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Eller professor receives award before retirement


Dr. Sushila Umashankar poses for a headshot.

Sushila “Sue” Umashankar, an academic director and professor of practice in the Eller College of Management Department of Marketing , will retire July 30 after teaching at UA for nearly 37 years.

Umashankar, who holds a Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Iowa, has been teaching since 1976, first at Iowa State University. 

She started as an assistant professor of marketing at UA in 1980 and has been a part of the Department of Marketing since.

From assistant professor of marketing in 1980 to adjunct lecturer in 1985, Umashankar has taught many courses from an “Introduction to Marketing” to “Business for Master in Science, Marketing.” 

Since 2007, Umashankar has upheld the position of the academic director of Global Business Programs at UA.

RELATED: New entrepreneurship director brings startup experience to Eller

Umashankar is also known for her major involvement in university committees and service.

On Wednesday, May 3, Eller College of Management held its annual “A Night with the Stars” event at Skyline Country Club in honor of the many individuals of the college.

At this event, Umashankar, alongside Eller College of Management Adjunct Lecturer Robert Matteucci, received the first-ever Robert Lusch Engaging Course Award for 100 percent Student Engagement for a course that involves taking students to Mexico for four nights.

Eller College not only presented the award to Umashankar in recognition for her work, but also named an award to carry on her legacy at UA: the Sue Umashankar Global Business Program Award, according to Aubrey Anglemyer, the manager of events and marketing for Eller Undergraduate Programs.

“I am so blessed,” Umashankar said. “And I feel so honored and humbled that they wanted to honor me that way.”

Not only was Umashankar recognized with awards, but individuals hosted a retirement party for her at Arizona Inn.

“So many people came and spoke,” Umashankar said. “I was so touched.”

When asked about her plans for retirement, Umashankar said she is currently in the process of moving closer to her daughter in Midtown Atlanta. 

Her daughter, Nita Umashankar, is an assistant professor in marketing at Georgia State University.

Umashankar, alongside her husband, will be moving to Midtown Atlanta later this month. Within two days of reaching Atlanta, Umashankar said she will then leave and take 57 Eller students to Brazil for classes.

Umashankar said she started the Eller Global Cohort nine years ago. This year’s international program provides Eller students with 15 college credits in nine weeks in Fortaleza, Brazil.

Umashankar said she started the program in 2009 in China. She said she spent two years in China, two years in India, two years in Argentina and two years in Brazil through the Eller Global Cohort.

“We are going back to Brazil because it really an amazing experience for the students,” Umashankar said.

Umashankar will teach her marketing course in Brazil until July 19, when everyone will return from the program.

RELATED: Gov. Ducey visits UA to talk new plans, experience to Eller class

Upon her return from Brazil, Umashankar plans to remain in Atlanta, close to her daughter and her three-year-old grandson.

“I am going to dedicate my life to, perhaps, serving on the board of a non-governmental organization or some charitable organization,” Umashankar said.

She also said she has a love for cooking, so she may even teach cooking classes.

“I am so excited for the next chapter of my life,” Umashankar said.

Follow Kirshana Guy on Twitter.

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