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Last season, Taylor Randall could be found cheering in the stands at every U of U home football game. Well, all but one. He made that game up by traveling to the University of Notre Dame for an away game.
Fall 2010 also represented the first bowl game he missed in eight years, says Randall, dean of the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business. “I grew up in Salt Lake,” he explains. “It’s a family thing, it’s a genetic thing. I just love it.”
Randall begins his third year as dean of the business school this fall. He takes his ardent school spirit into the classroom, into the business community and, in fact, around the world. He recently returned from a trip to Beijing, China, where he met with would-be job recruiters of business school graduates. He’s also been to New York City and Palo Alto, Calif., in recent months, all with the aim of building lasting relationships with alumni and spreading the brand of the university.
The whirlwind effort has been timed to complement the university’s football team becoming a member of the Pac 12, Randall says.
“Our incoming quality [of students] continues to rise,” he says. “What’s fun about that is when you get smart students coming in, you also have to make sure you stay up with them. They push us as much as we push them, and that’s the fun part about education.”
Randall, a third-generation leader at the business school, decided to pursue a career in education while studying business accounting at the University of Utah. He took an English class with Professor Emeritus Brooke Hopkins.
“I had failed my paper,” he recalls. “I was a horrible writer at one point, and this professor took me aside and told me I’d failed. He was pretty upfront with that. But then he had me rewrite it three or four times. I remember that being one of those transforming experiences. I learned to love to write; I loved being intellectually curious and I kind of found my passion for education.”
For Randall, a business education means endless opportunities for increasingly sophisticated problem solving, plus the opportunity to work with people.
“It’s honestly one of those unique times in education where things are changing fast,” he says. “If you like action and you like change, this is the moment.”