Mayer leaving as UM's dean of business Keeping a promise to depart after 5 years at helm

'I write this letter with pride'

His term has brought more students and improved test scores

June 03, 1996|By Sean Somerville | Sean Somerville,SUN STAFF

William E. Mayer, who overhauled the University of Maryland's business school and enhanced its reputation, is carrying through with his promise to cap his tenure as the school's dean at five years.

In a letter to the school's faculty, Mayer, the former investment bank executive who became dean in 1992, will resign either when his successor is appointed, or by June 30, 1997 -- whichever comes first.

"I write this letter with pride," he told colleagues, praising the faculty, staff, students and alumni for revamping the academic program.

"These changes have resulted in better prepared students, better job offers" and "higher quality employees for our corporate recruiters."

A former chief executive of First Boston Corp., Mayer received an undergraduate degree and a graduate business degree from the University of Maryland.

After a failed deanship at the University of Rochester, Mayer initially rejected the Maryland job before being talked into it by university President William E. Kirwin.

Upon his arrival, Mayer embarked on an effort to give students more contact with businesses, as opposed to numbers. He wanted his Maryland students trained to deal with rapid change and decision-making.

He cut accounting requirements and added instruction in thinking and writing. He also added minicourses in ethics, team-building and career management.

While the school is not in the top echelon of business schools, which include Harvard University and Northwestern University, professionals generally agree that it has improved. It tends to rank between 20th and 30th in national magazine surveys.

"The yardsticks used to measure business schools are impressive when applied to Maryland," Mayer told colleagues in his letter. "For example demand for a [MBA] degree from Maryland has pushed the number of applicants from 1,200 to over 2,000 during the past four years."

MBA class sizes have increased by 50 percent, while test scores and work experience of candidates also rose, he wrote.

The school also moved into a new multimillion-dollar building, Van Munching Hall, the same year Mayer arrived.

In his letter announcing his departure plans, Mayer said he would remain active with the university.

He said he has agreed to become a member of the university's board of visitors.

He also called for more improvement.

"I believe now is the right time to build on our achievements by bringing new leadership to the business school to carry it to the next level," he said.

Pub Date: 6/03/96

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