First PSU Smeal Sustainability Awarded To Gerald Susman

PSU Smeal Sustainability

Former Associate Dean Gerald Susman from the Penn State’s Smeal College of Business has been awarded with the inaugural Susman Sustainability Leadership Award.

In a statement about the award, Charles H. Whiteman, John and Becky Surma Dean of Smeal, said, “This annual award will recognize and honor achievement in the area of sustainability and there is nobody who has had a bigger impact on our research or our teaching efforts in this area than Gerry. His efforts have created a wonderful legacy here and I am honored to name this award in his honor.

When Gerald Susman was Associate Dean of Smeal College of Business, he made a concerted effort to prioritize sustainability and his efforts created an atmosphere of environmental awareness that has continued since his retirement. During his tenure, Susman recognized that many of Smeal’s research faculty were interested in sustainability and he helped found the Smeal Sustainability Council and the Sustainability Advisory Board in order to facilitate collaboration and growth in the area.

Five years ago, Smeal birthed a Sustainability Strategic Plan that proposed courses of action for incorporating sustainability into curriculum. This plan even included a required sustainability course for all undergrads, as well as a concentration in the Smeal MBA program.

Erik Foley, Smeal’s Director of Sustainability, said that Susman, “… navigated our work from the early days of operational excellence to the current focus on strategy and innovation.” Foley attributes Smeal’s current transition to focusing on environmentally and socially conscious business education to Susman’s legacy.

Susman received his Ph.D., M.A. and B.A. from UCLA, and then joined Penn State’s faculty in 1969. He took on a variety of roles during his time at Penn State. From 1991-99, he acted as Chair of the Department of Management. Additionally, Dr. Susman has been brought on as a consultant by many organizations, including the U.S. Department of Labor.


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