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Rady School’s New Dean Returns to Her University of California Roots

Lisa Ordóñez

Lisa Ordóñez

When Lisa Ordóñez came to the Rady School of Management to become its new dean on Sept. 1, her arrival at UC San Diego was a homecoming. Although she spent the last 25 years at University of Arizona’s Eller School of Management as an academic researcher and vice dean, Ordóñez earned all three of her degrees, including a Ph.D. in Quantitative Psychology, from UC Berkeley. She is also a native of California, growing up on an almond ranch in the Central Valley.

Coming back to the UC system is part of what drew her to the Rady School and UC San Diego, as was the caliber of the faculty present at the university, she said.

“It's an incredible opportunity to be able to work with such high quality faculty, both here at Rady and UC San Diego,” Ordóñez said. “UC San Diego is one of the top research universities in the world. There is incredible impact everywhere you look, in the science, technology, and engineering divisions and in the arts, humanities, and social sciences and right here at the Rady School.”

As the Rady School’s new dean, Ordóñez brings years of distinguished academic experience and a history as a groundbreaker. She is a first-generation high school and college graduate. When she joined the Rady School, Ordóñez became the school’s first female dean and the first Latina dean at the University of California San Diego.

Ordóñez joins the Rady School at a unique time in its history. In the 16 years since its founding, the school has grown from a small startup school with one FlexMBA program to a graduate business school recognized internationally for innovation and entrepreneurship. The school now offers full-time and part-time MBA programs, a Master of Finance, a Master of Science in Business Analytics, a Master of Professional Accountancy and Executive Education. There are undergraduate minors in business, supply chain and entrepreneurship; the school also has established seven centers of excellence and has been globally ranked for its faculty’s research. Rady students and alumni have founded over 180 operational companies and contributed $2 billion to the innovation economy.

As the Rady School continues to expand, Ordóñez said she is committed to helping it grow strategically.

“We need to continue our growth in programs, faculty and impact,” Ordóñez said. “That will take resources, but we also have to be very selective in how we grow. It’s time for a new strategic plan where we can be very targeted in where we lead this incredible school. We have multiple paths we can take, but we can’t do it all. That’s the value of strategic planning. We will look at all the opportunities and decide which are the best match for where we should put our resources.”

In addition to planned growth, increasing collaborations between the Rady School and other schools and divisions across the UC San Diego campus is a priority for Ordóñez.

“We already have some strong relationships with the Jacobs School of Engineering and Health Sciences,” Ordóñez said. “But, honestly, there is no limit to what Rady can do because all campus organizations can use support and what is being taught in the classroom at Rady and the research done by our faculty can apply anywhere.”