Dr. Kerry Gatlin, Dean Emeritus of the College of Business from 2001 until 2013, died Dec. 11.

Legacy of Dean Emeritus Dr. Kerry Gatlin Remembered in his Passing

Dec. 14, 2022

Michelle R. Eubanks , UNA, at meubanks@una.edu, 256.765.4392

The College of Business and Technology and University of North Alabama faculty and staff are saddened to hear of the passing of Dean Emeritus Dr. Kerry Gatlin on Dec. 11, 2022. Dean Gatlin had a 38-year career at UNA, which spanned 1980 to 2018. Dr. Kerry Gatlin started as Assistant Professor of Management. Students loved his classes, and he was a wonderful colleague to many through the years. Dr. Gatlin also served as Department Chair of Management and Marketing before later being promoted to Dean in 2001. Dean Gatlin led the College for 12 years, where he was respected for his personable leadership style and his innovative approach to launching new initiatives. 

Dr. Gregory Carnes, current Dean of the UNA College of Business and Technology, recognizes the influence of Dean Gatlin in making the College of Business and Technology what it is today. While there were many accomplishments under Dean Gatlin’s leadership, three stand out as ushering the College into a new era. 

“Kerry started the online component of our now prominent MBA program long before many schools ever considered making this move. This significantly impacted graduate enrollment at the university,” Dr. Carnes said. “Dean Gatlin also initiated international education partnerships to deliver our Executive MBA program in Suzhou, China, and Taipei, Taiwan. Those programs are still going strong thanks to the relationships Dean Gatlin built and the processes he put in place years ago. Perhaps most important is the years Dean Gatlin spent laying the groundwork to seek initial accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). AACSB is synonymous with the highest standards of excellence, with only the top 5 percent of the world’s more than 13,000 business schools receiving this accreditation. Dean Gatlin’s vision meant needing to set goals to strengthen the quality of faculty, build robust program assessment, allocate resources for appropriate student, faculty, and staff support, and more. His progress early on helped the college achieve this important milestone in 2016.” 

When Dean Gatlin announced his plans to faculty and staff in 2013 to step down as Dean, he made this important statement which sums up his leadership: “These initiatives (regarding the items mentioned above) were successful because of YOU. I sincerely appreciate your willingness to work hard, to try new approaches to what we do, and to always keep the student’s interest in mind. It has been my privilege to serve as Dean. I am pleased with what you, and I have accomplished over the past dozen years…a time of very significant, but necessary change.”  

The University and College were blessed to have Dean Gatlin’s progressive leadership. 

In 2013, Dean Gatlin chose to take the next stage of his career at UNA back to how it started – in the classroom. He always enjoyed teaching and wanted to be more engaged in it again.  For many, it would be difficult to step back and allow someone else to lead the College after such a long time in the role. However, Kerry was perfectly happy to be a faculty member and served as adviser, committee member, and volunteer for whatever was needed until his retirement in 2018.   

At the end of Dr. Gatlin’s career, he generously became part of the Isbell Scholar program. This program allowed Dr. Gatlin to donate two years of service to the College with the salary designated for establishing an endowment fund to support the mission of the University.  Through this service donation, Dr. Gatlin set up the John and Gladys Gatlin Endowed Scholarship and Gatlin Endowment for Innovation. The students and faculty in the UNA College of Business and Technology will benefit from Dr. Gatlin’s generosity for many years.  

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Dean Gatlin’s UNA endowments. Dean Gatlin truly loved this university, and his family shared how much purpose his long, successful career here gave him. The College is honored to carry on the legacy Dean Gatlin left. 

To give, please go to: https://www.una.edu/give/give-now.html

For Designation, choose College of Business and Technology.  Then, add either John and Gladys Gatlin Endowed Scholarship OR Gatlin Endowment for Innovation in the Comment box.  Check the Tribute Gift checkbox. If you have questions, contact the University Advancement Office at (256) 765-4670 or advancement@una.edu

Arrangements:  Visitation will be Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, at Wilson Funeral Home in Fort Payne from 9:30-10:30 a.m. A burial service will follow at Adamsburg Cemetery on Lookout Mountain at 11 a.m.




About The University of North Alabama

The University of North Alabama is an accredited, comprehensive regional state university offering credential, certificate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs in the colleges of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering; Business and Technology; Education and Human Sciences; and the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions. The first-choice University for more than 10,000 on-campus and online students, UNA is on a bucolic campus in Florence, Alabama, part of the historic and vibrant Shoals region. Lions Athletics, a renowned collegiate athletics program with seven (7) Division II National Championships, is now a proud member of the NCAA Division I’s ASUN Conference. The University of North Alabama is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate in the admission policy on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability, age, or national origin. For more: www.una.edu and www.una.edu/unaworks/