Meet the dean: Jim Padilla to lead School of Business and Economics
Carthage has hired a founding dean to shape the new School of Business and Economics: Jim Padilla, whose successful track record as an educational and corporate leader spans more than 20 years.
Taking office in mid-July, Dr. Padilla will direct the launch of the business school this fall. It promises to enhance the already well-respected program that the College has established in the heart of a major economic corridor.
“Jim Padilla’s proven ability to launch and expand programs, make genuine external connections, and lead and collaborate with distinguished faculty make him an outstanding choice for this role,” said President John Swallow. “He stood out in a very strong pool of candidates that included current and former college presidents.
“I am thrilled that Jim will join us in carrying out plans to expand Carthage’s reach regionally, serve more students in more programs, and raise the necessary resources to accomplish these goals.”
The School of Business and Economics will bring together Carthage faculty members from several related academic departments. Dr. Padilla is tasked with designing a distinctive business education program that expands hands-on learning and paves the way for new programs and partnerships in emerging fields.
Input from prominent alumni and regional employers will continually inform the curriculum.
“I was drawn to this fantastic opportunity because Carthage’s vision aligns really well with my background and priorities,” said Dr. Padilla. “Consolidating the academic programs under a single umbrella will provide an even more well-rounded business education that positions graduates for success.”
As the inaugural dean of the Francis J. Noonan School of Business, he similarly directed the budding program at Loras College over the past 3 1/2 years. Enrollment consistently rose under Dr. Padilla’s leadership at the school in Dubuque, Iowa, where he also secured major corporate sponsorships and diversified the faculty.
He’s eager to join in Carthage’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts — particularly the College’s participation in Moon Shot for Equity, a national initiative to eliminate race- and income-based gaps in graduation rates by 2030.
“Both as a man with Hispanic family roots and a leader who strongly supports DEI initiatives, I’m impressed by the work Carthage is doing,” Dr. Padilla said. “To wear that commitment on your sleeve is incredibly valuable for an institution like this.”
Besides Loras, he held administrative and faculty positions at institutions in Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. His teaching background centers on topics like sports management, law (including business, sports, employment, and health care), and ethics.
Dr. Padilla also brings more than two decades of executive-level experience in specialized insurance. His past clients include Major League Baseball teams (Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, New York Mets), NFL stars (Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner, Chase Young), and SONY Recording.
“Carthage will benefit greatly from Jim’s expertise,” said Provost David Timmerman, the College’s chief academic officer. “Not only does he bring a wealth of knowledge from his professional life, but he also insists on smart, data-driven decisions that best serve students.”
Nearly one-fourth of Carthage’s undergraduate students major in Accounting, Finance, Economics, International Political Economy, Management, or Marketing. At the graduate level, Carthage offers a growing master’s program with two parallel tracks: Sports Management and Business Design and Innovation.
Originally from Chicago, Dr. Padilla has a law degree from Southern Illinois University and a bachelor’s in sociology from Northern Illinois University. He also earned an executive certificate in sports management through Loyola University Chicago.
The hire completes a comprehensive search led by a committee of faculty, staff, and local business leaders. Presentations by each of the finalists in February were open to the wider campus community.