Weekly round-up for July 30

Sunil Kumar, an operations professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, will take over as the next dean of the Booth School on January 1, 2011

By Jordan Holliday

Booth selects Sunil Kumar as new dean

Sunil Kumar will be the next dean of the Booth School of Business, Provost Thomas Rosenbaum and President Robert Zimmer announced in an e-mail sent Wednesday to those connected with the Business School. Kumar is a professor of Operations, Information, and Technology, and served as Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, at Stanford's Graduate School of Business.

Kumar starts his five-year term as Booth's dean on January 1, 2011. Until then, Harry L. Davis, a Distinguished Service Professor of Creative Management at Booth, will act as interim dean.

Originally from Bangalore, India, Kumar earned his Bachelor's and Master's Engineering degrees in India, then received a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in 1996. Kumar went straight from Illinois to a faculty position at Stanford, and his Stanford profile mentions that he did some corporate operations consulting while in Palo Alto.

The decision to hire Kumar ultimately rested with Zimmer, although a faculty committee interviewed candidates for the deanship and advised on the selection.

Kumar replaces Ted Snyder, who ended his tenure as Booth's dean on June 30, after nine years in charge of the school. Snyder will take over as Dean of Yale's School of Management next year.

From the e-blotter

Around 1 p.m. on July 21, a Hyde Park resident received a call from a man claiming to represent Bell Canada. The man told her that her telephone bill was overdue and asked for a credit card number to pay the balance. The woman refused and reported the ruse to University police.

Around 10:00 p.m. on July 22, a University affiliate received a fraudulent e-mail from an address that included, "webmasterr@uchicago.edu" [sic]. The text of the e-mail said the University was re-evaluating its e-mail services and those who wished to continue their service should reply with their CNetID and password, which the recipient did. Attempting to log into the webmail account the next day, the recipient found the password had been changed and the account was inaccessible.

It is against the Information Technology (IT) Services Department's policies for any IT Services employees to request a user's CNetID or password. More examples of such phishing scams are available here.

Law Prof Schmidt saves downed pilot in Lake Michigan

When Professor of Law Randall Schmidt (J.D. '79) and his wife Kristin Berg (A.B. '76) heard a small plane had crashed not far from where they were sailing on Lake Michigan last Friday, it was a bizarre turn in the middle of the couple's week-long boating vacation, and a brilliant stroke of luck for one man on board the plane.

Schmidt first heard about the crash when a fisherman reported it over marine radio around 10:15 a.m. The fisherman estimated the plane went down 15 nautical miles from Schmidt and Berg's boat, and roughly along the route the couple planned to sail.

Shortly after that, the Coast Guard radioed back. "They said it's a confirmed plane crash," Schmidt said, "and they requested all vessels in the area keep a sharp lookout, assist if possible, and report all sightings to the Coast Guard." Schmidt and Berg decided to change course and help with the rescue effort.

When their boat reached the scene around 11:00 a.m., the couple were some of the first to arrive. They circled the area until sometime between 11:30 and 11:45 a.m., by Schmidt's guess, when Berg spotted a man in the water. Schmidt piloted the boat toward him while Berg walked out on the swim platform and tossed the man a life ring. He grabbed on and Schmidt hauled him aboard.

Once he was on deck, Schmidt and Berg learned the man was Jerry Freed, the plane's pilot. Freed was flying a cancer patient and the patient's wife, as well as their friend and a doctor, from Alma, Michigan, to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. The plane lost power above Lake Michigan shortly before the crash.

Freed was taken to shore on a separate boat, and Schmidt and Berg kept looking for several hours before continuing on their trip. By then, rescue crews in boats and helicopters, along with numerous private boaters, were searching for other passengers, but of the five on the plane, only Freed survived.

Media outlets throughout the region picked up the story of the crash and rescue, and the Law School's website ran a write-up from the Detroit Free Press.

"I've gotten lots of e-mails from people here congratulating us and saying they'd seen the story," Schmidt said.