Article originally published in the Business Record
Drake University has named Alejandro Hernandez as dean of the College of Business and Public Administration. Hernandez, who began the leadership role at Drake on Aug. 14, was most recently senior vice president for corporate social responsibility strategy and reporting for Wells Fargo & Co.
A native of Chile, Hernandez is the first Latino to serve as a dean in Drake’s 139-year history, and he will lead an academic unit high in diversity of faculty, staff and students, the university said in a release.
Hernandez has more than 30 years of corporate and consulting experience. He joined Wells Fargo in 2002 to lead external communications for the company’s consumer lending businesses based in Des Moines. He went on to become national alliance manager, building relationships with national nonprofit organizations, before ascending to a senior leadership position in the company’s corporate social responsibility function.
“Alejandro is a proven business and non-profit leader,” Drake Provost Sue Mattison said in a release. “He sees business and public administration as forces for good, and that reflects so powerfully our mission at Drake. As dean, Alejandro will be an exceptional leader and role model for our business and public administration students, the broader campus community, and our many partners in central Iowa and beyond.”
Hernandez succeeds Daniel Connolly, who earlier this month decided to return to the college’s faculty to pursue his passion for teaching, a Drake spokesperson said. Connolly will be on sabbatical this fall and will begin teaching at Drake in the spring semester.
During his time at Wells Fargo, Hernandez spearheaded the publication of Wells Fargo’s first-ever human rights statement. He had previously managed the national and international operations of Porter Novelli’s Florida office, the culmination of more than a decade in management and consultant roles at several global public relations agencies.
“I see opportunities for Drake to have meaningful impact due to its scale, location and reach,” Hernandez said. “We are the right size to enable us to engage with each student as an individual, we are situated at the crossroads of important business and policy vectors, and our influence stretches across central Iowa and around the world.”
Hernandez earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Long Beach. In 2015, he completed a master’s degree in social responsibility and sustainable communities at Western Kentucky University. Hernandez has been an adjunct instructor for Drake University since 2017, teaching corporate social responsibility and socially responsible investing. He has also served on the University’s board of trustees.
“The many successful business and government leaders who have graduated from Drake are evidence of the quality education offered here,” Hernandez said. “I intend to build on this strength to move the university forward towards outcomes that generate positive economic, social, and environmental outcomes.”
The College of Business and Public Administration at Drake University is an accredited member of AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). More than 1,000 students are enrolled across 11 undergraduate degree and four graduate degree programs, all of which are enhanced by relationships with leading executives, public officials, and nonprofit directors.