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New Chapter for Jim Knudsen, PhD

Aug 5, 2021
5 min Read
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Jim Knudsen, PhD

This May, Jim Knudsen, PhD, assistant professor of economics, wrapped up a long and – more importantly – successful career in academia. 

During his 32 years at Creighton, Knudsen served as associate dean in the Heider College of Business, as well as a classroom professor. It was during his stint in leadership that he made a lasting impression on many Heider staff members. 

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Krispy Kreme donut box used as going away card by fellow employees along with farewell balloon

Colleen Hendrick, special events program manager at the Heider College of Business, recalls how Knudsen made staff meetings fun – no easy feat. Perhaps this was directly related to the presence of Krispy Kreme donuts at every meeting. When Knudsen stepped down as associate dean, Hendrick paid tribute to his past generosity by presenting him with a box of Krispy Kremes, signed by all his staff. 

“Jim was one of the best bosses I’ve ever had. He was very even, always approachable,” says Charisse Williams, MA, assistant dean of undergraduate programs at the Heider College of Business. “He taught me to approach problems logically and that it’s OK to say no, literally just respond ‘no.’ 

“To this day, on the rare occasion when I receive a ridiculous request via email, I will respond ‘no.’ I then say in my head, ‘You just got Jim Knudsen’d.’ He has become a verb!” Williams adds. 

Hendrick describes his laugh as “contagious.” When she asked him mid-semester to confirm the rumor that he was retiring in May, he quickly responded that his departure was purely market-driven and contingent on a Creighton buyout. His famous laugh could then be heard down the hall as he headed back to his office.

Williams says Knudsen demonstrated the perfect blend of professionalism and humor. “He is hands down one of the smartest, most witty, funniest people I have ever met. I am forever grateful for his leadership, mentorship, professionalism and his superpower to bullseye issues, summarize problems and possibilities and offer solutions to problems,” she continues. “He is truly a solid professional and mentor.”

An Iowa native, Knudsen earned his Bachelor of Science at Iowa State University in 1981, followed by his PhD in 1989, the same year he came to Creighton. Now that he and his wife Sharon are both retired, they plan to hit the road to spend time with their daughter Hannah wherever her career leads. They will also soak up the sun at their Missouri lakefront property. 

And we wish them well.