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William Boulding becomes new Fuqua Dean

Editor's note: In a previous version of this article, William Boulding was referred to as interim Fuqua dean. Although he will serve a two-year term, as opposed to the customary five-year term, he is officially serving as Fuqua dean and not in an interim capacity.

During a period of critical and international development, leadership at the Fuqua School of Business is changing hands.

William Boulding, former deputy dean and J.B. Fuqua professor of business administration, assumed his new role as Fuqua dean today. Boulding succeeds former Fuqua dean Blair Sheppard, who became dean in 2007, and will serve a two-year term.

“While in some ways this is a natural transition, I recognize that I’m in a new role and take very seriously my responsibility to maintain Fuqua’s forward momentum,” Boulding said.

The University announced Boulding as Sheppard’s successor July 25. Sheppard declined an offer for a second term in order to refocus his efforts on fundraising and business development for Duke Kunshan University.

“I came [to the dean position] with a particular intent, and I started to think of how much of that I’ve achieved – virtually all of it,” Sheppard said. “[DKU] is the best way to spend my time, now.”

Sheppard’s second term would have begun July 2012, but he decided to leave his post early, a choice Sheppard said he has been considering for about eight months. 

In his new position with DKU, Sheppard’s will help fundraise from the United States though he will be reaching out to mainly domestic and Chinese investors. He will also help develop non-degree programming for DKU, such as conferences, research projects and other undergraduate opportunities. He said he hopes to curb some of the Fuqua faculty members’ anxieties about the new campus by taking responsibility of much of the financial resourcing and broadening DKU’s course offerings.

“You can think of the role as being partly carved out of creating a response to some of the concerns about DKU,” Sheppard said.

He added that he had discussed the possibility of developing this position with President Richard Brodhead, Provost Peter Lange, various members of the Board of Trustees and about half of the Fuqua faculty.

Mary Frances Luce, Fuqua associate dean for faculty affairs, wrote in an email July 26 that she was surprised Sheppard left his position as dean. She noted, however, that she believes the reasoning behind his decision makes sense to the faculty.

“Fuqua faculty have always been eager to be good citizens of Duke and to find ways to support the University’s strategies and initiatives,” Luce said.  “I believe that the change in the dean’s office will have no effect on the ability and interest of Fuqua faculty to engage constructively in the development of DKU.”

Sheppard said that although raising money for DKU will be challenging he is optimistic given the excitement he suspects surrounds the new campus’ potential.

The University anticipates that $10 million of DKU costs would be paid through philanthropic means. As of March, about $5 million had been raised. 

Duke will soon announce a large gift that will be dedicated to DKU, Michael Schoenfeld, vice president of public affairs and government relations, said, though added that fundraising efforts are far from over.

“There’s a lot of work and a lot of activity that needs to take place,” Schoenfeld said. “There are few people better than Blair Sheppard for doing that work and making those connections.”

Sheppard said his greatest concern with this transition is a potential lack of continuity at Fuqua as it works on several important projects, including DKU, the recently established local and global Master of Management Studies degree programs and rebuilding the faculty after heavy retirement. He noted, though, that he thinks Boulding was a great choice to next lead Fuqua, especially because of his involvement in creating DKU programs and Fuqua’s other ventures.

“I admire Bill [Boulding] deeply,” Sheppard said. “I can think of no one better to lead the school.”

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