Leaving A Legacy

John Kraft, the longest-tenured dean at the University of Florida, has announced his decision to step down as dean of the Warrington College of Business after the 2016-17 academic year.

Kraft, 72, will remain on Warrington’s faculty teaching strategy, and working with the College’s entrepreneurship, international business, and real estate programs. He has served as Warrington’s dean since 1990.

UF has retained Isaacson, Miller—an executive search firm—to conduct a national search for Warrington’s next dean.

“The past 26 years have been incredibly rewarding,” Kraft said. “I am grateful to the dedicated faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the College whose commitment to compete with the best made my job infinitely more interesting.”

Kraft has been affiliated with the Warrington College of Business for almost half a century. He joined the College’s faculty as an assistant professor of economics in 1970. After a six-year stretch in Washington D.C.—working as a professor and for the Federal Energy Administration (now the Department of Energy)—Kraft returned to the College in 1980 as Director of the Bureau of Economics and Business Research. He was appointed Associate Dean a year later.

In 1986, Kraft was named dean of Arizona State University’s business school before returning again in 1990 to lead Warrington.

“Dean Kraft has been an extraordinary leader for our business college, transforming it into one of the nation’s best institutions in business education and research, with a growing influence in higher education and the private sector,” said UF President Kent Fuchs. “His sage management decisions and many innovations contribute to UF’s rising stature and will benefit students for generations to come.”

Kraft, the longest-tenured dean of an AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accredited U.S. business school, has played a vital role in the College’s impressive growth. Since his appointment as dean, the College’s graduate program offerings have increased more than five-fold, its endowment has grown from $14 million to $167 million, and its presence and reputation as a global business school has enhanced in part due to its study abroad partnerships with more than 20 countries.

Kraft’s commitment to innovation has established Warrington as a global leader in business education. The College was an early adopter of distance learning, and was one of the first major business schools to launch an online MBA program in 1999. UF MBA’s Online Program was ranked No. 3 in the world and No. 1 in the U.S. by The Financial Times in its “Online 2015 MBA Rankings.”

Under Kraft’s leadership, the College also led the way in the creation of unique offerings such as its Specialized Master’s Programs—one-year graduate offerings in burgeoning fields such as finance, international business and real estate. The College also implemented a Post-Doctoral Bridge Program, which prepares scholars from non-business disciplines for teaching and research careers in business schools, and a Doctor of Business Administration program for working professionals.

Kraft has been an advocate for the College’s financial strength as well as its academic standing. In 2014, the College realized its long-awaited vision of having each of its three schools—the Heavener School of Business, Fisher School of Accounting, and Hough Graduate School of Business—supported with major program endowments and state-of-the-art facilities, providing a dynamic learning environment for generations of Warrington students.

In addition to his academic service, Kraft has held positions at several federal agencies, including the Department of Energy, Department of Housing and Urban Affairs, Department of Interior, and the National Science Foundation. He has also served on the Board of Directors of Citibank of Arizona, Greyhound Financial Corporation, and Kroy, Inc.

Kraft has served as AACSB International’s Chairman of the Board of Directors and on numerous committees within the organization, including the Business Accreditation Committee and the Maintenance of Accreditation Committee. He has also served on the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) Board of Directors and is a past Governor of the Beta Gamma Sigma Board of Directors.

Kraft received a B.S. in Mathematics from St. Bonaventure University and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Pittsburgh.