Caryn Beck-Dudley, Dean, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University

Beck-Dudley Recognized as Distinguished Woman in Business Education

In recognition of her path-paving leadership, Caryn Beck-Dudley has been awarded the Pat Flynn Distinguished Woman in Business Education Award by WAME.

The Women Administrators in Management Education (WAME) affinity group was created to empower and encourage women business school administrators around the world. When WAME was established in 1993, there were only six female deans of AACSB-accredited business schools. Formed originally as the Women Administrators in Business Schools, the name was changed when AACSB formed affinity groups after 2000.

One of the group’s goals today is to proactively work toward greater representation and advancement of women in business school leadership positions. There has been much progress since WAME’s origins in that 25.3 percent of deans and 33.7 percent of associate deans are now women, according to data from AACSB’s 2019 Data Guide. But there is still much work to be done before women are equally represented in senior leadership roles at business schools.

This is why WAME celebrates and recognizes women who continue to pave the way for other women business school leaders. It is in this spirit that Caryn Beck-Dudley has been named the fifth recipient of the Patricia M. Flynn Distinguished Woman in Business Education Award. Beck-Dudley is dean of the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley.

The Patricia M. Flynn Award was established in 2016 by WAME to recognize female thought leaders whose leadership, research, and educational initiatives have made a difference for women in business education. Previous recipients include the award’s namesake, Pat Flynn, in 2016; Susan McTiernan in 2017; Lynne Richardson in 2018; and Deborah Merrill-Sands in 2019.

Before arriving at Santa Clara University in 2015, Beck-Dudley served as dean of the College of Business at Florida State University from 2006 to 2015 and as dean of the College of Business at Utah State University from 2002 to 2006. Before her academic career, she was an attorney in commercial and corporate law with VanCott, Bagley, Cornwall & McCarthy.

Lynne Richardson, dean of the College of Business at the University of Mary Washington and chair of the 2020 Flynn Award Committee, says of this year’s recipient, “Caryn has been a role model for women business leaders for decades. She has actively served the various communities in which she has lived. Her voice in AACSB has helped improved business education globally. She is truly one of the most outstanding business educators of our time.”

In addition to teaching business law, employment law, and business ethics, Beck-Dudley has made many public presentations to large and small audiences on a variety of leadership and legal/ethical topics. She currently speaks frequently on higher education issues, in particular, disruption in higher education and in business schools. Her work is published in several journals, including the American Business Law Journal for which she served on the editorial board.

Beck-Dudley served two previous terms on the AACSB Board of Directors, and served as the 2018–19 board chair.

She is currently the immediate past chair of the board. She interacts frequently with Silicon Valley companies and works with those leaders in reimagining how higher education can serve the workforce needs of the future.

Beck-Dudley has also been honored among Silicon Valley Business Journal’s 2018 100 Most Influential Women in Silicon Valley. She currently sits on the board of directors for the Kearney Center.

“I am beyond honored to receive this recognition,” said Beck-Dudley. “To be selected by this extremely talented group of women makes this award even more tremendous, as they are all women leaders in higher education. I am proud to be part of a group that is leaving the business world a more equitable place for our female colleagues and students.”

Beck-Dudley graduated magna cum laude from Utah State University in political science. She received her J.D. from the University of Idaho College of Law, where she was on the moot court team and was the articles editor for the Idaho Law Review. She is also a member of the Academy of Legal Studies in Business, serving as past chair.

WAME continues to empower and encourage women at all administrative levels in business schools around the world. Much progress has been made in increasing the numbers of female business deans since its formation in 1993, but there is still work to do.


Jenny Darroch Head ShotJenny Darroch is the current Henry Y. Hwang Dean and a professor at Claremont Graduate University’s Drucker School of Management and incoming dean and Mitchel P. Rales Chair in Business Leadership at Miami University’s Farmer School of Business. She currently chairs AACSB’s Women Administrators in Management Education (WAME) Affinity Group.