For 35 years, Bob Novack, associate professor of supply chain management and Paiste Fellow in Teaching, was a powerful voice in his field. He published numerous articles in leading journals and co-authored two textbooks.
Novack’s biggest impact, however, arguably came from his passion for helping students realize their potential. He was the driving force behind the revitalization and evolution of one of Penn State’s preeminent undergraduate leadership programs — Smeal’s Sapphire Leadership Academic Program — and, for 10 years, he served as its adviser. Novack retired in May following more than three decades of service.
A longtime Smeal faculty member once said of former dean Jim Thomas, “He was the type of guy that if I had a story to share or I wanted to have a quick conversation, I didn’t hesitate to head down to the Dean’s Suite and walk right in.”
Thomas recently retired as William Elliott Chaired Professor of Insurance and Risk Management after nearly 36 years at Penn State and 17 with Smeal.
He served as a senior associate dean at Smeal before becoming the founding dean of Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology in 1999. In 2006, Thomas returned to Smeal where he served as dean until 2012. – Andy Elder