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Mariia Diahilieva ’26 was a high school exchange student in New Hampshire when the Russo-Ukrainian War escalated in February 2022.
Kenneth S. Rhee, Ph.D., a renowned leader in business and management education, will serve as the next dean of the Girard School of Business at Merrimack College. Rhee’s appointment was announced in a community message from President Christopher E. Hopey, Ph.D. and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost John “Sean” Condon, Ph.D.
“The Girard School of Business and the Merrimack community as a whole will greatly benefit from Dr. Rhee’s leadership,” said President Hopey. “The school’s reputation for excellence will continue to grow under his vision, and in collaboration with faculty, staff and students. Ken has demonstrated an ability to innovate, to work entrepreneurially and he is ideally positioned to assist us with implementing the Agenda for the Future and partnering with us to help move Merrimack forward in the undergraduate, graduate, research and corporate domains.”
Rhee, who is slated to start at Merrimack in July, currently serves as dean of the School of Business and Leadership at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York. Among his accomplishments there was a complete rebrand of the School of Business and Leadership, the launch of new undergraduate and graduate programs and a women’s leadership workshop series.
“I am delighted to join the Girard School of Business at Merrimack College,” said Rhee. “I am highly impressed with the vibrant and energetic business school and its extraordinary faculty and staff. Merrimack College is blessed with outstanding leadership at the top, and these all made my decision to join the Girard School incredibly easy. I look forward to working together to grow the Girard School of Business and enhance its reputation.”
Prior to Nazareth College, Rhee was associate dean in the College of Business Administration at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse and before that was director of the master of science in executive leadership and organizational change program and associate professor of management at the Haile/US Bank College of Business at Northern Kentucky University.
Rhee has conducted extensive research on leadership and management, as well as the ways higher education can evolve to prepare students to be leaders in the 21st century. He has also served as an executive coach and consultant for companies including Coca-Cola.
Rhee holds a Ph.D. in organizational behavior from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, an M.B.A. from the Graduate School of Management at Boston University, an M.S. in chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Technology and a B.A. in chemistry from Johns Hopkins University.
“We are delighted Ken is joining the Merrimack community and will continue to strengthen the Girard School of Business’ position as a leader in business education,” Condon said. “His accomplishments as a dean, faculty and researcher in the business management field are unassailable and his appointment is a critical next step in the school’s trajectory.”
As a senior academic leader, Rhee will play an instrumental role advancing Merrimack’s strategic plan, the Agenda for the Future, specifically working to respond to the changing needs of industry partners and developing programs to prepare the workforce of the future. Through rigorous academic programs, innovative project-based work, and experiential learning, the Girard School of Business empowers and inspires students to be business leaders and advocates.
The College will host a formal welcome reception at the start of the fall semester.