The GWSB family was deeply saddened by the loss of Sal Divita, professor emeritus of marketing, who passed away on July 15. Divita, who taught at the School of Business over the course of four decades, was extraordinarily popular with his colleagues, and especially, with his students, many of who kept in close contact with the professor, years – and decades – after graduation.
A graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School, Divita earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from New York University, an MBA from Ohio State University (pursuing the degree while on active duty with the United States Air Force) and a DBA from Harvard School of Business. He was a full-time consultant at IBM for ten years before teaching part-time at American University and GW. He became a full-time member of the GWSB faculty in 1972. Divita retired from GWSB in 2008.
An active member of the American Marketing Association, he wrote a regular column for the association magazine and appeared as a guest speaker at chapters across the country. A 2008 GWbusiness magazine profile described Divita as “an influential university professor and one of Corporate America’s most in-demand speakers and consultants.” Divita and his wife Frances were married for 58 years and had four children, ten grandchildren, five step-grandchildren and four step-great-grandchildren.
“He was almost an institution himself within GWSB, having served here for about four decades,” said Pradeep Rau, professor of marketing and international affairs. “During that time, he served in many roles including as department chairperson multiple times and as acting dean on one occasion. He was also the School marshal who officiated at dozens of School graduation ceremonies over the years in his familiar Harvard crimson robe. Above all, Sal felt a deep attachment to the School and wanted to do the right thing at all times – he will be greatly missed.”
The GWbusiness article about Divita described in some detail his pioneering research into developing effective marketing tactics and strategies based on understanding human behaviors and personality types – proving, in short, that marketing is a “people business.” A line from that article serves nicely to describe his legacy at GWSB:
“Educator” or “marketing expert” just won’t do – Sal Divita was a great success in the people business.
Posted by gwsb on August 2, 2011 | Filed under: GWSB News.