One-on-One: James Padilla

James Padilla, the new dean of the Francis J. Noonan School of Business, sat down and answered some questions to provide insight into his background and where the newly-formed school is headed.

What brought you to Loras?

“Seeing the posting, it immediately brought me back to high school.  As a Chicago Catholic school kid, I was familiar with Loras and had classmates who graduated from here, so I started to remember friends who were drawn here and why. I also started to realize that I have something in common with Loras – a connection to the Midwest and to the Chicagoland area – and it has proven to be very accurate.

“From the time that I visited and interviewed at Loras, all of my thoughts have been reinforced.  The faculty that I met expressed a passion for working at Loras and desire to keep Loras progressing.  That is a good feeling when you are interviewing as a candidate. This all added up to make me glad that I am here.”

Originally being from Chicago, how does that play into your new role?

“I came here because I knew how strong of a brand Loras has in Chicago and I still have a connection to that city.  I realize my ability to be at an institution that can continue to connect not just to that area but other areas in the Midwest is significant. I can continue to influence decision making about college choices and then to be able to speak directly to what it is like to go to both small schools and large state schools and really explain the benefits of Loras.”

What are your initial impressions of the Noonan School?

“When I was meeting with my new colleagues, I was hearing the things they are doing and I said, ‘I don’t know what to tell you.  I work in Arlington, VA, just a stones throw away from the nation’s capital.  My prior employer was not accomplishing the things that you are accomplishing.  There is so much available here and you are doing some pretty special things.’  At the end of the interview, I said, ‘I am going to keep asking how far we can take the Schools’ success because it has already gone really far.’”

How can you call on your past experiences to help both the students and faculty?

“I turned my academic life around when I transferred from a large school to a small school.  I learned how to manage things and realized that I already knew how to succeed, but a small school environment brought it out.  I have talked to students and I enjoy sharing my stories to help them realize that the struggles that they are going through are not new.  It is nice to be able to reassure them. A small, private school allows for so much more of that. It lets you make a bigger impression.

“I like to think that my corporate background helps me understand motives and decision-making of others. That helps to look at things broadly and allowed me to take action when it is appropriate.”

How do you see Noonan School moving forward?

“I want to accomplish the successful establishment of a brand new school of business.  We have to consider specialty accreditations, new program development, enrollment growth, and continued success in funding.  All of that comes to mind as I look to the future of the school.”

You can reach out to James Padilla to learn more about upcoming programming and the school of business at