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Woo leads business school for final semester

Emily Schrank | Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This semester marks the end of Carolyn Woo’s 14-year tenure as dean of the Mendoza College of Business. In June, Woo was named president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic Church in the United States.

“I felt like I needed a semester to tie up the loose ends,” Woo said. “In particular, to make sure the various foundations of the College are in a good place.”

Woo, who begins her new position Jan. 1, served as a board member for CRS from 2004-2009.

“I really came to know the organization from those five years and also traveled on behalf of CRS,” she said. “I had the chance to see firsthand the incredible impact and contribution of that work.”

Woo said she thinks of her new position as “an extraordinary privilege.”

“One of my greatest fears is that we learn not to see the people who suffer,” she said. “I consider myself blessed to have the chance that I see.”

After seeing how CRS transformed people’s lives, Woo decided it was time to go serve that family and said she is looking forward to doing God’s work.

“I get intimidated when I think of taking this job on all by myself,” she said. “But it is really His work and His Spirit that moves us along.”

Even though Mendoza reached the top of BusinessWeek’s undergraduate rankings during her time as dean, Woo said she is most proud of keeping strong moral and ethical standards at the center of the College’s mission.

“We never compromised our Catholic identity,” she said. “We advanced our academic reputation and Catholic mission at the same time.”

Woo attributes her success as dean to the efforts of the College’s staff.

“I think that the success that the Mendoza College of Business has achieved is because of an incredibly dedicated and talented team of staff,” she said.

Woo said the search for her replacement will begin this semester. Roger Huang, associate dean of Mendoza, will serve as interim dean after Woo’s departure.

“If it wasn’t for my time at Notre Dame, I don’t think I could have been ready for my time at CRS,” she said. “Sometimes in your life, you just have to leave home for the next phase.”