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College of Business Alumnus Establishes a Planned Gift for the First-Ever Marketing Professorship

May 19, 2021

Throughout the decades, the Idaho State University College of Business has been a home for numerous inspiring faculty members. In looking at the list of scholarship endowments and other gifts to the college, it is clear to see that the impact of a dedicated professor often extends far beyond the classroom or degree and even has the ability to positively affect change in the lives and careers of the students they teach. For one alumnus, Dr. Bob Cutler, his time as a student at Idaho State and his connection to the faculty here set the stage for a successful and rewarding career. As a 1966 graduate of general business, Cutler was deeply impacted by his time at Idaho State and attributes much of that impression to the former dean and professor, Dr. Frank D. Seelye. Seelye began his career at Idaho State teaching in the College of Business where he worked for 10 years, also serving as dean from 1963 until retiring in 1968.

Today, Cutler has made the decision to honor his time at Idaho State and the help of Dr. Seelye with a planned gift, the “Bob Cutler Endowed Professorship in Marketing”. “My inspiration for endowing a professorship at Idaho State started when I read [the Business Bulletin] that mentioned a scholarship in the name of Dean Seelye, I also noted that the College of Business now had an endowed professorship in finance,” said Cutler. “Recalling the assistance given to me by Dean Seelye while I was a student at Idaho State, I thought that the least I could do was add to the scholarship in his name, and help another student like I was helped. But, the more I thought about my time at Idaho State, the more I realized that my success in both industry and in academics started there. Maybe I could afford to do more.”

Cutler, a retired university professor himself, completed his master’s degree in marketing in 1968 from the University of Minnesota with a full academic scholarship thanks to the recommendation of Dr. Seelye. He later attained his Ph.D. in marketing from the University of North Texas in 1989. “Many large universities do not have a single endowed professorship,” said Cutler. “If a college is able to sponsor one or more endowed professorships, it means two things: the college has been providing a good education to their students, and their students trace their success back to a supportive education, and specific professors. The fact that Idaho State’s College of Business is able to provide endowed professorships is proof to me that they have been doing a good job.” Cutler’s gift will be the College’s third professorship overall and the first-ever professorship established in the marketing department.

“Endowed professorships are important because it allows the college to recruit professors with demonstrated performance,” Cutler explained. “It also provides the recruited professor a higher level of support, greater status and substantial freedom to pursue their interests.” After working in industry for many years as a marketing research analyst, manager and even a real estate agent, Cutler took a position working at Cleveland State University as a marketing professor where he achieved tenure after just four years of service.

“An endowed professorship in marketing enhances the reputation of the college within both academics and the business community,” said Cutler.  “It provides an example to other professors that there is room to grow and advance within their field. This type of professorship also tends to draw students to the field as they recognize the enthusiasm and dedication generally provided by an endowed professor.”

Due in part to the dedication of his own professors and his education from Idaho State, Cutler led a very successful career. This journey began in 1968 working for the Onan division of Studebaker-Worthington in Minneapolis as a marketing research analyst. After a couple of years, he accepted a position as a senior marketing analyst with Carborundum Company in Niagara Falls, New York. Two years later, he transferred to the Pangborn Division in Maryland where, at the age of 28, he was promoted to a mid-level management position after just one year.

Cutler finished out his career working as a professor of marketing at Cleveland State. “I would hope that my personal story can provide an example to students that you too can find a job that you enjoy, and be successful,” said Cutler. “My father had a fourth-grade education and my mother an eighth-grade education. Of seven children, I was the first and only one to attend college, and ended up with a Ph.D. When we are young, we don’t really know our limits. But if you keep pushing ahead you will be surprised at how far you can go.” For Cutler and hundreds of other students throughout the College of Business’s history, the passion and commitment of a good professor may have been just the push they needed.