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Newly named COBA dean likes area’s economic climate

Of the three candidates vying for the dean position at the College of Business Administration in February, Provost Renu Khator selected Senior Associate Dean Robert Forsythe from the University of Iowa on Thursday.

Forsythe’s work as co-founder of the Iowa Electronic Markets, an online program for trading contracts, and his work in economic research for more than 30 years impressed the COBA dean selection committee.

Forsythe will take over on July 1, replacing retiring Dean Robert Anderson.

Anderson, who’s been dean for 10 years, told the Oracle in February, “The next dean should know the ins and outs of the business and where it’s headed for the future.”

Forsythe, 56, is ready for the challenge.

He said the steady growth of the business community and population at USF – and throughout the Bay area – intrigued him.

“I study major demographics for business schools, like the number of Fortune 500 companies in (Florida),” Forsythe said. “Florida is an enigma because it has as many Fortune 500 companies as North Carolina or Georgia.”

Forsythe said North Carolina and Georgia have developed strong business schools, such as University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Emory University in Atlanta and University of Georgia.

“Florida, especially Tampa, is prime to be in the same situation,” he said. “It’s my intention to build on what Dean Anderson has accomplished.”

Because USF is working to become one of the nation’s top 50 public research universities, Forsythe said he sees an opportunity to make COBA a better research department.

Khator, who made the final decision, applauded Forsythe’s research credentials.

“He’s going to build a strong research culture in the college,” Khator said. “He’s going to be a good fund-raiser for the college, and his experience will be very valuable for us.”

Forsythe started his career in 1970 as an operations research analyst with PPG Industries, located in Pittsburgh. Since 1981, he has taught economics at the University of Iowa.

He received a bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University in 1970. By 1975, Forsythe received two master’s degrees in economics and statistics and a doctorate degree in economics from Carnegie Mellon University.

Forsythe is scheduled to attend the University Board of Trustees meeting and USF Foundation Board meetings in June.