Erika James becomes first female, person of color named dean at Wharton School

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania named its next dean and it's a historic choice.

Erika H. James will be the first woman and first person of color to lead the prestigious business school.

"This is an exciting time to be in business education," James said. "The scope and platform of the Wharton School provides an opportunity to create far reaching impact for students, scholars, and the business community."

The announcement was made Wednesday by Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Wendell Pritchett.

James is a star in the world of organizational psychology and crisis management.

She comes to Penn after making noted changes as the business school dean at Emory University.

"Erika is an award-winning scholar and teacher and a strong, proven leader who serves as dean of the Goizueta Business School at Emory University," said Gutmann. "A passionate and visible champion of the power of business and business education to positively transform communities locally, nationally, and globally, she is exceptionally well prepared to lead Wharton into the next exciting chapter of its storied history."

Prior, she's held positions at the University of Virginia, Tulane and Harvard. She holds a Ph.D. and master's degree in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan and received a bachelor's degree in psychology from Pomona College of the Claremont Colleges, in California.

James will serve as dean of the Wharton School beginning on July 1. She will succeed Geoff Garrett, who will become dean of the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business.
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