Metro

Bentley chooses new president

Alison Davis-Blake was business dean at both the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota, each for five years during the past decade.
Bentley University
Alison Davis-Blake was business dean at both the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota, each for five years during the past decade.

Bentley University, the Waltham school known for its business programs, named a former business school dean from the Midwest as its eighth president on Tuesday.

Alison Davis-Blake, 59, was business dean at both the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota, each for five years during the past decade. She will take over at Bentley in July and succeed Gloria Larson, who announced last year that she would step down after 11 years as president.

The chairman of the Bentley search committee that selected Davis-Blake said she should be ready for “historic change” at the institution.

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“Given the pace of change in business and higher education, the next 10 years will be as important to Bentley as our first 100,” said Robert P. Badavas, who is also vice president of the Bentley trustees.

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Bentley has about 4,000 undergraduates and 1,000 graduate students. It is known for both its undergraduate and graduate business programs. Tuition at Bentley is about $48,000 per year, and the cost to attend is around $69,000 when room and board are included, according to the school website.

The school is 56 percent white, 22 percent foreign students, 7 percent Asian, 6 percent Hispanic, and 3 percent black, according to federal data that all schools must report. The school admits about 46 percent of applicants, according to the federal data.

Davis-Blake called Bentley a “university on the rise” in a university press release Tuesday and said the school’s job placement rate and business curriculum along with its emphasis on arts and sciences is a combination that is needed in higher education today.

As dean of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, Davis-Blake increased applications by 32 percent, increased the proportion of women and underrepresented minorities in the student body, and raised more than $300 million as part of the university’s capital campaign, according to a press release from Bentley.

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In Minnesota, she redesigned the undergraduate curriculum, encouraged collaboration among the graduate schools, and balanced the budget, even as state funding for the business school declined, according to Bentley.

“As Bentley begins our second century, Dr. Davis-Blake is the perfect leader to advance the university’s mission and incredible growth,” said Steven P. Manfredi, chairman of the Bentley University board of trustees.

In fiscal 2016, the most recent data publicly available, Larson earned a $521,000 salary but was paid about $753,000 total including bonuses and other compensation. Davis-Blake earned about $600,000 as business dean at Michigan, according to news reports.

Laura Krantz can be reached at laura.krantz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @laurakrantz.