BOWLING GREEN — In his 16 years at Health Care REIT, Ray Braun was part of a team that guided the real estate trust company from assets of $270 million to assets in excess of $7 billion.
Now, after a brief stopover in Charlotte, Mr. Braun is transitioning from the boardroom to academia. After a national search, the 54-year-old Ohio native was chosen as the next dean of Bowling Green State University's College of Business Administration. He takes over July 1.
Mr. Braun, a first-generation college graduate, said it was always a goal of his to give back to higher education.
"The opportunity to get a college education dramatically affected my life. That's academia, and I wanted the opportunity to help others in that way," he said. "It really is a game-changer for people to go through and get a college degree. It opens up a world of opportunities to you."
Mr. Braun and his wife are graduates of Bowling Green. He went on to earn a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and came back to the area when his wife returned to Bowling Green to pursue a graduate degree. In Toledo, he practiced corporate and real estate law.
At Health Care REIT, he served in various positions, including chief financial officer from July, 2000, to March, 2006, and president from May, 2002, to January, 2009.
Mr. Braun left Health Care REIT to become chief executive officer of Cogdell Spencer Inc., a public company in Charlotte that specializes in medical office buildings. With a pending sale of that company, Mr. Braun said the timing was right to return to northwest Ohio.
Rodney Rogers, Bowling Green's provost and a former dean of the BGSU College of Business Administration, said he was particularly impressed with Mr. Braun during the search process.
"Ray has had a long career here in Toledo before going to Cogdell Spencer down in Charlotte, but he clearly knows northwest Ohio and the Toledo business community. He also knows the national community in his area of expertise as well. I think him having those strong connections to the regional business community is a huge plus for us."
Bowling Green's College of Business Administration moved up in national rankings recently.
Business Week named the BGSU's College of Business Administration 47th best among all public universities last year, and the Princeton Review rated the college No. 2 among business colleges in Ohio for student academic experience and selectivity. U.S. News & World Report has placed BGSU's supply chain management program in the top 20 for the last three years.
Mr. Braun and Mr. Rogers want to continue that. Each said part of continuing to improve will come down to teaching students to adapt well — and quickly — to change.
"The world's increasingly global," Mr. Rogers said. "That's only going to continue. The pace of technological change is only going to quicken. Third, as a result, the world will be increasingly uncertain. So students need to be prepared to deal with that environment, and business education will need to equip them to be able to deal with that environment."
They also want to strengthen the relationship and interaction between the college and the business world.
Mr. Braun said talk at a recent meeting of the 32 businessmen who make up the College of Business Administration Board of Advocates turned to internships. "They indicated it's becoming increasingly difficult for students to find jobs unless they've got an internship, because many businesses are using the internship as a way of recruiting," he said. "That's a long way of saying it's really important that our students do stuff outside the classroom."
About 70 percent of the college's graduates complete an internship, a number Mr. Braun would like to see rise, but still sees as good considering internships are not required. The college might change it to a graduation requirement in the future.
Bowling Green hopes to grow its MBA program, and focus new majors toward needs in the business world. Mr. Braun's engagement in the business world will be key to that, the provost said. "I think you'll see some other new innovations around new majors that serve the needs of the business community and I think that's why the dean will become that key leader around innovation of new programs that serve the needs of business," Mr. Rogers said.
Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6134.