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Kurt Dirks named dean of the David Eccles School of Business

Kurt Dirks

University of Utah Provost Mitzi M. Montoya announced that Kurt Dirks has accepted an offer to serve as dean of the David Eccles School of Business. Dirks is the Bank of America Professor of Managerial Leadership and director of the Bauer Leadership Center at Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis (WashU).  He will begin his new role on July 1, 2024.

In his more than 20 years as a business school faculty member at public and private institutions, Dirks has filled multiple senior leadership roles, including as senior associate dean of programs at the Olin Business school, interim dean,  and acting provost of WashU. He serves as senior advisor to the chancellor of WashU, developing a vision, strategy, plan and funding to develop students as leaders who are prepared to lead lives of purpose, integrity and impact. Dirks’ focus on values-based leadership has spurred his work to boost access and success for all students, regardless of their background, identity or major. Across roles, he helped raise over $30 million in gifts to support students and faculty research.

“Dr. Dirks joins our campus with extensive experience and understanding of what it means to achieve excellence in research and teaching and the importance of leading by example,” Montoya said. “I look forward to working with him as he collaborates across campus and our community to help the U achieve its mission of supporting student success and positive societal impact.”

Dirks was selected after an extensive national search, which was chaired by Rory Hume, dean of the School of Dentistry, and Bill Hesterly, professor of entrepreneurship and strategy in the David Eccles School of Business.

As dean of the David Eccles School of Business, Dirks will oversee top-ranking programs, including the professional MBA program, which is ranked No. 5 in the West by U.S. News and World Report, and undergraduate entrepreneurship, which is ranked No. 2 in the West by Princeton Review. The Eccles School is home to four institutes and five centers that support research and policy work in economics, societal change and transformational learning opportunities. Dirks will further the Eccles School’s mission to build strategic leaders, embrace diverse backgrounds, and apply ethical principles to create value.

“I’m excited to join the University of Utah — one of the nation’s great public universities,” Dirks said. “Public universities changed my life by launching me into a rewarding career that I could not have imagined or achieved otherwise. I look forward to helping students from all backgrounds have the potential to do the same as they attend the U and pursue their passions.”

Rachel Hayes, a professor in accounting and faculty member at the U since 2005 has served as dean of the Eccles School since 2021. She has served in numerous roles in her department and college, including as the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Presidential Endowed Chair in Ethical Financial Reporting, and associate dean of faculty and research. After she finishes her term in June, she will take a well-deserved administrative leave.

“I’m grateful to Dr. Hayes for her steady leadership of the Eccles School,” Montoya said. “Students, faculty and staff have been bolstered by her dedication to academics at the school and institution.”