Dezsö Horváth retires after 32 remarkable years at the helm of the Schulich School of Business
A Tribute to Dezsö J. Horváth
By Joyce Zemans
It is apt that I should be writing this tribute to Dezsö at this time, as he and I both prepare to take leave of our formal roles in university administration. We have been colleagues for more than thirty years and, though I have been a university administrator for even longer than he has, nothing matches Dezsö’s record for accomplishments as the longest-serving business school dean, ever!
I first met Deszö Horváth in 1988, during my last year as York’s Dean of Fine Arts, but our closest working relationship began in 1994, when I became co-director, along with Brenda Gainer, of the MBA Program in Arts & Media Administration. My predecessor, Joe Green, who was retiring, spoke so highly of our Program and of Dezsö’s leadership that I was convinced to take the position. I have had the pleasure of working with Dezsö ever since; and neither Schulich nor the MBA program in Arts, Media & Entertainment (AM&E) has ever looked back, except to marvel at how far we have come.
Dezsö has always been ahead of the curve. With his support of specialized programs, his emphasis on a strong research culture and his recognition of the value of global engagement, we have seen Schulich and its leadership position in the field grow. He has been a strong supporter of our Program; and foresaw our sector’s rise to become one of the most important nationally and internationally.
Given his role in the business world, I expect that Dezsö’s background may be a surprise to some. He started out as an electrical engineer, with a B.S. degree from Sweden’s Malmö Technical College and a first job at ASEA, the Swedish General Electric Company. But the academic world called. He left ASEA for the University of Umeå, where he quickly earned his MBA and two PhD’s: one in Business Administration and one in Policy. And then the next call came: Canada and York University. He joined us in 1976 and in 1988 became Dean of the (now) Schulich School of Business. Did he know then that his destiny was to become the longest-serving business school dean, ever?
Throughout that tenure, he has worked to position Schulich as Canada’s transnational business school, building Schulich internally and externally, nationally and internationally. In 2010, for example, Schulich became the first business school from outside India to deliver an MBA degree in that country; in 2014 Schulich opened its own campus in Hyderabad.
Schulich’s strategic partnerships include agreements with more than 80 business schools in close to 40 countries. The School’s MBA program is ranked among the world’s leading programs by, among others, The Economist and Forbes. The EMBA program is ranked #8 in the world by The Economist and #4 in the world among joint programs by QS.
The Dean’s awards and recognitions make a long and impressive list. Here are a few: in 1995, he received the B’nai Brith Canada Order of Merit for his leadership in education and business; in 2006, on the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution, he was selected as one of 50 Hungarian Canadians who have made extraordinary contributions to Canada; in 2008, he was awarded the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian award, for his academic leadership and sustained commitment to business education; in 2012, he received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his significant contributions to Canada; and in 2014, he was named by The Toronto Star as one of the 180 most important people in shaping Toronto since its founding.
Dezsö’s most recent contribution to Schulich as its Dean was his role in establishing the new Rob and Cheryl McEwen Graduate Study & Research building, an architectural and environmental triumph that will inspire generations of MBA students.
In honour of Dezsö’s accomplishments, a student in the AM&E program will receive the AM&E Dezsö Horváth Award. I will miss Dezsö as dean, but I look forward to seeing him as a friend, as we both take on our new roles as ardent supporters and lifetime members of the Schulich community. We are all indebted to him.