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Syracuse University names Raj interim dean of Whitman School

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse University has named S.P. Raj as interim dean of the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, “effective immediately.”

The appointment follows the removal of Kenneth Kavajecz as dean following his arrest last month for soliciting a prostitute in the town of Salina. 

The school announced Kavajecz’s removal on Sept. 14, while the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department on Sept. 21 announced that Kavajecz was among eight people arrested in the prostitution sting. Kavajecz had been charged on Sept. 13.

The Whitman School described Raj as a “longtime leader and widely respected scholar” in its online news release posted Wednesday.

Raj, a member of the Syracuse faculty since 1978, says he is “honored” to be asked to serve as interim dean at “such a critical juncture in the life of the Whitman School.”

The school describes Raj as an “expert” in marketing strategies, specifically their influence on customer behavior, and on managing new product development and innovation. 

He has taught marketing strategy, marketing management, integrated marketing communications, marketing and the Internet, and marketing research.

His “pioneering” use of multimedia in the classroom was featured in Apple’s “Imagine” series of videos for educators, Syracuse noted.

The announcement of Raj as interim dean follows “more than a month” of conversations between vice chancellor and provost Michele Wheatly; vice chancellor and acting dean J. Michael Haynie; along with students, faculty, staff, and members of the Whitman School advisory council.

“For the last several weeks, I’ve had the good fortune of speaking with a number of stakeholders about the future of the Whitman School,” Wheatly said in the release. “During those conversations, I encountered engaged and passionate students, faculty, staff and alumni, all committed to seeing the Whitman School continue its upward trajectory of growth and success. While many people I spoke with discussed overall qualities and characteristics for an interim leader, an overwhelming number of people specifically recommended Professor Raj. As a former senior associate dean in the Whitman School, Professor Raj is a seasoned leader whose strong institutional knowledge, commitment to shared governance and excellence in teaching and research make him the ideal person to lead the Whitman School in the interim. I am grateful to Professor Raj for stepping into this very important leadership position, and look forward to working with him in his new role.”

In addition to his work at Syracuse, Raj has also served as a tenured professor of marketing at Cornell University and as a visiting faculty member at Northwestern University. 

He earned a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in industrial administration from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and a bachelor’s degree with distinction in electronics engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, India, Syracuse said.

Contact Reinhardt at


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