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U. of I. to host international marketing symposium


Jan Dennis, Business & Law Editor

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Five pioneers will be honored for their contributions to the field of marketing during an international symposium April 17-19 at the University of Illinois.

The Paul D. Converse Symposium is held every four years, presenting achievement awards that constitute a “Marketing Hall of Fame,” according to Fortune magazine. The U. of I. department of business administration and the Central Illinois chapter of the American Marketing Association sponsor the event.

Winners who will be honored at the 17th Paul D. Converse Symposium include Valarie Zeithaml, a marketing professor at the University of North Carolina. Zeithaml, a pioneer in services marketing, is the first woman honored in the nearly 50-year history of the awards.

Other award winners are Joe Alba, chairman of the marketing department at the University of Florida, who studies how consumer expertise influences decision-making; Leonard Berry, an authority in retail marketing and a marketing professor at Texas A&M University; Kent B. Monroe, professor of marketing at the University of Richmond, former J.M. Jones professor of marketing at the U. of I. and a leading researcher on pricing strategy; and Rajan Varadarajan, a marketing professor at Texas A&M who specializes in services marketing.

Honorees will present programs and answer questions April 18-19 at Wohlers Hall on the Urbana campus. They will receive their awards at a dinner April 19 at the Levis Center.

“The symposium is our chance to showcase the best and the brightest in the field,” said Cele Otnes, co-chair of this year’s symposium along with fellow U. of I.  marketing professor Bill Qualls.

“We’ll have five of the world’s greatest marketing minds on campus and that’s great exposure for our faculty and students,” Qualls said.

For the first time, the symposium also will host students seeking doctoral degrees in marketing from other Big Ten universities, expanding exposure to the award winners, Otnes said.

The American Marketing Association established the symposium in honor of Converse, a former U. of I. business professor who was a pioneer in developing the field of marketing. The U. of I. College of Business is the permanent host for the event.

Editor’s note: To contact Cele Otnes, call 217-265-0799; e-mail