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Eighty-Year History of LMU’s Business Education Is Put Between Covers

During his 23 years as dean, John Wholihan made a lot of history at Loyola Marymount University’s College of Business Administration. Now, he’s written the rest of the story. After rummaging through boxes of records and notes, Wholihan has chronicled more than 80 years of the college’s past. His scrapbook, “Heritage, Achievements, Vision,” was self-published in July.

The university’s aim when it established the business college in 1926 was to educate public-spirited leaders using state-of-the-art business models and a thorough grounding in ethics. The college “retained the best of the old and adapted to business-environment developments,” Wholihan said. As the field shifted to science-minded, quantitative analyses, the college upgraded its curriculum even as it maintained the connection to the values of the university’s Ignatian tradition. 

“I was pleased to see the consistency of the mission over the years,” said Wholihan, who stepped down as dean in 2007. “And still, we’ve kept pace with new trends and advancements.”

Wholihan’s book tracks the growth of the college from its small enrollment of the 1930s and ‘40s to the boom in the student body during the 1950s. The biggest growth, Wholihan said, occurred during the 1980s, when the number of undergraduate business students topped out at 1,500.

In telling the story of the college, the dean emeritus emphasized the people involved, because, he said, “people make the history; that’s how the legacy is built.” In fact, Wholihan collected the names of all faculty members from 1926 to the present and listed them in an appendix. He also included the names of all students and faculty inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, the international business honor society.

The pivotal moment in the history of the CBA came at the 1995 opening of the Conrad N. Hilton Center for Business. “Before then, we were in five different buildings,” said Wholihan. “You wouldn’t even have known we had a College of Business Administration.” The Hilton Center brought all the pieces of the CBA together and allowed the administration, faculty and students to build on a single identity.

For more information about the College of Business Administration, go to http://cba.lmu.edu.

Posted Oct. 5, 2009