New dean on the scene


Marina Boyle, Staff writer

Mercyhurst University has named Brenda J. Ponsford, Ph.D., J.D., as the new dean of the Walker College of Business. Ponsford has extensive experience teaching, consulting, conducting research and developing strategic partnerships with key institutions.

Ponsford earned her doctorate in Business Administration, MBA and bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Economics from Virginia Tech and her juris doctor from Concord University School of Law. She is widely published and has presented at more than 50 conferences in the United States and abroad on topics such as B2B marketing, customer service, eCommerce, logistics, negotiation, and promotion and strategy.

In accepting the position, Ponsford said, “I am excited to be part of the Mercyhurst family and am looking forward to working with the faculty and staff of the Walker College of Business.”

Ponsford plans to develop various areas of the Walker College and has been playing with ideas in discussions with faculty. She will also draw on her experience in developing strategic partnerships with key institutions, through which she has recruited students from 20 European nations and 12 Asian nations, as well as Palestine, Israel and Australia.

Ponsford previously served as dean of the Sydney Lewis School of Business at Virginia Union University, dean of Business and Aviation at Henderson State University and MBA director and Marketing department chair at Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

“The best part of Mercyhurst is the encouraging, wonderful Mercy mission. The campus is so innovative, and I am so excited to develop the Risk Management program here and work with the Ridge School,” said Ponsford. “It is such a fantastic place to work and I can tell myself that truly every day. I’m so excited to have found a school with a mindset so rare.”

Ponsford made the move from Richmond, Virginia, and her son will transfer to Mercyhurst next semester. She has already seized the day by beginning training to be a Mercy emissary. She cites the peaceful and joyful campus as central to her happiness here.

David Dausey, Ph.D., Mercyhurst provost and executive vice president, identified Ponsford as a “pragmatic, caring problem-solver” who can prepare students for the ever-changing and fast-paced business environment.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Brenda Ponsford,” Dausey said. “She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Mercyhurst not only as a dean but also as an accomplished faculty member, lawyer and business leader. We are confident that our students will benefit from her mentorship and skilled leadership in the years ahead.”