Business professor, former interim dean retires after 14 years
Story and photo by Jeannette Cruz
GCU News Bureau
Dr. Kevin McClean had a distinct advantage while teaching business classes at Grand Canyon University for 14 years. He could simply point to his employer as a shining example of how to grow a company the right way.
“Coming to GCU, I was in a blessed position,” said McClean, who arrived in 2002 when the university was no more than a few scattered buildings in the middle of one of Phoenix’s poorest neighborhoods. “I got to see a lot of things happen and improve. … GCU is a holistic view of what every business should look like.”
McClean was a big part of the growth and servant leadership GCU has become renowned for, teaching marketing and finance classes and also serving as interim dean of the Colangelo College of Business until the university brought in Dr. Randy Gibb to fill the role permanently in 2014.
During a faculty meeting on Tuesday, Gibb surprised McClean with a plaque for his years of service and dedication as he heads off into retirement.
“If I would’ve known this was going to happen I would have dressed up,” McClean said as he went up to receive his award.
When asked by his colleagues what his next plans were, McClean did not hesitate to say, “play golf, sit on the beach, enjoy family and spend time on the Long Island farms.”
Gibb said that in retiring from GCU, McClean leaves a legacy of teaching, service, and research.
“He is a fabulous teacher, with his favorite class being Marketing Management and consistently drawing praise from his students. He will be missed but not forgotten,” Gibb said.
Originally a history major, McClean said he always had been interested in teaching. That feeling multiplied after a three-year service in the Army.
“It got me interested in the decision-making and leadership responsibility that came with teaching,” McClean said. “I thought I had done pretty well as a lieutenant and I might enjoy business.”
Remarkably, McClean’s career as an educator began after a 30-year-long gig in customer operations and business planning for Con Edison of New York. That experience propelled McClean to pursue a Doctor of Professional Studies from Pace University (Lubin) School of Business, which then led him to GCU.
In addition to his role as a professor at the undergraduate and graduate levels at GCU, McClean moderated the business honors society, Delta Mu Delta, and contributed to an award-winning compendium on leadership challenges.
“Things worked out,” McClean said.
Although business involves dealing with plenty of ambiguity, McClean said he hopes to have sparked curiosity in his students.
“You can teach people things that they may or may not remember tomorrow, but if they are curious about what is going on around them, they will always learn and continue to learn throughout their life,” he said.
“We spent a lot of time talking about what’s the right way to act in business – servant leadership. That means relying on our faith, our learning and our beliefs to inform our decisions in business. They are not separate.”
McClean said his former students and colleagues haven’t seen the end of him. He plans to visit the campus often to attend sporting events and is considering teaching online.
“I’m going to miss all of that energy on campus, but I’m looking forward to seeing what’s new,” McClean said. “The University has done phenomenally over the years.”
Contact Jeannette Cruz at (602) 639-6631 or [email protected]