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Cynthia Stoddard



Senior Vice President and

Chief Information Officer


March 4, 2015


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The Dean's Leadership Circle


Recent News & Announcements














































August 5, 2013

Dear Dean's Leadership Circle members,

As promised, I wanted to follow up with you regarding the Dean Search for the Merage School. The original search has unfortunately not yielded a positive outcome. Our new Provost, Howard Gillman, will oversee a revitalized search, making use of an outside recruitment firm, and he is confident that, moving forward, we will generate an even stronger pool of candidates and recruit an excellent new permanent Dean of the Merage School.


In the meantime, I have been appointed Interim Dean of the Merage School for the academic year 2013-14. It is an honor, and I am happy to serve our School in this role. A press release was issued today about this appointment.


I look forward to working with you and others in our vibrant business community, plus all Merage School faculty and staff, to ensure that we keep our momentum and continue fulfilling the fundamental research and teaching missions of the School. All activities of the administration have the ultimate dual objectives of creating an atmosphere in which top-notch research is generated and valued, and providing students a caring learning environment in which they receive rigorous, research-informed, and, with your help, a highly relevant education. I plan to keep focus on these dual goals.


Our school benefits greatly from your participation, and I will continue to welcome your participation and seek your wise counsel.


One of the first events of the year will be our Distinguished Speaker Series kickoff in November. Please watch for more information coming as soon as final details are set, and I hope to see you there.


Let us look forward to a productive, fun, and happy year.






Rajeev Tyagi

Interim Dean and

Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Walter B. Gerken Chair in Enterprise and Society, Professor of Marketing

The Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine




Upcoming Events:




 April Alumni News:







March 18, 2013


As I begin to transition from my position as dean to faculty member, I want to take a moment to touch base with you to share a few thoughts regarding the importance of the Dean's Leadership Circle (DLC).
The DLC has proved to be a top priority and will continue to be for the future of the Merage School.  Thanks to your outstanding leadership and past support, we have been able to accomplish a number of challenging goals over the past several years.
At this time, I am personally asking you to please continue your critical support of the DLC, not only in support of the School, but to show our new dean the pride we all take in being an active part of the Merage School and to welcome him or her to it. 
The Dean's Leadership Circle has been a very successful endeavor, and I am proud that it was launched during my tenure. This organization was spearheaded by a group of very committed alumni who have helped bring in over $4 million in private funds with a current goal to raise another $3 million to support the new building.
Inside our new business building, the DLC has reserved the most visible space available - our state-of-the art, 300-seat auditorium - along with an executive conference room that will allow DLC members to host on-site meetings. Each of the 300 seats are offered to each of our members to allow you to leave your own personal legacy by naming the seat in your honor or that of a loved one. This is a very unique and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity available to you and other business leaders in the community, and it comes with automatic membership benefits over those three years. The first five rows are reserved for Visionary-level members which is a five year membership. I invite you to please visit to renew your membership and create your own personal legacy.
My wife, Pam, and I have already named a seat, and we look forward to being seated amongst all of you. The opening of this grand new business school building will be a very transformational time in the School's history. I believe you will feel great pride when you see your name inside this building, and to know that you have played a very important role in Merage School history and its future!
With warmest regards,

Andrew J. Policano
Dean and Dean's Leadership Circle Endowed Professor
Visionary Member, Dean's Leadership Circle


VIP Pre-Reception in conjunction with Distinguished Speaker Series, featuring Myron Gray, President U.S Operations, UPS.




 DLC's Wicked Night Out




2012 DLC Annual Holiday End of Year Celebration, Lyon Air Museum

On December 12, the Dean’s Leadership Circle drew in 200 guests for the highly anticipated Annual Holiday End of Year Celebration at Lyon Air Meseum.  Located in Santa Ana, next to the John Wayne Airport, members enjoyed a private viewing of Gen. William Lyon's personal collection of vintage aircrafts and autos.  Live holiday music was played by the Swingset and docents on-hand shared facts and real life experiences.  Many members visited the silent auction table which included a private jet service and flight lessons.

We thank you the event sponsors for making this event such a great success!  Please see photos below of the event.


Event Sponsor
Lyon Air Museum

Wine and champagne sponsored by:
Darren Whissen ’02 & Dao Vo Whissen ‘01

David Jones '93

Music sponsored by
Laguna Swingset Band sponsored by Greg Lai '88


Silent Auction Items sponsored by

Paige Cotcamp '84

Ken Neeld '07

Photography provided by
Brent Valera, InstantImage

Avi Chainani


Food Provided by
Larru Anders, Anders Catering


Poinsettias Provided by

Johnny Mosham, Lettuce Cater to You


Valet Service Provided by

Majestic Valet Service


See photos below from our holiday event:






















Dean’s Leadership Circle Honors Dean on Recent Book:
Public No More, A New Path to Excellence for America’s Public Universities


On Friday afternoon, June 15, approximately 100 members of the Dean’s Leadership Circle (DLC) and Dean’s Advisory Board (DAB) gathered in honor of former Dean Policano’s recently released book co-authored with colleague and former dean of the business school and current interim president of University of Iowa, Gary C. Fethke. 

The wine & hors d’oeuvre reception was hosted by Charter DLC, DAB and Center for Investment & Wealth Management member, Mark Moehlman, at the beautiful Big Canyon Country Club in the Terrace View Room. Upon guests’ arrival they picked up their own personalized copy of the book that former Dean Policano had signed in advance. The intimate, unplugged version of the former Dean’s personal outlook on the higher education system was then followed by quite a lively Q&A and discussion session.  Professors Judy Rosener, Vijay Gurbaxani, Mort Pincus, Rajeev Tyagi among several members of the Merage School staff were involved in the discussion.

Leading up to the presentation, members were asked to visit the book’s blog at to become familiar with the topic. During the presentation the dean shared how he examined the ever changing environment within public higher education, explaining the many adjustments that universities can make to educate and compete in today's non-profit and growing for-profit arenas.  The book offers a strategic framework for setting tuition; accommodating access; and determining quality, program scope, and operating efficiencies. It discusses university finances, the implications of internal cross subsidies, and the attractive aspects of alternative budgeting models.

After the reception, a small group was invited to join Mark Moelhman, and wife Dr. Cherilyn Sheets, for a celebratory dinner down in the club’s wine cellar. Those who attended included school name sakes Paul & Lilly Merage and Don & Joan Beall along with former Dean Andy and Pam Policano. 

See photos below from this exclusive event:







Dean's Leadership Circle Demonstrates Fundraising Prowess

Click here to read the recent article, featured in the Dean's Quarterly Winter 2012 issue:




We Invite You To Reserve Your Seat In The Dean's Leadership Circle Auditorium Today!

Introducing the 'Reserve Your Seat' Campaign in the new Building's Auditorium

Details: a 3-year membership pledge will reserve your personal seat inside the Dean's Leadership Circle auditorium, slated for completion in 2014. Don't miss out on this exciting opportunity to leave your legacy.


  •     This new building is the top priority of former Dean Policano and the Merage School
  •     This new building will help to ensure the school attracts the best and brightest students in future years
  •     The Interior of the building will showcase corporate history and leadership of Orange County
  •     Help to raise visibility for the Dean's Leadership Circle for all that visit the Merage School


Click Here to pledge today!





DLC Fall Insider's View Event at the home of Ken & Carla Neeld

Annual-level members and above along with spouses and guests gathered at Visionary Ken and Carla Neeld’s home for a tropical evening and “Insider’s View” from former Dean Andy Policano on September 22nd.  Situated atop a hillside in Newport Coast, guests enjoyed a beautiful evening with one another while overlooking the natural scenery of Orange County. The aloha spirit was in the air with guests dressed in island attire and Hawaiian music playing in the background.  An amazing buffet dinner and refreshments were served by Lettuce-Cater-To You.

Ken Neeld (EMBA ’07) and his wife Carla graciously welcomed everyone in attendance.  Ken is currently the President & CEO of Delphi Display Systems, located in Costa Mesa.  Ken introduced Andy who spoke about the Dean’s Leadership Circle Endowed Professorship, and the significant impact this will have upon a select faculty member.  Rajeev Tyagi, Senior Associate Dean joined fomer Dean Policano and explained that they are currently in the final stages of selecting this person, and that he is confident that they can announce the recipient within the next thirty days.

Former Dean Policano gave an update on the Merage School, and shared that he’s currently celebrating his 7th year here as Dean.  He originally launched the Dean’s Leadership Circle in 2005 with the help of Pam Adams ’98 (Founding Chair of the DLC)  to create a strong business community and advance the School to top tier status, and discussed the many achievements that the group has seen over the past six years.  He spoke about his book that will be released in the Spring entitled “Public No More.”  He looks forward to the upcoming Business Outlook forecast in January featuring Jennifer Granholm, former Governor or Michigan and a discussion on the American economy.  He thanked everyone for their generous support and highlighted the Advisory Board leaders within the DLC that have truly helped to make a difference thus far. 

Many thanks to all of our members for joining us for this special evening, and for the Neeld’s who opened up their lovely home to our group!

See photos below…..







DLC Visionary Summer Gathering at the home of Pam Adams

It was the hottest night of the summer when a group of Visionary members along with spouses and former Dean Policano all gathered at Pam Adam’s home for a summer barbecue. It was a fun, casual evening outdoors in Pam’s newly landscaped backyard that had everyone involved playing bocce ball, enjoying summertime tunes and cool margaritas and a fun icebreaker game featuring ‘80s music!

This group who lead the campaign to create the Endowed Professorship received an update from former Dean Policano on the Merage School and the status of the Dean’s Leadership Circle Endowed Professor.
Three new Visionary members in attendance were presented with their official Dean’s Leadership Circle gold seal wall plaque commemorating their status, which included members Tim Cannon ‘07, Beau Pirghibi ‘01 and David Jones ’93.

We wish to extend our gratitude to Pam for not only being a wonderful hostess but also for her leadership and vision as the Founding Chair of the Dean’s Leadership Circle.



DLC Family Day at Pretend City Children's Museum

Back by popular demand, members of the Dean’s Leadership Circle and guests gathered with their families for an exciting morning of exploration at Pretend City Children’s Museum in Irvine on Saturday, August 27th for the Annual Family Day event.  Sponsored by the DLC in partnership with Pretend City, over 60 adults and 50 children enjoyed a private breakfast reception provided by Johnny Mosham’s Lettuce Cater to You, and exclusive entrance into the museum before doors were opened to the public later that day.

Linda Hunter, Executive Director of the museum welcomed the group and provided an overview of the site, proudly sharing that Pretend City is the first educational facility of its kind in the OC, representing a small interconnected city.  The museum first opened their doors in August of 2009, and has since enjoyed great success as a “hot” location for play dates and kid parties.  The non-profit organization specifically targets children from infants to ten years of age, and has a mission to build better brains through whole body learning experiences, educational programs with over 15 permanent exhibits.  She explained that each exhibit empowers children to learn about and meaningfully connect with and expand their world, in a similar fashion as Merage MBA’s focus on global business and higher education at the school.

DLC Advisory Board member Sam King ’00 and Greg Queen ’03 presented Linda and her team with gifts on behalf of the Merage School, and thanked them for their generosity and new found partnership.  Sam provided a brief background on the DLC and why this influential group has made such a tremendous impact at the Merage School.  Later that morning, DLC members and guests enjoyed reconnecting with one another and making new contacts, while their kids played in the special “DLC kids corner” and roamed the museum.  Favorite exhibits included the pretend garden where kids learned how to grow healthy foods, the restaurant where they could serve each other foods and work with a cash register, and the art center where they could let their creative juices flow.  The morning was concluded with a special story time that allowed all of the children to wind down.  Goody bags were given as departing gifts to the families on their way out.

The DLC is pleased to offer this type of family fun event for our members to enjoy with their kids. Members along with their family are helping to make a difference not only by advancing the School but also strengthen the general Alumni Network and are truly active participants of the “Merage School family”.  Thank you for your continued support and the Dean's Leadership Circle looks forward to offering similar events in the future. Thanks to all who attended. 

See photos below…



Pretend City Marquis       Sam King '00                 Linda Hunter                  Megan Waldeck             Zsolt Kiraly '08


 Glen Kauffman '94       Petros Keshishyan '10   Judith Gass '00           Catherine Tran '10         Edward Uy '94


Kumar Mangalick '05    John Newton '10            Mindy Zive                       Timothy Kay                      Storytime






New Reserve Your Seat Campaign Launched at Dean's Spring Reception

For the second consecutive year, Newport Coast’s Pelican Hill Resort was the chosen destination spot for the Annual Dean’s Spring Reception.  The highly anticipated event brought together over 200 dedicated members of the Dean’s Advisory Board and the Dean’s Leadership Circle in the Mar Vista Room with fabulous food and cocktails.  Guests mingled with one another while overlooking expansive views of the Pacific Ocean, 18-hole golf course, and the Coliseum pool in the distance with a beautiful sunset backdrop.


Chair of the Dean’s Advisory Board and President of Marriott International Ed Fuller welcomed the crowd.  Ed is an enthusiastic and outstanding member of the Merage community as a member of the DLC, commencement speaker and has made a gift to the Merage School Building Campaign.  The future office and suite that the Dean will occupy in the new building will be fittingly named in honor of Ed.  Ed provided a brief history of the Dean’s Leadership Circle and Dean’s Advisory Board and remarked on the sense of pride he feels to be surrounded by a group of philanthropic and influential people within the community.   All who were in attendance had helped to play a part in the School’s success.


Former Dean Policano addressed the group and provided a timely update on exciting news including his trip to Fudan University in Shanghai to establish the US-China Institute of Business and Law.  He shared that the primary purpose of The John & Marilyn Long U.S.- China Institute for Business and Law is to promote links and synergies between the two countries on business research and educational fronts, and ensure that University of California will stay on the leading edge of study of U.S.-China commercial relations.  Former Dean Policano provided an update on the Dean’s Leadership Circle Endowed Professorship, which had been signed off just days before by UC President Yudoff.  Fomer Dean Policano reflected on the importance of this Professorship and eagerly awaits the day when he can award this to a deserving faculty member of the Merage School.   


To cap off the program, DLC Advisory Board member Ken Neeld ’07 presented exiting news on the Dean’s Leadership Circle Reserve Your Seat Campaign to place the group’s name on the Auditorium that will be located inside the future business building.  The auditorium will offer 300 seats, each to be reserved and named in honor of members of the Dean’s Leadership Circle.  Inside this auditorium, we will have state of the art technology that will include the best technology, sound system, and lighting.  A new 3-year member pledge is now available that will automatically include a reserved seat inside the Auditorium with each members’ personal name inscribed.


The new business school building is estimated to cost approximately $47.5 mil, with $40 mil already approved by the state and slated to be funded.  The additional $7.5 mil will be raised by private support from alumni and members of the community.  UC Irvine was the only school in California selected by the legislature to upgrade with a new building at this time.  In addition to the Auditorium, the Dean’s Leadership Circle will also name a suite of offices for DLC staff members along with a private conference room for members’ exclusive use. 


For more info and to “RESERVE MY SEAT” visit:  3-Year Member Pledge Form  or 5-Year Visionary Member Pledge Form





Welcome Class of 2012 and 2013 Shareholder Members!


The Dean’s Leadership Circle would like to welcome the Class of 2012 and 2013 Shareholder members!  We are honored to have them as our newest members of the Dean’s Leadership Circle and believe they will add value to our network.

The Dean’s Leadership Circle invites all recent graduates including current students to join our network. To learn more about the Dean’s Leadership Circle, visit our website at:  or become a Shareholder member: DLC Shareholder Pledge Form


Class of 2012 Shareholder Members

                  Iyad Afalqa                          Penny Cotner                       Christopher Rogers                    Jin Puertollano
                  Caesar Armenta                Brandon Flanders               Sandhya Rudraraju
                  David Bryant                       Sarah Gibb                            Timon Safaie
                  Sudipta Burman                Corey Katouli                        Allen Wu 
                  Yifei Chen                           Aaron Levin                           Danny Yao
                  Rachel Chen                      Scott Puff                               John Yoo


Class of 2013 Shareholder Members

                                           Pallavi Agarwal                   Margo McEntee                    Carine Ye   

                                           Kimberly Banks                  Andreea Nanci                      Brian Yoo      

                                           Terese Marcotte                  Matthieu Roussillon                 





Visionary Member Beau Pirghibi '06 featured in OC Metro

Alum and founder launches online store for eco-friendly based products.   (click here)




DLC Celebrates 5th Year Anniversary


This year the Dean’s Leadership Circle reached a significant milestone since its foundation.  The Dean’s Leadership Circle celebrated its 5th Year Anniversary in style at Newport Coast’s Pelican Hill Resort.  The event was attended by Paul and Lilly Merage, former Dean Andrew Policano, Dean’s Advisory Board members and Dean’s Leadership Circle members including many of our esteemed alums.  For more information about this remarkable celebration please visit our past events page for a full recap and photos of the event. 




Two DLC Members Honored at 16th Annual
Women in Business Awards


Lisa Locklear, Ingram Micro’s North American chief financial officer, and Pamela Adams, first vice president - investment officer for The Adams Financial Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, were recognized among the most prominent women executives in Orange County during the Orange County Business Journal’s 16th Annual Women in Business Awards held May 25 in Irvine.

Adams and Locklear were selected from 162 nominees and were among five women recognized during the event which featured keynote speaker Linda LoRe, chief executive of the retail division of New York-based Frederick’s of Hollywood Group Inc. About 750 people attended the luncheon.

“It’s rewarding to see our alumni succeed throughout the course of their careers,” said Andy Policano, dean of The Paul Merage School of Business.  “It’s especially rewarding when they remain involved with The Paul Merage School of Business and provide ongoing leadership to other alumni and our current MBA students.”

A certified public accountant, Locklear received her bachelor of science from UC Davis and her MBA from The Paul Merage School of Business. She resides in Orange County with her husband and two sons, and is an active member of the Orange County United Way Board of Directors, as well as the Merage School Dean's Leadership Circle.

Adams is a certified financial advisor with an MBA from The Paul Merage School of Business.  She is a founding member of the Girl’s Inc Guild of Orange County, and an active member of the National Association of Women Business Owners of Orange County.  She is also a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board and the Dean’s Leadership Circle for The Paul Merage School of Business, and Chair of Community Programs for the school’s Center for Investment and Wealth Management.

Other executives recognized during the Women in Business awards luncheon included: Julie Schoenbachler, vice president of operations for Bascom Group of Irvine; Lula Halfacre, chief executive and cofounder of Traditional Jewelers in Newport Beach, and Linda White-Peters, president of development for Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana.



DLC Raises $1 Million in Pledges


In January, the Dean's Leadership Circle announced the $1 million pledge goal to establish the DLC Endowed Professorship Campaign had been fulfilled. At the Holiday Celebration at Tom's Carriage House in December, a $1 million check was hand delivered to former Dean Policano by members of the DLC Executive Committee. We wish to thank all members between July 2007 and December 2009 whose contributions to this campaign will create a prestigious endowed position for a high ranking faculty member of the Merage School. Once the deserving faculty is on board, members will be notified and invited to meet the newly appointed Dean's Leadership Circle Professor.