Dean Mel Stith announces plans to step down

Melvin T. Stith G’73, ’78, dean of the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, has announced plans to retire at the conclusion of the spring 2013 semester.

"I recently met with Vice Chancellor Eric Spina to inform him of my intent to bring to close my tenure as dean of the Whitman School. I have thoroughly enjoyed serving as Whitman School dean, but after a great deal of thought, I believe that the timing is right for this personal and professional decision," says Stith.

Stith noted that the timing of his retirement allows for a new dean to be in place prior to the next accreditation process by Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.  "Whitman is proud to have maintained continuous AACSB accreditation since 1920, when it was only the 16th school in the nation to earn this sterling seal of excellence,” says Stith. “Holding ourselves to the highest standards in instruction and creating exceptional learning environments is at the core of our work as management educators, so achieving continued distinguished recognition for our efforts in these areas means a great deal."

Stith became the 16th dean of the Whitman School in January 2005, returning to his alma mater where he received an MBA and Ph.D. with concentrations in marketing. As dean, his mantra has been 'students first' and he always worked to improve the student opportunities and experiences within the school and enhance the Whitman brand on a global level.

In 2010, he named the inaugural Williams-Qualls-Spratlen Multicultural Mentoring Award of Excellence (WQS Award) recipient by the American Marketing Association Foundation. The WQS Award recognizes marketing scholars and career mentors of multicultural students and junior colleagues. And most recently, Stith was an invited attendee of the White House Summit on Entrepreneurship for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions in Washington, D.C.

Stith is a founding member and remains active in the Ph.D. Project—which aims to significantly increase the pool of highly qualified African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans for positions in the academy—and was recently named to its inaugural Hall of Fame.

A Vietnam veteran, Stith was instrumental in the development and launch of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program in 2007, founded at the Whitman School—home to one of the top ranked entrepreneurship programs in the world—for the men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country. Today, the EBV is a nationwide consortium of select business schools forming the national model for helping veterans with disabilities to make the transition to self employment, develop professional networks, and ultimately start and grow sustainable businesses.  The EBV and its innovative approach to transitioning veterans from military to civilian life has been named a national “Best Practice” for serving soldiers and their families by the Secretary of the Army, and one of the “10 Best” entrepreneurship training programs in the U.S. by the editors of Inc. magazine.

In his scholarly research, Stith studies the impact of value systems on consumer purchase behavior and key influences on African American and white consumers’ habits. He has shared his research and professional expertise with corporations, academic institutions and government agencies, and his work has appeared in leading marketing and psychological journals.

From 1991 to 2004, he was dean and the Jim Moran Professor of Business Administration in the College of Business at The Florida State University, and previously was associate professor and chair of the marketing department at FSU. In addition, he was a visiting professor in the School of Business and Industry at Florida A&M University from 1982 to 1985, and associate dean and assistant professor in the College of Business at the University of South Florida from 1977 to 1982. Stith served in the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Command from 1968 to 1971, achieving the rank of captain.

Stith currently serves as director of the board for Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society; trustee of the Synovus Financial Corporation’s Leadership Institute and director of the Synovus Member Audit Committee; director and past chairman of the board of PHT Services Ltd.; founding director and vice chair of the grant making committee of the Jim Moran Foundation; director of the board for Flowers Food Corporation and sits on the corporation’s compliance and governor’s committee; and director of the Pathways Commission. He is also director of the Everson Museum of Art and Crouse Hospital boards, vice president of the Crouse Hospital Foundation and member of the Syracuse Stage board, all in Syracuse.

He has also previously served as chairman of the board of directors of the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).