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  • Business and the Morrill Act at 150



    From its inception, ILLINOIS was tied to business as a conscientious attempt to expand higher education to the state's working citizenry at large. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act into law in 1862, which lead to the establishment of the Illinois Industrial University five years later in 1867. Business education would not be formalized into a College until later in 1915, however, it was a popular pursuit for those interested in manufacturing, transportation, and commerce jobs long before 1867.

    As business courses on campus grew in popularity through the last quarter of the 19th Century and into the first decades of the 20th, a champion would eventually pursue the cause of centralizing aggregated "courses of training for business" into a College, complete with professors dedicated to developing the discipline and a structural home on the Illinois campus. David Kinley, professor and director of economics and dean of the College of Literature and Arts until 1906, was that champion. Kinley was appointed dean of the graduate school in 1906 and by 1914 he was appointed acting president of the University.

    The steady growth of enrollments in business courses paved the way for legislative funding and additional instructors on the Illinois campus. The strong interest in business and related growth took place elsewhere around the U.S. and Europe as businesses grew larger and more successful, requiring new skills and practices in management, accounting, work processes, and other functions. The construction of the first Commerce Building in 1913 and the approval of a College of Commerce and Business Administration in 1914 were visible manifestations of the importance of business in society and on the Illinois campus, as well as Kinley's influence as a leader.

    Lincoln's Morrill Act was designed to help America grow through educating the masses of common people. Situated as it was during America's great period of industrialization, business education grew dramatically to meet labor and training demands of burgeoning businesses. The resulting growth of colleges of business on campuses like ILLINOIS ultimately became part of the globalizing vision that originally produced the Morrill Act.

    The introduction of the College of Commerce and Business Administration led to important refinements of the business curriculum, allowing the addition of many courses and professors which, in turn, contributed to the growth and prestige of business education.

    Today, the College of Business (name changed in 2003) has grown into a powerhouse of societal influences. Faculty produce public research to improve countless business practices, students grapple with challenges that face real organizations, and funded centers work strategically to improve fundamental practices of ethics, specific practices related to businesses like banking, and huge social issues like poverty and literacy on a global scale.

    Listed below are many examples of the ways the College of Business now influences the world around us.

    Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership
    The academy encourages entrepreneurial awareness and initiatives across all disciplines at the University and sponsors events in support of entrepreneurship. Its' efforts ultimately influence the creation of new ventures that change the University and the world.

    Bananas and Business
    Researchers like Professor Marcelo Bucheli help to change how we view the world economy and our place in it. Bucheli's research challenges stereotyped views of the role of multinational companies in developing countries by examining relationships between key players and revealing important insights.

    Business Students

    Students in the College of Business are actively giving back to various communities with their individual initiatives, club efforts, and classroom exercises. They are exceptionally diverse, drawing on talent from around the state and the world, they are tireless leaders on campus who are motivated to change the world.

    >>BUS 101—This required course for all undergraduates sensitizes students to their ethical responsibilities in business and society.

    >>Social Entrepreneurship Institute—Invests the intellectual capital of ILLINOIS and its students into such community organizations as Crisis Nursery, Girls Scouts of Central Illinois, Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club, and the Center for Women in Transition.

    >>Study Abroad—Students learn to appreciate world cultures and to share their knowledge with others from around the world. Generous funding helps all students to afford this life-altering experience.

    >>MBA—Four MBA programs attract students who seek to develop their own unique gifts, to change the world through business and social leadership.

    >>Illinois Business Consulting—The nation's largest student consulting organization takes on projects that benefit industry leaders, government and not-for-profits.

    V.K. Zimmerman Center for International Education and Research in Accounting
    Business in all countries need to internationalize in order to survive. Even small companies trade in one or more foreign markets and/or establish financial and operating relations with foreign companies. CIERA provides innovative learning experiences for faculty, students, and professionals in all aspects of scholarship, including the creation, integration, dissemination and management of accounting knowledge in the international domain.

    Margolis Market Information Lab
    The MMIL prepares ILLINOIS students to become leaders within the rapidly evolving finance industry by training them with theories and practical techniques necessary to utilize the most sophisticated state-of-the-art electronic resources housed in any lab of its type in the U.S. Making such technology available to students studying finance, they gain access to knowledge and insights they can leverage for positions in the financial industry.

    Marketplace Literacy Project - Professor Madhu Viswanathan
    A major focus of Professor Viswanathan's career has been encouraging and enabling through educational programs low-literate, low-income individuals in the U.S. and India to improve their gainful participation in marketplaces.

    MBA and Graduate Students
    ILLINOIS students come from countries around the world to learn diverse skills necessary to be leaders in various disciplines and industries.

    Office for Banking Research
    OBR programs help bankers meet the new challenges in the industry and at the same time, afford researchers the opportunity to study real-world banking problems using critical data not generally available. Advances in Banking influence world economies.

    UIUC College of Business Department of Accountancy