Dean Judy Olian conferred degrees upon graduating MBA students at UCLA Anderson School of Management earlier this month, marking the end of an era. Beginning July 1st, Olian will step into a new role as president of Quinnipiac University.
Describing her time at UCLA Anderson as “a privilege and a joy,” Olian addressed the crowd of 800 graduates, family, and friends. “These last 12-plus years at UCLA have been the best years of my life,” she said.
The Australian-born Olian studied psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and industrial relations at the University of Wisconsin before beginning her academic career at Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. She rose to the position of senior associate dean and acting dean at Smith before becoming dean of Penn State’s Smeal College of Business. Anderson lured her away from Smeal in 2006, where she would go on to shepherd the school through a number of milestones.
As one of the first women to serve as dean of a top-ranked business school, Olian helped crack the glass ceiling and pave the way for others, such as Kellogg Dean Sally Blount and Ross Dean Alison Davis-Blake.
Under Olian’s leadership, Anderson became self-sufficient and experienced significant growth in programming. Also during her tenure, the school introduced innovations in teaching, shifted toward hybrid classrooms, and launched several new majors and paths of study.
Olian was also a first-rate fundraiser, bringing in more than $400 million to support both student and faculty initiatives, including the Anderson Accelerator, which helps Anderson students launch their own entrepreneurial ventures.
Anderson Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Scott Waugh also credited Olian as a driving force for increased gender representation at the school, noting that she hired more than half of the school’s current faculty. Widely published on the topic of human resource management, she also penned syndicated newspaper columns and even hosted a monthly television show on business topics. She has served on several profit and non-profit boards as well.
As Quinnipiac’s ninth president, Olian is excited to make a contribution to the Connecticut school, which has been expanding from a small regional commuter college into a national university over the past 30 years. Olian says her primary goal is to help Quinnipiac continue its upward trajectory. She will succeed John L. Lahey, Quinnipiac’s president since 1987.
In her closing remarks at Anderson’s 2018 commencement exercises, Olian shared five lessons she learned while there and will carry with her always.
“I’ve realized how much I have yet to learn, and how much better I am when I open myself up to others,” she said. “I wish the same for you—always to be curious, to seek out the unfamiliar, and to keep learning.”
To view video and photographs from Anderson’s 2018 commencement ceremony, click here.