December 15, 2020
New dean becomes first Latina to lead the business school
St. Mary’s University today named Rowena Ortiz-Walters, Ph.D., Dean of the St. Mary’s University Greehey School of Business.
Ortiz-Walters comes to St. Mary’s from SUNY Plattsburgh, a public liberal arts college that is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) System, where she currently serves as Dean and Professor of Management in the School of Business and Economics.
“It is an exciting time to be embarking on this new role as the next dean of the Greehey School of Business. I admire the school’s focus on ethical and global business, and I believe I can add a more intentional focus on equity to complement the academic portfolio and reinforce the mission of St. Mary’s University,” Ortiz-Walters said. “As a Hispanic professional, I am also uniquely positioned to engage the Hispanic business community in Texas, which may be an untapped resource for the Greehey School.”
She begins her tenure as the first Latina dean of the Greehey School of Business in June 2021.
“After meeting Rowena, I am confident her commitment to her faith and her leadership and work focused on success for all students make her an excellent fit for St. Mary’s University and the Greehey School of Business,” said President Thomas Mengler, J.D.
More about Ortiz-Walters
Ortiz-Walters received her Ph.D. in Management and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Connecticut, a research-one level university. She earned an MBA in Technology Management from the University of New Haven.
Before moving to SUNY Plattsburgh, she was a professor and department chair at Quinnipiac University, a private institution in Hamden, Connecticut.
Ortiz-Walters is known among her colleagues to be a strong strategic thinker and collaborator. In her role as dean, she has led efforts to develop a culture and vision to position the School of Business and Economics at the intersection of business and technology. Essential to that vision are new initiatives focused on students’ proficiency in using new technologies and utilizing technology in decision-making.
“As technology continues to change too, this will mean a need to graduate students with the ability to use collaborative software (e.g., Microsoft Teams), advanced discipline-specific technologies (e.g., blockchain in fintech), manage data securely (e.g., cybersecurity), analyze large amounts of data to inform decision-making using different tools (e.g., Tableau) and proficiency with coding languages (e.g., Python),” she said. “These are all relevant skills business graduates need to be well positioned for the jobs of the future in the growing industries of San Antonio and the Silicon Hills of Austin.”
Ortiz-Walters has a record of achievement in building student enrollment and supporting student success. She has taken particular interest in programs focused on recruiting and retaining students of color and women in cybersecurity and the information technology profession. As dean, Ortiz-Walters has focused on developing new programs and fostering interdisciplinary collaborations for graduate and undergraduate programs that prepare students for career opportunities and meet employment trends.
Ortiz-Walters models her commitment to research and scholarship. She motivates her faculty to be productive scholars by continuing to conduct research and publish as an academic and administrative leader of the school. She has been recognized for her research on mentoring for underrepresented minorities and women and minority business owners’ entrepreneurial ventures.
Ortiz-Walters understands what it means to receive and maintain the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International distinction of quality. She led the SUNY Plattsburgh School of Business and Economics through its review process for successful reaccreditation. Currently, she serves as the chair and member of the AACSB-International Steering Committee for Women Administrators in Management Education.
Ortiz-Walters has received many internal and external awards and honors for her teaching and research initiatives and her leadership and mentoring of students. One of the most notable honors was the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics in 2016.
“The St. Mary’s edge really resonated with me: to help each student discover, affirm and cultivate his or her unique talents and gifts, and prepare each student to enter the world with the skills and motivation to make a difference,” she said.