Pappajohn Business Building
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
By Rebekah Tilley

Sarah Fisher Gardial, dean of the Tippie College of Business since 2012, announced today that she will be departing from the college. Gardial will become the dean of the Massey College of Business at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. on March 1, 2020.

“I am at an age where one begins to plan last chapters,” said Gardial in a statement to campus. “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.”

An interim dean will be named soon, and the university will conduct an external search for Gardial’s replacement.

“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,” says Montserrat Fuentes, executive vice president and provost. “She leaves the Tippie College of Business stronger than it was when she arrived, and we are grateful for her leadership.”

During her tenure at the college, Gardial led the college’s expansion into specialty master’s programs and made tough decisions regarding the strategic use of college resources including the closure of the college’s full-time MBA program and the expansion of a new online part-time MBA program that rolled out this fall. She also led the successful extension of accreditation by the AACSB International.

“Sarah has set up our college to move confidently forward with our mission during this time of transition,” said Amy Kristof-Brown, senior associate dean of the college. “Our staff and faculty are powerfully aware of who we are as a college, what sets us apart, and how we will be leaning into our strengths. We will continue to engage with alumni and corporate partners to provide innovative pedagogy and world-class scholarship.”

While at Iowa, Gardial brought her unique perspective and guidance to a number of institutions and committees both on campus and in the surrounding business community. Gardial currently serves on the board of directors for GreenState Credit Union, the United Fire Group, and The Learning Tree. She also served on a number of university committees including the search committee for the UI President and co-chaired the university’s search for the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. A dynamic speaker, she was frequently presented at such events as The Way Up Conference, the Zada Cooper Leadership Symposium, the Corridor Business Journal’s 90 Ideas in 90 Minutes, and to numerous student organizations.

“My passion is for education institutions that are ready to take on the next challenge,” said Gardial. “That is where my heart was when I came to Tippie, and that is why I am excited to move to Belmont. However, 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.”