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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Dean of the College of business retires to share Chico experience with other countries

Judith Hennessy, dean of the college of business, is leaving Chico State on Feb. 28 to pursue other opportunities. Photo credit: Kate Angeles

The dean of the college of business will be stepping down on Feb. 28 to pursue other opportunities in her life.

The Orion sat down with Judith Hennessey, the dean of the college of business, and discussed her experience at Chico State and what her plans are for the future.

Q: How long were you at Chico State and why are you leaving?

A: I was here at Chico State for a little over four years and I had some opportunities that became a little bit more timely to do some development of business programs globally.

Q: Do you know where you will be going?

A: I will be going a number of places (globally) where the universities have come along recently and we’re looking at the pacific islands. That’s where I have requested and I have a background in traveling and helping a little bit with education in the pacific islands, but I would like to go further into the many cultures of Micronesia.

(It’s an) amazing culture and people don’t even realize it’s there. This was an opportunity that I thought I was ready for and I thought the college (of business) was in a good position for this transition.

Q: What was the most enjoyable part of your job?

A: The most enjoyable part of the job has been the people. There is an amazing set of talent on this campus.

Q: Least enjoyable?

A: Watching the students leave. It’s a bittersweet feeling. Although you’re happy, you’re sad. It’s hard to get students motivated for the real world.

Q: What was your best experience here at Chico State?

A: Your brain works in mysterious ways, early experiences are going to dominate over late ones. The best experience was probably the early welcome and invitation to lead that this faculty and staff provided me.

It was like they were waiting for someone to come in and help them re-establish after the recession. The recession made people feel bad. We were beginning to see the turnaround in the economy and we were able to pick up the feeling that people cared about them.

Q: How have students impacted your life?

A: They are my life. I’ve been in the business long enough to know students that have been amazing successes and what shocks me is how many of them call you back and let you know how much you’ve done for them, things that you didn’t even you know you did. I’m a mother of three children and it gives me those same feelings of being a mother.

Q: What are your biggest accomplishments while at Chico State?

A: (My biggest accomplishments are) building a common sense of who we are at the college of business and where we fit into the university. We had lost a lot of senior faculty by the time I came in and they held onto the culture and certainly there were enough of them that I learned what the Chico experience was all about from them. It’s hard to tell honestly, I’d probably have to peek in three to five years down the road to see what has happened.

Q: Are you going to be retiring? Or looking for another position?

A: I’m going to be doing both. I have been in the California State (University) system for a long time and I want to use the experiences I gained here to help others around the world. California is great, but it’s not the world.

Q: What’s some advice you’d give to the person who is taking over this role?

A: Be respectful (and be) respectful of all the talent that is here for you to shepherd. They (have) a sense of purpose and you just have to shepherd that (purpose) to where we line up with (school) resources and the rest of the university. If you can’t relate to the audience you’re talking to, the audience being the students, nothing will get through.

Roberto Fonseca can be reached at [email protected] or @rjfonseca13 on Twitter.

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