Washington University in St Louis Olin Business School
Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness. — Frank Gehry, Architect, 1929–
Click the images below to see the people and milestones that shaped our history.
William Greenleaf Eliot, Jr. (1811–1887), graduate of Harvard Divinity School, came to St. Louis to establish a Unitarian congregation in the mid-19th century. With a passion for education, he was co-founder of Washington University in 1857 with Wayman Crow.
Wayman Crow (1808–1885), self-educated businessman, owned one of the largest wholesale dry goods companies in St. Louis. Crow was also dedicated to public service. He helped Eliot establish the Mission Free School and reorganize St. Louis public schools. He served two terms in the Missouri Senate.
William F. Gephart, the first dean of the School of Commerce and Finance — as it was known in 1917 — was a professor of economics. Determined to establish a business school at Washington University, Gephart personally solicited donations from 30 St. Louis businesses to help found the school.
First graduating class, on the steps of Brookings Hall.
The only woman in the class, the late Margaret Haase Calhoun, recalled her student days in 1985. "It was a street-car college. Some faculty and out-of-town students lived in McMillan Hall, where there were also sorority rooms…and Dunker Hall was about to be built."
Robert S. Brookings (1850–1932) joined the Washington University board in 1891. In 1923, Brookings established the Graduate School of Economics and Government for students to study in Washington, D.C., and St. Louis. In 1927, the school became the Brookings Institution, still a prominent think tank in the nation's capital.
Robert Brookings helps lay the cornerstone for Duncker Hall, 1923.
Duncker Hall, first home of the School of Commerce & Finance. Mr. & Mrs. Charles H. Duncker funded the building as a memorial to their son Charles Henry Duncker, Jr., a 1914 graduate who was killed in World War I in 1918.
During World War II, women's enrollment in the business school increased from 18 to 121.
Master in Business Administration program established.
The business school joined with Harvard, Chicago, Northwestern and Wharton to commission the Educational Testing Service to develop the Admissions Test for Graduate Studies in Business (ATGSB), known today as the GMAT.
One of the early computers used at Washington University.
Olin marketing students board a flight to New York City to visit Madison Avenue ad agencies. That same year, the University established a separate Graduate School of Business Administration under Dean Ross M. Trump, and for the first time a doctorate in business administration was offered.
By 1961, the business school had outgrown Duncker Hall and moved to Liggett Hall. The former dormitory (located on the current site of the Danforth University Center) was remodeled, thanks to a gift from Mr. Frank Prince, and renamed Prince Hall.
Sterling Schoen, professor of management, founded what would become the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, an organization that promotes diversity and inclusiveness in U.S. businesses and business schools.
The Century Club Speaker Series initiated in the 1970s provides opportunities to hear highly regarded business leaders speak about the challenges and opportunities in their industry.
Robert L. Virgil (dean, 1977–1993), came to Washington University in 1958 as an MBA student. His tenure as dean from 1977 to 1993 marked a period of vibrant growth.
Under Dean Virgil, the student body increased 50 percent and the faculty doubled in size, with new professors coming from leading academic institutions.
A task force led by Charles F. Knight called for a new facility for the business school. Knight, former Chairman and CEO of Emerson, on the right, looks at model for the future Simon Hall with Chancellor William Danforth, St. Louis businessman John E. Simon and W.L. Hadley Griffin, WUSTL Board of Trustees Chairman.
Executive MBA program established.
Simon Hall was dedicated April 4, 1986.
In 1987, the John M. Olin Foundation presented the school with a $15 million challenge grant to be matched by private donors. In recognition, the school was renamed for John M. Olin, an industrialist and university trustee.
Olin Cup business plan competition established. Olin expands entrepreneurial courses, funded in part by the generous support of the Skandalaris family.
Businessweek magazine named Olin the top "up and coming" business school in the nation.
Olin Business School endowment reaches $75 million.
Stuart Greenbaum, dean 1995–2005. From the establishment of the Olin National Council to the expansion of Executive Education programs and the construction of the Knight Center, Dean Greenbaum's tenure was one of continued growth and prosperity for Olin.
Olin National Council, an advisory group, is established and convenes first meeting in October to shape Olin's strategic plan for the 21st century.
Inaugural class of re-engineered evening program, renamed the Professional MBA.
The McDonnell Douglas Foundation gives $10 million gift to Washington University, a portion of which funds the Boeing Center for Technology, Information and Manufacturing. The Center fosters interaction between industry and academe to discover, develop and encourage new technology-driven practices.
The Knight Center dedication on October 5 marked the grand opening of the five-story, 135,000-square-foot facility that contains conference rooms, classrooms and 66 guest rooms.
Olin's Executive MBA-Shanghai program was launched as a joint program offered by Washington University and Fudan University. It has been ranked consistently among the top five international MBA programs since its inception.
Mahendra Gupta, the Geraldine J. & Robert L. Virgil Professor of Accounting & Management becomes dean. He was appointed for a second term in 2010.
Dick Mahoney establishes $10,000 Olin Award for faculty research that is rigorous and relevant to business practitioners.
Critical Thinking @ Olin, launched in 2007, developed a novel approach to teaching critical thinking and redesigning MBA orientation.
Olin establishes an EMBA program in Kansas City in 2010, expanding the school’s regional influence and interaction with corporate partners.
Student Practicum team members charged with proposing new dining services at Olin celebrate the opening of Einstein Bros. Bagels franchise in Simon Hall.
Olin receives $15 million gift from Charles F. and Joanne Knight for facilities expansion.
Olin receives $10 million gift from George and Carol Bauer, through the Bauer Foundation, for facilities expansion.
The MBA Roundtable's award to recognize and promote innovative initiatives in MBA education praises Critical Thinking @ Olin as an exemplary and essential program for business students.
EMBA-Shanghai program celebrates 10th anniversary.
Olin launches iPhone app.
Chancellor Wrighton and Dean Gupta join the Knights and Bauers as they break ground for the Olin expansion project that will double the footprint of the school on the Danforth Campus.
Olin's Executive MBA announces expansion to Denver. This is the 30-year anniversary of our top-ranked EMBA program and the expansion westward is our fourth location in addition to St. Louis, Shanghai, and Kansas City.
Donors to the MBA 2013 class gift campaign earned the privilege of signing a steel beam used in construction of Knight & Bauer Halls. The "Leave Your Mark" campaign raised $9,592!
Removal of two huge cranes from the construction site marks the half-way point—an important milestone in the construction project.
Inaugural class of the new Global Master of Finance Dual Degree Program in collaboration with Singapore Management University begins. The cohort will travel between St. Louis and Singapore to earn degrees from both universities.
Olin and Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea partner to offer a unique learning experience to master the complex world of business by earning two degrees on two continents in their new Global Master of Finance Dual Degree program.
Dedication of Knight Hall and Bauer Hall.
Knight Hall is named in honor of Joanne and Charles F. Knight, generous benefactors and supporters of Olin Business School and Washington University in St. Louis.
Bauer Hall is named in honor of Carol and George Bauer, generous benefactors, alumni, and supporters of Olin Business School and Washington University in St. Louis.
Building Olin. Building the Future.
As Olin approaches its centennial in 2017, it has more than 19,000 accomplished alumni around the world and remains committed to building the future's business leaders and thinkers. Our core values of collaboration, integrity, diversity, leadership, and excellence are reflected in all we do.