New dean offers experience, has high hopes for College of Business


Miranda Cantrell/Iowa State Daily

David Spalding is the newest Raisbeck Endowed Dean in the College of Business. Prior to his appointment at Iowa State, he was a senior vice president at Dartmouth College. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth and an MBA in Finance from New York University.

Caitlin Deaver

David Spalding, fifth dean of the College of Business, is one of the newer faces on campus this year.

Spalding was interviewed for his position as dean in April. During Spalding’s interview process, President Steven Leath gave his inaugural address about the modern land-grant institution. Leath’s words, Spalding said, instantly clicked with him.

“Those types of goals — making higher education accessible, promoting research and serving as a resource to the entire state of Iowa — strongly appeal to me,” Spalding said. “It is what higher education should be all about.”

Spalding graduated from Dartmouth in 1976 with a Bachelor of Arts in history cum laude, and he also received his master’s in business administration from New York University in 1984.

He then began his career in the finance world in New York with The Chase Manhattan Bank N.A. He was also a vice president with the First National Bank of Chicago and a senior vice president with GE Capital Corporate Finance Group Inc. He was vice chairman of The Cypress Group LCC, a firm he co-founded in 1994, as well.

Spalding served on many corporate boards, including Lear Corporation, AMTROL Inc., Williams-Scotsman and Parisian, Inc. He also served on the boards of a number of nonprofit organizations, like the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Northern Stage.

“He has a good balance of real, practical business world experience and higher education work experience,” said Pamela Anthony, dean of students. “He can talk to students about what it’s like to sit on a board, be a vice president of a company and develop business relationships. Those are real life experiences students can benefit from.”

After working 29 years in finance, Spalding wanted to work in higher education. Before coming to Iowa State, he served as senior vice president and senior adviser to Dartmouth’s president.

“I have seen how a college education can transform people’s lives,” Spalding said. “I’ve seen it in my family, I’ve seen it in students and alumni at Dartmouth and in my own college experience, which broadened my horizons and gave me opportunities I might not have known existed otherwise.”

Spalding hopes to accomplish much within his time at Iowa State, too. One of his biggest goals is to maintain the College of Business’ student-centered approach.

He said he wants to improve students’ college experiences to keep attracting and retaining students.

In order to do so, he said he hopes to provide more scholarship support, continue to bring in experienced faculty members, enhance the research productivity of the faculty by providing resources and continue to build relationships in the business world.

“Collectively, I hope we will take the College of Business to the next level,” Spalding said.

On Friday, Sept. 13, Spalding announced a series of initiatives he hopes will enhance the experiences for both students and faculty in the College of Business.

Those initiatives include increasing the college’s faculty, expanding support for faculty research efforts and opening more study abroad opportunities for students by increasing resources to support such programs.

“In addition, we are working toward the launch of our Experiential Learning Center, which will substantially increase the number of opportunities our students have to work in live business situations,” Spalding said. “I’m also looking forward to enhancing our college’s ties to the business community and furthering alumni engagement in the College of Business.”

One of the biggest challenges of being a dean is finding the time to meet with students.

“A lot of the time, when you get to a certain administrative level, it’s difficult to make time for students because of busy schedules,” Anthony said. “But [Spalding is] very friendly and approachable. To me, that’s very important in this kind of community.”

Spalding has enjoyed interacting with students through “Donuts with the Dean” and talking to student leaders this year.

“The people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had since arriving here have only reinforced how good I felt about Iowa State when I first visited in April,” Spalding said. “I have so much more to learn and so many more people to meet. But I’m thoroughly enjoying it.”