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Bentley University trustee Caryn Beck-Dudley

8 Questions with Trustee Caryn Beck-Dudley

Kristen Walsh 

Caryn Beck-Dudley, a new member of the university’s Board of Trustees, believes that higher education has the power to transform lives. As dean of the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University, she works with faculty, staff and alumni to implement strategic initiatives. She is a vigorous advocate for business leadership that is ethical, purposeful and accountable.  

Why were you interested in joining Bentley as a trustee?

I said yes to serving on the board because, much like Santa Clara University, Bentley is in a highly competitive higher education market as a private university. I’m also interested in schools with aspirations to have a very strong national presence.

Tell us about your experience as a dean at three different business schools.

There’s a mindset I’ve encountered at Santa Clara that seems to be common at Bentley, too: thinking hard about the learner experience and why a student would choose us over other schools in the area. This focus helps schools like ours succeed in a very competitive market. Also, there is less emphasis on the branding message for athletics than what I saw as dean at Florida State and Utah State.

How did you go from practicing commercial and corporate law to academia?  

I was working at a large law firm in Utah and answered a classified ad for a temporary business law professor at the College of Business at Utah State University. With only three weeks’ notice, I taught a class of 250, a class of 80 and a class of 40. And I never looked back! After following the traditional path to full professor, I accepted roles as a department chair and later dean — and enjoyed fundraising, meeting with businesses and setting the vision of the school. 

What drew you to higher education?

It transforms people’s lives. As dean, I often get to see that impact when I visit alumni and see them in successful professional roles and careers. It’s very dynamic and each day is different. 

What is the biggest challenge for women in the workplace?

Stereotyping, especially regarding leadership. Men have a lot more flexibility around how they lead. The way to break that stereotype is to have more women leaders. My daughter became a scientist because of two female mentors: an environmental science teacher during high school and a physics professor at Florida State. That inspired me to take my role as a woman mentor very seriously, particularly in helping women faculty members and students understand that they can be successful both personally and professionally.

An Interview with Trustee Lebone Moses ’02

What are you most passionate about?

I’m passionate about education, about women being successful and about helping the next generation become great leaders. I am also a huge proponent of conscientious capitalism — capitalism that must reflect good ethics and doing good for the world.  

Any big interests outside of work?

I really enjoy fly fishing. It’s fun to be back West because it’s a little easier to fish in streams rather than in the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. I also like to travel and I’m on a quest to see all the pyramids in the world. So far, I’ve been to pyramids in Egypt and Mexico City. 

Can you tell us about your family?

My daughter, Stacia, finished her PhD in environmental toxicology and works for Corteva in Indianapolis, where she lives with her husband and two beautiful dogs. My son, Michael, makes commercials and works in television in Los Angeles; he is currently working on a movie. 

Learn More About the Board of Trustees