By Anthony St. Clair

From its humble beginnings 105 years ago, the University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business has grown to become one of the country’s leading undergraduate and graduate business schools.

The UO was one of the first American four-year schools to offer a curriculum centered around commerce and business. The university first offered a business curriculum in 1900, opened the business school in 1914, and awarded its first MBA in 1923. Originally established as the School of Commerce, the business school had fewer than 100 students that first year.

“The University of Oregon has a long history of partnering with businesses and industry to the benefit of all Oregonians,” says Sarah E. Nutter, who has served as Edward Maletis Dean of the Lundquist College of Business since 2017.

By 1952, the business college had 942 students enrolled, supported by 42 faculty and staff members. That year, Commonwealth Hall was built to connect Oregon Hall and Commerce Hall (now part of the Lillis Business Complex). Computers first came to the college in 1979, and students could work toward an MBA in international business beginning in 1986. In 1987, enrollment broke 3,000 students. In 1994, Charles H. Lundquist created a $10 million endowment—the UO’s first multimillion-dollar endowment—and the college was renamed the Lundquist College of Business. This all set in motion the momentum leading to the college’s flagship Lillis Hall—Oregon’s first sustainable public building—which replaced Commonwealth Hall in 2003.

Fast-forward to 2018: 4,225 undergraduate students and 427 graduate students from the US and 95 other countries were enrolled in the Lundquist College of Business. Throughout its history, the college has awarded 37,321 degrees. Undergraduate members from the class of 2018 were hired by nearly 200 companies, including Tesla, Airbnb, Zulily, Morgan Stanley, and Patagonia.

The college is the UO’s epicenter for all pre-business, business administration, and accounting majors. Business administration majors can focus on general business or concentrate their studies—and real-world experience—in entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, operations and business analytics, or sports business. Students pursuing higher degrees, such as an MBA, can also focus on advanced strategy and leadership, finance and securities analysis, innovation and entrepreneurship, sports business, or sustainable business practices.

“Students start here to earn their business degrees and go on to become the business leaders of tomorrow, creating new opportunities throughout Oregon and the world,” Nutter says.

US News ranked the Lundquist College of Business at No. 26 among public undergraduate business schools in 2019—rocketing the UO up 20 spots from previous rankings. That’s a reflection, Nutter says, of how the college continues to evolve.

“What we teach and the programs we offer have obviously changed over time, but those are a direct result of adapting to the needs of business, and helping companies overcome challenges and explore new ideas,” Nutter says. “Today, we continue our legacy of educating the best business minds and helping to launch new ideas.”

As technological and other innovations come out of the new Knight Campus, the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship will continue mentoring students working on startups. After opening new minor programs in entrepreneurship and sports business earlier this year, the college is also launching a minor in sustainable business this fall that is open to all majors.

To further help students gain best-in-class and learn cutting-edge skills for today’s job market, the college has also been piloting a Professional Edge program of short courses. Students can earn industry-recognized certifications in effective storytelling, Google Analytics, Tableau, design thinking, and more. After being developed and refined in Lundquist, the Professional Edge program will be available to all UO students this academic year.

“Our future is bright,” Nutter says. “We are climbing the rankings, renewing our focus on undergraduate education, launching new programs, growing our faculty, and better positioning the business school as the place on campus where ideas become reality.”

Degrees Offered

BA/BS: Accounting,Business Administration

Minors: Business Administration, Entrepreneurship, Sports Business, Sustainability

MBA: Business Administration

JD/MBA: Law and Business Administration

Executive MBA: Business Administration for Oregon Executives

MS: Finance, Sports Product Management

MACTG: Master’s Degree in Accounting

PhD: Accounting, Finance, Management, Marketing, Operations Management