On Monday, December 22, Dr. Alan “Greg” Cant announced that he has accepted a new position as dean of the School of Business at Montclair State University in New Jersey, and will be leaving his position as dean of the School of Business at Concordia College.
“This is an incredible opportunity that would not be possible without the support of my family, particularly Angela [his wife],” he said in a Facebook announcement. “I am looking forward to the next 6 months at Concordia and starting July 1 at MSU.”
Dr. Cant has served as the founding dean of the School of Business and Robert J. Johnson Chair in Economics and Business Administration at Concordia for the past six and a half years. During that time he has successfully established and grown Concordia’s school of Business into, as former business student Matt Gantz (’13) said, “an actual school of business.”
Sure, one of the first things people notice might be his Australian accent. But Dr. Cant has a lot more than that to his name. According to Concordia’s website, Cant’s leadership brought about a new curriculum for the Offutt School, doubled the number of faculty and staff, and developed multiple new programs – from the Student-Managed Investment Fund and the student run coffee shop, to regional partnerships and international opportunities.
One of the international opportunities established by Dr. Cant is a global entrepreneurship program that allows students to gain entrepreneurial experience in India. Matt Gantz, who participated in the debut of this program, said the experience was “life-changing.”
“The program helped me understand business in a multicultural setting, but it also changed my views on inherent purposes of businesses, and how they can help people,” Gantz said.
Beyond his accomplishments within Concordia College, Dr. Cant is also an influential pillar in the Fargo-Moorhead entrepreneurial community. He was a speaker at TedxFargo and the Health Pitch, a planning member for Fargo’s Startup Weekends, and he frequently used his accessibility to spaces like the Offutt School and to important members in the community as a way to create impactful connections.
“Dr. Cant and his students are consistently present at our most important entrepreneur events, including 1 Million Cups and Startup Drinks,” said Emerging Prairie co-founder Miguel Danielson. “He has been a leader in integrating Concordia’s business school with the entrepreneurial community in Fargo-Moorhead, and in supporting our mission community-wide.”
In short, as Emerging Prairie co-founder Greg Tehven put it, Dr. Cant brought the campus to the community.
“As our startup community grows, colleges and universities play a critical role in our success,” said Tehven, who also teaches in India as a part of the global entrepreneurship program. “Dr. Cant has served as an active participant and a wonderful role model for what is possible. His leadership for getting entrepreneurs on his campus as well as bringing the campus to the community has been invaluable.”
As a student, Gantz said that Dr. Cant was always ready to listen to new entrepreneurial ideas, and strongly encouraged he and his classmates to pursue them further. He recalled a specific time when, after a testing out a new idea, he brought the plan to Dr. Cant to request for funding.
“I just walked into his office and laid out a strategy of what we wanted to do…and on the spot he said the Offutt School of Business would fund the event,” Gantz said. “He was one of the first people who believed we had an idea that was worth pursuing. In my experience, whenever I have come to him with an idea that I am excited about, he has been very supportive and urges me to continue with whatever means that he could help me to do so.”
Gantz said that although he is sad to see Dr. Cant go, it makes sense that he move on to a new challenge. The people at Montclair State University can look forward to a great dean, with a great Australian accent.
“We’re grateful for all that Cant has done and wish him success,” said Tehven.