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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI College of Business Administration hires three women faculty members

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTOWN, R.I. -- June 28, 2004 -- Three University of Rhode Island business professors have just completed their first year in campus classrooms. Hired at the start of the 2003-2004 academic year, they are among nine women professors out of the 52 teaching in the college.

The hirings are important because of the 1,567 students in the College of Business Administration, 585 or 37 percent are women. In fact, there are 817 men and 494 women undergraduate students in the business college.

For the 2003-2004 academic year, URI welcomed Mary Hamilton, management, Talia McCray, transportation, and Pamela Stuerke, accounting, to its campus.

Business Dean Edward M. Mazze, the Albert J. Verrecchia/Hasbro Inc. leadership chair in business, said the College has always been responsive to the rapidly changing nature of business education and those who enter the field.

“We want to be known as a college that serves students with all of their varied interests and talents,” Mazze said. “The records of these new additions to our faculty are clear evidence of a College that is responsive to the business climate.

“All three faculty members have brought a wealth of experience, including outstanding teaching records and firsthand knowledge of the business world,” Mazze said. They’ve been welcome additions to our faculty.”

Hamilton (at right) earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Loyola University in Chicago and her master’s degree in management from Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University. She earned her doctorate from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia in 2003.

“I am a recent Ph.D., but I don’t feel like one,” Hamilton said. “It’s hard to when I have 15 years of corporate experience and operated my own consulting firm.” It was her corporate and consulting experience that led her to pursue and academic career.

“I have many interests, but I realized that in my heart, I am a researcher and teacher,” Hamilton said. “I wanted to study the problems I encountered in my business career. I also wanted to bring my experiences in the classroom so that students would learn how to address the difficult issues facing multinational corporations today.

“So I went back to school. And when it came to writing my dissertation, I lived at the beach. I’d sift through data all day and take long walks on the beach at night. When I came home, I’d write poetry. The next day, I’d start all over again. At the end of the year, I not only completed my dissertation, but also wrote a book of poetry.”

McCray (at right) attributes the successes and richness of her life to her family and to her church service work in Africa and India. Her parents stressed education to her and her four siblings. Among them are two Ph.Ds, one medical doctor, one in medical school and one pursuing an undergraduate degree.

McCray earned her doctorate in urban technological and environmental planning from the University of Michigan in 2001. She holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Northwestern University and two bachelor’s degrees, one in mathematics and the other in electrical engineering.

McCray joined the URI faculty after Chris Hunter, URI assistant professor of civil engineering, suggested she look into the URI Transportation Center since she had experience with the center at the University of Michigan and was a Ford fellow at the University of Laval in Quebec at the time. The URI center was established through a $12 million, six-year federal grant.

Like her colleagues, Stuerke (at right) loves teaching. “There’s something about seeing that ‘Aha!’ moment,” Stuerke explained. “I’ve met some students who are very engaged in learning. The [URI Feinstein College of Continuing Education M.B.A.] class is a very rewarding group to teach; those people know what it’s like to really work for something.”

Stuerke fell into teaching accounting through “a great deal of serendipity.” She was working for Yellow Freight when her boss suggested that she take a few accounting courses, which might lead to a promotion. She took her advice and found that accounting came naturally to her.

Stuerke earned her master’s degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and while in the program, was asked to teach a class. She has been teaching ever since. She earned her doctorate in accounting from Indiana University in 1998.

However, well before taking on the business world, Stuerke’s passion was music, particularly keyboard instruments. “It was what I really wanted to do,” she said of her bachelor’s degree in music. “That degree is something I still get value from.” She said she occasionally plays the organ for church services at area Episcopal churches.