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Contact: Joe King, NIU Public Affairs
February 21, 2006
DeKALB, Ill -- After 16 years as part of the faculty and administration of the NIU College of Business, Bill Tallon is trading in the prairies of Illinois for the rolling blue grass hills of Kentucky.
Tallon, of Geneva, has been named the dean of the Gordon Ford College of Business, at Western Kentucky University, in Bowling Green. He will assume that role on July 1.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” says Tallon of leaving behind NIU. “I have spent so much of my life here and worked with so many wonderful people. On the other hand, the Gordon Ford College of Business is well positioned to become the premier provider of business education in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and I am very proud of the opportunity to have a major role in leading the school to new levels of excellence.”
Helping to quell any feelings of homesickness, says Tallon, is that there are many things about the Ford College of Business that remind him of NIU.
“In many ways, it is a school that is where the NIU College of Business was five years ago. They have an outstanding faculty, some excellent programs and they are preparing to move into a brand new $34 million facility in a couple of years. I feel like I understand some of the challenges that lay ahead, and I am looking forward to leading the school forward.”
Among his priorities, says Tallon, will be establishing a strategic plan for the college, enhancing faculty development programs and updating the school’s curriculum. He will also work with faculty, staff and students to prepare for the opening of the new building and the opportunities that it will create.
One of the biggest parts of the job, Tallon says, will be maintaining and enhancing the school’s already excellent relationship with its alumni and assisting in fund raising. Established in 1906, the school has amassed an $18 million endowment for the college and secured 10 endowed professorships, worth approximately $12 million.
“The alumni are absolutely passionate about the school,” says Tallon who has already had an opportunity to speak with many graduates. “Listening to them talk about the school and how important it was to them, it made my decision to take the job an easy one.”
Still, packing up and leaving will be tough, admits Tallon, who arrived on the NIU campus in 1970 as a freshman, and earned his bachelor’s and MBA here. He went on to earn his doctorate degree at Iowa, then taught at the University of Virginia before returning to NIU in 1990 as a member of the faculty in the Operations Management and Information Systems Department. He became chair of the department in 1992 and led it through a period of explosive market-driven growth, from 46 students when he took over, to more than 400 when he was promoted to associate dean in 2001.
In his role as associate dean, Tallon had a hand in the day-to-day management of the college and participated in strategic planning for the future. He was selected to serve as interim dean last May and enjoyed the work so much that when a search firm contacted him late last year to gauge his interest in the Western Kentucky job, he threw his hat into the ring.
Tallon proved an excellent fit for the job, say WKU officials.
“We look forward to Dr. Tallon’s arrival,” says WKU President Gary Ransdell. “His leadership will be critical to the pace which our Gordon Ford College of Business sets for our regional business community. He brings superb talent and experience to our faculty and students and to our Commonwealth.”
NIU President John Peters praised Tallon’s selection, saying he expects Tallon will be a tremendous asset to WKU.
“Dr. Tallon has been a valuable member of the faculty and administration here at NIU and I am certain that he will lead the Gordon Ford School of Business to new heights. We wish him well,” said Peters.
Tallon becomes the third member of the NIU faculty in the past year to accept a job as a college dean. Gregory Carnes left NIU to become dean of the College of Business at Lipscomb University, while NIU Marketing Chair Denise Schoenbachler was recently selected to take over the leadership of the NIU College of Business.