Meadows dean on Nov. 12, 2014

Sam Holland, dean, Meadows School of the Arts at SMUSam Holland, professor and director in the Meadows School of the ArtsDivision of Music, was named the School’s new dean on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014.

He has served as interim dean since July 1, 2014, following the departure of former dean José Antonio Bowen.

An internationally renowned music educator and arts administrator, Holland will also hold the school’s Algur H. Meadows Chair.

Holland has been director of the Meadows School’s Division of Music since 2010. Under his leadership, the Music Division was named the #1 music program in the United States in the 2014 College Factual rankings, as reported in USA Today. He has also provided leadership in fundraising: He worked with the Meadows development team to obtain more than $10 million in new giving for piano inventory and programs; renovation of practice facilities; and support for endowed scholarships, new endowed professorships and the ensemble-in-residence program.

“We are delighted to have a distinguished leader who is already a highly respected member of the SMU family and the Dallas arts community to assume this important position,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Sam Holland brings experience and success not only in teaching and performing, but also in fundraising, external outreach and impact on his profession.”

Holland joined the Meadows music faculty in 1991, initially serving as head of piano pedagogy and director of the Piano Preparatory Department. He has served as head of the Department of Keyboard Studies and Pedagogy, associate chair and chair ad interim of the Division of Music and Meadows associate director for academic affairs. His teaching at SMU has included piano pedagogy, studio piano, computers and keyboards, jazz piano and piano master classes.

“Sam Holland brings a great understanding of the Meadows School and its culture and great personal charm and accomplishment to the position of dean,” said Paul Ludden, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “It is rare for a candidate to receive such enthusiastic support from every sector of the University and the community. SMU is fortunate to have Sam leading the Meadows School as the University advances in national prominence.”

Holland has extended the Meadows School’s reach beyond the campus. He developed closer associations with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and organized SMU student performances for civic events, such as the grand opening of the Winspear Opera House and groundbreaking for the George W. Bush Presidential Center. He developed and shepherded partnerships with community groups including Dallas Chamber Music, Voices of Change, Dallas Bach Society and the Allegro Guitar Society.

“I am deeply honored and tremendously excited by the opportunity to lead the Meadows School at this time in its history,” Holland said. “After years of growth in the quality and reputation of its programs, Meadows is emerging as a national model for arts education in the 21st century. Considering the people at SMU and Meadows, an extraordinary executive board and the dynamism of Dallas, I can’t help but be irrepressibly optimistic about the future. Great cultural centers have great schools nearby. Lincoln Center has Juilliard. Chicago has Northwestern. The Dallas Arts District has Meadows. In my view, the powerhouse schools of the next 25 years will be those in which fine and performing arts are working alongside cutting-edge communication arts – precisely the ingredients we celebrate at Meadows. At Meadows, we will create, communicate, curate, innovate and engage with this great city we call home. I’m looking forward to the journey.”

Aside from his responsibilities in the Meadows School, Holland is co-founder and executive director of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy, Inc., a nonprofit educational institution in New Jersey. He is executive director of the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy and Clavier Companion magazine. He chairs the Committee on Ethics of the Texas Association of Music Schools.

Holland earned his Bachelor of Music in applied music cum laude from The University of Texas at Austin, followed by a Master of Music in applied music with highest honors at the University of Houston and a Ph.D. in music education with an emphasis in piano pedagogy at the University of Oklahoma.

He is the author or co-author of more than 70 critically acclaimed method and repertoire collections with major publishers. In addition, he is internationally active as a performer and lecturer at music conferences and festivals and has served as founder and executive of national professional conferences and journals.

At the international level, Holland has provided leadership for music workshops and lecture/demonstrations in countries including England, Spain, Australia, Hungary, Norway and Canada. He has represented the Meadows Division of Music on visits to the U.K., Japan, Australia, Shanghai, Spain and the Peoples’ Republic of China.

Holland has been honored with the Texas Music Teacher Association Outstanding Collegiate Teaching Award and the Dean’s Prize of Meadows School of the Arts.

> Read the full story from SMU News

November 12, 2014|For the Record, News, Year of the Faculty|

SMU announces Meadows dean search committee

SMU has announced the members of a search committee to identify candidates for dean of the University’s Meadows School of the Arts. The 19-member committee includes the chair of SMU’s Board of Trustees; the chair and several members of the Executive Board of Meadows School of the Arts; University faculty members; and two Meadows School directors, as well as two Meadows students.

Current Meadows Dean José Antonio Bowen has been named president of Goucher College in the Baltimore area. He will continue his SMU service through June 2014.

David Chard, Leon Simmons Endowed Dean of SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, will serve as committee chair. In addition to Chard, the Meadows Dean’s Search Committee includes:

  • Linda Pitts Custard, chair of the Meadows Museum Advisory Council and member of the Executive Board and Campaign Steering Committee, Meadows School of the Arts
  • Bess Enloe, former chair of the Executive Board, Meadows School of the Arts
  • Linda Perryman Evans, president and CEO, The Meadows Foundation
  • Melissa Fetter, chair of the Executive Board and member of the Campaign Steering Committee, Meadows School of the Arts
  • Caren Prothro, chair, SMU Board of Trustees

Faculty members (Meadows School of the Arts unless otherwise noted):

  • Rhonda Blair, professor, Division of Theatre
  • Patty Harrington Delaney, associate professor and chair, Division of Dance
  • Hemang Desai, department chair and Robert B. Cullum Professor of Accounting, Cox School of Business
  • Virginia Dupuy, professor of voice, Division of Music
  • Maria Dixon Hall, associate professor and director of Mustang Consulting, Division of Communication Studies
  • Pamela Elrod Huffman, associate professor and director of choral activities, Division of Music
  • Pamela Patton, professor and chair, Division of Art History
  • Tony Pederson, professor and The Belo Foundation Endowed Distinguished Chair, Division of Journalism
  • Jay Sullivan, professor, Division of Art


  • Mark Roglán, Linda P. and William A. Custard Director and Centennial Chair in the Meadows School of the Arts, Meadows Museum
  • Kris Vetter, assistant dean for development and external affairs, Meadows School of the Arts


  • Adrian Aguirre, dance performance and film major
  • Katie Schaible, dance performance and international studies major
June 4, 2014|For the Record, News|
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