Mark P. Rice, PhD, will join the university this summer as dean of business. He will succeed McRae Banks who has led WPI's highly acclaimed Department of Management for the past 15 years. Rice comes to WPI from Babson College, where he served for six years as the Murata Dean of the F. W. Olin Graduate School of Business and holds an appointment as the Frederic C. Hamilton Professor for Free Enterprise.
Rice will lead the elevation of WPI's Department of Management to the status of a business school. With full AACSB accreditation accomplished under Banks's leadership, WPI's management programs have gained significant stature in management education. Its MBA program was recently recognized by BusinessWeek as the best part-time MBA program in the nation, and by Enterpreneur.com as a top 10 program with an emphasis on entrepreneurship.
Rice is the first of three inaugural academic deans the university plans to appoint this year, the other two being the Bernard Gordon Dean of Engineering and the Peterson Family Dean of Arts and Sciences (established by board chairman Donald K. Peterson '71). "WPI operated without academic deans for 145 years," said WPI President Dennis Berkey, "but we have grown to the point where we can benefit from the academic leadership and national recognition that deans typically contribute at leading universities.
"We are fortunate to have attracted a leader and scholar of the caliber of Mark Rice," Berkey continued. "He is a widely recognized scholar of technology innovation and entrepreneurship, and has had direct experience in business incubation, both as executive director of the Incubator Program at RPI and as co-founder and president of Power Kenetics Inc."
Prior to joining Babson, Rice was a member of the leadership team at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's School of Management and Technology, where he served as director of the Incubator Program and of the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship. During his tenure at Babson, Rice led initiatives that dramatically expanded the scope of entrepreneurship to include technological, social, franchising, female, family, and global entrepreneurship and innovation. His numerous scholarly publications on entrepreneurship and innovation include the best-selling book, Growing New Ventures–Creating New Jobs, co-authored with Jana Matthews.
Said Rice, "WPI and I share a relentless commitment to innovation. This is a unique opportunity to shape further WPI's outstanding programs that combine business acumen with technological, engineering, and scientific innovation to meet the evolving needs and opportunities of our global, technological society. I feel fortunate to be joining a university and a business program with such an outstanding foundation of academic excellence."