University Park, IL,
13:22 PM

Jun Zhao, celebrating a career of scholarship, leadership, and service


Dr. Jun Zhao, Dean of the College of Business at Governors State University (GSU), is retiring from her role as Dean at GSU. She was recognized at Commencement 2023, Sunday, May 13, with a resolution that highlighted her many contributions to GSU, gifts, and many thanks for her service.

The resolution read in part: “Whereas, her passion for teaching and learning, continued scholarship, commitment to excellence, and genuine care and support for students, faculty, and staff have made her a beloved and respected leader who will be deeply missed by the College of Business community.” 

Little did she know that her family was present to witness this, her last commencement ceremony as Dean. Her parents and two sons had come for a Mother’s Day celebration and were able to be present for the occasion. The family’s attendance was orchestrated by her husband Hanping Xiao and Dr. Janelle Crowley, Chief of Staff at GSU.087_gsu_grad_am_051323

“Dr. Crowley went out of her way to reach my husband and they started conspiring this whole thing!” said Zhao. “I was surprised to see my family in the audience. It was very nice for them to be there and witness that moment of pride.”

Zhao started her career at GSU in 1999 as an Assistant Professor of Management in the College of Business and Public Administration (CBPA), after completing a Doctor of Business Administration in 1998 at Southern Illinois University. She was appointed to her first leadership role in 2012, as Chair of the Division of Management, Marketing, and Public Administration. She became Dean of the College of Business in 2017, after serving as interim dean in 2016. Zhao is especially proud of attaining initial Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation for the College of Business in 2016 and the re-accreditation in 2022.

“COB faculty, staff, and students work hard to maintain this high-quality standard, and we are very proud of this achievement,” Zhao said.

 She grew up in a family of educators--her grandparents and her parents were all teachers--and the love of education was ingrained into her genes. “Nothing makes me happier than to see the impact of education on someone’s life,” Zhao continued. “My favorite aspect of my career was the opportunity to work with my colleagues to help our students achieve their academic goals and change their lives. And that is what I will miss after retiring--our students, colleagues, and the GSU family.”

Zhao plans to stay connected after retirement and collaborated with Institutional Advancement to set up the Dr. Jun Zhao Business Faculty Recognition Fund. “I would like to invite the GSU community to join me in the effort to raise funds to support our wonderful business faculty!Zhaofamily.Commencement.May2023

She has a long list of new pursuits she’s excited about, like learning to play the piano. But first, she and her husband, who is also retiring from a CPA firm, will embark on a trip to Iceland.  “My husband is an amateur wildlife and landscape photographer, and we will be visiting Iceland with a few photographer friends for two weeks this summer. I am looking forward to that adventure!”

Click here to watch the 10 a.m. Commencement ceremony.