Meet Mary Margaret Frank, new Kenan-Flagler leader

Triple Tar Heel returns to Carolina’s business school as its first female dean.

Mary Margaret Frank
Mary Margaret Frank’s academic interests include the integration of business principles and public policy objectives, cross-sector collaboration and leadership and sustainable investing. (Mackenzie Kern)

Mary Margaret (Myers) Frank spent the first part of her career exploring how regulation affects decision-making and the second part concentrating on cross-sector collaboration.

Starting Aug. 15, the Winston-Salem native returned to UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School as its first female dean.

Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz and Provost and Chief Academic Officer J. Christopher Clemens announced her appointment June 13.

“Frank has distinguished herself as an exceptional leader with a deep understanding of the opportunities at UNC Kenan-Flagler,” they wrote. “Her appreciation of the world-class education she received from the faculty and supported by the State of North Carolina drives her commitment to return and serve the school and the University. She brings a demonstrated passion and understanding of the positive impact business can have on communities.”

Calling it an honor to return to UNC Kenan-Flagler, Frank said her experience there was more influential than the three degrees she earned there. “I felt valued. I felt a part of a community. And for me, that’s how I choose places. I want to be at those places. I want to create those places, because I have had the blessings of being at those places and having them affect me and who I am.”

Seeds of inquiry

Frank began her business school education by graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the Undergraduate Business Program and went on to study tax in the Master of Accounting Program.

She practiced as a CPA and senior tax consultant for Arthur Andersen in Washington, D.C., for two years and returned to UNC Kenan-Flagler in 1994 to begin her doctoral studies in accounting with a specialization in taxation.

Frank’s first academic job was as an award-winning assistant professor of accounting at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She went on to the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, where she was senior associate dean for faculty development, John Tyler Professor of Business Administration, and co-founder and academic director of the Institute for Business in Society.

While at Darden, she also served on the board of directors and chair of the audit committee of The Female Health Company for 14 years, an experience that spurred her interest in cross-sector collaboration.

Back home

Today Frank’s academic interests include the integration of business principles and public policy objectives, cross-sector collaboration and leadership and sustainable investing. These interests stem from her research on the effects of tax, financial accounting and patent reporting on the strategy of corporate management, investors and entrepreneurs.

“I am dedicated to ensuring that students, faculty and staff have access to the positive, collaborative learning experience I found at Carolina,” she said. “As dean, I aspire to advance a UNC Kenan-Flagler community that values each other’s strengths, allows ideas to flourish, fosters different perspectives and commits to each another’s success.”

UNC Kenan-Flagler is well-positioned with many options to weather the changing forces in business education, Frank said, including expansion made possible by the construction of the new Steven D. Bell Hall.

“This an exciting time to harness our many strengths to increase the breadth and depth of our impact in the state and around the world,” Frank said.

Read the full story at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.