Rudolph P. ‘Rudy’ Lamone, former dean of the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business, dies – Baltimore Sun - New Day Post
Rudolph P. “Rudy” Lamone, a former Army veteran and bandleader who later became a professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, and served as dean of Rudolph P. ‘Rudy’ Lamone, former dean of the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business, has died of COVID-19 Jan. 30 at Anne Arundel Medical Center. He was a former Army veteran and bandleader who later became a professor at the university. He had a strong sense of where the business school should be and showed the way that it should be, and was the recipient of the Outstanding Outstanding Educational Award. Dr. Lamone was born and raised in Wellsburg, West Virginia and toured the country for several years before enlisting in the Army in 1952. He also served as business school dean from 1973 to 1992 and was responsible for establishing the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship in 1986.
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Rudolph P. “Rudy” Lamone, a former Army veteran and bandleader who later became a professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, and served as dean of its Robert H. Smith School of Business for nearly two decades, died of COVID-19 Jan. 30 at Anne Arundel Medical Center. The Annapolis resident was 91.
“When Rudy came to Maryland it was a mediocre business school that was overwhelmed with students, had limited resources and was far from the business school we wanted it to be,” said William E. “Brit” Kirwin, former president of the University of Maryland, College Park.
“I always thought he was a man ahead of his time who had a keen sense of where the business school should be and the university’s role, and he understood that role and showed the way,” recalled Dr. Kirwin, who served as chancellor and CEO of the University of Maryland from 2002 to 2015.
“He also understood the evolving role of entrepreneurship that was coming along at the time, and he understood the value of fundraising and the involvement of the private sector in the school,” Dr. Kirwin said.
“What made Rudy unique as the dean of the business school was most deans spend time raising money, managing the staff, but with him, it was all about the students,” Dr. Heller said. “He loved them, and they loved him. He helped them with their personal problems, bent the rules to help them, and had connections throughout the country and helped them get jobs. He was just a beloved person who still has a following.”
Rudolph Phillip Lamone, son of Italian immigrant parents from Abruzzi, Dominic Lamone, and Mary Branch Lamone, was born and raised in Wellsburg, West Virginia.
In his youth, Dr. Lamone, who was an accomplished saxophonist, hoped to become a professional musician. Lying about his age and using the end of a burned cork to simulate a fake beard and stubble, he would slip into Pittsburgh nightclubs through dimly-lit back entrances so as not to be detected as being under age, family members said.
After graduating from Wellsburg High School, he toured the country for several years with a number of big bands until enlisting in the Army in 1952, where he served with the 440th Army Band at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
After being discharged from the Army in 1955, he enrolled at Campbell College, now Campbell University, in Buies Creek, North Carolina, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1958.
When he was 26, he enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1966, and where he had been a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Beta Gamma Sigma.
He began teaching business at College Park in 1966, where he proved to be a transformative figure, taking the business school from a “small collective of talented professors to a nationally recognized college now known as the Robert H. Smith School of Business,” according to a University of Maryland profile announcing his death.
Rising quickly through the academic ranks, Dr. Lamone served as business school dean from 1973 to 1992, and was also responsible for establishing the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship in 1986, which was named for Michael D. Dingman, who endowed the school with a $1 million gift.
The Dingman Center was “one of the first entrepreneurship centers at a business school and nationally recognized as an incubator of opportunities for nascent businesses,” according to the Maryland profile.
It was Dr. Lamone who lured Dr. Heller to come to the university.
“I ran a software company and Rudy talked me into coming in 1990 to head the entrepreneurship center. Back then, academics didn’t realize that entrepreneurship was worthy of study, but Rudy didn’t see it that way,” recalled Dr. Heller. “He thought it should be a student major and the University of Maryland needed a center for those ideas, and of course, all of that came from him, and he was able to convince the authorities at Maryland and got it done.”
Dr. Kirwin said: “Rudy was well-connected in the business world and had very high standards. The caliber of the people he brought to the business school was just phenomenal.”
In 1988, the college of business and management was the recipient of the Outstanding Educational Institutional Award, a national award, that was conferred by the National Black MBA Association because of UM’s excellence in recruiting and retaining Black students who were earning master’s degrees in business administration.
“He showed a commitment to bringing African American students and professors to the school like Lemma W. Senbet, chair and professor of finance who is an international star and came to us from the University of Wisconsin,” Dr. Kirwin said.
Even though he had retired as dean in 1992, he continued, until his death, to be actively involved with the center. He spent hours coaching and mentoring students whom he called “My kids.”
While at the business school, he met and fell in love with the former Linda Hefler, who had earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, and later her law degree in 1979, from the University of Maryland School of Law.
The couple married in 1970, eventually settling in Annapolis.
In addition to his university work, in 1976 Dr. Lamone was appointed to the Baltimore District Advisory Council for the Small Business Administration.
In 1998, Dr. Lamone, who was a much beloved and admired campus figure, was awarded the University of Maryland’s President’s Medal, and for his many achievements, the business school’s dining facility was named Rudy’s Cafe in his honor.
Dr. Lamone, who is recognized annually in the Dingman Center’s presentation of its Rudy Awards, was recently notified of his induction into the Smith School’s inaugural Hall of Fame.
A successful entrepreneur in his own right, he was a co-founder of DirectGene, a biotechnology company that developed gene therapies directed toward the treatment of metastatic prostate and breast cancers.
Additionally, he also was a venture partner with Gabriel Venture Partners in Annapolis and Redwood Shores, California. In recognition for his lifelong support of entrepreneurship, Ernst & Young, the accounting firm, named him Entrepreneur of the Year in 1996.
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Several programs at the university honor Dr. Lamone and his legacy.
He and his wife endowed the Rudolph P. and Linda H. Lamone Endowed Chair for Entrepreneurial Leadership.
The Rudolph P. Lamone Chair for Entrepreneurial Leadership was established by Leon Van Munching, a 1950 Maryland graduate, and his wife, Peggy Van Munching.
Colleagues and friends also established the Rudolph P. Lamone Fund for Excellence in Entrepreneurship which helps support new and innovative programs, student summer internships, lecture programs and other activities which broaden students’ educational experiences at College Park.
Semiretired at his death, Dr. Lamone enjoyed traveling with his wife, golfing, gardening, and cooking. He was a member of the Naval Academy Golf Association, Annapolis Yacht Club and the Center Club.
A celebration-of-life gathering will be held at 3 p.m. April 8 at the University of Maryland Memorial Chapel at 7600 Baltimore Ave. in College Park, with a reception following in Van Munching Hall.
In addition to his wife of 53 years, Linda H. Lamone, who is state administrator of elections, Dr. Lamone is survived by a brother, Eugene “Beef” Lamone of Fort Myers, Florida; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Topics: Academia, Maryland, Baltimore