Cal Poly Announces Scott Dawson to Return as Orfalea College of Business Dean

Scott DawsonCal Poly announced today that former Orfalea College of Business Dean Scott Dawson will return to the position effective June 1.

“We are pleased that Scott will return as part of our leadership team and that the Orfalea College of Business’ students, faculty and staff will once again benefit from his visionary leadership and commitment to Learn by Doing,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong.

Dawson led the Orfalea College of Business from August 2014 until November 2016, when he stepped down after the loss of his wife, Bridget, in a bicycling accident in July. He returned to Portland, Oregon, to be near family and friends.

Provost Kathleen Enz Finken appointed associate dean Kevin Lertwachara as interim dean effective Nov. 1 and convened a search committee to recruit a new permanent dean. However, before any candidate interviews took place, Dawson reached out to Cal Poly to express his interest in returning.

After consulting with and receiving the support of both the search committee and the California State University’s interim vice chancellor for human resources, Armstrong and Enz Finken decided to cancel the recruitment and appoint Dawson to the dean’s position.

“We continue to believe that Scott is the right person to lead the Orfalea College of Business and build upon its successes, and we are thrilled that we will have him back on campus.” Enz Finken said. “We offer our thanks to the members of the search committee for their time and energy. We are also grateful to Kevin Lertwachara for his thoughtful leadership during this interim period.”

Lertwachara, an information systems professor, will continue to serve as interim dean until June and then will return to his role as associate dean for the college’s undergraduate programs when Dawson returns.

Dawson first joined the Orfalea College of Business after nearly 30 years at Portland State University’s School of Business. He served multiple roles as a marketing professor and associate dean, eventually becoming dean in 2000.

Dawson earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Oregon. He holds a master’s in business administration and a doctorate from the University of Arizona.

Cal Poly Announces Interim Dean of the Orfalea College of Business

Professor Kevin LertwacharaCal Poly Provost Kathleen Enz Finken has announced the appointment of an interim dean for the Orfalea College of Business. Kevin Lertwachara, associate dean for the college’s undergraduate programs, will serve as interim dean effective Nov. 1.

Current Dean Scott Dawson announced he will step down after the loss of his wife, Bridget, in a bicycling accident in July. Dawson plans to return to Portland, Ore., to be closer to family and friends.

Enz Finken also announced that marketing Professor Stern Neill will serve as interim associate dean for undergraduate programs. Neill will provide additional support and guidance to the college’s career-readiness initiatives. He will work closely with Amy Carter, who was recently named assistant dean of student success in the Orfalea College of Business.

“I am very pleased to have Professors Lertwachara and Neill join the leadership team during this period of transition,” said Enz Finken. “They have been fully engaged members of the Cal Poly community over the years, and are highly respected for their thoughtful and collegial leadership of college initiatives.”

Professor Stern NeillLertwachara joined the Cal Poly faculty in 2004 as a professor teaching information systems. He received Orfalea’s Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award in 2009 and served as the Management, Human Resources and Information Systems Area chair from 2013 to 2014.

Lertwachara earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from King Mongkut’s University of Technology in Thailand and an MBA from Westminster College. He also earned a doctorate in operations and information management from the University of Connecticut.

Neill joined Cal Poly’s Marketing Area in 2008 after teaching for eight years at the University of Washington, Tacoma. He is also a visiting scholar at Yashan University in China. Neill earned his bachelor’s degree and doctorate in business administration from Louisiana State University. He also holds an MBA from Southeastern Louisiana University. He serves on the editorial review boards of the Journal of Business Research and Industrial Marketing Management.

Cal Poly will conduct a national search for the next permanent dean of the college.

A Message to Cal Poly Alumni from Dean Scott Dawson

Dean Scott Dawson

Dear Alumni,

I hope all our alumni had the chance to experience adventure and renewal this summer. The Orfalea College of Business is proud of the contributions you are making to society and grateful for the many ways you support our mission.

As some of you know, I lost my wife, Bridget, in a bicycling accident in July. The support of the Cal Poly community has meant so much to me and my family during this tough time. In November, I will return to Portland to pursue new professional endeavors and to be closer to my family.

However, you will not see a pause in the momentum during the year as the college searches for a new dean. We have a highly capable leadership team in place that will be pursuing initiatives in the college’s 2016-17 annual plan.

Expect to see a continuation of engagement outside the college through Executives in Residence, alumni events, and student tours. We will also welcome ten new members to the Dean’s Advisory Council meeting in October and start them on an ambitious agenda that includes planning for an outstanding alumni event in the Bay Area in fall 2017.

The momentum of the college’s career readiness initiative is continuing in numerous directions. Amy Carter, formerly Director of Student Services, will bring her significant leadership capabilities to her new role as Assistant Dean for Student Success. One of Amy’s projects this year is enlisting young alumni to provide career mentoring for students and implementing new software to improve resume quality. We are thrilled to welcome Alyssa Graudins, a Cal Poly alumna, as our new employer relations specialist. Alyssa brings significant experience, including working for the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, to a role that will expand and improve relationships with employers who need the expertise of Orfalea graduates.

I leave Cal Poly with a heavy heart. Working with Orfalea’s faculty, and truly amazing students and alumni the last few years has been an honor and deeply fulfilling. I hope the alumni community continues its support of the Orfalea College of Business and its vision of taking Learn by Doing to new heights.

I wish you all the very best.

Scott Dawson

Open House Schedule | Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business

Open House April 14-16The Orfalea College of Business welcomes prospective students, families and alumni to campus for Open House April 14-16, 2016. The college will host a series of events in the Business Building (Building 03) in addition to the university-wide Open House events happening throughout campus. Check Cal Poly’s master schedule of events here, and see Orfalea’s detailed schedule below or via pdf download.

For visitor information, including parking, transportation and lodging, visit the Cal Poly Open House website.

You can also access a list of Frequently Asked Questions surrounding Open House events.

Campus Map Available Here

Campus Shuttle Information Available Here

Friday, April 15, 2016

Time Activity Location
9-10 a.m. University Welcome
Hear from Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong and VP for Student Affairs Keith Humphries as they welcomes potential students, supporters and alumni to campus. Hear about the major initiatives shaping Cal Poly and Learn by Doing today.
Main Gym at the Recreation Center
10-10:45 a.m. Orfalea College of Business Welcome
Everyone is welcome to hear this presentation from Dean Scott Dawson, the Director of Orfalea Student Services, alumni and current students. This is an opportunity to learn more about what the Orfalea College of Business has to offer and how you can benefit from its experiential learning philosophy.
Multi Activity Center (MAC) at the Recreation Center
11 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. Orfalea Information Fair
Meet clubs and student leaders in the Ofalea College of Business during our Information Fair. Peer Advisors will also be available to discuss majors, concentrations and other curriculum questions. This is a great opportunity to meet and socialize with peers who may become your classmates.
O’Neill Green
11 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.
(every half hour)
Orfalea College Tours
Orfalea College of Business tours leave every half hour and highlight a variety of classrooms, lecture halls, computer labs and meeting rooms.  Tours are guided by Student Ambassadors, outstanding students who will share valuable information about the college, its programs and their own experiences.
Building 03, Room 100
11 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Open House
The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC), a university sponsored service-learning project, empowers student accountants advised by tax attorneys to help local clients facing major fines and fees from the IRS. During the LITC Open House, you will have the opportunity to learn more about this Learn by Doing program and discuss its benefits with students and faculty involved.
Building 03, Room 107
11-11:45 a.m. “Opportunities at Orfalea” Student Panel
Interactive student-run panels are designed for you to participate in discussions and ask questions about life on campus, academics and career paths. Learn how Orfalea students gain a competitive edge with topics covering academic development, college clubs, mentoring opportunities, internship experiences and job placements. Discover your niche by hearing how students connect socially through involvement in Greek life, athletics, intramurals, housing, dining, community outreach and more. Please note that these panels will be offered on a first come first serve basis.
Building 03, Room 213
11 a.m.- 1:30 p.m Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Trade Show
Come to the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s trade show to see demonstrations of how you can get involved with the CIE at every stage of your college career. You’ll hear from current students who are starting companies, alumni working on projects through the HotHouse Incubator, get to see The Hatchery space and more.
Building 02, Room 206
11:15 a.m.-12 p.m.
12:15-1 p.m.
Industrial Technology Demonstrations
Take an exciting tour of the Industrial Technology program housed by the Orfalea College of Business including metal fabrication, plastic processing, and corrugated design labs. See the best university equipped packaging dynamics lab; students’ prototype packages withstand pressure and vibration as they use testing equipment to simulate shipping environments.
O’Neill Green (Stone Orfalea Sign)
12-12:45 p.m. Alumni Panel
Hear from graduates of the Orfalea College of Business about how the college’s career-readiness programs impact their job search.
Building 03, Room 213
12:30-1:30 p.m. Lunch with Student Leaders
Join us for a picnic lunch on O’Neill Green, catered by local favorite Splash Cafe. Share a meal with our student leaders, who would love to discuss their experience at Cal Poly and what it’s like to be a student in the Orfalea College of Business.
 O’Neill Green


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Time Activity Location
10-11:30 a.m. “Learn by Doing” at Orfalea
Gain a better understanding of the application of Orfalea College of Business curriculum in real world situations and how it differs from other universities. This presentation highlights Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing philosophy, providing prospective students with a better understanding of what areas of study interest them by showcasing current student projects and game-changing experiences.
Building 03, Room 213 (the Silo)
11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
12:30-1:15 p.m.
Orfalea College Tours
Not able to fit in a tour on Friday? The Orfalea College of Business will be hosting 45 minute tours of the college, highlighting classrooms, lecture halls, computer labs and meeting rooms. Tours are guided by Student Ambassadors, outstanding students who share valuable information about the college, its programs and their own experiences.
Building 03, Room 100
11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Advising Center Open House
The Orfalea College of Business Student Services Center will be open to explore and answer your questions. Stop by to learn more about majors and concentrations offered, ways to get involved, and the free resources available to Orfalea students such as tutoring, peer mentoring, the Executive Partners Program, career and internship advising and much more!
Building 03, Room 100
2:30-5 p.m. Alumni Beer and Wine Garden
Orfalea College of Business alumni and guests are invited to enjoy a beer and wine garden hosted in conjunction with Cal Poly’s College of Engineering. The event will feature local beer and wine as well as delicious appetizers. Event happens rain or shine! Entry is $20/ person. 21+ only. Register ahead of time at
Engineering Plaza





Orfalea College of Business Welcomes New Dean

dawson_photoThe Orfalea College of Business welcomed Scott Dawson as its new dean on Aug. 1. Dawson comes to Cal Poly with a rich history in academics and business consulting. As dean of the School of Business and Administration at Portland State University, Dawson managed a faculty of 55 instructors and a $17 million budget. He was instrumental in developing new international programs, key industry partnerships and a 40-member Business Advisory Council that connected local leaders to the school’s strategic and philanthropic development.

Notable advancements during Dawson’s tenure as dean include launching four new master’s programs, starting the state’s only Center for Real Estate, creating the Center for Executive and Professional Education, and launching progressive programs in the athletic apparel industry and the business of craft brewing. In addition to his duties at Portland State, Dawson also consulted for companies such as Costco, InFocus Systems and advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy. Dawson has a Ph.D. in business and an MBA from the University of Arizona, and a BS in mathematics from the University of Oregon.