Becton joins UL as business dean

Hire comes on the heels of $2.5 million gift from Lafayette businessman Mike Maraist, a 1971 graduate, to establish the Maraist Financial Services Lab.

Dr. Bret Becton

Dr. J. Bret Becton has joined UL Lafayette as dean of the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration. He replaces Dr. Gwen Fontenot, who has served as interim dean since January 2015, following the resignation of Dr. Joby John as dean in December 2014.

Becton’s appointment is effective July 1, pending approval of the UL System Board of Supervisors.

In a press release announcing the new hire, UL President Dr. E. Joseph Savoie touted Becton’s “record of collaborating with the business community” and “unwavering commitment to excellence in teaching and applied research.”

Becton is associate dean for operations and accreditation for the University of Southern Mississippi’s College of Business. He manages that college’s budgeting, assessment, academic affairs and accreditation.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi, a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology from the University of Tulsa and a doctorate in management from Auburn University.

“Our business students and faculty are doing great things, and Dr. Becton’s leadership will further augment their opportunities,” Savoie added.

Prior to her appointment as interim dean, Fontenot was head of the university’s Marketing and Hospitality Department.

Fontenot is taking a sabbatical for one academic year and will return to the university as associate professor of marketing in the Department of Marketing and Hospitality. “I will spend part of my sabbatical studying in Italy to expand my knowledge for the courses I teach in our study abroad program and building relationships with potential partners for international exchange and study abroad opportunities for our students,” she says. “The remainder of the sabbatical will be spent preparing for classes I will teach at UL in fall 2018 and in re-engaging in academic research.”

Lafayette businessman Mike Maraist with B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration students
Photo by Doug Dugas

In mid-April, the business college announced a $2.5 million gift from Lafayette businessman Mike Maraist, a 1971 graduate (and ABiz's 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year), to establish the Maraist Financial Services Lab. The new lab will add a 1,000-square-foot, high-tech learning environment in F.G. Mouton Hall.

At the start of the fall 2016 semester, CEO Magazine reported the college has one of the top 71 MBA programs in North America. The college also was included in the 2016 edition of Princeton Review’s “Best 295 Business Schools.”