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Remembering Will Mitchell

December 8, 2021


Image of Will Mitchell


Honouring a professor, colleague, and friend

I am very sad to be sharing this news with the Rotman community. Our colleague, friend and teacher Professor Will Mitchell died suddenly on December 6, 2021 after returning home from a run.  This news is a shock and I appreciate how difficult it is to hear it, especially while many in our community are still working and learning remotely and we cannot console each other in person.

Will joined the Rotman community in 2011 as a Professor of Strategic Management. He held the Anthony S. Fell Chair in New Technologies and Commercialization and was co-Academic Director of the GEMBA- HLS program. He also held an appointment in the Biostatistics and Bioinformation department at the Duke University Medical School. He was a founder and co-editor of Health, Management, Policy, and Innovation and consulting editor of the Strategic Management Journal (SMJ). He was active in the Strategic Management Society and Academy of Management and sat on the corporate board of Neuland Laboratories, Inc. (Hyderabad).

Before joining Rotman, Will was Professor of Strategy at Duke University and, before that, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He earned a Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley and a BBA at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. He was a leading scholar in the Strategic Management area with a particular interest in healthcare and the life sciences.

Will could be counted on to step up when help was needed. He stepped in as the Academic Director of the Full-Time MBA program during COVID from July 2020 to June 2021. More than that, he was always working to innovate and improve the Rotman experience, evidenced for example in his role developing and co-directing Rotman’s Global Executive MBA for Healthcare and the Life Sciences.

Beloved by many, Will was committed to their support and was instrumental in the career development of many students. He was a Ph.D advisor to numerous students at the University of Michigan, at Duke University and at Rotman.

Will leaves his partner Dilys Bowman and three grown children Mairi, Tamzin and Luc. Our thoughts are with Will’s family and our heartfelt condolences go out to them.

The Rotman School hosted a virtual ceremony of remembrance on January 17, 2022. We came together and shared amongst ourselves and with Will’s family just how important he was to the Rotman community. If you are interested in hearing what was said you can watch the video here.

If you would like to send a private message of condolence to Will’s family, please send it to

Will’s obituary can be found here.

A fund has been established in memory of Professor Mitchell to honour his commitment to student support. It can be accessed here.


Prof. Will Mitchell posthumously received the Distinguished Scholarly Contribution Award at Rotman on March 3, 2022.  This award recognizes and encourages research and research-related service that contribute to the development of a robust and dynamic research environment within and beyond the Rotman community.  To hear Vice Dean Ken Corts present the award, click here. The School will be contributing the $5,000 research stipend that is included with this award to the Will Mitchell Scholarship fund


The Strategic Management Society (SMS) hosted a webinar highlighting Will Mitchell’s academic career and scholarship:  “Remembering Will Mitchell Through What It Means To Be an Academic”.  The webinar took place on April 20, 2022 at 11:00 am EDT. The session was hosted and coordinated by Myles Shaver of the University of Minnesota, a longtime colleague of Will’s and featured a number of Will’s colleagues and friends.



Susan Christoffersen

Dean, Rotman School of Management
University of Toronto