Meet Erika James, first woman appointed dean of the Wharton School

Meet Erika James, the first woman to be appointed dean of the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania.

Black woman begins history-making job as dean of prestigious school.

Erika H. James became the dean of the Wharton School on July 1, 2020. Trained as an organizational psychologist, Dean James is a leading expert on crisis leadership, workplace diversity and management strategy.

Prior to her appointment at Wharton, Dean James was the John H. Harland Dean at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School from 2014 to 2020.

An award-winning educator, accomplished consultant and researcher, she is the first woman and first person of color to be appointed dean in Wharton’s 139-year history. As such she has paved the way for women in leadership both in education and corporate America. Dean James has been instrumental in developing groundbreaking executive education programs, including the Women’s Leadership program at the University of Virginia’s Darden School.

The World’s First Business School

For more than 135 years, Wharton has been the place where visionaries, inventors, and trailblazers get their start.

In 1881, American entrepreneur and industrialist Joseph Wharton established the world’s first collegiate school of business at the University of Pennsylvania — a radical idea that revolutionized both business practice and higher education.

Since then, the Wharton School has continued innovating to meet mounting global demand for new ideas, deeper insights, and  transformative leadership. We blaze trails, from the nation’s first collegiate center for entrepreneurship in 1973 to our latest research centers in alternative investments and neuroscience.

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