Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management’s Dean Sally Blount has announced that she will step down at the end of the 2017-2018 academic year.
Blount is entering her seventh year as dean. The decision to take a one-year sabbatical to travel, write, and ponder her “final chapter in education” has come as a surprise to most. It was apparently made during one of the multi-day retreats of silent reflection that Blount has taken in Rhode Island over the past decade.
She is the first and only woman to lead one of the prominent M7 business schools. Last month Blount successfully wrapped up Kellogg’s first-ever major capital campaign which raised $365 million, including a doubling of contributions to the school’s annual fund which surpassed more than $10 million for the first time. She was involved in every aspect of Kellogg’s new $250 million Global Hub which officially opened in mid-March.
Blount’s impressive list of academic achievements include welcoming the most gifted incoming class of MBAs ever, with the highest GMAT score ever recorded at the school and the highest average of any of the world’s most well-known MBA programs with the exception of Stanford GSB. She also brought Kellogg to fourth place in the Poets & Quants’ composite ranking, tying with UPenn Wharton and barely behind Chicago Booth, Stanford, and Harvard Business School.
According to a video message to Kellogg’s community, Blount has an almost 30-year history with the school, which began when “Kellogg took a chance on a pregnant doctoral student.” Recently she was asked by the board to imagine that she was a new dean walking into the new Global Hub – what would she do next? While in Rhode Island, she realized that this question created “an opportunity for me to start thinking bravely about my own life in the ways that I have about the institutions I have led.” She hopes that thinking about these subjects will show her “what the person I want to become would do.”
When Blount steps down, there will only be three female deans of Top 25 U.S. business schools: Judy Olian of UCLA Anderson; Erika James of Emory Goizueta; and Idalene F. Kesner of Indiana Kelley. None of the Top 20 business schools outside the U.S. has a woman as its dean.