November 5, 2013

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Lee Perry: Motivated by a Sense of Mission

By Julie Roberts

November 5, 2013

As the newly appointed dean of Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management, Lee Perry has many objectives he wants to achieve. But the one that compels him the most is to serve others—including the school’s students, faculty, alumni, mentors and community members.

“I have a sense of incurred debt. Many faculty members have inspired me, and I want to carry that forward,” Perry explains.

One of the people who motivated Perry was a college professor who encouraged him to pursue his doctorate degree at Yale, which turned out to be the ultimate confidence-building experience. “I remember being at Yale, walking on the cracked sidewalks and thinking that Nobel Laureates had probably stepped there. It was very inspiring,” he says.

When he moved on to his career as a college professor, Perry found different ways to inspire his own students. He reflects on his early years teaching at Penn State, where he and his colleagues used clips from episodes of the popular TV show M*A*S*H to show students how they could learn from different types of sources. “The technique really resonated with students,” he says.

Perry has taken that same spirit of innovation with him throughout his long career. He has 30 years of experience as a professor, consultant, administrator, entrepreneur and corporate board member, and he has worked as the associate dean over both the graduate and undergraduate programs at the Marriott School.

At BYU, he and the other faculty members help to prepare students for the rigors of higher education programs. Their diligence is paying off—according to Perry, one in nine doctoral students in accounting programs throughout the country have come from BYU.

He is also proud of the school’s “world–class placement program,” saying that it ranks No. 11 in placements. He understands how important jobs are to students, especially in a tough economy. That’s why the school has continued to expand its placement services over the years. In fact, as part of the college’s mission statement, “we are not done until the students are placed,” he says.

Marriott School has other noteworthy accomplishments, including a No. 5 ranking in Bloomberg Businessweek’s Best Undergraduate Business Schools. Perry is enthusiastic about the college’s progress. “We are on a great trajectory, and our faculty keeps getting better and better. We have a great school name and wonderful support,” he says.

Even though the school enjoys considerable success, Perry wants to continue to improve Marriott’s programs. He plans on expanding the fundraising for the college’s global management center and hopes to expand its focus to different geographical areas.

Also, Perry wants to enhance alumni services by creating a professional and virtual network to give alums a chance to connect. “We are a student-centered university. Our principal role is to serve the students. But our role extends beyond graduation,” he explains.

All of the tasks on Perry’s plate are challenging, to say the least. Perry acknowledges that his new position at BYU can be demanding, but he is deeply committed to the work he does. And always, the underlying goal of serving others is there for him.

“At the end of the day, I love this place and what it does for the people—the students, faculty, donors and staff. Everyone is lifted with a sense of mission.”


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