History of the Kelley School

100 + Years of Excellence: The History of the Kelley School of Business

The Kelley School of Business is one of the world’s premiere business schools. Business education at Indiana University dates back over a century and a half to the first Indiana University catalog, dated 1830-31, which included political economy in the curriculum. From this first course, during the remainder of the century there developed a Department of Political Economy, later referred to as the Department of Economics and Social Science; it was early courses in these areas that grew into what is now referred to as the “core program” of study in the Kelley School.

In 1902, several business courses were introduced and listed in the university catalog. These commerce courses constituted the last two years of a four-year course of study leading to a baccalaureate degree. The first two years were spent completing a pre-commerce requirement and included all the required courses of the liberal arts curriculum of that period. In 1904, the first business catalog, referred to as the Commercial Course Number, was published

Thus was established, a century ago, the pattern of building a program of professional education for business upon a liberal arts base—a pattern maintained throughout the years and currently emphasized in the education of the Kelley student. In 1920, a separate School of Commerce and Finance was organized. The school became a member of the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business in 1921; in 1933 it was renamed the School of Business Administration and placed under the direct control of its own faculty. In 1938, the title of the school was shortened to the School of Business

The Junior Division (now the University Division) of the university was established for all first-year students in 1942. After that, enrollment in the School of Business did not include freshmen until 1995, when the Direct Freshman Admission Program began. Graduate coursework in business administration, first authorized in 1936, expanded rapidly after World War II. Programs for the degrees of Master of Business Administration and Doctor of Business Administration were instituted in 1947. In 1961, the designation of the area of study formerly referred to as the Graduate Division of the School of Business was changed to the Graduate School of Business. With the reorganization of the university in November 1974, the School of Business began operating at two campuses—Bloomington and Indianapolis

Although business courses were offered as early as 1916 on the Indianapolis campus, a degree was not available there until the M.B.A. program was launched in 1962. The bachelor’s degree in business became available at the Indianapolis campus following the 1969 merger of Indiana University with Purdue University in that city. Beginning in 1969, a divisional structure emerged in Indianapolis with an assistant chairperson at its head. In 1969-70, complete undergraduate degree programs were offered for four major areas in business, as were three two-year certificate programs

In 1997, E. W. Kelley, an undergraduate alumnus of the Indiana University School of Business, donated $23 million to assist the school in its mission to provide the premiere business program in the nation. To honor the generosity of his gift, the IU School of Business was renamed the Kelley School of Business.

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