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Meet the New Dean of Iona College’s LaPenta School of Business

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We sit down with the incoming Dr. Lynne Richardson to discuss what brings her to the New Rochelle Christian school.

Dr. Lynne Richardson will become the dean of LaPenta School of Business at Iona College next month. She joins Iona from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va., where she has served as dean of the College of Business since 2011. In addition, Richardson also served as chief financial officer from 2017-18 at the request of the university’s president. Previously, she had been dean of the business schools at Mississippi State University and Ball State University.

Richardson replaces Dr. Richard Highfield, who has served as interim dean since July 2019.

Lynne Richardson

Lynne Richardson – College of Business & Industry Dean Courtesy of Iona College

What’s your top priority as the new dean of The LaPenta School of Business at Iona College?

My first several months will be spent getting to know the campus community—the LaPenta School of Business faculty, staff, students, and alumni, plus Iona College colleagues and the local business community. From those meetings we will determine the first year—and beyond—priorities.

How do your philosophies and experience correspond with the goal of the school?

I’ve been the most fortunate person in the world to get to work in organizations that literally transform lives. Regardless of the size of the institution, state in which it is located, or anything else, higher education does this. Author Simon Sinek encourages people to find their “why.” As a dean, my “why” is to make sure students in my business school are given the best chance to discover and pursue their passions. It’s my understanding that this is what is important to all who love Iona College.

How do you plan to develop relationships with the business community?

I will begin with two groups, the local LaPenta School of Business alumni and friends, plus Rotary. I am a three-time Rotarian and know that’s a great organization for learning what is happening in the community. I also look forward to connecting with local chambers of commerce, as well as the Business Council of Westchester and Westchester County Association, which I know already have close working relationships with Iona.

How do you help students achieve academic and business career success?

While the Iona College faculty (not just those in the LaPenta School of Business) are key to this, I’ve found my role over the years as helping connect accomplished alumni with students interested in the alumni’s industry. I will also be a very visible dean and will do what I can to create events to connect students with the external world. Speed networking, anyone?

What attracted you to Iona College?

I was attracted initially by the mission and size of the institution. I’ve been dean of three business schools, all public institutions, but as a Christian, I was attracted to the school because of its focus on faith. My [previous] institution (University of Mary College in Fredericksburg, Va.) is a similar size to Iona; in my opinion, the size is “just right.” It’s not so big that students get lost in the “big school” mentality, but not so small that it’s like being back in high school (for those who attended larger schools). During the interview process, I was impressed by the people I met; their passion for their work with students was palpable. That’s the kind of people I want to work with!

Are you looking forward to living with Westchester County? Are you familiar with the New York metropolitan region, and what about it is attractive to you?

I am eager to explore the area and all that it has to offer. Birmingham, Alabama, is the largest area I’ve lived in, so I’m looking to take advantage of Westchester County and its surrounding area. While I’ve visited New York City many times for work and pleasure, I’m not as familiar with Westchester County. Please share “must do’s” with me!