Stories and Articles

Collage of Dean Nail with students and faculty across campus

Thank you, Dean Nail!

A Message from the Dean

To My Dear Fowler College Students,

By now you have probably heard the news that I am stepping down as the Thomas and Evelyn Page Dean of the Fowler College of Business to accept the position of Dean and Distinguished University Professor at the Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley. UTRGV is a leading Hispanic Serving Institution with the largest Hispanic student enrollment in the country with two campuses within miles of the Mexican border. I will have the opportunity to work with the newest medical school in Texas and the STEAM fields to bring business concepts and entrepreneurial approaches into interdisciplinary solutions to global issues in a multicultural environment. It is a mission almost identical to that of SDSU when I interviewed for the deanship. I am very grateful and excited for this opportunity.

It was the mission of SDSU that first attracted me to join the university, and it was you, the students, who convinced me to be a part of this great university. From the first time I stepped foot on campus, it was your infectious enthusiasm and spirit and your love for SDSU that made me want to be an Aztec. I will never forget that first campus visit. I had been invited to interview for the deanship and the interviews were taking place near the airport. I came in a day early to explore because this Southern boy knew little of San Diego except as a tourist to America’s Finest City and only knew of the rising academic reputation of SDSU from afar. My instincts told me that nothing could really be that good and I wanted to experience campus first-hand. That campus visit was a defining experience that turned me from cynic to believer.

When the Lyft driver dropped me off at the Gateway, I immediately saw your friendliness and engagement. A helpful and smiling student saw that I did not know my way around campus and she kindly directed me to the bookstore so I could buy an Aztec mug (the one I proudly use at my office every day). In the bookstore I was struck by how the students genuinely loved their school and I decided to hang around the bookstore and observe and learn about the students at SDSU. I met about 40 students over the next two hours – telling them that I was interviewing for a faculty position and wanted a realistic assessment of the student experience at SDSU. What I discovered was something I had never experienced when visiting dozens of other campuses – every student I met loved SDSU and every one of them was incredibly positive and nice. Those students so impressed and inspired me that I was certain that I wanted to be the dean of the Fowler College of Business and a member of the SDSU community. It showed the next day in my interview as my future colleagues had no doubt that I wanted to join them.

But you, my students, have only continued to impress and inspire me. Whether it was meeting you at a campus event, celebrating an Aztec victory together, shaking your hand at a student organization meeting, taking a selfie with you on campus, or enjoying a chat over coffee, you made me a better dean. You motivated me to make the Fowler College of Business better every day. You are the reason we exist at SDSU. Your personal stories, your aspirations, and your desire to make our world a better place through your education pushed me to find new and better ways to increase the positive impact of our college through you. Every award you won made me proud. Each time your student organization received a recognition of excellence I was elated. When you represented our college in case competitions, I cheered you on. Every moment shared with you has been special. I will always cherish the cards, t-shirts, socks, candies, coffee mugs, and every other tchotchke that you have given me and that I have proudly displayed. Thank you for making this dean feel so welcome at SDSU.

I do want to close by sharing the great news with you that Dr. Bruce Reinig has been appointed the interim dean and will serve in that role until a new permanent dean is named for the Fowler College of Business. Dr. Reinig has served on the faculty at SDSU for almost two decades and has led the Department of Management Information Systems to great prominence as its chair. You could not have an interim dean of higher quality than Dr. Reinig – or one more committed to the Fowler College of Business and its students. It is my hope that you will show Dr. Reinig the same support and appreciation that inspired me to make our college a beacon of excellence at SDSU. And know that I will be thinking fondly of you and my time at SDSU as I will always carry your Aztec spirit in my heart.

Thank you for everything and Go Aztecs!