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April 26, 2024

University of New England's business school will have a familiar face at the helm

Norm O'Reilly Photo / Courtesy University of New England Norm O’Reilly joins the University of New England after serving as dean of the Graduate School of Business at the University of Maine. 

The University of New England said Thursday that it has hired Norm O’Reilly as the inaugural dean for UNE's new College of Business, effective July 1.  

O’Reilly most recently served as dean of the Portland-based Graduate School of Business at the University of Maine. 

At UMaine, O’Reilly oversaw the establishment and growth of business programs for Maine’s public universities, notably the MaineMBA, which has more than 400 students.

He enhanced interdisciplinary education by growing the MBA concentrations and increasing dual degrees with partnerships in many sectors, such as law, engineering, and public policy. He also led multi-university fundraising initiatives and significant projects including the MaineMBA Academy and the Maine Brand Study.

“Norm’s track record of building and leading successful academic programs, fostering interdisciplinary collaborations, and driving strategic initiatives positions him well to lead and grow the UNE College of Business,” said Gwendolyn Mahon, UNE provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

“We are confident that, under his guidance, the new college will thrive and provide unparalleled opportunities for our students to excel in the ever-evolving business landscape.”

The University of New England is Maine’s largest private university, with campuses in Biddeford and Portland, as well as Tangier, Morocco. In addition to the new school of business, UNE is in the process of consolidating its medical school and related practices at its Portland campus.

The launch of the business college was announced in June 2023

“For years, UNE’s business programs have engaged students in experiential learning opportunities and prepared them for rewarding, enriching careers and leadership positions with some of Maine’s and the nation’s most important employers, from private entities, nonprofit organizations, professional sports organizations, manufacturers, and more,” UNE President James Herbert said at the time.

“Formation of a College of Business will allow UNE to build upon these successes and leverage new and existing partnerships to cement the university’s status as a leader in the fields of business and entrepreneurship.”

At UMaine

O'Reilly joined UMaine in 2021, leading the Graduate School of Business. (UMaine's School of Business is led by Jason Harkins.)

In an interview with Mainebiz Senior Writer Renee Cordes in 2022, O'Reilly said he was proud of the progress made in his first year on the job.

"I think we’ve done a good job in establishing relationships, meeting hundreds of people, putting new staff in place, consulting with faculty and other key people to draft a strategic plan, a few successes and lots of tries in fundraising, and enhancing the events and synchronous offerings of the Maine MBA," he told Mainebiz, giving himself an A-minus for his first year.

"And why the ‘minus’ part of it, that would be on the efficiency of our efforts to move forward. There are so many players that navigating the politics and the opportunity is challenging, and I think we could have done better there."

For the Mainebiz 2024 "outlook" issue earlier this year, O'Reilly expressed concern about higher interest rates, inflation and other factors that could stymie the economy. 

At the same time, O'Reilly told Mainebiz Managing Editor Will Hall, he sees Maine as a place of opportunity. 

“People outside our state do not see us as a place of business, commerce and opportunity, which it is," he said in January. "They see us only as a place to visit as a tourist."

Educational, professional background

Prior to coming to UMaine, O’Reilly was assistant dean of executive programs for the University of Guelph’s business and economics school; department chair for sports administration at Ohio University’s business college; and the director of the sports administration school at Laurentian University.  

O’Reilly is also recognized globally as one of the leading scholars in the business of sports. While at the University of Guelph, he founded the International Institute for Sport Business and Leadership, a think-tank connecting industry, scholars, and students who are devoted to improving the sport business globally. 

book about the NHL
Peter Van Allen
Norm O'Reilly co-authored "Business the NHL Way" with Rick Burton. The book was published in 2022 by an imprint of the University of Toronto Press.

O’Reilly has authored or co-authored 20 books, 14 case studies in the Harvard/Stanford series, and more than 160 peer-reviewed journal articles. He often speaks, including more than 250 keynotes to industry audiences.

He is a lifetime research fellow of the North American Society for Sport Management, and, for over 15 years, has been a part-owner and consultant for a Toronto-based sport marketing agency that works with high-profile clients such as Nike, UFC, Pepsi, and the Canadian Olympic/Paralympic Committees. He has additionally served as an expert witness in legal cases related to sport business and has held board positions with numerous global and national sports organizations. 

He is also an accomplished and award-winning teacher, having taught in all modalities and at the undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. levels, as well as teaching in and leading executive education programs.

A certified public accountant, O’Reilly holds a Ph.D. in management from Carleton University, an MBA and master’s in sports administration from the University of Ottawa, and a bachelor’s in kinesiology from the University of Waterloo.

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