History of the School of Business

Eastern Kentucky University’s School of Business has continuously evolved over the decades to earn a reputation for providing a top-quality education as designated by its AACSB accreditation.

The Department of Commerce, when the University was known as Eastern Kentucky State College, laid the foundation for what is now known as the School of Business. In recognition of expansion in the national and world economies, Eastern offered curriculum that prepared students to become commerce instructors of young men and women in general business while instilling in them a professional attitude. The role of the Department of Commerce in training business educators reflected the mission of the college, as Eastern Kentucky State College was noted across the country as a teacher training institution.  

The Department of Commerce was renamed in 1964 as the Department of Business, headed by Dr. Joseph Young. Initiation of a program of secretarial science was the first major change in the department, while focus still remained on preparing business educators. Major expansion occurred in the Department of Business in 1965 as ten new faculty members, twenty-three new classrooms, and $50,000 in new equipment were dedicated to meet the needs of its 1,400 majors, which comprised one fourth of Eastern’s undergraduates.

In 1966, Eastern Kentucky State College became known as Eastern Kentucky University. The Department of Business had become the College of Business with the purpose of preparing students for occupations in accounting, business teaching, economics, finance, management, marketing, and secretarial work. The fall semester of the 1967-68 calendar year featured another major development for the College of Business as the Master of Business Administration was now offered at EKU. The first M.B.A. degrees were awarded in 1969, a year that also featured the implementation of a revised program designed to prepare students for increased complexity in electronic data processing.

Dr. Howard Thompson was named Dean of the College of Business in 1974. His tenure was defined by three areas of development for the College: recruitment of high quality students for business careers, revision of curriculums to obtain quality programs and fresh areas of expertise, and building connections with businesses and industries to ensure graduate placement and job opportunities. Enrollment in the College of Business nearly doubled from 1974 to 1978, with the increase being attributed to a growing interest in newly added programs in the areas of insurance and real estate.

Continuing developments in the economy and a growing demand for graduates led to further expansion. By 1980, the College of Business was the largest and fastest growing academic unit at Eastern with over 2,200 majors and 65 faculty members. During Dean Thompson’s tenure, enrollment had quadrupled and more rigorous standards for admissions were put in place in order to maintain a good student to faculty ratio. The College of Business was directed to providing a quality education to its service area, designated as the eastern and south-central regions of Kentucky. Students were given the opportunity to study in fields that prepared them for job opportunities that were in high demand in their hometowns.   

The College of Business was centered on technological advances in the 1980s and 90s in recognition of the major influences that technology was having on the business field. 1984 marked the welcoming of a new Dean, Dr. Alfred Patrick, as well as additions in technology and staff. The goals set by Dean Patrick included completion of the microcomputer lab and improvements in staff through the addition of doctoral faculty.

Dr. Charles Falk assumed duties as the Dean of the College of Business in 1986 and focused upon building up the goals set by Patrick. The College of Business continued its mission to provide a comprehensive general business background in preparation for several business disciplines on into the 1990s.

Realizing the need to keep students abreast with the newest technology to make them more competitive in the job market, EKU competed nationally with 89 other schools and was granted state-of-the-art computer equipment and software from AT&T valued around $400,000.

Dr. Alfred Patrick returned as Dean in 1993 and continued the College’s mission of providing an educational setting that promotes lifelong learning and professional development among students, faculty, and the community.

The College of Business experienced reorganization in 1994 as it sought accreditation by what was then known as the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business. Dr. Robert Rogow began his tenure as Dean of the College in 1998, moving business programs further into the accreditation process.

In 1999, the College of Business was joined by the College of Applied Arts and Technology to form the current College of Business and Technology with Dean Bob Rogow at the helm of the newly combined college. The College of Business and Technology was divided into the School of Applied Arts and Technology and the School of Business in 2011 with Dr. Ed Davis and Dr. Rita Davis serving as associate deans, respectively.

Accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International was first received in 2003 and was officially re-accredited in December of 2012. Robert D. Reid, executive vice president and chief accreditation officer of AACSB International, said: “It takes a great deal of commitment and determination to earn and maintain AACSB accreditation. Business schools must not only meet specific standards of excellence, but their deans, faculty and professional staff must make a commitment to ongoing continuous improvement to ensure that the institution will continue to deliver the highest quality of education to students.”

Receiving accreditation from the AACSB truly speaks to the development of the School of Business over the decades, as this distinction is earned by less than 5 percent of the world’s business programs. Dr. Bob Rogow, Dean of EKU’s College of Business & Technology since 1999, spoke on the importance of the accreditation stating, “AACSB accreditation ensures students, parents and employers that EKU’s School of Business provides a high-quality business education based on rigorous international standards. Graduates of AACSB-accredited business programs are recognized worldwide by employers and universities.”

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