Friday, March 27, 2009

Good News and the Isenberg School of Management

What a day it was! Yesterday, one of my doctoral students, Patrick Qiang, at the Isenberg School of Management (ISOM), successfully defended his doctoral dissertation entitled, "Network Efficiency/Performance Measurement with Vulnerability and Robustness Analysis with Application to Critical Infrastructure." Patrick gave a terrific one hour presentation on his dissertation and his committee consisted of Professors June Dong, Ana Muriel, and Sanjay Nawalkha. His concentration is in Management Science. It was great to see so many of our doctoral students in the audience supporting him. Patrick is an Associate of the Virtual Center for Supernetworks as is Professor June Dong. Last night we celebrated with a lovely dinner at La Piazza in Amherst, Massachusetts.

The above speaks to one reason why I love the Isenberg School of Management -- our outstanding students, from the doctoral and Master's students to the undergraduates. Speaking of undergraduates, one of my advisees, who has a double major in operations management and economics stopped by my office the other day to chat. The work ethic exhibited by this student, which is characteristic of many of our students, is amazing. Not only is he a double major, but he also is a Resident Assistant in a dorm, plus he even works at Staples in his "free" time. What touched me most during our conversation was when he talked about his dreams and that he loves the Isenberg School, UMass Amherst, and the town of Amherst so much. I told this wonderful student that many of the faculty stay at the Isenberg School because we also really love what it stands for and the amazing people -- from students to faculty to staff and alumni that make up the school. The Isenberg School has always been willing to take risks and to think "out of the box."

For example, a few years ago, the then Dean, Dr. Tom O'Brien, appointed Sheila Bair as the Dean's Professor of Regulatory Policy and Sheila had an office two doors down from me for about 2 years. As everyone knows now, Sheila Bair is Chair of the FDIC, and has been identified as the second most powerful female in the world, after Angela Merkel. Sheila Bair will be speaking today at the Isenberg School after Professor June Dong gives her presentation. Dr. Dong received her PhD from UMass Amherst in 1994. As you may have heard, Sheila will be one of three recipients of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award at ceremonies in Boston in May. Congratulations to the ISOM family!