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After 94 Years, a Woman Leads the Craig School of Business



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Fresno State has elevated two interim deans to permanent status ahead of Wednesday’s expected announcement of a new university president to succeed now CSU Chancellor Joseph I. Castro.

On Monday, Dr. Julie Olson-Buchanan became the first woman to lead the Craig School of Business.

And, last week, the university selected Dr. Honora Chapman as dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, the university’s largest academic unit.

Olson-Buchanan emerged as the top candidate after a nationwide search, the university said in a news release. The business school dates to 1927, when it was known as the Department of Commerce.

Interim Fresno State Provost Xuanning Fu, who announced the appointment, praised Olson-Buchanan’s work as interim dean since January 2020.

“Her caring and innovative leadership earned the trust of the faculty, staff, and students in the school, and I am confident that under her leadership the Craig School of Business will continue to excel in offering a transformational business and economic education and in empowering future business professionals,” Fu said.

Olson-Buchanan Came to Fresno State in 1992

Olson-Buchanan earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she was a National Science Foundation Fellow.

She said she was drawn to Fresno State in 1992 because of her passion for teaching. Olson-Buchanan began as a faculty member in the Department of Management. She served 10 years as its chair, and was the founding director of the Craig Honors Program for seven years.

She has received several teaching awards, including the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2008.

Olson-Buchanan has served on the board of the Central California Food Bank for 12 years. The Marjaree Mason Center honored her as a Top 10 Professional Woman in 2011.

Dr. Honora Chapman is the new dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. (Fresno State)

Chapman Is Fourth Generation Valley Resident

Chapman had led the college as interim dean since July 2019. She previously served as associate dean for more than three years.

Chapman received her bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in classics at Stanford University and started her teaching career there as a lecturer in classics from 1998 to 1999. She was a lecturer at Santa Clara University in history, English, religious studies, and classics from 1999 to 2002.

She joined the Fresno State faculty in 2002 as an assistant professor of classics and humanities, and soon became the coordinator of classics in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures. Chapman served as the director of the Smittcamp Family Honors College for five years.

She received the 2006 Provost’s Award for Promising New Scholar and the 2013 Award for Excellence in Teaching. She also inaugurated the lecture series Fresno State Talks in spring 2013.

Chapman’s family has roots in the San Joaquin Valley dating to the 1860s, making her a fourth-generation resident. Chapman serves on the boards of San Joaquin Valley Town Hall and California Humanities.