Remembering Dr. Richard Mathisen
KENNESAW, Ga. (Jan 11, 2019) — The Michael J. Coles College of Business this week lost Dr. Richard Mathisen, an experienced marketing educator and professional who spent decades helping influence marketing curriculums in classrooms across the country and around the world.
Mathisen came to Kennesaw State College in 1989 as a full professor of marketing. Prior to that, he spent seven years in marketing positions at Southern Company. His last role there was general manager of marketing for Southern Electric International, a branch that provided engineering and technical consulting services.
“His experience at Southern Company was a key component in the classes he taught,” says Dr. David Burns, Chair of the Department of Marketing and Professional Sales. “It was important to Rick that students saw the real-world applications of what they learned in his class.”
This philosophy was evident in the many partnerships Mathisen organized between his classes and the local business community. Over the years, his students worked with groups like the Cobb YMCA and the Cobb Symphony Orchestra to develop real, actionable marketing plans.
“Dr. Mathisen had a wonderful ability to combine his conceptual knowledge with his practical experience to provide his students with excellent learning opportunities,” says Dr. Kathy Schwaig, Dean of the Coles College.
Mathisen was an active member of the Georgia Association of Marketing Educators and of the Association for Marketing Theory and Practice, where he served as program chair for nearly two decades and co-developed their annual conference.
“Rick helped develop a conference that directly and beneficially affected marketing faculty not only nationally, but internationally too,” Burns says. “It featured a diverse array of research in an atmosphere where generous, positive collaboration was the norm. Many people refer to the ‘magic of AMTP.’”
Mathisen was an accomplished researcher in his own right, focusing on business-to-business product development marketing strategies. He formerly served on the editorial review board of The Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice and was editor of the Journal of Applied Marketing Theory.
Those who worked alongside Mathisen describe him as a consummate professional who possessed a warm personality and a great sense of humor. He enjoyed supporting the Coles College faculty and staff, and was especially passionate about his work organizing the College’s former annual family picnic.
“I will always remember his love, love, love for the Coles College picnic,” says Marketing and Professional Sales Associate Professor Randy Stuart. “Rick sat on the committee, and was greatly involved in the planning, the setup, and in making sure everyone had a great time.”
Inside the classroom, Mathisen expected quality work from his students. While this sometimes earned him a reputation for being a stern professor, most students understood the value of a rigorous education.
“Rick was unwilling to compromise his standards in the classroom,” says Burns. “He never wavered from his focus on preparing students for the realities of the workplace.”
Mathisen earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, his MBA in marketing, and his Ph.D. in marketing from Michigan State University. Before joining Southern Company, he taught marketing for seven years at the University of South Alabama.