Meet the new interim dean of the College of Business and Industry

Dr. Cunningham shows students the new Merrill Hall building at a 2022 Accepted Students Day. Photo courtesy of Matt Reynolds/JSU

Abigail Harrison, News Editor

Dr. Brent Cunningham was named interim dean of the College of Business and Industry.

Cunningham was born in Gadsden but grew up in Tennessee. He came back to Alabama to attend college at JSU, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing and where he met his wife.

Cunningham comes from a long line of family members who are alumni of JSU, so the university holds a special place in his heart.

“Two of our sons have gone here, so you can tell we love JSU. My wife and I loved our time here going to football games and basketball games,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham said he has very fond memories of the old Merrill Hall building and of all the professors that impacted his future.

“It says a lot for a university that the alum remember so much about it because they had such positive experiences here,” Cunningham said. “This is where I decided what I would do for the rest of my life. My career choice was made, and I was helped in making that decision by JSU, and my advisors and my professors.”

After he graduated from JSU, he earned his master’s degree from the University of Alabama and his doctorate from the University of Mississippi.

Cunningham said he came back to JSU as an assistant professor of marketing and was promoted a few years later to associate professor. He was named the department head of Management and Marketing in 2018. He served in this position until he was appointed interim dean on Jan. 3.

He said just in the few weeks he has been dean, morale is up, new ideas are flowing, and exciting things are already happening in the college. His goal is to continue to host events for faculty to bring all three divisions of the college together to create one big “CBI family.”

According to Cunningham, his vision is to take modern technology and business practices to get students ready for the modern career world.

The new Merrill Hall building is already assisting with his vision, he said. The building is equipped with the fastest wifi network on campus as well as state of the art technology in the classrooms, meeting rooms and labs

“The center of everything that we do is preparing our students for our careers … We want our students to be ready on day one of that first job out of college,” Cunningham said.

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