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ASU announces new Loui Olivas Chair in Management

Chair believed to be 1st named after a Latino professor at a top-ranked US business school

Portrait of ASU Emeritus Professor Loui Olivas.

Even in retirement, Professor Loui Olivas — who worked at ASU from 1979 to 2009 — continues to guide the Hispanic Business Students Association.

October 03, 2023

The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University has announced a new chair in management named after Loui Olivas, emeritus professor in management, who worked at ASU for 30 years between 1979 and 2009.

The Loui Olivas Chair in Management was announced at the L’ATTITUDE Conference, held Sept. 27–30 in Miami. L’ATTITUDE focuses on helping executives and business leaders understand how the U.S. Latino cohort is driving economic growth.

"The ultimate career recognition and prestigious title for a university professor is having an academic chair named in their honor,” Olivas said. “I am truly humbled to have the Loui Olivas Chair in Management dedicated and residing in the W. P. Carey School of Business.”

Sol Trujillo — global business executive, founder and chairman of Trujillo Group, LLC, chairman of the Latino Donor Collaborative and co-founder of L'ATTITUDE — and his wife, Corine, were instrumental in funding the new chair.

“Loui Olivas has epitomized the ideal definition of an educator and professor,” Trujillo said. “His dedication to teaching and learning for all students was unparalleled. His drive to get them to think big and achieve more always caught my eye, especially for the Latino student. He inspired and sometimes cajoled them to achieve big.”

Olivas is an ASU alum and retired professor, and he recalls his early days on ASU’s campus.

“I found my business professors to be engaging, student-focused and experts in their disciplines. These same business professors became my role models and mentors as a faculty member.”

Olivas worked to provide that same supportive environment. Even in retirement, he continues to guide the Hispanic Business Students Association, or HBSA.

“I proudly receive phone calls, text messages, emails and visits from my former HBSA students, who are now extremely successful in their selective careers. Several alums are now serving as business owners, elected officials and presidents of nonprofit organizations,” Olivas said.

All Loui Olivas Chairs will embody that spirit of academic excellence, supportive mentorship and community engagement. The chair will be responsible for carrying on Olivas’ tradition of developing and mentoring business students while taking a leadership role in producing research that positively influences the advancement and greater integration of diverse markets and enterprises.

Professor Veronica Villena named inaugural Loui Olivas Chair in Management

Professor Veronica Villena.

Associate Professor Veronica Villena

With the announcement of the new chair, the W. P. Carey School also named the first professor to earn the title.

Veronica Villena, associate professor of supply chain management, focuses on how companies engage their global supplier network to achieve economic, environmental and social outcomes. In 2022, she won a Responsible Research Award, and in 2019, the Jack Meredith Best Paper from the Journal of Operations Management and the Faculty Sustainability Award from Pennsylvania State University.

“I am humbled and honored to receive the Loui Olivas Chair in Management. Like Professor Olivas, I take my job as a professor very seriously, particularly as it relates to mentoring students,” Villena said. “My research on sustainable procurement motivates me to inspire the next generation of supply chain leaders to be responsible global citizens. It is important for my students to understand the intricacies of supplier networks and their environmental and societal implications, particularly in developing and emerging countries. As such, my research, teaching and mentoring activities will continue to focus on these issues."

“I look forward to interacting with Professor Villena, the first Loui Olivas Chair and a rising scholar in the supply chain discipline,” Olivas said.

New chair further promotes Latino success at Hispanic-Serving Institution

The Loui Olivas Chair in Management is believed to be the first endowed chair named after a Latino scholar at a top-ranked U.S. business school. Olivas’ longtime service to students in the HBSA — which also celebrates its 50th anniversary next spring — is a fitting benchmark for the engagement and support of ASU students.

ASU was named a Hispanic-Serving Institution, or HSI, in 2022. The Department of Education defines an HSI as an institution of higher education with an enrollment of Hispanic undergraduate full-time equivalent students that is at least 25% of the overall student body.

“Both Loui and Veronica are outstanding examples of what engaged, community-oriented scholarship should look like,” said Ohad Kadan, Charles J. Robel Dean and W. P. Carey Distinguished Chair in Business. “The ASU Charter demands we take responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of our communities. The new Loui Olivas Chair and the faculty who earn that designation are one aspect of the many ways W. P. Carey is prioritizing inclusive excellence in scholarship and the classroom.”

“I am touched by the support, efforts and leadership provided by the Loui Olivas Chair donors, who have pledged over $1 million to date,” Olivas said. “A special thanks to Sol and Corine Trujillo for their overwhelming donation; they made this chair a reality. I am also grateful to Dean Kadan, who was instrumental to launching the chair this year.”

“Being the first major business school to name a chair for a Latino professor is a tribute to both Professor Olivas and ASU,” Trujillo said. “That is why we celebrated it at the L'ATTITUDE Conference as a ‘first’ and hope it serves as a benchmark for all other universities. That is why my wife, Corine, and I have supported this effort by ASU.”

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