Retired Virginia Tech Business School Dean Dies

BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 7, 2003 – Herbert Hall "Bill" Mitchell, 86, the founding dean of Virginia Tech's business school, died at home in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on October 30.

Mitchell, a native of New Market, Ala., received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1954. He taught at several universities before accepting the position of chairman of the department of business administration at what was then Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1960. In 1961, he was appointed dean of the newly established business school, which had 28 faculty members and 823 students.

Mitchell served as dean for 20 years, during which time the business school became a college in the university and named its building in honor of Robert B. Pamplin, a 1933 business graduate who later became chairman and chief executive officer of Georgia-Pacific Corporation. The college was renamed the Pamplin College of Business in 1986.

Mitchell was a member of the board of the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business and served as its president in 1978. He also served on the board of directors of Great Northern Nekoosa and the First National Exchange Bank of Blacksburg. He was a member of Phi Eta Sigma, Omicron Delta Kappa, Beta Gamma Sigma, and Jasons.

He was named dean emeritus upon retirement in 1981. He returned to the University of Alabama, where he had received his bachelor's and master's degrees and had worked as an assistant dean, to serve as dean of the College of Commerce and Business Administration until 1986.

A military veteran, Mitchell served in the South Pacific during World War II as a captain in the U.S. Army's Transportation Corps. He retired from the U.S. Army Reserve as a colonel in 1976. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Audrey Taylor Mitchell, four children, and six grandchildren.