Santa Clara University

Leavey School of Business : A Brief History

Santa Clara University has offered business education almost since its founding in the middle 1800s, introducing courses in commercial education in 1854. Though its business courses, the University has developed men and women who lead with competence, conscience, and compassion.

1851 Santa Clara College established, the first institution of higher learning in California
1854 Courses in commercial education offered for the first time
1877 Amid faculty controversy, a new two-story commercial building is constructed. The classrooms are intended to be "the commercial world in miniature." Cost: $10,000
1923 William H. Pabst named first dean of the new College of Commerce at Santa Clara University. The name would be changed in 1925 to "School of Business and Administration"
1929 Edward J. Kelly named second dean of the business school. The college catalog describes the business program as "studies in ethics, logic, psychology, history, and science provid[ing] the student with the broad principles necessary for dealing with industrial system in its social relationships."
1941 Charles J. Dirksen named third dean of the business school. With the beginning of World War II, faculty and students enlist and are drafted. University enrollment drops to 91 and just six business faculty remain.
1947  Dean Dirksen admits women to the evening undergraduate business school program. 
1953  Business School accredited by AACSB; Santa Clara becomes the 64th university in the country to be awarded a Beta Gamma Sigma scholastic honor society.  
1959  MBA program introduced; the first eight candidates graduate in 1961 
1967  Kenna Hall, a former men's dormitory, is remodeled for the business school. Cost: $863,000. 
1970  First two Ph.D.s in business awarded by business school 
1973  Both undergraduate and graduate programs are re-accredited by AACSB. The Santa Clara - Fairchild cooperative MBA program is established 
1977  Hewlett-Packard in Santa Rosa established as first off-site campus for MBA program 
1979  Andre Delbecq named fourth dean of business school. First graduate commencement held for 335 MBA graduates in the next academic year. 
1983  Dorothy and Thomas Leavey School of Business and Administration dedicated. International Business Studies program launched
1987  First international graduate faculty exchange:  SCU and Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Rouen
1990  James L. Koch named fifth dean of business school; San Ramon off-site campus for MBA established the following year 
1993  $1.5M remodel of Kenna Hall begins. Undergraduate and graduate business curriculum re-designed in following year. 
1996  Barry Z. Posner named sixth dean of Leavey School of Business ("Administration" is dropped from official name)
1999  Donald L. Lucas provides $15M to launch "Building for the Future" campaign 
2007  Construction begins on new business school building at the edge of campus along Franklin Street. Cost: $49M 
2008 September 14: Dedication of Donald L. Lucas Hall
2010 Interim dean S. Andrew Starbird named as seventh dean of Leavey School of Business


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