June 8, former Isenberg associate dean, faculty member, graduate, and donor Arthur Elkins died at age 85. A 1957 Isenberg marketing graduate, Elkins (pictured second from left) joined Isenberg's management faculty in 1963 after earning an MBA from Columbia University and a PhD from Indiana University. He taught strategy and policy at Isenberg for 24 years, serving as head of its Department of Management in the late 1970s and as associate dean in the early 1980s. “Art was a very friendly colleague who knew how to get things done,” observed Isenberg management professor D. Anthony Butterfield. “Along the way, he wrote one of the first books on business and social responsibility. It was adopted at a lot of business schools.”
Elkins retired from Isenberg in 1987 to join his wife Barbara full-time in their Northampton-based business, WEBS, which sells yarns and other weaving supplies. During the next 15 years, the couple grew the business into a national leader in its field. (Barbara had founded WEBS in the Elkins' basement in the mid-1970s.) Managed since 2002 by Elkins's son, Steve, and his wife, Kathy, the venture, recently sold to the UK firm LoveCrafts, is the nation's leading mail order source for yarn-related supplies.
Elkins and his family returned periodically to Isenberg as advocates of entrepreneurship. They shared insights in the classroom and hosted class visits to their Northampton store. In 2014, Isenberg launched the Arthur and Barbara R. Elkins Business Intelligence Boardroom in a dedication ceremony attended by Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, former deans Mark Fuller and Thomas O’Brien, and many of Elkins's beloved colleagues. Just off Isenberg’s south atrium, the room enhances small group discussions, problem solving, and external communications. It offers a twenty-seat elliptical boardroom table and state-of-the-art conference connectivity through three high-definition wall screens. At the inauguration, Elkins summed up his objective: “Given my own teaching experiences with seminars, the boardroom seemed a perfect way for us to give to Isenberg.”