When Charles Patti took a graduate-level advertising class a decade into his advertising career, it changed his life.
“I realized I was fascinated by the science of advertising and marketing, which was so different from how I made day-to-day decisions in my job,” said Patti, who was vice president of corporate communications for U.S. Industries at the time. “I started thinking about a career in academia because I knew it would fulfill my natural curiosity about the practice of my field.”
Fast forward to 1975, when Patti graduated from the University of Illinois with a PhD and an MS in advertising. He accepted a position at Arizona State University, but in 1982 jumped at the opportunity to join DU’s College of Business Administration to teach advertising and marketing. He launched the MS in advertising program, led study abroad programs and became involved in the business community. Though he loved DU and Denver, Patti left both in 1989 to explore the world.
First came a visiting professorship at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, and then a one-year assignment at Sonoma State University in California, where Patti ran the Center for Business and Economic Research and taught marketing courses. He joined the University of Hartford faculty and later became associate dean and director of the Center for Distance Learning. In 1997, Patti joined Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, leading the School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations.
Eventually, Patti began plotting his return to Colorado, where his grown children were having children of their own. His timing was fortuitous. Daniels had received an endowment from Cox Communications for the James M. Cox Professor of Customer Experience Management. Patti, a consultant and devoted researcher of the topic, accepted the position in 2006 and eventually created a customer experience management concentration for the MBA and MS marketing programs.
From 2013 to 2014, Patti served as interim dean at Daniels. He spearheaded development of a faculty merit system and the creation of a new statement of scholarship to guide faculty research and other activities. He retired at the end of 2015.
Today, Patti is moving into phase three of his career. He recently had two articles published in “Industry Marketing Management” and the “Journal of Marketing Communications.” He’s also in the early stages of writing a book about customer experience management and has been busy teaching workshops and seminars on the topic
“Academic life is always enriching,” said Patti. “I’m proudest of the relationships I’ve built in this career. I always tried to help colleagues, students and the business and professional communities. I have enjoyed every job I’ve had—from working with students, staff and colleagues to the leadership roles. Making an impact is important to me.”