Dr. Rick Lytle officially takes reins as dean of ACU's College of Business Administration


For Immediate Release
March 8, 2000

ABILENE - Dr. Rick Lytle, acting dean of Abilene Christian University's College of Business Administration and associate professor of management sciences, has been named dean of the university's College of Business Administration.

In a unique ceremony, administrators, faculty, staff and students laid hands on Lytle, his wife Jeanne and their three daughters. The group prayed and asked God to bless Lytle and his family as he officially assumed the role and responsibilities of COBA dean.

"It's clear this school is destined for great things with you as our dean," said Dr. Ed Timmerman, professor of management sciences, as part of the blessing. "We desire to go where few schools have gone before ... to occupy a place among the acknowledged great institutions of business studies in this land."

Lytle follows Dr. Jack Griggs as COBA dean. Griggs retired as dean one year ago after nine years of service as dean, but he continues to teach classes as professor of finance.

Before the blessing, Dr. Brad Reid, professor of management sciences, said Lytle possesses the two kinds of wisdom illustrated in the Bible in the book of James, chapter 3, verse 13. He said Lytle personifies wisdom by living right and doing good things.

"We are seeking models for our students to teach them servant leadership and be a source of wisdom," Reid said.

The selection of Lytle as dean is the culmination of a two-year national search, and during the final eight months of that process Lytle served as acting dean.

Dr. Royce Money, ACU president, said, "I wholeheartedly support the recommendation of Dr. Lytle to serve as dean of the College of Business as we enter the new millennium."

Dr. Dwayne VanRheenen, ACU provost, said, "This whole process has been bathed in prayer ... Dr. Lytle was the unanimous choice of the faculty search and review committee.

"Dr. Lytle's performance as acting dean since June 1999 has been outstanding. His leadership has advanced the goals of the college and his Christian disposition has strengthened the relationships among the COBA faculty and staff."

Lytle has been instrumental in producing top-notch, competitive, highly-sought-after business graduates for nearly 10 years. "People who go out of this college are not only excellent and well-trained in their disciplines, but people of God," VanRheenen said. "Rick is dynamic, he has a vision, and he has the energy to help us grow as a college, but still he is willing to bow his knee in prayer."

Lytle has created, fostered and grown programs that have become hallmarks of the college such as the Senior Blessing and the Leadership Institute.

He designed the Senior Blessing, now in its seventh year, as an annual spring event where COBA faculty members can spend an entire day with seniors before they graduate from ACU. They gather at a retreat facility where students are assured the concepts of personal faith, family-focused life goals and the guidance of God mesh very well with the character of strong business leaders.

"If our seniors missed that concept during their four years here, we have one last time to reinforce to them that faith in God is the most important variable of a person's life," he said.

Lytle designed the Leadership Institute after noticing a disturbing trend of students not perceiving themselves as leaders.

"My dream was to offer an intensive course that focused on leadership in the home, the church and the marketplace," he said.

The result is a nontraditional, eight-day course, now in its third year, set in Colorado Springs, Colo. It includes individual and group study, case study and lecture that examines perspectives of leadership from the Bible, academia, the popular press, modern media and experience.

"I have committed my heart, soul, mind and strength to a vision of excellence as we educate our students for Christian service and leadership," Lytle said. "I want our students to be challenged every day to strive for excellence for themselves as they prepare for lives of service and leadership in their homes, their churches and in today's global marketplace."

Lytle said his blueprint for success revolves around eight principles:

  • a strong and unwavering commitment to Jesus Christ,
  • raising the standard in terms of faculty and student expectations for learning and scholarship,
  • hiring and developing "leading" faculty members who are committed to the unique mission of ACU,
  • recruiting superior students,
  • building faith,
  • developing areas of excellence in curriculum that blend biblical wisdom and business excellence within a global framework,
  • leveraging advanced technologies for learning, and
  • building relationships with students that result in friendships for life.

Before assuming the duties of acting dean in June 1999, Lytle served as assistant dean, and he has been teaching as an associate professor of marketing since 1991. Earlier he was a gas marketing representative for Amoco Production Company, supervisor of finance for Electronic Data Systems and senior analyst for Tenneco Oil E&P, all in Denver.

He has served as a consultant for Bank of America, McCoy's Building Supply, H. E. Butt Grocery, Atlas Oil Company, Resources for Living, Inc. and several other companies.

Among many other publications, Lytle has had articles and research published in European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Retailing, The Journal for East European Management Studies, Journal of Health Care Marketing and IMAGE.

He earned a bachelor's degree in management from Harding University, a master's of business administration from Oklahoma State University and a doctorate in marketing from Arizona State University.

ACU's College of Business Administration has excelled since Lytle joined the faculty. During the past decade, the college has experienced 10 percent annual growth in enrollment, resulting in a current enrollment of approximately 800 business students. The college is in candidacy for accreditation with The International Association for Management Education, and it already is accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs.

COBA graduates are actively recruited by national corporations such as Arthur Andersen, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, GTE, Nissan, UpJohn, Johnson & Johnson and others.

ACU business graduates also have attended prestigious graduate programs at Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Emory, MIT, Notre Dame and Oxford universities.

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Last update: March 8, 2000
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