Texas A&M Distinguished Professors of Marketing Leonard L. Berry and Rajan Varadarajan have been selected as recipients of the 2008 Paul D. Converse Award. This honor from the American Marketing Association is bestowed once every four years to five scholars who have made a significant contribution to the science of marketing through their lifetime of research. The Converse Award is more than ceremony: it is also a forum for seasoned scholars to interact with young scholars while discussing the awardees’ body of work and future course of study.
“Len Berry and Rajan Varadarajan are internationally renowned scholars and dedicated educators,” said Jeff Conant, department head and professor of marketing at Mays Business School. “Both gentlemen have the kind of values that makes me proud to say they are my colleagues. Their commitment to the multiple missions of Texas A&M (teaching, research, professional service) have played a significant role in the Mays Business School becoming one of the top ten public business schools in the nation.”
With their years combined, these two faculty members have been shaping students at Mays for more than a half-century. Varadarajan came to A&M in 1981 as an assistant professor with a research interest in marketing strategy. From 1982 until the present, he has taught a doctoral seminar in his specialty field on alternating years, which he says has been a part of his career he has found extremely satisfying.
“Training and collaborating with doctoral students has been a personally satisfying and professionally rewarding learning experience. I take great pride in telling my students that any time I am in my office, my doors are open to meet and discuss their research with them,” said Varadarajan, who currently holds the Ford Chair in Marketing and E-Commerce, and also serves as associate dean for research and doctoral programs.
Berry, who holds the M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership has been studying service quality throughout most of his career, which has spanned four decades. He is also a professor of humanities in medicine in the College of Medicine at the A&M System Health Science Center. During the 2001-2002 academic term he served as a visiting scientist at Mayo Clinic studying healthcare service. Since that time, the unique combination of marketing, service, and healthcare has been his research passion.
“Healthcare in this country is in a state of crisis, and it is probably the most important service there is,” said Berry. “Good healthcare is critically important. I just hope that my research can help to improve the system in some way.”
The Converse awards will be presented to Berry and Varadarajan at a symposium held April 17-20, 2008, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The other 2008 Converse Award recipients are Joseph Alba, University of Florida; Kent B. Monroe, University of Richmond; and Valarie Zeithaml, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.