The University of Arizona has hired an alum to be dean of the Eller College of Management. Len Jessup, who is 49 and earned his Ph.D. from Eller in the 1980s, will begin the job in May.

"The things that really attracted me to the UA then are in many ways the same things that are attracting me back again," Jessup said. The UA is a great research university with a sense of community, he said. He's also an outdoor enthusiast who hiked Tucson's trails as a graduate student.

His expertise in entrepreneurship and management information systems closely matches the highly ranked programs within the UA business school. UA Provost Meredith Hay praised his "distinguished record" as a faculty member, administrator and fundraiser.

Jessup is currently chairman of the department of entrepreneurship and information systems and director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Washington State University. He also worked as dean, vice president of university development and president of the WSU Foundation.

He said he likes Eller's aspiration to get to the next level of top public business schools and said that's a doable goal. He helped brand WSU's business school as a leader in innovation.

He said his fundraising experience will be useful as the college is called on to be more self-sustaining.

Jessup's salary will be $400,000.

He replaces Paul Portney, who was paid $417,640 as dean. Portney will continue to teach economics at the UA. Leslie Eldenburg is interim dean.

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at or 807-8012.