Cal Poly names Scott Dawson as new dean for College of Business

nwilson@thetribunenews.comApril 10, 2014 

Scott Dawson has been named Cal Poly's new dean of the Orfalea School of Business


Scott Dawson, dean of the School of Business and Administration at Portland State, has been named dean of Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business. He will start Aug. 1.

At Portland State, Dawson oversaw a faculty of 55 instructors and a $17 million annual budget and helped create a Business Advisory Council that offered the university assistance with strategic and philanthropic development.

Dawson, 57, also played a key role in guiding new international programs and industry partnerships.

At Cal Poly’s College of Business, Dawson will manage a faculty of 88, as well as two associate deans and one assistant dean. He will earn an annual salary of $230,004.

Dawson succeeds former dean Dave Christie, who served from 2004 to 2013. Christie left to become provost of Baruch College in New York City. Doug Cerf has served as the interim dean.

In a telephone interview Thursday, Dawson said he’s looking forward to joining a university that’s in a “wonderful transition point with ambitious new leadership almost across the board.”

He said he needs to spend more time on campus and conduct his own research before recommending specific changes. But he does envision spending more time off-campus fundraising and building relationships with alumni and industry partners than the past dean.

“They want a dean that’s going to build bridges to alumni and quite frankly, fund-raise,” Dawson said.

“Here at Portland State, I spend about 50 to 60 percent of my time off campus and, given (President Jeff Armstrong’s) goals and expectations, I think it will be similar at Cal Poly. Most of the alumni live in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. You have to be there to build those ties.”

While at Portland State, Dawson also took on consultant duties at companies such as Costco, InFocus Systems, and advertising agency Wieden and Kennedy.

Dawson earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Oregon in 1978, his MBA in 1981 from the University of Arizona and a doctorate in business in 1984, also from the University of Arizona.


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