Louis Lataif Will Retire at End of Academic Year
Longest serving dean elevated and improved the School of Management
In the slide show above, revisit Dean Louis Lataif’s undergraduate years at Boston University — and below, hear his remembrances of how one undergraduate experience built his career’s foundation.
Louis Lataif, BU undergraduate elevator operator at Myles Standish Hall, highly successful Ford Motor Company executive, dean of the School of Management for 18 years of climbing enrollment and ratings, will retire at the end of the 2009–2010 academic year. Lataif, the school’s first Allen Questrom Professor and Dean, says he is stepping down to allow the appointment of a new dean who can provide continuity as the school moves into a multiyear capital campaign.
“I am thrilled to have been a part of the school’s transformation, particularly curricular reforms that fuse the art, science, and technology of business,” says Lataif (SMG’61, Hon.’90). “Well-run business is an enormous force for good; hopefully, the 15,000-plus graduates of our programs during my tenure are making a positive difference in the world as a result of our unique approach to management education. That’s the source of my greatest satisfaction.”
President Robert A. Brown says that under Lataif’s leadership, SMG has become “one of the best business schools anywhere.”
“Dean Lataif has guided the School of Management through a period of growth and transformation,” says Brown. “Our goal is to build on this legacy with new leadership that will continue to increase the value and reputation of a Boston University management education.”
David Campbell, University provost, describes Lataif’s deanship as a time of steady and significant improvement.
“As our longest serving dean, Lou has led SMG through many challenges and to many successes,” says Campbell. “Those include the construction of the Rafik B. Hariri Building, the acquisition of several endowed professorships, and a steady increase in excellence and rankings.”
Michael Lawson, an SMG senior associate dean, says Lataif has been a remarkable leader, both for the school and the University.
“He came with a keen understanding of the business world and challenged us to think about the relevance of management research to the practice of business,” says Lawson. “He also helped all of us see business from a more systemic perspective and to unleash the power of teams. We are now housed in a world-class facility, which was his vision and a singular accomplishment. The next chapter of the school will rest squarely on his achievements.”
Lataif first came to BU as an undergraduate in the fall of 1957. In 1961, he was chosen as the University’s 1960–61 “Man of the Year.”
After a 27-year career with Ford Motor Company, where he became Ford’s youngest corporate vice president in 1981, vice president of North American sales operations in 1986, and president of Ford of Europe in 1988, he returned to the University at SMG dean.
During Lataif’s tenure, the number of undergraduate applications to SMG soared, from 1,943 in 1991 to 4,305 for this year’s class, and average SAT scores of accepted students rose more than 200 points. The year before his arrival, the school was not even ranked by Business Week. This year, the publication placed the school’s offerings among the top 45 full-time MBA programs in the United States. Under Lataif’s deanship, the University built what was at the time the largest-ever school of business building project — 595 Commonwealth Avenue — and the most technologically advanced business school of the time.