Dr. Linda Pickthorne Fletcher

Dr. Linda Pickthorne Fletcher, 82, formerly of Chattanooga, Tennessee, passed away peacefully April 20, 2020 in Little Rock, Arkansas.

She was born in North Little Rock, the daughter of Edwin and Clara (Stainer) Pickthorne.  From the early age of 2, Linda was raised with a strong paternal influence from her beloved father, Edwin.  Following graduation from high school at the age of 16, having skipped the 4th & 6th grades, she entered Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, and received her Bachelor of Business Administration in 1958.  She then attended The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and was the first woman to receive her Ph.D. in Applied Economics in 1964.  She was an Assistant Professor of Insurance at Wharton from 1965-1967 and in 1972 was the Post-Doctoral Scholar in Finance at Wharton.  Linda continued her academic research with a Ford Foundation grant in the area of insurance and risk management.

In 1967 she moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to hold the position of Associate Professor and later Professor of Finance (Insurance) at the School of Business Administration, LSU for 10 years.

She then moved to Temple University, School of Business and Management as a Professor of Insurance and Risk, a position she held for 3 years.

In 1980 Linda was the Department Chair and Professor of Finance as well as Director of the Insurance and Financial Services Center for the Department of Finance, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia.  Beginning in 1987, Linda became one of the few women deans of a business school when she became Dean for the School of Business and Public Affairs at West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania, for 4 years.

In 1991, Linda was Dean and held the John Stagmaier Chair of Economics and Business at the College of Business Administration, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for 9 years from 1991-2000. During her time at UTC, her interest in entrepreneurship led the business program to many successes and inroads into the greater Chattanooga business community.  She enjoyed working with entrepreneurs and was interested, in particular, about supporting women’s entrepreneurial pursuits. She created the Institute for Women as Entrepreneurs, an outreach service of the UT-Chattanooga College of Business assisting area women and minorities with new venture creation and the transition to self-employment beginning with idea generation through business plan preparation. The IWE received a Coleman Foundation Grant for $19,300 in 1997 to further entrepreneurship education.

A natural passionate leader, she was a board member of the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, Girls, Inc., Am South Bank, Greater Chattanooga Construction Industry Corporation, YMCA of Chattanooga, and the TN Weekend Academy.  She was also a consultant and advised widely in the area of management and employee benefits to the business community and the Administrator of the US Department of Labor Pension and Welfare Benefits Program.

During her long academic and professional career, Linda was widely admired by her students, faculty, friends and members of the business community who worked with her or even just met her briefly.  Although a tough and competitive leader. Linda was a friend and mentor to faculty and students.  She was full of ideas, energetic, ever positive and always seemed to find a way to get things done, make things happen.  Her support of new innovative programs in entrepreneurship was enthusiastically adopted and opened new careers for many students, particularly women.  Linda’s support of women was consistent and unique throughout her career.  She also broadened the horizons of many of her students by making them more aware of other cultures through international travel.  Linda loved to travel, not just with friends, but also student and faculty groups.  Linda’s energetic creativity affected many people and will long be felt by the programs, faculty, friends and students she touched as a teacher, scholar, dean and friend.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Edwin and Clara (Stainer) Pickthorne, her sister, Dolores Ann Pierce and nephew, James Edwin Pierce.  Survivors include her step-mother, Ruby Dellinger, North Little Rock, AR, step brothers, Johnny (Diana) Glaze, North Little Rock, AR, Steve (Cathy) Glaze, North Little Rock, AR, Michael (Ronnie) Glaze, North Little Rock, AR, nephew, Scott (Deborah) Pierce Lexington, KY, Stuart (Sandi) Pierce, Lawrenceburg; KY, John Pierce, Taipei, Taiwan, niece, Barbara Pierce, Lexington, KY & half sister, Elaine.

Memories of Dr. Fletcher from her colleagues

“Linda’s energy and passion for entrepreneurship led the business program to many successes and inroads into the greater Chattanooga business community.  She encouraged faculty to travel abroad with the UTC EMBA students.  Thanks to her leadership, I saw the world and learned to appreciate international travel for the unique educational experiences it offered.

Linda became a friend and mentor.  Interestingly too, four UTC faculty that worked under her became business deans.  I’m the Dean of the C. Lamar and Ann Wright School of Business at Dalton State College (since 2017), Dr. Howard Finch was Dean at Samford (now Provost); Dr. Donna T. Mayo was dean at Dalton State College and retired from the University of North Georgia, and Dr. Tom Payne is dean at Tennessee Tech – all AACSB accredited business schools.  All four of us were at UTC and shared trailer offices during the renovation of Fletcher Hall and continue to be known as the ‘UTC Trailer Park Deans.’  I have to believe Linda was the role model that led us all to higher education administration.”

Dr. Marilyn M. Helms, D.B.A., CPIM-F, CIRM, CSCP-F, CQM/OE, CLTD-F
Dean, C. Lamar and Ann Wright School of Business and Sesquicentennial Chair and Professor of Supply Chain Management
Dalton State College


“Dean Fletcher was a passionate leader who brought with her a spark of energy when she joined the UTC College of Business. Her enthusiasm and her vision for the College allowed her to recruit accomplished faculty and move the College into new programs such as an Executive MBA program and an innovative Entrepreneurship program. Dr. Fletcher’s tenure as Dean left a mark on the College of Business that we still celebrate today.”

Dr. Richard C. Becherer
Emeritus Professor of Entrepreneurship
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga


“Linda was one of the most creative people I have ever known. She started and got funding for our very successful entrepreneurship programs, including the Hall of Fame. She worked with the program she started for women and black women businesses. She started the Family Business program. 

Personally she was extremely generous and charitable. She helped develop women and men faculty. She used her skills through out the university and community. She knew what she wanted and went after it. To me she was a great friend and boss, I will miss her.”

Dr. Lawrence P. Ettkin
Emeritus Professor
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga


“Linda Fletcher was an original.  Tough and competitive for the resources she needed for her college, yet when I became a dean she sent me roses in a cut glass vase.”

Dr. Mary Tanner
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

1 Comment » for Dr. Linda Pickthorne Fletcher, former Dean of UTC business school passes away
  1. Diane Halstead, Ph.D. says:

    Linda was a real mentor and inspiration to me. Her can-do approach to everything was highly motivating, and her energy bled into all the activities in the College of Business. I owe my chair in entrepreneurship to her, and together we raised $600,000 from the Harris Foundation. She taught me to always “go for it.” On a personal level, she was warm and generous and always, always supportive. Thank you for hiring and promoting and inspiring me, Linda. You will be greatly missed.

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