The University of St. Thomas has appointed a passionate educator, seasoned administrator and entrepreneurial business leader to lead the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship as Associate Dean. Dr. Sheneeta White will rejoin the Opus College of Business in her new role on July 1.
She takes the role as the Schulze School continues to grow its national reputation. Last year, the school jumped 10 spots to 23 to land in the Princeton Review’s top 25 list of top undergraduate entrepreneurship programs in the country. Now in its third year in the top 50, the Schulze School also ranked No. 1 among the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges for undergraduate students studying entrepreneurship.
White joined St. Thomas in 2009 as Opus College faculty, rising to associate professor of operations and supply chain management and serving as associate faculty director of undergraduate business programs. In July 2019, she transitioned to a more encompassing role at the university as associate vice provost for undergraduate student achievement.
In her provost office role, White oversees the undergraduate academic experience, from Academic Counseling and the Aquinas Scholars Honors Program, to the Excel! Research Scholars Program, Latin Honors and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. Her team also provides academic support for students interested in a pre-health profession. Additionally, she works with the Dougherty Family College scholars transitioning to the four-year college.
“As a dedicated member of the Provost’s Office, Dr. White worked with a team of talented individuals to launch high-impact educational programming, improve student engagement and retention, optimize faculty advising, and secure external funding in support of underrepresented/under-resourced students,” Executive Vice President and Provost Eddy Rojas said in a statement to the university.
One of those programs White said she is particularly proud of is the Ciresi Walburn Leadership Fellows, a cohort-based program that addresses barriers facing Black male students. The program assists males who are typically first-generation college students from families with high financial need.
“My role is to help these young men realize their full potential here at St. Thomas and in the local community. Many of them are first generation college students and I want them to succeed in every way,” she said.
White, who is also a first-generation college student, grew up in Louisiana and well understands the needs of students of color and what it takes to motivate them to succeed. She attended Xavier University of Louisiana, a Historically Black and Catholic University. There, she majored in computer science. She was inspired to continue her education and pursued an MBA part-time at North Carolina State University while working at IBM full-time.
She spent seven years at IBM leading numerous project teams before leaving to pursue her PhD in Management Science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. After her doctoral program, she landed her first role at St. Thomas.
Rojas noted that in addition to being one of St. Thomas’ most respected leaders, White is an experienced entrepreneur. She started and ran her own business – a measurement and quality improvement company for healthcare services – and is part owner of Tenfold Investments, Inc., a Minnesota-based start-up investment firm.
“She is passionate about cultivating the next generation of entrepreneurs,” Rojas said.
White also serves on the board of Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce, an organization committed to serving Black-owned businesses and their communities through access to education, advocacy and economic development.
White is happy to be returning to Opus after her time in the provost's office. “I always had immense love and gratitude for Opus and never shied away from expressing what the Opus College has done for me,” she said. “I am looking forward to being a part of Opus again, working with the wonderful staff and faculty at the Schulze School.”
White succeeds Dr. Laura Dunham, who is the incoming dean of the Opus College.