Mendoza School of Business

Leadership award honors late business professor Vecchio

Published: April 22, 2010 / Author: Carol Elliott

As a faculty member at the University of Notre Dame for more than 34 years, Management Professor Robert Vecchio was known internationally as a prolific and respected researcher who studied topics that fell into the nexus between psychology and business. Vecchio frequently provided an expert voice for articles on leadership, workplace emotion and motivation. Students relied on him for advice on management and career matters.

Bob Vecchio tragically passed away in February 2009 as a result of injuries incurred in a fall. In his memory, the Management Department of the Mendoza College of Business announced a new commemorative award, with graduating senior Kristen Koch receiving the first Robert Vecchio Leadership Award.

“I know Prof. Vecchio made an incredible impact on the business school and the entire Notre Dame community,” said Koch, who served as the president of the Management Club at the Mendoza College of Business. “I am honored to even be remotely associated with his memory.”

“The award is given at the discretion of the faculty to a consulting or entrepreneurship student who embraces the spirit of Notre Dame and has excelled in developing leadership skills,” said J. Michael Crant, professor and chair of the Management Department. “Kristie received the nomination from several faculty members.”

Recipients of the award will receive a watch and have their names engraved on a wall plaque on display outside the Mendoza College Department of Management office.

A Chicago native, Vecchio was graduated from De Paul University in 1972.He earned master’s and doctoral degrees in industrial psychology from the University of Illinois in 1972 and 1976, respectively. He chaired the management department at the Mendoza College from 1983 to 1990. In addition to publishing highly regarded articles on a variety of issues in organizational behavior and corporate management, he authored “Organizational Behavior,” the sixth edition of which was published in 2006 by Thomson/Southwest. Vecchio was the editor of “Leadership: Understanding the Dynamics of Power and Influence in Organizations,” and he served from 1995 to 2000 as the editor of the prestigious Journal of Management.

“Bob’s leadership of the department during the 1980s set the stage for the transition to a stronger research culture, while still emphasizing excellent teaching,” said Crant.  “He actively mentored many of our faculty, and he was a popular and effective teacher.   Bob Vecchio embodied the spirit of the management department, and we honor his memory through this award.”   

Koch graduated in December with a bachelor’s degree in management consulting and in May 2009 with a bachelor’s in psychology. She is currently completing a three-year internship in People Development at ABB, an electrical engineering company in Koch’s hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.  In July, she plans to begin a two-year Human Resources Rotational Program with SPX Corp. in Charlotte, N.C.

For more information about the Robert Vecchio Leadership Award or the Mendoza College of Business Department of Management, call (574) 631-6183 or e-mail


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