AUSTIN, Texas—George W. Gau, an accomplished department chairman credited with developing innovative collaborations with industry, has been named dean of the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin, President Larry R. Faulkner and Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson announced today (May 24).
Gau was appointed dean after 10 years as chair of the Finance Department, where he pioneered a series of research centers bringing together the interests of students, faculty and corporations. Under his stewardship, programs such as the AIM Investment Center, the Center for Energy Finance Education and Research and the EDS Financial Trading and Technology Center brought new economic and educational opportunities to Texas students while raising the McCombs School’s international profile.
The ninth dean in the business school’s 80-year history, Gau succeeds Robert G. May, who resigned after seven years to return to teaching. Gau will start his new duties this summer.
“By bringing business into the classroom, George Gau has helped ensure the relevance of the McCombs curriculum while demonstrating an outstanding capacity for strategic thinking,” Faulkner said. “I am confident that as dean he will bring his strategic vision to bear on the McCombs School as a whole, helping propel the institution into the highest ranks of the world’s business programs.”
As dean, Gau will head one of the largest business schools in the world.
“I am honored to be offered the position, and I am very excited about the opportunity to work with our faculty, students, staff, alumni and business supporters in leading this school to its next stage: becoming the best public business school in the nation,” Gau said. “My goals include the improvement of our academic programs for our undergraduate and graduate students, the enhancement of our research environment and the strengthening of our alliances with the business community.”
An award-winning teacher renowned as an expert in real estate and mortgage markets, Gau is director of the Center for Real Estate Finance, the first research center at a leading business school to specialize in this field. Founded by Gau in 1999, the center rapidly has become a focal point for the university’s nationally recognized real estate program.
Prior to starting the center, Gau helped found four similar joint ventures with industry: the EDS Trading and Technology Center; the Center for Energy Finance Education and Research; The Hicks, Muse, Tate and Furst Center for Private Equity Finance; and the AIM Investment Center.
Gary Crum, chief executive of AIM Capital Management, whose $4 million endowment created the Investment Center, said the program benefits both students and their future employers.
“When students come out of the program, they’re at least a couple of years ahead of most other graduate students,” Crum said. “They’re able to speak the language. They know how trading operations work.”
Gau also founded the MBA Investment Fund LLC, the first private investment company managed wholly by students. Since its inception in 1994, the Fund has attracted international attention and has been the model followed by many of the top business schools around the nation.
Gau holds both the George S. Watson Centennial Professorship in Real Estate and the J. Ludwig Mosle Centennial Memorial Professorship in Investments and Money Management. He has authored more than 40 publications in real estate and finance journals, with a focus on real estate and mortgage markets. Gau received his doctoral degree in finance, as well as his master’s and bachelor’s degrees, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Among other credentials, he is past president of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association and a fellow of the Urban Land Institute and the Homer Hoyt Institute. Gau also has been a real estate consultant to a number of governmental agencies and private corporations and is on three corporate boards.
As dean, he will be leading a school that annually enrolls more than 6,000 students in its undergraduate and graduate academic programs, as well as hundreds of senior managers in a series of non-degree executive development programs. With about 75,000 alumni worldwide, the McCombs School is one of the largest business schools in the world.
The McCombs School of Business is consistently rated as one of the top business programs. The graduate program was most recently ranked 17th in the nation by BusinessWeek (October 2000), 10th internationally by The Wall Street Journal (April 2001), and first in the nation for Hispanics, according to Hispanic Business (March 2002). U.S. News and World Report ranked the graduate program 18th (April 2002) and the undergraduate program fifth in the nation (September 2001).
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