Business trends come and go, but one component of business education has been a constant at Washington University since 1917. On-the-job experience has been a hallmark of every student’s time at the business school since its founding.
As the first World War was nearing its end, Washington University was introducing a business school: the School of Commerce and Finance. The 1920s were a pivotal time for the fledgling school, and the deans leading the school during this era influenced the direction and focus of the business school for years to come.
One hundred years ago, the very idea of a business school was not a high priority for most academic institutions. But an economics professor named William F. Gephart believed there was a good reason to legitimize the study of finance and commerce, and it became his mission to open a business school at WashU.
By 1919, the two-year-old School of Commerce and Finance at WashU was “exceeding expectations,” according to its Dean William Gephart. And in what would become a recurring theme in years to come, the dean made a case for a new building to house the growing business school.
Celebrating a century in business
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