Skip to content

Next Steps

Paying it Forward
Creating Tomorrow’s Leaders in Business Through Academe

In 1944, KPMG Foundation, AACSB International, and the Graduate Management Admission Council founded The PhD Project as a means to increase the pool of diverse candidates for positions in management by significantly increasing the number of minority role models and mentors in the front of the classroom. While our success in increasing the numbers of minority faculty and the qualitative impact on business education are documented, the personal connection we have with doctoral students, faculty, administrators and in many cases their families, has been the most gratifying.

In these stories, you will read about the aggregate impact The PhD Project has had on doctoral students, faculty and administrators, who are not merely succeeding, but are collaborating and influencing each other and the next generation of business school faculty and corporate leaders. Their success stories—singly, but especially together—tell how this critical mass is helping to ensure success through the strong support network The PhD Project has created.

As the president of The PhD Project, I am proud of this program’s remarkable success and grateful for the time, talent and financial support it has received from so many corporations, professional and academic organizations and the over 1,300 minority faculty and doctoral students who have come through The PhD Project. We could not have come so far, and accomplished so much, without them.

However, the individuals whose stories are chronicled in this book, along with the hundreds that are not, are the true heroes and genuinely embody the term, “paying it forward.” Their stories are inspiring, uplifting, encouraging and most importantly—true. We applaud them and wish them continued success on their journeys.

- Blane Ruschak, President

Read Stories by Theme

Read All Stories

Two Meetings

Dr. Mark Dawkins

At a tense meeting one day in the early 1990s at a large, heavily white university, a student watched in silent respect and admiration as his mentor—a senior African- American faculty leader—stood up to academic…

Special Issue

Dr. Geraldine Henderson Dr. Jerome Williams

The academy lost these two amazing scholars. Both Dr. Henderson and Dr. Williams left a wonderful legacy of research and mentorship that has inspired many.. They were considered “giants “ in the field of Marketing…

Mentor of Mentors

Dr. Carolyn Callahan

Dr. Carolyn Callahan, former Dean of the College of Business at the University of Louisville, and former KPMG Distinguished Professor of Accounting and Director of the School of Accountancy at the University of Memphis, was the first African-American…

A Secret Mover of the Needle

Dr. Jorge Perez

Tenured professor Dr. Jorge Pérez didn’t fully appreciate his  decision  to  branch  into  senior  administration  at Kennesaw State University until one morning several months into his term on the university Cabinet, reporting directly to the…

Four Directions

Dr. Joseph Gladstone Dr. Deanna M. Kennedy Dr. Amy Klemm Verbos Dr. Daniel Stewart

Long ago, Native Americans were clever and proficient entrepreneurs.  Interacting with European trappers and traders, they engaged successfully in businesses of many kinds with the new arrivals. And then everything changed. In modern America, few Native Americans—living…

Tough Love

Dr. Thomas Lopez

The first-year PhD candidate, an African student with five small children under age six, was struggling greatly with the intense rigors of adjusting to doctoral study. His doctoral committee, meeting privately to review the unpromising…

Mentorship: Pass it Along

Dr. Miriam Stamps Dr. Carolyn Massiah

When a young Miriam “Mimi” Stamps was still of an age when maternal influence is real and present, her mother advised her to become a teacher. The future Dr. Stamps promptly rejected that advice. It…

Fulbright Scholar

Dr. Renée Pratt

The trail to one of the first Fulbright Scholarships awarded to a PhD  Project participant*  traces back to  Toronto, Canada and the 2008 meeting of the Project’s Information Systems Doctoral Students Association, and leads to a…

Influencing Research Nationally

Dr. Quinetta Roberson

Sitting in the crowded meeting hall among 265 other hand- selected participants at the first PhD Project conference in December 1994 was a soon-to-be former financial analyst and small business development consultant from Philadelphia. Quinetta…

The Diner Dishes

Dr. Rebeca Perren Dr. Cinthia Satornino

Research is the raison d’être and lifeblood of the academic firmament’s upper strata, where doctoral candidates and professors reside. Undergraduates, it has been said, absorb and process knowledge and MBA students apply it—but PhDs. create…

An Unusual Promise

Dr. Randy Bradley

It is a challenging extra-curricular assignment that the University of Tennessee hands Professor Randy Bradley on Saturday mornings each spring. He is asked to stand up and face a room full of anxious high school…

Road Less Travelled

Dr. Charles Richardson

The littlest people in Dr. Charles W. Richardson’s Marketing Principles class at the business school of Clark Atlanta University sat on the floor in the back, quietly sipping from juice boxes and playing with sticker…

For Everyone That Comes After You

Dr. Michael Clement

“I need to find a different way to achieve my goal,” veteran University of Texas accounting professor Dr. Michael Clement thought as he surveyed the classroom of his Accounting 380K course, Financial Statement Analysis. There…

Three Women at a Table

Dr. Tiffany Barnett White

The Gothic towers and rarefied intellectual atmosphere of Northwestern University in suburban Chicago envelop many a first-time visitor in a certain kind of imposing atmosphere. “Intimidating” is how some have described it. For a visiting…

Anything in the World

Dr. dt ogilvie Dr. Ian Williamson

The year was 1993, and the seeds that would become The PhD Project were just taking form as a new PhD went on the job market and interviewed for a management professor position. At many of…

Saturday Mornings

Dr. Angélica Gutiérrez

Angélica Gutiérrez learned from experience, at age eight, how stereotyping and prejudice can deprive ethniccminorities of educational opportunity. Her mother was summoned to the elementary school principal’s office one day to hear that her daughter had a learning disability…

Robots & Bingo

Dr. Laura Trevino

For 15 years, Dr. Laura Trevino, an Hispanic-American charter participant in The PhD Project, has exemplified paying it forward by taking her Information Systems students back—back to elementary school settings like those they once experienced. There, Dr….


Dr. Adriane Randolph

The most severely impacted patients with spinal cord injury or brain disease are said to be “locked  in.” Completely paralyzed, they can neither speak nor move, not even to shake their head. PhD Project Professor Dr. Adriane Randolph uses her technology expertise to unlock them….