Dr. Karel Sovak
Dean, Gary Tharaldson School of Business

BISMARCK, ND — Longtime University of Mary professor Dr. Karel Sovak is the new dean of the Gary Tharaldson School of Business (GTSB). Sovak brings 20 years of higher education experience — 18 of those at the University of Mary — including many years as program director of Business Administration, Marketing, and the Emerging Leaders Academy (ELA) programs.

During that time, Sovak also taught hundreds of comprehensive courses in business, entrepreneurship, sales, retail, management, marketing, tech and strategy, leadership, and is known for experiential instruction and an innovative teaching style.

“There is an incredible amount of talent in our GTSB faculty that will allow us to bring on new programs in our graduate offerings, while maintaining quality and experiential education in our undergraduate degrees,” said Sovak. “I envision more dynamic interactions with our business community to better meet their needs and the needs of their workforce. Additionally, we will ensure that our current group of students, prospective students and alumni are well aware that GTSB is here for them, for life.”

Sovak believes his new leadership role as dean of GTSB is threefold: to be an effective strategist, to be a good steward of the school, and to bring a renewed focus of community outreach. Sovak works hand-in-glove with Bismarck-Mandan businesses for collaborative, hands-on experiences to enhance the students’ learning comprehension. Additionally, his philosophy is about the formation of the whole person. He embraces this new position and calling with loyalty and responsibility.

“Dr Sovak is a champion for entrepreneurship, community service and experiential learning,” said Dr. Diane Fladeland, vice president for Academic Affairs. “He is deeply devoted to students and has devoted himself to advising and his students’ professional formation. Dr. Sovak will lead the Gary Tharaldson School of Business with energy and a vision for business as a force for good in Bismarck-Mandan and beyond.”

Sovak served in the United States Air Force and brings over 20 years of entrepreneurial experience as a consultant and strategic planner and is the former owner of the Sovak Insurance Agency. Sovak is very active in Bismarck-Mandan as a current and former member and advisor in nearly 20 boards and civic organizations. He was also a two-time national Collegiate DECA Advisor of the Year for his leadership with University of Mary’s own Marauders On Business (MOB). Sovak’s insight and expertise is not just limited to the University of Mary, he served on both the Bismarck State College (BSC) Innovation and United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) Advisory Boards. Sovak currently provides consulting and training for the Virtuous Leadership Institute in Washington, DC.

He often speaks on virtuous and servant-leadership in presentations and workshops to various organizations, including Global Village at Lehigh University; and was the co-founder of the Incubator for Developing Entrepreneurial Activity (IDEA) Center of Bismarck — a student developmental laboratory for students working with entrepreneurial venture projects.

Sovak is also a contributing writer for various publications including the “Bismarck Magazine,” “Salem Press,” and he has co-authored an “Entrepreneur Workbook,” and high school “Principles of Management” text with Goodheart-Willcox Publishing Company.

Sovak immediately assumes the dean’s position with the recent departure of Dr. Collin Knapp.

About the University of Mary

True to its motto “lumen vitae”—The Light of Life—the University of Mary offers education for the whole of life through cutting-edge professional programs and graduate programs animated by moral courage and leadership in chosen professions and service to the community. A private, co-educational Catholic institution, the University of Mary welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.

A Christian, Catholic, Benedictine institution founded in 1959 by the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery, Mary offers nearly 60 bachelor’s, 15 master’s, and four doctoral programs—in Education, Nursing Practice, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. The 19-sport Athletic Department adheres to its Greatness Through Virtue mission under the governance of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) conferences. With more than 3,800 students, Mary has locations in North Dakota, Montana, Kansas, Arizona, Rome, Italy, as well as vibrant online offerings. For more information, visit www.umary.edu.