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Deborah Crown Named Dean of the Graziadio Business School

Deborah Crown headshot

Deborah Crown has been named the 10th dean of the Pepperdine University Graziadio Business School following the conclusion of Deryck J. van Rensburg’s tenure this summer. Crown, who has served as dean of the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College and professor of management since 2016, will begin her official appointment later in fall 2022. David Smith, associate provost for online programs and professor of economics at the Graziadio Business School, will serve as interim dean.

“I look forward to the impact that Dr. Crown, an academic leader with a strong Christian faith, will make on the Graziadio Business School and the community of students, faculty, and staff that will be influenced by her demonstrated commitment to servant leadership and Pepperdine’s Christian mission,” says Pepperdine president Jim Gash.

Crown brings to Pepperdine nearly two decades of experience in higher education administration. As dean of the Crummer Graduate School of Business, she increased overall fundraising by close to 150 percent during her five-year tenure and secured critical grant funding for the school’s Centers of Excellence. She has also served as the dean of the College of Business and professor of strategic leadership at Hawaii Pacific University, associate dean of the Lucas Graduate School of Business and Lucas Endowed Professor of Strategic Leadership at San Jose State University, and director of domestic and international graduate programs and O’Bleness Professor of Leadership at the Ohio University College of Business. In each role, she remained dedicated to elevating academic programs and enhancing student learning technologies for in-person, hybrid, and online programs.

Prior to her experience in administration, Crown has been an impassioned educator since her first teaching role at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, where she ultimately served as the Miles-Rose Professor of Management and coordinator of the management PhD program. The recipient of numerous awards for teaching, research, mentoring, and service, Crown has been recognized for her influential leadership in the business community and for incorporating social responsibility into her teaching and research. She has been a reviewer for the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business as well as for numerous professional journals. Her expertise has been featured in national media outlets, including CNN, ABC News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, and Entrepreneur.

Crown holds a bachelor of science in psychology from North Central College, a master of science in business administration from the University of Colorado at Denver, and a PhD in business administration from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

“I am excited to welcome Dr. Crown to the Pepperdine community,” says Pepperdine provost Jay Brewster. “She brings an earnest excitement for Christian higher education partnered with proven success as an academic leader.”