Martha and Spencer Love School of Business Dean Raghu Tadepalli said despite his almost 13 years on the job, one of his highlights was being able to teach and connect with students. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Tadepalli taught in-person classes alongside his nervous colleagues because he didn’t want them to experience it alone.

“I am not asking them to do anything that I am unwilling to do myself,” Tadepalli said. 

For the past four years, Tadepalli has taught at least one two-credit class each semester and he said he has enjoyed seeing how hard students work toward their studies.

Martha and Spencer Love School of Business Dean Raghu Tadepalli. Photo courtesy of Elon University.

Tadepalli announced his departure from deanship following the 2024-25 academic year. 

This is the sixth senior staff member to leave their position within the past two years — including the former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Gabie Smith.

Despite his departure from this role, Tadepalli will be returning in the 2026-27 academic year after a yearlong sabbatical to serve as dean emeritus and special assistant to Elon University President Connie Book.

As he approaches his 13th year as dean, Tadepelli said he has already served much longer than the average dean. 

“The usual average for a business school dean is about four to five years, so I have exceeded the record by two times,” Tadepalli said. 

Senior Rafi Dahdal, a member of the Love School of Business Graduate Advisory Board, said he was sad to see the news of Tadepalli stepping down. Dahdal said he loves how optimistic the dean is and appreciates how he was open to always receiving feedback. 

“Anytime he interacts with me personally it's been very positive energy, very open to feedback and very open to improving the business school,” Dahdal said. 

Assistant Dean of the Love School of Business Haya Ajjan said a good dean is someone that leaves a lasting impact beyond their time at Elon. 

“He has left this place much better than when he arrived,” Ajjan said. 

Ajjan said Tadepalli successfully achieved three accreditations for the school of business by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, with the most recent one happening April 3. In addition, Elon has ranked in the top 40 business schools in the country for the past three years. 

According to the email sent to faculty and staff, some of Tadepalli’s most notable accomplishments while serving as dean were the expansion of the number of faculty, staff and students attending the school of business. At the start of his deanship, there were 1,356 students enrolled in business majors compared to the now 2,145 students — a roughly 58% increase.

He also expanded the school’s degrees to six new undergraduate majors including Business Analytics, Project Management and Human Resource Management. 

The university will begin its search for a replacement in the fall 2024 and Ajjan said that she is looking for her next “partner in crime.” 

“Somebody who is value-driven like he was and he is,” Ajjan said. “Somebody who definitely will sustain the great trajectory that the Elon School of Business is on because I think what we have created is something amazing.” 

Tadepalli said he hopes the future dean focuses on the growth of graduate programs, as well as how to prepare students on using artificial intelligence in the classroom and workforce.

“I've always said Elon is like a rocket ship and it doesn't matter what seat number you have, just strap on your seatbelt and make sure you do what you need to do so that everyone has a good ride,” Tadepalli said. “Elon will find someone very, very capable to take not just the business school, but to help Elon University go to the next level.”