Professional News

Dean Simon Sheather Named 1st Endowed Truist Chair in Data Analytics

Photo of Dean Simon Sheather
Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 17, 2021)  Simon J. Sheather, dean of the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky, has been named as the first holder of the Truist Chair in Data Analytics.

The inaugural chair in the Department of Finance is part of a $2.5 million endowment established in 2019 by Truist Financial Corporation through its Truist Charitable Fund, a donor-advised fund at The Winston-Salem Foundation.

“Endowed chairs are recognized for their outstanding academic service, leadership and significant scholarly contributions to their disciplines,” David Blackwell, UK provost, said. “Sheather is among the top mathematical scientists worldwide; his work is very highly cited and he has received awards for excellence by multiple institutions and professional societies.”

Sheather also has extensive experience working with industry and government developing practical predictive models for big data. Applied in nearly every industry, business analytics is the art and science of harvesting, cleaning and structuring data to create compelling stories that inform business decisions. Today’s global economy depends on using data to solve the world’s biggest, most daunting problems.

“I would personally like to thank Truist for advancing our new analytics program and research, which will use predictive modeling and machine learning to analyze big data and generate striking and impactful business insights,” Sheather said. “Our students will benefit greatly from this generous investment in the Gatton College analytics program.”

In July 2018, Sheather became the eighth dean of Gatton College. Under his guidance, the college has added a real-time, online MBA option and a popular new minor in business analytics, which produced its first graduates in 2020.

Prior to joining Gatton College, Sheather served as professor and interim director of Texas A&M University’s Institute of Data Science, as well as academic director of the M.S. in Analytics and Online Programs in the Department of Statistics. While at Texas A&M, he started two professional master’s programs, both of which make innovative use of technology.

Additionally, Sheather is a fellow of the American Statistical Association and has received awards for excellence in teaching at two different institutions.

About UK’s Gatton College of Business and Economics

Gatton College prepares principled leaders for the global economy, produces influential research and supports economic growth in Kentucky and beyond. Gatton College educates more than 3,500 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, economics, finance, management and marketing and supply chain management. You can learn more at

About Truist

Truist Financial Corporation (NYSE: TFC) is a purpose-driven financial services company committed to inspiring and building better lives and communities. Formed by the historic merger of equals of BB&T and SunTrust, Truist has leading market share in many high-growth markets in the country. The company offers a wide range of services including retail, small business and commercial banking; asset management; capital markets; commercial real estate; corporate and institutional banking; insurance; mortgage; payments; specialized lending; and wealth management. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Truist is the sixth-largest commercial bank in the U.S. with total assets of $509 billion as of Dec. 31, 2020. Truist Bank, Member FDIC. Learn more at

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