Meet Our Deans: John GresleyReading Time: 5 minutes
You already know that the Warrington College of Business is the top business school in the state and one of the best in the nation and world, but do you know the leaders that have guided us to such success and recognition? In our Meet the Deans series, we introduce you to the seven deans across the Warrington College of Business, Hough Graduate School of Business, Heavener School of Business and Fisher School of Accounting that lay the foundation for our success.
John Gresley is the Assistant Dean & Director of UF MBA. He manages the operations of the UF MBA program including its 20 full-time staff members in administrative areas such as admissions and recruitment, student affairs, alumni relations, and finance. He has worked at the University of Florida for 12 years, starting as a graduate assistant in 2002, and later in various student affairs roles at UF MBA. Originally from Edwardsville, Illinois, he received his B.A. in Theatre and Communication from Valparaiso University, a M.Ed. from the University of Florida and an Executive MBA from UF MBA.
Q: When did you know that you wanted to be involved in higher education? What are some of your career journey highlights in higher education?
Gresley: “I grew up around higher education. My mom was dean of a College of Nursing and has been a faculty member her whole life, so I’ve spent a lot of time around campus and have always been comfortable in the academic setting.
When thinking about my future career, I considered law school for a while, so I pursued theatre and communication in my undergraduate studies to help prepare me for that area. However, after thinking about a career in law a little more, I decided it wasn’t for me. I had the background in communication and a good relationship with a local radio station, so while I probably could have worked in radio, I decided that wasn’t what I wanted either. I had been involved in Greek Life and student government, and once I thought about it some more, I started looking into student affairs, which ultimately led me to the M.Ed. at UF.
While at UF, I worked at the Reitz Union as a graduate student in event planning and student leadership training, which really laid the groundwork for my first job producing rock concerts at the University of Chicago. I did that for two years, and then moved to Arizona State University doing something similar.
Through my network, I learned about what would be my first job at UF MBA as Associate Director of Student Services. I contacted Angie Woodham (now Director of Professional Post-Graduate Programs at Warrington), who I had worked with at the Reitz Union when we were both graduate students, to learn more about the position. Since I started that role in March of 2008, I’ve progressively supported UF MBA in other roles since, including two years as Director of Student Affairs and then as Interim Assistant Dean and Director.”
Q: What are you most proud of that you’ve been involved with during your time at UF MBA?
Gresley: “I’m proud of work I’ve done with the College’s technical staff to implement [customer relationship management platform] Salesforce. It has been helpful across the board in terms of helping admissions and marketing at doing a better job at reaching and communicating with students as well as help manage the student journey for student affairs. As the college continues to explore more ways of using this tool and sync with the University in general, having been a part of that conversation is something I’m proud of. It’s been a great learning experience and has made everyone’s work lives a little easier.
I’m also extremely proud of the work UF MBA does with students. We strive to provide a transformational experience for our students – whether that be helping them reach their career goals or their personal goals. Being able to offer them a first-class graduate business education as well as quality career and student services so they can attain the aims they set out to achieve is a great point of pride for me.”
Q: What goal do you have for students going through the UF MBA program? What do you most hope they get out of their time here?
Gresley: “My biggest hope is that they will experience the transformation that we talk about within the UF MBA program.
The reasons for exploring an MBA are probably as varied as the people we have in the program. Everyone has something different they want to get out of this. Some want a career change, but I believe they can also gain a fundamental understanding of the world, everything from economics to negotiation, things that help students navigate the world they live in.
I’m hopeful that students in UF MBA are able to find out more about themselves, the world and be more comfortable in the world they work in.”
Q: If you didn’t decide to pursue a career in higher education, what would you do instead?
Gresley: “If I put on my 23-year-old hat, I had managed to create a relationship with a local radio station in Milwaukee doing promotions. Had I not been committed to the master’s of education at UF at the time, I might have ended up as a promotions director for that station. That could have been an avenue to a more specific career in the radio space.
My dream as a kid was to be a U.S. Attorney. I was involved in a program for kids called Law Day that was designed to expose kids to jobs at the courthouse. I found that fascinating as a fifth grader. It was impressive. That was where I started to think about law school.
I think I’d also be interested in being a travel blogger, or something involving travel and communication. One of my retirement goals would be to work for a company that takes groups of people on tours. When we take the students on Global Immersion Experiences, I’m always fascinated by those people who lead the tour groups.”
Q: What can we find you doing outside of work or on the weekend?
Gresley: “Chasing my children! With 2 boys and a girl on the way, it’s a busy household. Most of my free time is with my family. I’m also an avid consumer of information. I read periodicals and internet stories and things that people send me that are interesting. I follow Cardinals baseball when I can and watch Gator sports across the board.”
Q: What’s a fact about you that might surprise people?
Gresley: “I was the manager for the men’s basketball team at Valparaiso. By sheer luck and a freak midwestern snow storm, I was there when Bryce Drew hit the buzzer beater to put Valpo in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. You can see me jumping up and down on the bench in the footage of him making the shot. I’m reminded of it every year when they replay that footage and of my [bleached] blonde hair, because that’s what a lot of people were doing in 1997.”
Q: Is there anything else you’d like the Warrington community to know that we didn’t ask about?
Gresley: “It’s great to be a Florida Gator!”