The official newsletter of the UNT
G. Brint Ryan College of Business. 

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Laura Wright ('82, '82 M.S.)

Alumna Laura Wright was selected by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) as a member of their 2019 class of Influential Leaders. The annual Influential Leaders class selection recognizes those who have graduated from AACSB-accredited schools and are creating lasting impact in their communities, industries and around the world. 

Wright has proven worthy of this honor as she helped Southwest Airlines remain successful throughout difficult economic times, and she continues to enable companies, nonprofits and individuals to succeed through her consulting and volunteer work.

Under Wright’s leadership, Southwest Airlines was able to maintain the strongest balance sheet in the American airline industry, the best fuel-hedging position in the industry and an award-winning aircraft financing strategy. In 2009, she was named one of the top 25 Women Finance Leaders in the November issue of Treasury and Risk magazine, during a time in which she was the only woman CFO in the domestic airline industry.

Although she retired in 2012, she continues to innovate and lead today, serving as the sole member and founder of GSB Advisory, LLC, where she provides strategic and financial consulting for nonprofit and growth companies.

Wright is also making a positive impact on the greater community by volunteering her time and expertise through numerous prestigious public, private, and nonprofit boards, including UNT. She is a standing vice chair of the UNT System Board of Regents and served on the UNT 2013 Presidential Search Committee. She was also a member of the UNT Foundation board and the College of Business Accounting and Murphy Enterprise Center advisory boards. The insight and leadership she provides is invaluable.




Dr. Manjula Salimath

Associate Professor Manjula Salimath was chosen as the recipient of the Southwest Academy of Management (SWAM) 2019 Distinguished Educator Award. This is the first time in history that a UNT professor has earned this recognition.
“It is a great honor and privilege to be recognized by a professional association, such as the Southwest Academy of Management. It represents the culmination and fulfillment of the professional aspirations of an educator,” said Salimath.

“There is nothing more rewarding and heartwarming than knowing that someone, somewhere was positively impacted by your teaching.”
The Distinguished Educator Award serves to recognize an exceptionally talented professor in the classroom through the extent to which the nominee has been involved in the development, dissemination and implementation of significant pedagogical innovations; as well as sustained professional participation, contribution, support and mentoring.
Salimath has been teaching at UNT for more than twelve years and has earned other awards, such as the President’s Council Teaching award and the Exemplary Online course Designer award, among others.
“I feel most passionate about making the learning experience meaningful, and in active engagement of the learner,” said Salimath.
The Distinguished Educator Award will be presented at the Federation of Business Disciplines 2019 Annual Awards and Recognition Reception on Wednesday, March 13, at the Hyatt Regency in Houston.



G. Brint and Amanda Ryan name college with largest gift in UNT history

The University of North Texas is celebrating the creation of the G. Brint Ryan College of Business through a $30 million commitment — the largest gift in university history —  from alumnus G. Brint Ryan and his wife, Amanda.

The gift will provide ongoing support for business research through academic endowments, as well as funds to support strategic program initiatives to ensure the college is one of the nation’s top providers of business higher education.

“The impact of this generous gift will be transformational for today’s students and the generations to come. It will further UNT’s ability to drive progress and enable our continued success as a top-tier university, especially at a critical time when we are gaining momentum in many areas,” UNT President Neal Smatresk said.

The gift will create at least six endowed chairs and provide funding for academic program initiatives over seven years. Among the areas of focus will include taxation and tax research, entrepreneurship, finance, logistics, information technology, cybersecurity, and behavioral accounting. These initiatives will be aimed at increasing the reputation, prestige and ranking of the College of Business.

“My experience at UNT transformed me. It opened my eyes to a world of incredible possibility. The skills and lessons I learned at UNT enabled me to build and lead a fantastic team of people to the top of the global tax services and software business. I’m thrilled to be able to share some of that success with UNT business students and faculty,” said G. Brint Ryan, CEO of Ryan. “This gift will help the College of Business attract and retain some of the best minds in the field enabling us to be more competitive and more effective in our mission at UNT.”

G. Brint Ryan earned a combined Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree in accounting from UNT in 1988, and is the founder, chairman and CEO of Ryan — an award-winning global tax services provider in Dallas. He and his wife of 23 years, Amanda Sutton Ryan, have five daughters ranging in age from 19 to 11 years — Beth, Sarah, Annabelle, Victoria and Mary Rae. Ryan currently serves as chairman of both the UNT System Board of Regents and the UNT Kuehne Speaker Series Board, serves on the Board of Trustees for Pi Kappa Alpha, and has previously held seats on the UNT Accounting Advisory Board and the UNT College of Business Advisory Board. He has received numerous acknowledgements honoring his service and generosity to the university, including the prestigious UNT Wings of Eagles Presidential Award and a UNT Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.

“Mr. and Mrs. Ryan’s exceptional gift is a foundational investment in UNT’s College of Business — one that will propel continued growth,” said Marilyn Wiley, UNT’s dean of the College of Business. “Brint Ryan’s business leadership is a powerful and fitting example for our students, who will be the business leaders of tomorrow.”



Dean Marilyn Wiley honored with CFA Society Distinguished Member Award

The CFA Society of Dallas Fort-Worth presented Dean Marilyn Wiley with their coveted Distinguished Member Award on February 27, at their annual forecast dinner.
The Dallas Fort-Worth society is one of the largest member societies of the CFA Institute, and only one of its nearly 1,300 members is honored with the Distinguished Member Award each year.
“I am thrilled and humbled to be recognized by the CFA Institute,” Dean Wiley said. “The society does wonderful things to set the standard of professional excellence for the financial business sector. It is truly an honor to be a contributing member of their work.”

Dean Wiley has a long history of service with the CFA Institute. She has been a Chartered Financial Analyst since 1995 and has served on the Dallas Fort-Worth CFA Institute board since 2009. She is a past president of the Dallas Fort-Worth CFA Institute, and currently consults for them on curriculum issues, in addition to the leadership she regularly provides.
Dean Wiley’s years of governance and expertise have helped strengthen the CFA designation and assisted those working towards achieving the CFA charter.

College opens new doors to expanded Career Resource Center

Faculty, staff and donors came together on January 11, 2019 to open the doors of a new space for students seeking to reach their career goals.

The Business Leadership Building Career Center has established a new home on the building’s ground floor. With the addition of four advising offices, two supplemental employee offices, one large seminar and presentation center, two group work areas, one computing area, and one welcome desk and waiting area, the space has now become a one-stop self-sustaining shop for student success.

“The Career Resource Center is now in a wonderful new space and is highly accessible to students,” said Brian Hirsch, senior associate director of Career Services.  “The Center is now fully staffed, so in addition to having the extra office space, we also have an additional staff member to work with students. Finally, we have a great seminar center for workshops that has already resulted in making it much easier for students to attend our programs.”

More adequate space and resources for all of the college’s career-related needs, coupled with additional dedicated staff, has enabled the Center to be a full-service resource for students to access throughout their academic journey.
The generosity of Julie Anderson, Jim McNatt, and Steve and Anne Holmes helped make this transformation happen and we look forward to the many positive student outcomes that are to come from this invaluable addition to the college.

Professional Leadership Program celebrates 25 years of impact

The Professional Leadership Program (PLP) at the G. Brint Ryan College of Business commemorated 25 years of success at its celebratory gala on February 9.

Nationally recognized for its model of promoting servant leadership, the program was founded in 1994 as a way to shift the paradigm of classroom-only learning to an experiential opportunity focused on leadership and soft skill development.

 “Through PLP, students receive employability skill development along with understanding the importance of a servant leadership mentality. These skills allow them to thrive in the job market of any industry and have equipped them to be successful in their job searches. PLP provides our students with unique networking experiences and a strong community to rely on for continued growth,” said Dr. Rachel Cleveland, Director of PLP.

Since inception, PLP has graduated more than 1,600 students, and engaged over 800 volunteer corporate mentors.

Today, 125 of the university’s top students are among PLP’s current members—representing 11 colleges, 46 majors and 14 different countries.

As part of the program’s curriculum, all students attend weekly professional development classes, participate in case studies, receive exclusive networking opportunities and are involved in a personalized one-on-one mentoring relationship.

 “Our corporate mentorship, partnered with weekly workshops, is what makes PLP unlike any other mentorship program at UNT, or in the US,” said Cleveland.


UNT reaffirmed as Tier One research university

The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education™ reaffirmed UNT’s standing as a Tier One research university — an achievement recognizing the university’s efforts to grow its research enterprise and commitment to rise toward national prominence — in a recent 2018 rankings report released Feb. 15.

With only 131 universities included in the classification — Doctoral Universities: Very High Research Activity — UNT is ranked among the nation’s most elite research institutions in the top tier.

The Carnegie Classification is a highly regarded framework for measuring universities’ research activity and graduate programs. Through high-level research and scholarship, Tier One universities drive innovation and contribute significantly to the region and state through intellectual capital and economic development. First elevated to the Carnegie R1 category in 2015, UNT is celebrating this recognition and continued progress toward research excellence, teaching and reputation.

“Our R1 classification is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our outstanding faculty and staff to provide our students the best education and to help them succeed,” UNT President Neal Smatresk says. “This recognition speaks to the quality and impact of the research being conducted at UNT, and it is further evidence of our continued progress toward national prominence as a leading research university.”


Safe driving plans: real deal or crash and burn?

You’ve likely heard of “safe driving plans” like Progressive’s “Snapshot” and State Farm’s “Drive Safe and Save,” but do they actually save drivers – or even the companies that offer them – money?

The answer, is yes, according to a UNT G. Brint Ryan College of Business researcher. However, there’s something that could save individuals even more.

The key? It’s you, the driver, or more specifically, your data, says Yu-Luen Ma, professor of insurance and risk management.

In her latest study, completed with engineering, statistics and transportation experts thanks to a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, Ma, a co-principal researcher, and her team studied Usage-Based Insurance or Pay-As-You-Drive-And-You-Save. Coupled with GPS devices, smartphones, data analytics and other telematics technology, these plans allow insurers to monitor driving behavior in real time and reward individuals for driving safely.

“The availability of advanced technology and big data has changed insurance market,” says Ma. “Automotive telematics enables insurers to underwrite with greater specificity and accuracy, thereby reducing the negative effects of standardized premium pricing. The new rating scheme also provides incentives for people to improve their driving habits. With some creativity, insurance companies may even leverage telematics data in other innovative ways that will encourage safer driving. Embracing and adapting technology in the years to come is inevitable for both insurance companies and consumers.”




Your gift toward the G. Brint Ryan College of Business Dean’s Excellence Fund will support immediate program needs such as growth of our entrepreneurship mentoring services, graduate student recruiting initiatives, and travel for student case competition teams.


The G. Brint Ryan College of Business Distinguished Speaker Series provides students and faculty with an opportunity to learn from prominent executives and leaders in the business community. Each semester, a different speaker is brought to campus to offer new perspectives and first-hand information about the complexities of the business world. A gift of $5,000 will help the college host at least one lecture, providing an enhanced educational experience for our students that inspires them to seek new ways to meet the challenges of tomorrow.


The doctoral program in Business is designed to prepare men and women of outstanding ability for careers in teaching and research at the university level. The program has enough flexibility, however, to accommodate individuals whose career objectives lie outside academia. Individuals who undertake doctoral study are expected to achieve excellence in the command of the technical aspects of a business discipline and to develop expertise in the conduct of meaningful research. Your gift to the G. Brint Ryan College of Business Ph.D. program will further these goals and provide additional resources to our most deserving and driven students.

Click here or the "Make a Gift" link below to learn more
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University of North Texas
G. Brint Ryan College of Business

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