Tippie Dean Sarah Fisher-Gardial to lead Belmont University’s business school

Tippie College of Business Dean Sarah Fisher-Gardial will serve as dean of the Massey College of Business at Belmont University in Nashville.


Ben Allen Smith

Sarah Fisher Gardial, Dean of the Tippie College of Business, speaks during the state Board of Regents meeting inside the IMU Main Lounge on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. Gardial spoke changes in the market dynamics that led to the decision to close the full-time M.B.A. program.

Charles Peckman, Senior Reporter

Tippie College of Business Dean Sarah Fisher-Gardial on Wednesday announced to the community Wednesday she will serve as the dean of Belmont University’s business school in Nashville.

Gardial, who has served as the Tippie dean since 2012, said in a statement that was distributed to the Tippie community that she will leave in March of 2020 with “very mixed feelings.”

“While I am grateful beyond words for the opportunity to lead this incredible institution, I also know in my bones that it is time to move on,” she said. “I am at an age where one begins to plan last chapters. While I could happily remain here and continue the good work that is never finished, I also feel I have the juice for one more opportunity, one more hill to climb, and — equally important — I want to be closer to my family.”

Throughout her UI tenure, Gardial has overseen the expansion of the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center and a number of business-related programs. University administration, including Provost Montserrat Fuentes, said Gardial will be missed in the Hawkeye State.

“Dean Gardial has earned her reputation as an innovative leader and creative problem solver who leaves the Tippie College of Business well-positioned for the future as one of the country’s top business schools,” Fuentes said in a statement. “She leaves the Tippie College of Business stronger than it was when she arrived, and we are grateful for her leadership.”

Come next year, Gardial will serve as the dean of the Massey College of Business at Belmont University in Nashville. She said that Belmont is a “strong, growing, private university” with aspirations including new programs, an increase in enrollment, and “deeply engaging with the vibrant surrounding community.”

“I believe my skills and experience can help them move towards those aspirations, and I am excited about the opportunity to tackle these challenges in a unique educational context — an ecumenical Christian campus,” she said. “Having a spiritual framework within which to educate future business leaders is something to which I am deeply attracted.”

Now is a “good time,” she added, to turn Tippie over to a new leadership team. Gardial said she is working with Fuentes on a succession plan, and a dean search will be conducted in the upcoming months. Gardial added that she “intentionally set” the March 1, 2020 start date to make sure UI administration has time to comfortably transition.

“I know that the culture of innovation pervading this building will continue to move Tippie forward in the coming months. There will be no slow-down in our progress,” she said. “… Please know that I will look back on my time here with joy and with gratitude for the privilege of working at this amazing institution.”