Rudolph ‘Rudy’ Lamone, U. Md. business school dean, dies at 91

Rudolph P. “Rudy” Lamone, a professor at the University of Maryland who served as dean of its business school for nearly two decades and helped create a center for entrepreneurship at the school, died Jan. 30 at a hospital in Annapolis. He was 91 and lived in Annapolis.

The cause was complications from covid, said his wife, Linda.

“When Rudy came to Maryland, it was a mediocre business school that was overwhelmed with students, had limited resources and was far from the business school we wanted it to be,” said William E. “Brit” Kirwin, former president of the University of Maryland.

“He also understood the evolving role of entrepreneurship that was coming along at the time, and he understood the value of fundraising and the involvement of the private sector in the school,” added Kirwin, who served as chancellor and chief executive of the University of Maryland from 2002 to 2015.

“Most deans spend time raising money, managing the staff, but with him, it was all about the students,” said Charles Ota Heller, a colleague and friend. “He helped them with their personal problems, bent the rules to help them, and had connections throughout the country and helped them get jobs.”

Rudolph Phillip Lamone, son of Italian immigrant parents from Abruzzi, was born in Wellsburg, W.Va., on Dec. 20, 1931.

In his youth, he was an accomplished saxophonist. Lying about his age and using the end of a burned cork to simulate a fake beard and stubble, he would slip into Pittsburgh nightclubs through dimly-lit back entrances so as not to be detected as being under age, family members said.

After graduating from high school, he toured the country with big bands. He served with an Army band from 1952 to 1955, then received a bachelor’s degree in 1958 from Campbell College (now Campbell University) in Buies Creek, N.C. He completed his doctorate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1966.

He then began teaching business at U.Md., serving as business school dean from 1973 to 1992. He was also responsible for establishing a center for entrepreneurship in the late 1980s with the help of a $1 million gift from an alumnus and benefactor.

Dr. Lamone lured Heller to come to the university.

“I ran a software company, and Rudy talked me into coming in 1990 to head the entrepreneurship center,” Heller said. “Back then, academics didn’t realize that entrepreneurship was worthy of study, but Rudy didn’t see it that way. He thought it should be a student major and the University of Maryland needed a center for those ideas, and of course, all of that came from him, and he was able to convince the authorities at Maryland and got it done.”

In 1998, Dr. Lamone was awarded the University of Maryland’s President’s Medal.

An entrepreneur in his own right, he was a co-founder of DirectGene, a biotechnology company that developed gene therapies directed toward the treatment of metastatic prostate and breast cancers. He also was a venture partner with Gabriel Venture Partners in Annapolis and Redwood Shores, Calif.

In 1970, he married Linda Hefler. In addition to his wife, survivors include a brother.

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