MISSOULA – Christopher Shook, the Sprunk and Burnham Dean of the College of Business since 2016, will leave the University of Montana this June to serve as dean of the Gordon Ford College of Business at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
“While it was not an easy decision to leave the College of Business at this exciting time of transformation, I’m really excited to be closer to my daughters, son-in-law and especially my grandchildren,” Shook said.
Provost Jon Harbor said an interim dean will be appointed before Shook steps down.
Shook joined UM in 2016 in the first dean position at UM to be endowed – funded through philanthropy – by dedicated donors and alumni Mark Burnham and Eric Sprunk.
Shook immediately started setting in motion his vision to upgrade the School of Business Administration, as it was known at the time, to the College of Business – confirming its status as the top business school in Montana, the No. 1 college of business in the Big Sky Conference and one of the best in the Northwest.
UM’s College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, finance, international business, management, management information systems and marketing. At the graduate level, it offers the only separately accredited Master of Accountancy in Montana and the first Master of Science in business analytics in the Pacific Northwest.
Its Master of Business Administration – the only degree of its kind in the state – allows students to earn their diploma either on campus or fully online, and can also be taken as part of dual degree programs with law, pharmacy and physical therapy.
UM’s John Ruffatto Business Startup Challenge is another signature feature of the College of Business. Each year, $50,000 is awarded to college students throughout the state who pitch their business ideas to a panel of 50 judges. The event is key to the future of entrepreneurship in Montana. Notable past winners of the Challenge include Chilton Skis and Five on Black.
The college also is known for graduating students who enter the workforce not only with business skills, but real-world acumen. Its list of notable and accomplished alumni is extensive and includes highly successful entrepreneurs, as well as current and former executives at Fortune 500 companies and locally influential startups.
U.S. News and World Report has ranked UM’s College of Business as the top business school in the Big Sky Conference for the past two years.
“The College of Business is a place where students can go to get an education that lets them turn their passion into their job,” Shook said. “We provide real-world experiences and contacts that they can leverage after graduation. It has been a privilege to work alongside staff, faculty and alumni who are passionate about transforming the lives of students. I know that the great work being done at the college will continue and that the best is yet to come. I am proud to have been a small part of its current and future success.”