UM College of Business Names New Dean

A picture of Suzanne Tilleman
Suzanne Tilleman

MISSOULA – Dr. Suzanne Tilleman, who previously served as a business professor, department chair and interim dean at the University of Montana, has been named the Sprunk and Burnham Endowed Dean of the UM College of Business.

Tilleman, who has been interim dean at the business college since May 2019, will begin her duties immediately. She is the first woman to serve as permanent dean of the college.

 “I look forward to continuing working with our faculty, alumni and partners as we evolve a curriculum that leverages data, analytics, value-added business and human processes,” Tilleman said. “In addition to serving our students with exceptional undergraduate and graduate programs, the college will continue developing more distance-enabled stand-alone certificates and micro-credentials to provide educational value to the citizens and employers in our great state.”

Born and raised in Havre, Tilleman has been a faculty member teaching management at UM since 2010. She has earned Outstanding Management Faculty honors multiple times and served as the management department chair from 2017 to 2019 before serving as interim dean following the departure of Dean Chris Shook.

Tilleman holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a Master of Business Administration in management from Tulane University and a Ph.D. in strategy and entrepreneurship from the University of Oregon.

Prior to pursuing her doctorate, Tilleman spent seven years working in industry and another four years teaching at Montana State University-Northern, where she discovered her love of teaching and developing students. Her industry experience includes working for some of the largest players in the natural resources arena: General Electric, Exxon and Monsanto.

“I care deeply about our state,” Tilleman said. “The UM College of Business provides transformative learning experiences that help our students achieve better lives. Through the efforts of faculty, staff and our alumni, we foster economic development in the entire state and region.”

In 2016, alumni Mark and Cheryl Burnham ’84 and Eric and Blair Sprunk ’86 – together with their families – made contributions to create the College of Business Sprunk and Burnham Endowed Dean’s Chair, the first of its kind in the State of Montana. The endowment guarantees funds in perpetuity to support the dean’s vision and strategic initiatives.

“Dean Tilleman has been an invaluable colleague among the deans since she stepped in as interim dean of the college,” said UM Acting Provost Reed Humphrey. “We are grateful she is committed to growing the College of Business through her continued leadership.”

The UM College of Business is nationally renowned and has been named the top business school in the Big Sky Conference by U.S. News and World Report for five consecutive years. With nearly 20,000 alumni, UM’s business college continues to facilitate economic development across the state of Montana and beyond.


Contact: Garrett Finke, UM College of Business, director of marketing and communications, 406-243-4436,