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Former dean of business college dies of lung cancer at 69


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Former dean of business college dies of lung cancer at 69

By: John Bisesi

Issue date: 2/6/09 Section: Campus

PrintEmail Article Tools Page 1 of 1 Robert A. Patton, a former dean of the College of Business Administration at the University, died of lung cancer last Thursday at his home in Seven Lakes, N.C., at the age of 69.

Patton joined the University faculty in 1967, teaching statistics and operations research. He was promoted to dean of the College of Business Administration 15 years later in 1982 and served that position until 1990.

Throughout his time on campus, Patton took on a bigger role by sticking to his values of fairness and commitment.

Madhu Rao, senior associate dean in the business college, cites Patton as an influential factor when making his choice to join the University as a faculty member.

"When I came for the interview, there was a reception at [Patton's] house and the whole atmosphere was so pleasant that it was one of the key points in making my decision to come here," Rao said.

Patton continued to make a positive impression on Rao throughout his career.

"When I became the associate dean he told me that I should uphold my values and I will succeed. There may be temptations where you will want to take shortcuts, but always stand tall," Rao said.

Patton graduated from Tarkio College in Northwest Missouri, where he was president of the student body and captain of the football team. An athlete and a numbers man, he got his master's degree in mathematics in 1963 and his doctorate in statistics in 1967 at the University of Missouri.

After retiring from Univerity in 1992, a book scholarship was set up in his name and is awarded to business students at the University each year.

The job of dean came with challenges, but Patton was always ready to meet them. He was always fair in dealing with issues such as promotions and tenure, but he didn't back away from making the tough decision, Rao said.

Patton enjoyed various sports and played in flag football, softball, racquetball and handball competitions regularly. He was also an avid golfer, bridge player and loved to water ski near his retirement home in North Carolina.

Although he was a very well-rounded person, "Bob never gloated about himself. He was one of those guys that everybody connects with," Patti Gnieski, Patton's younger sister said.

Jan Patton is Robert's wife of 44 years. They lived in Findlay after he began teaching at the University.

"He was always much more interested in other people than himself," Jan said.

Robert A. Patton is also survived by his son Rob, of Westerville, Ohio, and his brother Bernard of Scottsdale, Ariz.

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