Returning to Wharton - as its dean

Thomas S. Robertson said he would devote half of his time to fund-raising.

Posted: June 22, 2007

Thomas S. Robertson, who was named dean of the Wharton School yesterday, promised to increase its global footprint and devote half his time to fund-raising.

The appointment was announced by the University of Pennsylvania. Robertson, 64, will leave Emory University in Atlanta, where he was executive director of the Institute for Developing Nations. He is to succeed Patrick Harker, who is leaving this summer to become president of the University of Delaware.

Robertson said Penn needed to strengthen its position in the international market by further globalizing its operations. Wharton has 4,600 graduate and undergraduate students and campuses in San Francisco, France and Singapore.

"Penn is up there, but there is still work to be done," Robertson said in a telephone interview.

He said business schools could be a "force for good" in the world. For example, Wharton could provide health-care management to developing nations.

Robertson helped build Emory's Goizueta Business School into one of the country's leading international business institutions. His fund-raising expertise and international track record distinguished him among the 143 candidates considered for the position, Penn president Amy Gutmann said.

During his six years as dean in Atlanta, Robertson increased faculty size by 73 percent to 88 members. He doubled the school's annual revenue to $55 million.

He also expanded the endowment to $85 million from $45 million, while securing an additional $34 million for a new building.

In his current position as chairman for international strategy at Emory, Robertson launched a university-wide strategy for internationalization and strategic alliances with universities in China, Korea and Ethiopia, Gutmann said yesterday in an e-mail to Wharton staff.

Robertson's fund-raising experience will be needed as Penn gears up for an ambitious campaign that will be announced in October, Gutmann said in an interview.

The 126-year-old school was ranked this year by U.S. News & World Report as the nation's No. 2 business school behind Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management in Illinois.

"Dean after dean has strengthened Wharton's position," Gutmann said. "We want Wharton to continue on this sharp upward trajectory."

Robertson taught at Wharton from 1971 to 1994. He was associate dean from 1984 to 1988.

He has also worked at the London Business School, Harvard Business School, and the University of California at Los Angeles.

An expert in marketing strategy and competitive behavior, Robertson has helped write and edit a dozen books and nearly 100 scholarly articles, Penn said.

While at Wharton, Robertson led an effort to build a conference center on campus and designed an innovative management curriculum.

Robertson, a native of Gourock, Scotland, has a wife and three children.

Wharton's Dean

Name: Thomas S. Robertson.

Date of birth: Nov. 16, 1942, in Gourock, Scotland.

Current position: Marketing professor and executive faculty director of the Institute for Developing Nations, both at Emory University.

Previous jobs: Wharton School, London School of Business, UCLA's Anderson School of Management, and Harvard Business School.

Education: B.A., Wayne State University; M.A. and Ph.D., Northwestern University.

Family: Wife, Diana, and three children.

Recent books read: "The Great Gatsby," by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and "Jamaica Inn" and "My Cousin Rachel," both by Daphne Du Maurier.

SOURCE: University of Pennsylvania

Contact staff writer Joseph Galante at 215-854-5194 or

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