Former Dean James W. McFarland Retires

James W. McFarland

Former Dean James W. McFarland.

James W. McFarland, professor of management science and the second- longest-serving dean in Freeman School history, officially retired on July 1, 2018, bringing to a close a remarkable 30-year career at Tulane University.

The Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence Distinguished Chair in Finance, McFarland had taught and served as executive director of the Tulane Energy Institute since stepping down as dean in 2005.

A native of Wills Point, Texas, and a graduate of Texas A&M University, McFarland was appointed dean in 1988, succeeding Meyer Feldberg. He came to Tulane from the University of Houston, where he had spent three years as dean of the College of Business Administration.

McFarland wasted little time making an impact. Almost immediately, he reinstated the business PhD program to help elevate the school’s academic reputation and launched the school’s first international program, a study-abroad option in Paris. Together with John Trapani, his senior associate dean for international programs, McFarland helped set up programs in Budapest and Prague, the first two Western-style business programs in Eastern Europe.

During his tenure as dean, McFarland also launched the Master of Finance, Master of Accounting and Professional MBA programs. He established theGoldring Institute of International Business, the Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship, the Stewart Center for Executive Education and the Tulane Energy Institute.

McFarland also led the effort to construct Goldring/Woldenberg Hall II, which was completed in 2003 and served as the home of graduate and professional programs until becoming part of the Goldring/Woldenberg Business Complex.

James McFarland

McFarland spent 30 years at Tulane, including 17 as dean.

Perhaps McFarland’s most significant contribution to the Freeman School was the development of an innovative international strategy. Beginning in the early 1990s, McFarland and Trapani began developing partnerships around the world. Those relationships led to an abundance of international programs, including the Latin American Faculty Development PhD program, which helped make the Freeman School one of the most prominent U.S. schools of business in Latin America.

During his 17-year tenure as dean, McFarland doubled enrollment, increased the number of full-time faculty by 60 percent, tripled the endowment and quadrupled annual revenues.

After stepping down as dean in 2005, McFarland served as executive director of the Tulane Energy Institute and area coordinator for management science. In those roles, he was instrumental in launching the Master of Management in Energy program in 2011 and the Master of Business Analytics program in 2018. He also returned to the classroom, teaching energy projects, energy strategy, global supply chains, strategic management and other courses.

In June 2018, the Board of Tulane honored McFarland’s exemplary service to Tulane University by naming him dean emeritus effective on July 1.

“With the possible exception of Morton Aldrich, no individual has played a greater role in the growth and success of the A. B. Freeman School of Business than James McFarland,” said Dean Ira Solomon. “From his accomplishments as dean to his subsequent work on behalf of the Tulane Energy Institute, James represented the very best of academic leadership, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude for his incredible 30 years of service to Tulane University.”

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