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Rob Straughan Named Next Dean of W&L’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics

Rob Straughan, associate dean and professor of business administration/marketing at Washington and Lee University’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, has been named the next Crawford Family Dean of the Williams School.

Straughan will succeed Larry Peppers, who will step down at the end of the academic year after 29 years in the position.

“Rob Straughan’s expertise in his academic field, his dedication to teaching, and his broad administrative skills will enable him to continue the tradition of excellence and innovation at the Williams School,” said W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio. “I am very pleased to welcome him to his new leadership role.”

“With his significant part in many crucial initiatives at W&L and in the Williams School, such as strategic planning, accreditation, fundraising, assessment, and management of facilities and staff, Rob Straughan is an excellent choice as dean,” said Provost Daniel Wubah. “I also want to express my gratitude to the search committee for their diligence and for carrying out a thorough search.”

After joining W&L’s faculty in 2000, Straughan became associate dean of the Williams School in 2003. He played a central role in two accreditation reviews of the Williams School by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and in one of the university by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. He also developed the framework for a $2.5 million gift that endowed an entrepreneurship program at the school.

Straughan assisted with fundraising, planning and oversight of W&L’s $6.5 million renovation of Holekamp Hall and $3 million classroom and infrastructure upgrades of Huntley Hall. He worked on the establishment of co-curricular programs in New York, Washington, D.C., and Latin America, as well as on a school-wide writing initiative.

At the same time, he has taught marketing management, cross-cultural issues in marketing, a first-year study-abroad seminar on international corporate social responsibility and sustainability, and courses related to services marketing, advertising and integrated marketing communications, retail management, and professional selling.

Straughan has published more than a dozen journal articles and book chapters on cross-cultural issues in retailing, cross-cultural advertising, and cross-cultural consumer response, as well as a variety of issues related to marketing and business education. His work has appeared in International Marketing Review, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Journal of Marketing Management, Journal of Marketing Education and Marketing Education Review, among other publications.

He has also presented dozens of studies at conferences sponsored by the American Marketing Association, Academy of Marketing Science, Society for Marketing Advances, and other national and international professional associations.

Straughan earned a bachelor of business administration degree with majors in marketing and management from Baylor University before joining Shell Oil’s refining and marketing division. Three years later, he began graduate school, receiving his M.B.A. with a concentration in marketing and his Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Houston. He taught at both Houston and Baylor before joining W&L.

Under Straughan’s supervision, W&L students have created business plans, financial analyses and economic impact studies on behalf of Lexington’s community pool, historic downtown courthouse, Rockbridge Area Relief Association and other projects and service organizations. Straughan has served for many years on the board of directors of Lexington Lacrosse, the local youth lacrosse program, including stints as both president and secretary. He has also coached youth basketball, baseball and lacrosse.