The University of Mississippi School of Business Administration was founded as the School of Commerce in 1917. That same year, Ole Miss had an incoming class of 150 students. During the academic year of 1919-1920, the business school became a separate school of the university.

The first woman graduate, Ms. Mary Frances Clark, was in 1930. She served as treasurer of her class and married her classmate, Mr. Claude M. “Tad” Smith, who served as the university’s athletic director for many years.

Today the Ole Miss Business School has more than 3,600 students, 58 permanent faculty members and 29 staff members, making it the largest business school in Mississippi. It offers 10 majors, a top 10 insurance program and a recently-established Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE).

In 1941, the Master of Business Administration was established, and Ph.D. programs in business and economics were established shortly thereafter. Jimmy Fried was the first to receive the MBA degree.

The MBA program is ranked among the nation’s best at No. 37 among the nation’s public universities by “Bloomberg Businessweek” News Service, and the online program came in at No. 9 in “U.S. News & World Report’s” 2022 ranking.

The school received its initial accreditation in 1944 from the American Assembly of Colleges Schools of Business (AACSB) and continues with the designation today.

To date, the school has been led by 11 deans.

Former and current deans

  • James Warsaw Bell (1917-1941)
  • Horace B. Brown 1943-1949
  • McDonald K. Horne 1949-1950
  • Clive F. Dunham 1950-1965
  • Ben B. McNew 1966-1979
  • Lynn Spruill 1980-1984
  • Rex L. Cottle 1985-1991
  • Randy Boxx, 1993-1999
  • Keith Womer (Acting Dean 1999-2001)
  • Micheal Harvey 2001-2003
  • Brian J. Reithel 2003-2007
  • Ken Cyree 2008-present