William S. Silver, dean of the School of Business and Economics (SBE) at Sonoma State University (SSU) for the past 10 years, is stepping down to return to teaching as a professor of Leadership and Management, effective Dec. 31.

Karen Thompson, SBE managing director, will fill the position of interim dean and the university will launch a search for Silver’s successor in 2018.

“The great thing about being dean is being able to have an impact on thousands of students. But like anyone else who has been passionate about teaching, the classroom always calls you. I missed the small group and one on one,” Silver said. “We’ve accomplished an enormous amount over the years and now I’m looking forward to supporting the university in a new way.”

During his tenure as dean, Silver built innovative programs with international reach and brought industry expertise to the classroom through executive-in-residence positions. During his tenure, student enrollment in business and economics courses grew by nearly 40 percent, university spokespersons said.

He also raised over $20 million in donations and scholarships, including $2.2 million for first-generation, low-income students, and headed the initiative to build the new Wine Spectator Learning Center, which opens in Spring 2018.

“Dean Silver provided inspirational leadership for the School and the University,” SSU Provost Lisa Vollendorf said. “His integrated vision of a business school that serves the broader community provides a strong foundation for the next generation of leadership in the School of Business and Economics at SSU.”

As a community leader, Silver has been involved in various economic development efforts through his board service on Sonoma County BEST, a nonprofit that supports business and job growth, the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, the North Bay iHub, certified by the state to support business innovation and job creation, and Sonoma County Vintners.

Silver also collaborated with Gregory Nelson on a book released in August, “Way of Zing” which maps strategies for a work/life balance.

Cynthia Sweeney covers health care, hospitality, residential real estate, education, employment and business insurance. Reach her at Cynthia.Sweeney@busjrnl.com or call 707-521-4259.