There are some familiar faces in new places these days in the College of Business, as Louis Buck, the Wesley Elingburg Distinguished Professor of Business Innovation and director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, is now also serving as interim dean of the college. Linda Seestedt-Stanford, WCU’s interim provost, appointed Buck to lead the college while a national search is conducted for a permanent dean. Ronald A. Johnson stepped down from the post June 30 to become WCU’s first BB&T Distinguished Professor of Capitalism.
Formerly chief financial officer for the competitive businesses of Consolidated Edison in New York, Buck joined the WCU faculty to fill a distinguished professorship position made possible by $250,000 in gifts from Wesley Elingburg ’78, retired chief financial officer with Laboratory Corp. of America, and matched with money from a state fund designed to encourage private support of public institutions of higher education.
Johnson was instrumental in acquiring a November 2008 commitment for the largest gift in the college’s history – $1 million from the BB&T Foundation to support the study of leadership, ethics and capitalism. Half of BB&T’s gift is being matched by the state to create the $1 million professorship endowment, while the other $500,000 of the donation will allow WCU to provide four annual awards to support student research and creative work in the area of leadership, ethics and capitalism, and to create an awards program for faculty members engaged in scholarly work focused on those same issues.
“Dr. Johnson is the ideal candidate for this professorship,” Seestedt-Stanford said. “His experience in business, government and academia, as well as a diverse regional and global perspective, supports his unique vision and ability to bridge real-world practice and theory.”
The BB&T professorship “provides a platform for addressing the fundamental questions of leadership effectiveness, ethics and accountability that challenge all of our institutions,” Johnson said. “I look forward to completing my manuscript, ‘Build to Compete,’ which reflects my research and collaborations with global leaders in the areas of innovation, growth and sustainability and in preparing graduates with the competence and understanding of how to make a difference in their world with integrity and a dedicated commitment to service.”
Shortly after Johnson’s return to the faculty, Seestedt-Stanford announced that Buck would hold the reins as the college completes the process of seeking reaccreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-International. “Dr. Buck has a record of achievement at WCU, leading a very effective department and being a contributing member of the university community,” she said. “His background in the business world and his life experiences position him well to support the College of Business faculty and staff. I couldn’t be more pleased to have Louis as a part of my leadership team.”