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In other news: March 2024

spring campus scene

Thought leaders

  • A white paper co-authored by Professor Stephen Arbogast offers an overview of new emission standards proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency for current and new fossil fuel-fired electricity generating units — and their potential impact on the North Carolina economy. Arbogast, director of the UNC Kenan-Flagler Energy Center, collaborated on the paper with Ed Finley, former chair of the North Carolina Utilities Commission.
  • The Business School was well-represented on the Academy of Management Journal list of its most-read articles of 2023, which included work by professors Laura Sonday (No. 1), Andrew Boysen (No. 4) and Timothy Kundro (who has two articles the top 10: No. 3 and No. 8). Research from alumna Lisa Schurer Lambert (PhD ’04) also made the list. Additionally, a paper on employee growth mindset authored by Professor Jessica Siegel Christian and Ben Rogers (PhD ’23) was one of the most-read papers published in the Academy of Management Discoveries in 2023.
  • Professor Elad Sherf shared his experience teaching a unique PhD seminar on creativity. “The seminar gave the students a different look at the behind-the-scenes of research, career paths in organizational behavior and creativity in organizations,” he wrote on LinkedIn. “I learned so much myself.”
  • Professor Eric Ghysels discussed the possible impact of quantum computing on the world of finance.

    (From left to right): Professors Vinayak Deshpande, Sandeep Rath and Eva Labro

    (From left to right): Professors Vinayak Deshpande, Sandeep Rath and Eva Labro

  • Professor Eva Labro was named the winner of the inaugural Kit and Turner Bredup Faculty Excellence Award. The honor, made possible thanks to the generosity of 100 Women co-founder Kit Bredup (MBA ’93) and her family, recognizes faculty who excel in business engagement through exceptional teaching and research. Labro, the Michael W. Haley Distinguished Professor of Accounting and accounting area chair, has won numerous awards for her research on costing systems, which has been published in top journals, including The Accounting Review and the Journal of Accounting Research. Labro received UNC Kenan-Flagler Weatherspoon Awards for teaching excellence in the PhD and MBA Programs.
  • Professors Vinayak Deshpande and Sandeep Rath received the 2024 Bullard Faculty Research Impact Award. The professors collaborated on a research project at UNC Rex Hospital focused on optimizing costs of common surgical instruments and published in Operations Research and several medical journals. Deshpande, Rath and Nishanth Mundru, a former UNC Kenan-Flagler professor, developed an algorithm that enables software to automate most of the complex task of reducing unnecessary instruments in operating rooms. They developed the algorithm in collaboration with alumni who are the founders of healthcare technology firm OpFlow, Dr. Benjamin C. Wood and Dr. Martyn Knowles (both MBA ’18). The award is made possible thanks to support from the late Clifford E. “Clif” Bullard Jr. (BSBA ’76) and his wife, Rachelle Bullard.
  • Professor Paige Ouimet, Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise executive director and associate dean of the PhD Program, talked with the Carolina Alumni Review about starting out as a biologist, translating “statistical chaos” into practical economic wisdom, and fostering discussions on everything from ethical leadership to machine learning.

wind turbine Save the date

There’s a lot to experience during this year’s Alumni Weekend April 26-27, and one of the top unofficial kick-offs is the 2024 UNC Sustainability Awards hosted by the Ackerman Center for Excellence in Sustainability.

The gala, held April 25 at the Kenan Center, includes a reception and dinner overseen by renowned Snap Pea chef Jacob Boehm followed by an awards ceremony celebrating innovation, initiative and impact in sustainability practice among North Carolina businesses, alumni and students participating in the Student-Athlete Sustainability Initiative program. It also honors this year’s MBA Sustainable Enterprise graduates. Register here. 

Standout students and alumni

Thomas Kenan III honor.

Thomas Kenan III (center) with (from left) William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust trustees Robert Baynard and Lawrence Gray, Interim Chancellor Lee Roberts and Vice Chancellor for Development Mike Andreasen

A lifetime of service

Much of what makes Carolina, well, Carolina is thanks to Thomas Kenan III (BA ’59).

Kenan has spent decades giving back to alma mater through his unmatchable support of a wide range of Carolina programs and initiatives, including many offered the Business School and by the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as the Ackland Art Museum and Carolina Performing Arts. Kenan is a trustee of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, which has supported numerous UNC scholarship programs. The award ceremony in March 2024 included the annual recital of the Kenan Music Scholars, a program created by the trust.

In March 2024, he received the inaugural Lux Libertas Philanthropy Award, Carolina’s highest honor in recognition of exceptional service through private philanthropy. The award ceremony included the annual recital of the Kenan Music Scholars, a program created by the trust.

“Both personally and through his leadership at the Kenan Charitable Trust, Tom has built a legacy of giving that is remarkable for its scope and because it is based upon the idea of fostering a lasting partnership,” said Mike Andreasen, UNC vice chancellor for development. “It’s a partnership that identifies and meets not just the important needs of a university, but also of the surrounding state and even the world.

From everyone at the Business School, thank you, Mr. Kenan.

Spotted on social

  • H. Beecher Hicks III (MBA ’93), president and CEO of the National Black MBA Association, visited the White House to discuss the impact of supporting Black-owned businesses with the Domestic Policy Council, Department of the Treasury and the Office of Public Engagement. 
  • Professor Kristopher Keller was among several marketing faculty who attended the 2024 American Marketing Association winter academic conference in St. Pete Beach, Florida. “Wonderful to learn from great young scholars how they created their own success,” Keller wrote on LinkedIn.
  • Dean Mary Margaret Frank (BSBA ’92, MAC ’92, PhD ’99) made an appearance in a video about Interim Chancellor Lee H. Roberts’ first 30 days at Carolina.
  • Catherine Okafor, assistant director of career development and employer relations for the Undergraduate Business Program, will be among the presenters at this year’s National Conference for College Women Student Leaders at the University of Maryland-College Park. The event is hosted by the American Association of University Women.
  • Alison Fragale had a “proud professor moment” when she attended a conference at the U.S. Air Force Academy and ended up unexpectedly sitting across from two Carolina students: Skylar Guhl (BSBA ’25) and Juliana Boerema (BA ’25)
  • March was a great month to be a Tar Heel — and a member of the Executive MBA Program Class of 2024 like Tara Bain. “Fun night with my fellow UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School MBA students,” Bain posted on LinkedIn. “We finished a term, UNC beat Duke and we got to storm Franklin like we were still 20!”
  • It can be tough being a parent when you’re also in graduate school. But Joseph Price-Gault (MBA ’24) knows firsthand how the online MBA@UNC program works seamlessly for those from all walks of life. In a LinkedIn post, he shared that while he was in the middle of class, his newborn decided it was a good time to eat while at the same time, his toddler was extra playful. Price-Gault’s wife took care of their toddler, while Price-Gault was spotted holding his sleepy newborn over Zoom. Professor Arzu Ozoguz took no issue with the situation, telling him that she “won’t be offended if my lecture puts him to sleep,” he shared.“This is what we need,” Price-Gault wrote. “A world-class education with empathy and understanding. Kudos, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.”Top campus photo by Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill.