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TCU Magazine "Capturing Budapest"

Articles: AddRan |Nursing |Science and engineering | Fine arts

Deans list

The University names five (three newcomers and two current TCU deans) of the seven who will lead its new colleges

Dean Robert Lusch
M.J. Neeley School of Business

Personal: Born Jan. 21, 1949 in Detroit, Mich., Robert and wife Virginia have three children: Heather, 31, who lives in Phoenix; and twin sons Steve and Mark, 13, with whom Lusch enjoys golf and Boy Scouting activities.

Education: PhD, University of Wisconsin
MBA, University of Arizona
BS, University of Arizona

Professional: Lusch worked at Oklahoma for 25 years, including a five-year deanship of its business college. Since 1996, he has held endowed positions in marketing and research. During his academic career, he has written 14 books and more than 150 articles. He currently serves on the Academy of Marketing Science Board of Governors and also heads the American Marketing Association as its chairperson.

Robert Lusch is a stand-up sort of guy.

But that preference poses a small dilemma for the new dean of the M.J. Neeley School of Business.

The spartan desk now gracing the dean's office, is, well, a sitting kind of desk. Lusch prefers a work space he can stand at, spread out on. At the University of Oklahoma, his academic home for 25 years, Lusch found five medium-height filing cabinets and covered them with a make-shift desktop of boards he purchased at a hardware store. A tall stool completes the ensemble.

This "plank and file" innovator, you might have guessed already, is no rank-and-file leader, either.

"I never refuse to see anyone," he said. "I'll just say, 'Come in,' to whoever shows up and have them join into whatever the conversation is about. Unless it's personal, I figure the more input we have, the better."

Lusch comes to TCU's biz school with a full briefcase. Taking his cue from his father, a tire and battery business owner in Tucson, Ariz., Lusch was only 15 when he began buying and selling salvaged parts from the local air force base.

"My dad insisted I go to college, so I said I'll go and try it for a semester," Lusch said. "But then I basically never left. He's still upset about that, that I didn't take over the family business."

Over the years, however, Lusch has kept his fingers in various enterprises, including a market research firm and a radio station. His latest side interest is academic in scope -- and tied to his small-business roots.

Lusch and an OU colleague, photographer Chad Smith, are documenting the fading world of family-owned hardware and mercantile stores, the one-stop-shops that used to be found throughout rural America.

"We really have no plans for this information," he said. "We don't know if it will end up as a book, or an exhibit or a documentary -- or just in a paper bag."

Lusch has much greater hopes, of course, for the Neeley School.

"The role of business schools is to help create leaders in all walks of life, not necessarily business as we think about it," he said. "If you go to the arts organizations, or the sports teams or the community foundations or health care institutions, they are employing people with business backgrounds."

"We shouldn't be overly technical but emphasize lifelong learning."

Lusch figures his first job will be to focus the vision of the faculty and students -- and then find ways to turn that vision into a reality.

"The most important resources aren't financial," he said. "Money is very important, but the attitude and network you have between the alumni and students is the most valuable resource.

"Because if they feel good and positive about things, great things will happen."