In a culture that lauds the beautiful, wealthy, and entertaining, the work of scholars and educators often goes unnoticed. To give honor where honor is due, Mays Business School presented their Outstanding Doctoral Alumni award to three individuals whose work has had a significant impact on thousands of students, as well as the marketplace.

Eli Jones '82, Jerry Strawser '83 and ChungMing Lau '91 were honored as Mays Outstanding Doctoral Alumni at a reception Oct. 22 in the Cocanougher Center.
Eli Jones ’82, Jerry Strawser ’83 and ChungMing Lau ’91 were honored as Mays Outstanding Doctoral Alumni at a reception Oct. 22 in the Cocanougher Center.

The 2009 award recipients were Jerry Strawser, dean of Mays Business School and KPMG Chair in Accounting at Texas A&M University; Eli Jones, dean of the E.J. Ourso College of Business and E. J. Ourso Distinguished Professor of Business at Louisiana State University; and ChungMing Lau, professor of management at Chinese University of Hong Kong.

At the award presentation and panel discussion on October 22 (click here for photos), each of the distinguished scholars spoke about their path to success, beginning with their experiences in the classroom at A&M and concluding with advice to junior faculty members. The audience of 60 was comprised of Mays faculty members as well as PhD students, as part of the reason for celebrating the achievements of the Outstanding Doctoral Alumni is to hold them up as examples to the current class. Each recipient talked about the rigors of a PhD program and the challenges of life as a young faculty member.

Jones told current PhD students that as young faculty they should strive in their research and service activities to get involved in something that will have an impact, but to not make the common error of over-committing and stretching their resources too thin. Strawser recommended to students that they should follow in Lau’s footsteps and create a body of research around a single theme, rather than dabble in many areas, if they want to gain distinction in their field. Also, that research is best done to a timetable, says Strawser, who counseled students to be methodical about publishing by setting goals and deadlines for their submissions and revisions. Lau’s advice was to the soon-to-be young faculty was to find balance between teaching and research, and not let publishing overshadow classroom responsibilities.

This is the fourth year that Mays has recognized doctoral alumni with this award. Among the characteristics demonstrated its recipients are: sustained research productivity and visibility in the field; service to the profession as editor of a major scholarly journal; recipient of major awards for excellence in research, teaching, and/or service; academic and administrative leadership within a business school; successful career progression at a peer or aspirant school; and holder of an endowed position. This year’s recipients embody many of these traits as leaders in their fields and in their universities.

About the award recipients

Jerry Strawser‘s list of achievements is lengthy, as he is an award-winning educator, researcher, and administrator. Since 2001, he has been at the helm of his alma mater, leading Mays Business School to a new level of national recognition, donor support, and academic excellence.

Jerry Strawser '83

Since his arrival at Mays, he has helped raise more than $75 million in commitments for faculty, student, and program support, including support for named chairs, professorships, faculty fellowships, and graduate student fellowships. During his tenure as dean, Mays has received national recognition among the top ten public institutions based on the quality of the undergraduate programs, MBA programs, and faculty scholarship. In the past year, Strawser has lead Mays to be the first college at A&M to offer differential tuition. This change has improved the quality of instruction at Mays by significantly reducing class size.

Strawser has also demonstrated his commitment to students at every level: he was involved in the creation of a business honors program (now degree) for high-achieving undergraduates; he led an overhaul of the Mays MBA program that resulted in more well-equipped graduates as well as improved rankings in publications such as U.S. News and World Report; he increased stipends for incoming PhD students by 92 percent and created a post-doctoral research program to provide selected students with an additional year of funding, allowing Mays to recruit the very best minds in the field. For these accomplishments, and many others, Strawser was recognized by the Association of Former Students with a 2009 Distinguished Achievement Award for Administration.

Strawser’s work at Mays was interrupted by a 15-month appointment as interim executive vice president and provost at Texas A&M University. During this period he collaborated on a far-reaching academic master plan for the university, which was recently implemented by his successor.

Prior experiences include 11 years at the University of Houston, two of which were spent as interim dean of the C.T. Bauer College of Business. He also taught for five years at Louisiana State University and was a research fellow for one year. Strawser is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Texas and earned his BBA and MS in accounting from Texas A&M. He graduated from the doctoral program in 1985.

Strawser has co-authored three textbooks and over 60 journal articles. He has also presented more than 30 papers at national academic conferences. In addition to his academic experience, Strawser has prior public accounting experience at two international firms. He has also developed and delivered numerous executive development programs to organizations such as Centerpoint Energy, Chinese Petroleum, and Halliburton.

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Eli Jones is the dean of the E. J. Ourso College of Business at Louisiana State University, placing him among the elite few of Mays graduates to become deans. Jones has received numerous teaching excellence awards on the university, national, and international levels. In recognition of a decade of service mentoring minority doctoral students at institutions across the U.S., he was honored with the KPMG PhD Project Marketing Doctoral Students Association Award in August 2008.

Eli Jones '82

Also recognized for innovative research and creative scholarship, Jones is the recipient of the 2009 LSU Rainmakers award, acknowledging the top 100 faculty members university-wide who have demonstrated exceptional academic productivity. He has co-authored three books and nearly 40 peer-reviewed articles in major marketing journals, delivered more than 30 refereed conference proceedings and presentations, and has been awarded several competitive research grants. His research is focused on issues related to sales force management: sales force diversity; sales force change management; sales force technology adoption and performance; salesperson motivation; and buyer-seller relationships. Repeatedly, his articles have won best paper/best contribution distinctions from the Academy of Marketing Science, American Marketing Association, Marketing Management Association, and others. He is listed in Marquis Who’s Who in America, Madison Who’s Who, International Who’s Who Historical Society, and has been featured in several national publications, including Sales & Marketing Management, Selling Power, Biz Ed, Business 2.0, and The New York Times.

As dean, he has already received funding approval to build a $60 million Business Education Complex. Prior to his appointment at LSU, Jones served as associate dean and professor of marketing at the University of Houston, as well as the executive director of the Sales Excellence Institute. During that time, he also taught as a visiting professor at Vlerick-Leuven Gent Management School (Belgium), Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration, and Dartmouth’s Tuck Business School. Jones held significant leadership positions with Quaker Oats, Nabisco and Frito-Lay before returning to Texas A&M for his doctorate, which was completed in 1997. Jones completed his undergraduate and MBA degrees at A&M as well.

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ChungMing Lau is a professor in the Department of Management at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research on strategic reform within Asian companies and related topics appears in leading academic journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of International Business Studies, Organizational Science, Management International Review, and International Business Review. His list of publications includes 48 articles in refereed journals, as well as 13 books, 20 book chapters and numerous conference papers. Highly regarded in his field, he is among the top 50 most-cited authors on the Social Science Citation Index for the 2000-2004 period.

ChungMing Lau '91

In addition to his authorial credits, he is also active on the editing side of the publishing scene. He served as the editor and senior editor of Asia Pacific Journal of Management from 2001 to 2007. He currently sits on the editorial board of that publication, as well as Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, and Journal of World Business. He has guest edited/co-edited special issues of several books and journals, and is an advisory board member and ad hoc reviewer of 15 other publications.

Lau was the chairman of the Department of Management at CUHK from 1995-2007. He is currently the director of the Center of International Business Studies within his college, and director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Chinese Society at the university. He is the founding president and current treasurer of the Asia Academy of Management, which seeks to identify the Asian model of management responsible for the area’s tremendous economic growth.

Lau is in demand as a consultant in the areas of organization development and strategic planning for business firms and not-for-profit organizations. He has worked recently with organizations such as Radio Television Hong Kong, Glaxo-Wellcome, Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, The Methodist Church of Hong Kong, and Hong Kong Automobile Association. He has also conducted management assessment programs and executive training for 3M, Bank of China (HK), Ernest & Young, Northern Telecom, V-Tech, Federal Express and several other firms.

Committed to community service, Lau sits on the board of directors of Christian Communications Ltd., Christian Communications International, Asian Development Ministries, and China Graduate School of Theology.

Lau earned his PhD in organizational behavior from A&M in 1991. His undergraduate and MBA degrees are from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He has been on the faculty at CUHK since 1991, and taught previously at City Polytechnic of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Baptist College