An academic visionary thinker has left us
Yesterday we received the very sad news that Professor Rolf Wolff suddenly passed away after a short illness. For ten years, from 2000 to 2010, Rolf Wolff was Dean of the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg and played a central role in the School's development. He was a key figure in transforming the School into a strong, highly internationalised academic institution with a close collaboration with the surrounding society.
In November 1989, Professor Rolf Wolff, together with Professor Sten Jönsson, initiated the Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI), a research institute that would link economic research closer to business. After intensive fundraising, the institute was established. Doctoral students were recruited and after only a few years, three research programs were underway. Rolf, as ever the visionary academic entrepreneur, founded the research program Sustainability in 1994, resulting in innovative dissertations from PhD students. Today, 30 years later, sustainability issues remain absolutely central to our world and to our School - in practice, research and education.
During Rolf's tenure as Dean of the School of Business, Economics and Law, the School expanded the number of professors and students. He established a post-doc programme for new PhDs, a faculty-wide Leadership Programme and an international Visiting Professor Programme. He also brought the School closer to the business community. He initiated the School's work with accreditations and completed the first EQUIS accreditation. Rolf's vision and internationalisation strategy have led to the School’s accreditations by EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA, the first Triple Crown institution in Sweden.
After serving as Dean of other business schools, in Stockholm and Germany, he returned to GRI as a researcher. Rolf's presence there, as always, brought forth many new ideas, many exciting meetings with people inside and outside academia, and strategic discussions about current research areas. When Rolf arranged the Friday coffee, you could always expect something extra, to the delight of all.
Rolf leaves a big void behind. We miss a dynamic forward-looking colleague and a good friend.
Per Cramér, Dean, School of Business, Economics and Law and Ulla Eriksson-Zetterquist, Director, GRI