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Bob Plante retiring following four decades at the Krannert School

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Bob Plante

Bob Plante, the Lewis B. Cullman University Chair of Management at Purdue’s Krannert School, is retiring following a 40-year career that includes numerous administrative and academic roles in addition to research and teaching accolades.

“To be successful, places like Krannert must have faculty who teach very well, advance our understanding of the world with their scholarship, and invest their time and energy in School leadership,” says David Hummels, the Dr. Samuel R. Allen Dean at the Krannert School. “Bob’s career at Krannert has been marked by significant contributions in all of these critical areas, and for that we should all be grateful he chose this place for his life’s work.”

Plante earned a BS in physics from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1970 before serving in the United States Army Security Agency as an electronic intelligence officer. He was honorably discharged as a first lieutenant in 1974 and earned a PhD in business administration from the University of Georgia in 1980.

Plante joined the Krannert School faculty that year as an assistant professor of management. He was promoted to associate professor in 1985 and became a full professor in 1990. Prior to his current named chair appointment, Plante served as the James Brooke Henderson University Professor of Management from 2002 to 2007.

As a researcher, Plante’s interests include the development of state-of-the-art statistical quality control and improvement models and procedures for contemporary manufacturing systems. His efforts have focused on robust product/process design; screening procedures for process control and improvement; statistical/process/dynamic process control models; and specialized process improvement problems.

He has more than 60 research publications on these topics, which have appeared in journals including Operations Research, Management Science, Decision Sciences, Journal of the American Statistical Association, International Journal of Production Research and The Accounting Review, among numerous others.

Plante teaching has also earned recognition for his work in the classroom, including the Salgo-Noren Award for outstanding teacher in graduate business administration; the AlliedSignal Excellence in Teaching Award; Excellence in Teaching in Executive MBA program; and twice the Outstanding Professor in Executive Education.

Administratively, Plante has served as the director of the Professional Master's Program (1990-1993), the director of Purdue University's Doctoral and Research Programs in Management and Economics (1998-1999), department head of management and economics, and senior associate dean of the Krannert School of Management (1999-2006).

Importantly, Plante also served as a mentor to younger faculty and fellow administrators, says Dean Hummels.

“On a personal note, I first met Bob as a very wet behind the ears assistant professor and he has been encouraging and helpful at every step along the way, including providing sage advice during the years I have spent as dean,” he says. “I have been lucky to have him as a colleague for twenty years.”

Dean Emeritus and Leeds Professor of Management Rick Cosier shares similar sentiments.

“Any new dean hired from outside the institution is faced with some unique challenges,” says Cosier. “There is a lot of uncertainty about the new dean from faculty within the institution, and it is very important for faculty to buy into the programs and leadership. I faced these issues when I was appointed as the Krannert dean in 1999.  I was most fortunate when Professor Bob Plante agreed to be my senior associate dean.  

“Bob was recommended to me by the faculty without reservation. He had earned the respect and admiration from his colleagues. He was soon to earn my respect and admiration. I found Bob to be extremely bright and competent. He became a trusted advisor and collaborator for me. Bob was not afraid to disagree with me, but we always talked matters through and emerged with a unified position.  

“Throughout our partnership in the dean’s office, Bob continued his outstanding research program and soon earned a well-deserved named professorship. He can reflect with pride on his long and productive academic career at Krannert.”