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Emory University’s Goizueta Business School Appoints First-Ever African-American Woman Dean

Erika-JamesErika Hayes James, PhD, will become the next dean of Goizueta Business School at Emory University, the school announced earlier this month. James, who will assume her new role on July 15th, comes to Goizueta from the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia, where she served most recently as senior associate dean for executive education.

“Erika James has all of the qualities that we want for a leader at Goizueta,” Emory Provost Claire Sterk said in a statement. “She brings a background of impressive scholarship and strong skills in academic administration, and she will work collaboratively with faculty, students, staff, alumni and supporters to take the school to the next level—all the while honoring the principled leadership of Mr. Goizueta’s legacy.”

Emory’s business school, founded in 1919, was named in honor of former Coca-Cola chairman and CEO Roberto C. Goizueta in 1994, who held excellence and principled leadership as central to his vision.

James’ appointment marks the first time a minority woman will lead a full-time MBA program at a top-25 business school, according to a report in Fortune. Sterk told Fortune that James’ race and gender did not influence the school’s hiring choice, but that breaking a glass ceiling of sorts by bringing her into the top business school role was an added bonus. In addition to both administrative and teaching roles at Darden, James has also held teaching positions at Harvard Business School, Goizueta, and Tulane University’s Freeman Business School.

Indeed, James was part of an international pool of candidates compiled as part of a comprehensive process led by search firm Heidrick and Struggles. A search advisory committee at Emory chaired by Linda McCauley, dean of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, helped narrow the field of candidates, and finalists met with leaders and key constituents throughout Emory this spring.

For her part, James hopes to help lead Goizueta in the arenas of corporate partnerships, entrepreneurial activities and industry collaboration and to deepen the connections between the school and Atlanta’s business community, nonprofit organizations and other universities.

“I believe the Goizueta Business School is a world-renowned school that is on the verge of greatness,” she said in a statement. “I want to be a part of helping the school reach that greatness.”

Learn more about Erika James’ appointment as the next dean of Goizueta Business School.