Welcome to the Odette School of Business website. As some background for those relatively new to the School, it has now been fifty years since Dr. Gilbert Horne was named Dean of the new Faculty of Business Administration at the University of Windsor (and sixty since the first B.Comm. was graduated by our predecessor institution, Assumption College). Over the intervening time, our Business students and graduates have made significant marks on various walks of life. For example, the Honourable Ed Lumley (B.Comm. 1961) is the current Chancellor of the University of Windsor and recent graduates like Emilie Cushman (B.Comm. 2012), Chris Gelinas (B.Comm. 2007), Michael Kaye (MBA 2009), Gary Kalaci (MBA 2012), and Vincent Georgie (MBA 2004) have already been recognized for leadership in their respective fields. In the remainder of this letter I would like to provide a brief update on activities here at Odette.
The Odette Experience Strategy relies on the creation of rich interactions between and among faculty scholarship, industry leaders, and student curricular and extracurricular activities. In the implementation of the Odette Experience the School made a number of direct changes to student expectations and options. For example, the B.Comm. and MBA programs were completely restructured and the Master of Management and Post-Graduate Certificate in Accounting introduced. Enactus Windsor was founded (originally as ACE Windsor), CBAR (the Centre for Business Advancement and Research now EPICentre) was created, AIESEC Windsor was re-established, the Odette Toastmasters chapter was established, and the Odette Debate Club’s activities were greatly expanded. The creation of the Richard Peddie Leadership Initiative (funded and named in honour of 1970 B.Comm. graduate Richard Peddie) has allowed us to further institutionalize the development of leaders at Odette and its Georgie-Odette Leadership Symposium becoming a signature annual event engaging 300 students with 100 practising business leaders each year. Most recently, new entrance standards were set for the BComm, the requirements to be awarded an honours BComm were increased, and the planning for a new program in investment management was begun—this being made possible through the generosity of alumnus John Simpson (MBA 1980).
On the administrative/facilities side, the Odette Career Advancement and Placement Services Office was moved to the second floor of the main wing of the Odette Building to become part of an all-encompassing Student Success Centre and the world-class Odette Financial Markets Lab continues to expand its offerings on the second floor. The addition of the 18,000 sq. ft. South Wing to the Odette Building, financed by the generosity of the families of Louis and Edmond Odette, has allowed for a number of exciting new spaces including a new location for Odette’s EPICentre (Entrepreneurship Practice and Innovation Centre) strategically situated across from the new Ron Joyce Entrepreneurship Centre.
While the School is just coming to the close of a very successful first 65 years, many have worked hard to enrich the brand and its promise recently—and, while Odette became just the seventh Canadian business school approved to become a full-voting member of GMAC (Graduate Management Admissions Council) five years ago, in 2014 the School was approved for conditional international accreditation by AACSB International with an expected date for completion of full accreditation by Fall 2015.
Just as Odette alumni have been highly visible in various communities, so too have current Odette student. For example, the Peddie Debate team has competed successfully at the University of Chicago, Wharton and Stanford recently and is still the only non-U.S. university team ever invited to become a member of the American Parliamentary Debating Association. Twenty of our Enactus members recently returned from a 12-day study tour in China which included three days at the Enactus World Cup event in Beijing after finishing as runner-up in the 2014 national entrepreneurship finals in Calgary. Odette Toastmasters competes regionally across Southern Ontario and Michigan and ran their first ever Odette-wide speech competition in Fall, 2014. I am also very proud that B.Comm. students in one second year course have, over the years, delivered cheques totaling many hundreds of thousands of dollars to local charities as a result of philanthropic events they have created and run.
Odette faculty members also continue to have national and international impact. Dr. Alan Richardson is current President of the Canadian Academic Accounting Association and Dr. Jagdish Pathak has been honored recently with a prestigious award by the American Accounting Association. Dr. Gerry Kerr and Dr. Francine Schlosser have recently filled executive roles with the Canadian Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship and many others of our faculty take on leadership roles in organizing annual academic society conferences. This year we have hired two new faculty members, Dr. Al-Karim Samnani in Organization Behaviour and Dr. Ligang Zhang in Finance, both of whom have already established excellent teaching and research records.
An additional key ingredient of the Odette Experience has been the participation of business leaders coming to the School as guest lecturers, usually as executives-in-residence-for-a-day. Just recently, Judith Humphrey made her annual trip to Odette, this time to launch her newest book, Taking the Stage. Alumna Ida Goodreau (B.Comm 1981, MBA 1986) was also just here from Vancouver sharing her experience with various senior executive and board roles in and out of the health industry. Earlier this year former classmates Jamie Johnson (B.Comm. 1984, MBA 1987 ) and Bill Butt (B.Comm. 1984) spent a day sharing their experiences in the finance industry while while Marty Komsa (B.Comm. 1976) was here very recently to explain the approach to human resource management that resulted in his company being annually acclaimed as one of Canada’s best companies for which to work.
If you have never visited Odette or haven’t been back in a while, please visit. While many of our goals and ideals stay the same, much also changes as we evolve to attempt to do an ever better job of developing young leaders to make Canada the winner one of our alums, Jason Clemens (B.Comm. 1995, MBA 1997) predicted in his book The Canadian Century.