Business minded

BLP’s new director is an old friend

by Greg Scheiderer

James McCullough moved into his office this summer as director of the School of Business and Leadership. He joins the faculty with strong family ties to the university.

McCullough taught at Washington State University for the last 19 years, and gave occasional guest lectures at Puget Sound during that time. His father, the late William McCullough, is a 1934 Puget Sound graduate. His mother, Sydney McCullough, recently endowed a scholarship in his father’s name. And his daughter, Erin McCullough ’06, is a biology major and French minor.

“The hardest part about coming here,” McCullough laughed, “was convincing my daughter that we weren’t trying to check up on her and infringe on her freedom.”

McCullough earned a bachelor’s degree in food technology from the University of California-Davis in 1965. After a tour in the Army, he returned to Davis and got his master’s in food science in 1970. He worked for a time at a brewery in Galveston, Texas, then earned his MBA in marketing from the University of Houston in 1973, and finally a doctorate in international business, marketing, and fisheries from the University of Washington in 1976.

McCullough taught for eight years at the University of Arizona before moving to WSU. His teaching and research projects have taken him to more than 80 countries, notably in Asia and Africa. At WSU he started the marketing department, then founded the university’s International Business Institute.

“Being at Puget Sound is a great opportunity,” said McCullough, while acknowledging that a small liberal arts college is a different sort of institution than the big state universities at which he’s taught for more than a quarter century. He’s looking forward to it.

“I really like to teach,” McCullough said. “The idea of going into classrooms to teach more intensively, to work on a one-to-one basis with students and get to know them better is appealing.”

McCullough does not join the SBL as an agent of change. He praised the school’s talented faculty and quality courses.

“We need always to look at ways to integrate the business school more fully into the liberal arts curriculum,” he said, noting that businesses are looking for more than just job skills.

“They’re looking for applicants who can communicate, think, and solve problems,” McCullough said.