Suzanne Erickson Advances to Business Deanship to Replace Departing ‘Social Entrepreneur’ Bill Lightfoot

Brenau University named Dr. Suzanne Erickson to the post of Dean of the College of Business & Mass Communication effective Aug. 1.

Erickson, who has been associate dean in the college, replaces William Lightfoot, dean of the university’s “most popular” academic area for the past seven years.

The College of Business & Mass Communications had a total of 788 undergraduate and graduate business students in the 2008-09 academic year and 1,138 in the just-ended 2013-14 year – barely squeaking by the 1,123 students in the College of Health Sciences. Brenau’s M.B.A. programs rank seventh in the state in terms of enrollment in the annual listings of the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Lightfoot, who styles himself as a “social entrepreneur,” has accepted a position as managing director of a macro credit organization in Tanzania. He will continue as a part-time faculty member through the fall 2014 term then move permanently to the African nation in January. The Business Chroniclefor the past six years has identified Lightfoot among the 100 most influential educators in the region.

Suwanee, Georgia, resident Erickson has been at Brenau since 2007 – the same year Lightfoot arrived. Initially chair of adult and graduate studies, she has also served as chair of undergraduate programs and as associate dean for the college.

“Dr. Erickson has always advocated for the college and its programs with passion and enthusiasm,” said Brenau Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Nancy Krippel. “I know she will bring that same passion to her new role. Plus, she will be instrumental in implementing the university’s growth strategy primarily because she has been involved in its development. I am delighted that Dr. Erickson has accepted the position as dean and I am looking forward to our continuing work together.”

Seattle native Erickson, who specializes in finance and raising capital for entrepreneurial enterprises, earned her Ph.D. and B.B.A. degrees in finance from the University of Washington and an M.B.A. from Seattle University. She was a tenured professor of finance at Seattle University before moving to Georgia.

Prior to Brenau she was the founding executive director of extension of Mobile, Alabama-based Jesuit institution, Spring Hill College, which has offered its theology programs in conjunction with the Archdiocese of Atlanta since 1997. At Brenau, she won the Teaching Excellence and Leadership Award, funded by Vulcan Materials Company through the Georgia Independent Colleges Association.

She has published several articles in her field and a textbook, Raising Entrepreneurial Capital.

“I am excited to accept this new opportunity,” said Erickson. “Bill Lightfoot and I started on the same day in 2007, so it has been very much a partnership over the past seven years.

“Together we have grown the College of Business & Mass Communications in response to market demands, always looking for opportunities to serve undeserved niches as a means to grow. The promotion to dean feels natural, and I am excited to work with the hardest working group of faculty and staff I have ever been around.”

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