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The University of Tennessee

College of Business Administration

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University and College History

Since its inception as Blount College in 1794, two years before Tennessee became a state, the University of Tennessee has broken ground in innovative higher education. Known as East Tennessee College in 1807 and East Tennessee University in 1840, UT acquired its present site in 1826, the 40-acre tract known as “The Hill,” and the UT we now know began to establish roots.

During the Civil War, East Tennessee University was forced to close, and the university’s buildings were used as a hospital for Confederate troops, later to be occupied by Union troops.

East Tennessee University reopened after the war, and in 1869 the state legislature selected the university as the state’s federal land-grant institution. This enabled the university, now known as The University of Tennessee, to broaden its offerings by adding agricultural, engineering, and military science courses to its curriculum.

Dr. Theodore Wesley Glocker Sr. joined the faculty of the University of Tennessee in 1913.  Glocker, a professor of economics and sociology, was named as head of what is now known as the College of Business Administration in 1914.  The school had only eleven students and one faculty member.  The business program, under the name of the “School of Commerce,” was restricted to courses on money, banking, and corporate finance, and was part of the College of Liberal Arts.  An international element was introduced, and given the timing following the Spanish-American War, its focus was on South America.

Two new faculty members joined the college, and programs in accounting, finance, marketing, and factory management were introduced in 1922.  Student enrollment was steadily increasing and, by 1924, the School of Commerce had reached 251 undergraduate students.  In 1936, Dr. Glocker established the Bureau of Business Research to administer outside grants and be responsible for the school’s research; the name later was changed to the Center for Business and Economic Research.

In 1938, in order to become eligible for accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the business school separated from the College of Liberal Arts and was renamed the School of Business Administration.  The school was designated as a college in 1947 and renamed the College of Business Administration.  That same year, with the support of Dr. Glocker, the Department of Journalism was established within the college.  One year later, graduate-level courses were introduced and, by 1950, nine graduate programs were offered. 

In 1951, Dean Glocker retired after 37 years, and, in 1952, the business building was dedicated to his many years of service. In 1966, a full-time MBA program was offered. By 1969, undergraduate enrollment topped 4,200 with graduate enrollment exceeding 350.

The 1970s and 1980s were years of dramatic change for the college. The university’s first capital campaign was completed in 1975 and helped finance the 1975 opening of the $4.5 million William B. Stokely Center for Management Studies. The campaign also helped establish in 1977 The Advisory Council to the Dean, made up of business leaders from across the United States. That same year, the Master of Accountancy program was introduced, and in 1988 the full-time MBA program became one of the nation’s first to transform business leaders through an integrative-formatted curriculum.

Another initiative that came from the capital campaign and demonstrated the innovative spirit of the college was the founding in 1974 of UT’s Center for Executive Education (CEE). CEE was one of the first to develop programs in quality improvement, lean and logistics / supply chain management — with programs and faculty now internationally renowned and top-ranked in all areas. In 1994, CEE chartered new ground in the educational arena by offering an Executive MBA program with a 12-month, High-Compression Learningsm curriculum, and continued differentiating its executive offerings through specialized executive MBAs; the Physician Executive MBA in 1998—the nation’s first AACSB-accredited executive MBA to use internet-based cyberclasses—and the Aerospace MBA in 2004. In 1999, the same innovative approach to executive MBA education was extended to meet the needs of the regional market with the establishment of the 16-month, weekend Professional MBA program, which has graduated 335 professionals since its inception.

One of the college’s most ground-breaking events occured in 2009 with the opening of its new 174,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art, $40 million business building. The new building preserves the college’s history while housing a technology infrastructure that compliments the college’s culture of innovation. It reflects the level of educational distinction that the college always has delivered and will propel the college to an even higher level of excellence.


Glocker Arches