Founded as the School of Commerce in 1917, the University of Mississippi School of Business Administration kicked off its centennial celebration on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017 with an early fall reception for faculty, staff and alumni in the courtyard of Holman Hall.
In 1917, the year the business school was established, the university had an incoming class of 150 students, the population of Mississippi was 1.8 million, John D. Rockefeller became the world’s first billionaire and only 8 percent of homes had a telephone.
In the fall of 2017, the school had more than 3,800 students, 63 faculty members and 18 staff, making it the largest business school in Mississippi. It continues to offer 11 majors, a top 10 insurance program and a new Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
New banners celebrating the milestone hung on the outside columns of the school as students settled into a new academic year. The business school also hosted a tent in the Circle for tailgating around the Ole Miss-University of Tennessee at Martin game for faculty, staff and alumni.
A Celebration of ‘Human Accomplishment
“This centennial celebration is really a celebration of human accomplishment, a celebration of the people who have been dedicated for 100 years to improving the understanding, the teaching and the service to advance business and business principles,” said Noel Wilkin, the university’s interim provost. “One hundred years is a significant milestone, one that signifies the perseverance of human accomplishment toward improving the practice of business for an entire century.”
The Master of Business Administration program, started in 1941, is ranked among the nation’s best, at No. 36 among the nation’s public universities by Bloomberg Businessweek News Service, and the online program came in at No. 22 in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 ranking.
“Thousands of lives have been changed, thousands of opportunities created and thousands of people making a difference,” said Ken Cyree, dean of the School of Business Administration.
“I look forward to the next 100 years and know we are poised to do great things with the dedication and commitment of this group of people in the business school.”
A New Fundraising Effort
In honor of the centennial, the UM Foundation has created the 1917 Order, a fundraising effort to recruit faculty, provide scholarships and increase class offerings, among many other initiatives. Membership begins with a gift of $25,000 or greater, with pledges scheduled over five years.
“To grow the endowment for the UM School of Business Administration, we have created the 1917 Order,” said Tim Noss, development officer for the school. “This effort will allow us to continue to grow in national rankings, recruit top students and faculty, and reach for new heights of excellence for the school.”
The school has relaunched BusinessFirst, the school’s magazine, which was distributed to alumni and friends by mail and given out at the celebration Friday. The magazine features alumnus Gen. Major Leon Collins on the cover and includes stories on a myriad of programs, students, faculty and alumni.
A report on the Risk Management and Insurance program’s recognition as one of 12 programs in the U.S. to receive the prestigious Global Centers of Insurance Excellent designation at the International Insurance Society’s Global Insurance Form in London is among the features included in the magazine.
Other highlights include the efforts of a group of MBA students to help a friend paralyzed in a car accident; the student portfolio team coming in fourth in the TVA Investment Challenge, among 23 other schools, with an 11.95 percent return; and the Rebel Venture Capital Fund, a group of alumni who invest in student-run startup business to help them grow.