A Great and Generous Friend

naIn a world that in 2008 plunged into the worst financial downturn in 60 years, the words “think globally, lead responsibly” have particular resonance.

These four words, the tagline for Saint Mary’s School of Economics and Business Administration (SEBA), summarize succinctly the school’s mission and vision. Jim Blackwell, the executive vice president of technology for Chevron and chair of the school’s board of advisors, thinks this vision not only reflects what Saint Mary’s stands for, but also is just what the world needs.

“Students ready to operate in a global business community, providing responsible leadership for their companies, will play an important role in moving the world forward,” Blackwell said. “They also have a competitive advantage in the workplace.” The board focuses on ensuring that students are prepared to succeed, not just when they’re poised to enter the work force, but throughout their academic careers.

“The board zeroed in on the student experience and the importance of career development,” said SEBA’s Dean, Zhan Li, “and they’ve offered invaluable advice on academic programs and curriculum planning for undergraduate and graduate study. Their counsel helps to ensure that we deliver high quality educational experiences to all our students.”

Such quality, demonstrated by strong support for students, faculty and academics, is requisite for AACSB accreditation, an important goal for SEBA. Only five percent of business schools in the world are endorsed by this premiere accrediting institution.

“It will be a key accomplishment for the school,” said Blackwell, who has tirelessly helped steer SEBA towards accreditation.

Meanwhile, Li credits Blackwell with recruiting other valuable business leaders to the board. “I truly appreciate our board members, who not only give their time and experience, but their treasure, as well,” Blackwell said.

Not the least of these is Blackwell himself, whose “tremendous, unselfish, unconditional support” makes so much possible, Li said. “He is a great, generous friend.”

“Saint Mary’s is a positive part of our community and it is important for us in the community to support Saint Mary’s College,” Blackwell said.