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Retiring UMD Dean Leaves Legacy

Posted at: 02/20/2013 12:27 PM
Updated at: 02/21/2013 4:36 PM
By: Brittany Falkers

Since 1998, Kjell R. Knudsen has been the dean of the Labovitz School of Business and Economics (LSBE) at the University of Minnesota Duluth.  Now, he is retiring and he is leaving a legacy of success.

A lot has changed since Knudsen accepted his deanship 15 years ago.  During his term, the school changed it's name in honor of Duluth business leader Joel Labovits, a 1949 UMD graduate, and his family.  Knudsen worked with the family to open the $23 million LSBE building, which opened in 2008.  Something the UMD community can share.

"This is not my school," Knudsen said, "This is everyone's school."

While many of his accomplishments stand out LSBE's accreditation to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) is something the school hopes will continue.  The AACSB is the premier business school accrediting agency in the world.  Since LSBE first received accreditation in 2000, the school has continued to receive accreditation at each AACSB review fro both the undergraduate and graduate level business and management programs.

Although his accomplishments are vast at UMD, he says he hopes to be remembered for one thing in particular.

"As someone who did everything I could to make other people successful," Knudsen said,  "And that we came up with a climate here where people felt free to do what they wanted to do."

While Knudsen will retire his deanship at then end of June, he wont stray from the UMD campus for another two years.  He's not sure what his new role will be just yet, but says one thing is for sure.

"The important thing to me is that I have to give the new dean some room," he said, "People have to have the freedom to have their own mark on the school." 

A national search to fill Knudsen's big shoes is underway.