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J.D. Hammond’s impact on Penn State Smeal College of Business an enduring legacy

December 1, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — J.D. Hammond’s tenure as dean of the Penn State Smeal College of Business lasted 10 years. What Hammond accomplished during that decade is considered by many to be immeasurable. 

Hammond, dean emeritus of Smeal and The William Elliott Professor Emeritus, passed away in late November. His wife, Marian, and their children, Nancy and Michael, survive him. 

“Dr. Hammond’s strategic vision and outstanding leadership positioned Smeal as one of the Top Ten Publics in Business Education, attracting and retaining world-class faculty as a foundation for quality in research and teaching,” said Dean Charles H. Whiteman. “We are eternally grateful for his legacy and his profound influence on the lives of countless students, alumni, faculty, and staff members.” 

Two of the most impactful bodies in Smeal trace their lineage to Hammond. Following a suggestion from then-President Bryce Jordan, he formed the Smeal Board of Visitors (BOV) in 1989. In that same year, Hammond supported the creation of the Smeal Alumni Society Board (ASB). 

The Board of Visitors has grown from 10 founding members to nearly 40 members who represent an array of businesses and industries around the globe. The board meets every semester to provide recommendations on strategic initiatives and offer feedback on matters related to the college. 

“Establishing a board of visitors was a notable accomplishment. The very idea of an advisory board was reflective of a new type of leadership at Penn State,” Richard H. Bard, vice chair of the BOV, wrote last fall. 

“This context is important. It happened as part of a true turning point in leadership vision for the University. The trustees, president and deans began to execute what was a part of a greater idea.” 

The Alumni Society Board oversees the Smeal Alumni Society, which works to provide opportunities for networking, volunteerism, and lifelong learning to Smeal’s alumni community. 

The Hammond Society is named in recognition of him, for his support and profound influence in the development of the ASB. The Hammond Society serves to honor alumni who have demonstrated a commitment to Smeal and to foster their continued involvement in the college.

“Dr. Hammond understood and embraced the power of alumni engagement in leadership and philanthropy,” said Whiteman. “During his tenure, faculty endowment support more than doubled.” 

Hammond was the acting dean when Frank and Mary Jean Smeal gifted $10 million to Penn State, then the largest individual contribution in the University’s history. 

“The gift from the Smeals is the most significant event in the history of our college,” Hammond said at the time. “I am overwhelmed and close to speechless. It secures our role as a leader among the nation’s major business schools, and no gift could have been made with better timing.” 

Hammond started his 35-year career at Penn State in 1964, after spending five years as an assistant professor of economics at Ohio State University. Prior to assuming the role of dean in 1989, he was an associate professor of business administration, professor of insurance and The William Elliott Chair of Life Insurance, which evolved to become The William Elliott Chair of Insurance and Risk Management. 

Hammond was born and raised in Maitland, Missouri, a small town in the northwest corner of the state bounded by the borders with Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa. He graduated from Maitland High School in Maitland, Missouri, before matriculating at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville. After graduating with a bachelor’s in business administration and management, he went on to earn a Ph.D. from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Hammond and his family created the J.D. Hammond Family Scholarship in International Business Fund at his alma mater. He received Northwest’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1976.

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