Inaugural class will graduate Dec. 12 from Ph.D. in Business for Executives program
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Oklahoma State University’s creation three years ago of an innovative program targeting
executive leadership is now paying dividends for a number of professionals across
the United States. The inaugural class of the Ph.D. in Business for Executives
will graduate Dec. 12 during OSU Graduate College commencement exercises.
The Class of 2014 from the Ph.D. in Business for Executives
- David Altounian, Austin, Texas
- Scott Anderson, Guymon, Oklahoma
- Tom Bennett Jr., Tulsa, Oklahoma
- Fred Cleveland, Calgary, Canada
- Durand Crosby, Oklahoma City
- Warren Dyer, Edmonton, Canada
- Toby Joplin, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
- Patti Jordan, Tulsa, Oklahoma
- Philip McMahan, Edmond, Oklahoma
- Dessie Nash, Dallas, Texas
- Tom Totten, Indianapolis, Indiana
The first graduates from the innovative program will participate in commencement exercises at
7 p.m. Dec. 12 inside Gallagher-Iba Arena on the Stillwater campus.
“The program has brought our research faculty and senior executives together to study
real business problems and develop research models to address the issues,” said Ramesh
Sharda, director of the program and Vice Dean for the Watson Graduate School of Management.
“Our program has had international participation from the very beginning. Indeed,
two of the graduates in the very first group are from Canada.
“I am also proud of the fact that the research produced by these Ph.D. students is
of high quality. For example, one student has already coauthored a paper that has
appeared in Journal of Applied Psychology
, a top tier journal in management,” Sharda said.
The first graduating class is a highlight for many who have been involved with the
program since its inception.
“Five years ago, the Spears School's leadership team had a vision to create the next
big thing in business education. After two years of carefully planning with department
heads, associate deans, faculty, alumni, and all other Spears school stakeholders,
we were able to launch the premier Ph.D. in Business for Executives
in 2012,” said Craig Wallace, research director of the program and William S. Spears
Chair in Business Administration. “The program is very strong and we owe a great deal
of thanks to those visionaries.
“Words cannot express how awesome it is to graduate our first class. Congratulations
to our graduates and a heart-felt thanks you to all the participating stakeholders
in this program,” Wallace said.
Tom Bennett Jr. and Fred Cleveland are two of the 11 who will graduate next month.
“Participating in the inaugural class of OSU’s Ph.D. in Business for Executives
has enabled me to achieve the important lifetime goal of completing a Ph.D.,” said
Bennett Jr., chairman and co-CEO of First Oklahoma Bank. “This program has helped
make me a better banker and will enable me to help my colleagues create a better bank.
“When I receive my degree I will be 64 years old. This process has made me feel like
I am in my 40s again and ready to take on the brave new world with the latest in executive
skills. It has also enabled me to be a role model for my children and grandchildren
in demonstrating that learning is a lifelong adventure. You’re never too old to pursue
your dreams,” he said.
The goal of the program is to narrow the gap between academia and business. Students
help the faculty learn about the problems that their businesses face, so they can
work together and develop research that will have practical applications.
“OSU was founded under a pioneering spirit, and our first cohort were also pioneers
of how to leverage our practical experience while learning real science and theory
to drive lasting solutions in the business market. We are pracademics now,” said Cleveland,
executive vice-president, operations for WestJet.
One of the things that differentiates OSU’s program from many others around the country
is its strong emphasis on research. “This program provides an opportunity with this
new genre of executive education to blend academic research with organizational experiences
at a new level and prepare executives to apply as well as contribute to business research,”
The Watson Graduate School of Management is hosting a reception in honor of the 11
graduates from 4:30-6 p.m. on Dec. 12.