Rene C. McPherson, the fifth dean of Stanford GSB (1980–1982), served a short tenure largely because of the effects of injuries suffered in an auto accident a few months before he assumed the deanship.
He began his deanship in July 1980 and announced his intention to resign in the spring of 1982. He served until the end of that academic year. During his brief term, applications increased with the largest increases being among foreign and female applicants.
Born in Akron, Ohio, McPherson was a highly decorated bomber pilot in World War II and received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service in the Pacific from 1943 to 1945. He graduated from Case Institute of Technology in 1950 with a BS degree, earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1952, and held honorary degrees from Hillsdale College, Tri-State University, and the University of Toledo.
McPherson joined Dana Corporation in 1952 as a sales engineer. He rose quickly through the ranks and was elected vice president of the corporation in 1968 and chairman of the board and chief officer in 1972.
Rene McPherson died in North Key Largo, Florida in 1996, at age 71.