Friends, family, colleagues and students surrounded Leonard Berry, a University Distinguished Professor of Marketing, when he was given Mays Business School’s second Lifetime Achievement Award for Research and Scholarship.
During the recognition program, Interim Dean Ricky Griffin presented Berry with a plaque recognizing his “sustained and outstanding scholarly contributions at the highest standards of achievement in innovation and achievement in scholarship.” The Lifetime Achievement Award has a rigorous selection process beginning with faculty nominations. The Mays Research Council and the Mays Executive Committee then reviewed nominees and made their recommendations to Griffin, who confirmed Berry’s selection.
“There is no award more special than one that comes from your peers and one that comes from those who know you best,” Berry said before beginning his talk, “Learning to Write, Writing to Learn, and Other Lessons from an Academic Life.”
Berry joined the Texas A&M University marketing department January of 1982 and said he considers it his “perfect academic home.” He emphasized the importance of teaming up with the right people who share similar values, a strong work ethic and a strong love for service marketing.
Berry founded the Center for Retailing Studies and served as its director through 2000. He is the University Distinguished Professor of marketing, a Regents professor, the M.B. Zale chair in retailing and marketing leadership and the presidential professor for teaching excellence. He has received Texas A&M’s Distinguished Achievement Award in Research twice (1996 and 2008) and the Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching in 1990.
“I’ve been here 33 years and have worked with five deans, including Ricky Griffin,” he said. “And our next dean, Eli Jones, was my student. That shows you how things come full circle.”
In 2001, Berry embarked on a new journey into the world of healthcare, serving as a visiting scientist at Mayo Clinic to conduct an in-depth research study of healthcare service. He said he went in with three main goals: to improve the patient experience, to improve health and to limit waste. His research culminated in a book he co-wrote, “Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic: Inside One of the World’s Most Admired Service Organizations.”
Now Berry is ascending to what he believes is the toughest stretch of his career, as he studies cancer service and works to improve the patient experience. He said dozens of interviews with patients, caregivers and health professionals have taught him that a cancer diagnosis is an emotional as well as a physical one.
“Healthcare is a tough and complex area, but what an opportunity I have - to champion for the consumer,” Berry said. “I am no longer a rookie. I can do good. I can feel it in my bones.”
Berry concluded his speech by offering three lessons he has learned in his academic life: Find your passion, work on important problems and persevere. “I’ve got the word ‘Perseverance’ on a sticky note at the bottom of my computer monitor at home,” he said. “It’s been there for years. It is a great reminder, and it urges me to keep going.”
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Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,900 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.