From Humble Beginnings ... 1921 to 1960

From Humble Beginnings ... 1921 to 1960

The business school's mission statement, published in the 1924-25 course catalog, reveals its lofty ambitions: "The chief aim...is to produce thinkers rather than routine workers, executives rather than subordinates." Working toward that goal, the college will evolve its curriculum, more than quadruple in size, and change its name twice in ten years. 1921 The University of Maryland's Department of Economics/Business Administration offers its first formal business curriculum. In its first year, 394 students enroll and take required courses such as diplomacy, constitutional law, public speaking and ROTC. By 1925 there are 46 faculty members.


University of Maryland’s Department of Economics/Business Administration offers its first formal business curriculum. In its first year, 394 students enroll and take required courses such as diplomacy, constitutional law, public speaking, and ROTC. By 1925 there are 46 faculty members.


The Department becomes the College of Commerce; W. Mackenzie Stevens is appointed as the college’s first dean. Stevens photo. Stevens was an internationally known economist and educator, holding an MBA from Northwestern and a PhD from American University. He was distinguished for serving as a technical advisor to the Republic of China—quite an adventure in the days before globalization, when it took weeks by ship to reach that far-off land—and a principal organizational specialist to the federal government. 


The College of Commerce joins the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), then the national accrediting body, and the undergraduate business program is accredited.


J. Freeman Pyle is appointed dean. Pyle substantially broadens the school’s focus to include coursework in public administration, and the school is renamed the College of Business and Public Administration (BPA). 


As enrollment skyrockets after the end of World War II, faculty also increases from a wartime low of 18 to 76. BPA’s first MBA degrees are granted to five students of Dr. John Frederick, who joined the faculty in 1946 from the University of Texas and brought his graduate students with him.

Working through the War

World War II was a difficult period for the business school. Enrollment plummeted as many students—and faculty—entered the armed forces. The school still managed to do its patriotic duty by developing the Army Specialized Training Program to prepare students to assist in the policing and administration of occupied territories. In 1943, enrollment reached an all-time low of just 130 civilians; after the war, those numbers rebounded to more than 2,200 in 1948.

Getting Down to Business ... 1961 to 1972

Getting Down to Business ... 1961 to 1972

This era of relative stability sees little change in the school's organizational structure - or its name. But seeds for the future are being laid, as the school receives its first major research grant, inaugurates its doctoral program and starts taking advantage of new technology.


The College of Business and Public Administration moves into its new building, Tydings Hall, named for Scott Millard Tydings, a three-time Maryland senator. (Tydings majored in engineering at the University of Maryland and edited the first campus newspaper, the Triangle, in 1910.) The building will serve as a home for the rapidly growing school for the next thirty years. 


Donald O’Connell, who holds a BA, MA, and PhD from Columbia University, is appointed dean. O’Connell photo. The College of Business and Public Administration’s MBA program is one of the first accredited by AACSB, ensuring its standard of excellence in the MBA coursework.


Elementary Statistics is offered in the Statistics Laboratory, where electric Monroe calculators are provided at each desk. Over the next four years the electric calculators will be replaced by an improved electric version and then by an electronic calculator, as the college tries to keep ahead of the technology curve. When slot machines become illegal in Maryland, a former student calls department chair Charles Taff and offers to donate a slot machine for use in the study of probability theory. “His kind offer,” Taff records, “was respectfully declined as it seemed there were more traditional methods of teaching statistics.”


By 1964 the number of women enrolled at the college was beginning to take off, though it would be several years before they were fully participating in organizations like the Accounting Club. Like other student organizations, the Accounting Club provided important networking and extracurricular opportunities for students at the college.


The college’s first major research grant—$182,500—is received from Federal Bureau of Public Roads to fund a two-year study of public demand for various transportation systems and modes of travel. Five members of the department and several graduate students participate in the study; the grant provides for reduced teaching loads, additional graduate assistants, and many research-based monographs and articles.


The doctoral program is established with two candidates for the degree of Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), James Donnelly (Marketing) and John Ivancevich (Management and Organization,) who will go on to author the classic textbook Fundamentals of Management. An information systems management major is offered for the first time, reflecting an awareness of the computer’s importance in business practice (if not yet in everyday life).


The school reorganizes its undergraduate core curriculum to reflect changes in the way business is conducted in the wider community. New divisions are marketing and transportation, business and public policy, accounting, organizational behavior (later called management/organization), and quantitative (later called management science/statistics). The DBA degree becomes a PhD program.

A Historical Commitment to Diversity

In the late 1960s, with the College’s new core curriculum and graduate programs in place, the school turned its attention to encouraging minority students and women to enter its programs. There had been few women enrolled before 1962; in the following decade their numbers would increase substantially. To further increase diversity, the school solicited a grant from the 1907 Foundation of United Parcel Service to provide financial support for qualified minority applicants. Key faculty, including future Dean Rudy Lamone, would recruit several times a year on traditionally African American campuses such as Howard University and UM’s Eastern Shore campus. Entering minority MBA and PhD candidates were guaranteed financial support in the form of teaching or research assistantships. Today the Smith School’s diversity is one of its great strengths. Amongst undergraduates, 43% are women and 32% are from a minority group. In the graduate programs, 17% are from a minority group and 35% are international.

Increasing Accomplishments ... 1973 to 1991

Rudy Lamone

The school undergoes another name change and Dean Rudy Lamone, with a knack for raising money from his little red card box of alumni names, embarks on an ambitious program to bring the school into the intellectual mainstream.


BPA’s business administration department becomes the College of Business and Management (CBM). Rudolph P. Lamone is appointed dean. Photo. Lamone, who played saxophone professionally, had a successful career as a jazz musician before devoting his life to academia. During his 19 years in the position, Lamone will found several research and study centers at the school, including the renowned Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. 


The Professional Advisory Board is created to give the college first-hand information on developing trends and concerns in the business community. Convinced that additional funding is needed to support the college’s continued development, the Advisory Board and Dean Lamone establish the College of Business Management Foundation.


The Shady Grove and College Park part-time MBA programs begin, as the school seeks to be responsive to the needs of the professional management community. Dean Lamone resolves to avoid the “stigma of a casual part-time program” by instituting a curriculum no less rigorous than that of the full-time MBA program.


The University of Maryland celebrated the country’s bicentennial by planting the M circle at the main entrance to campus for the very first time. The nation’s big birthday festivities weren’t enough to distract people from a wide range of disturbances, as the university struggled to cope with the changes brought on by Title IX, state budget woes and the growing pressure for more diversity on campus. Tremendous downpours from Hurricane Eloise flooded parts of campus, including many basement dorm rooms, and forced the cancellation of classes on September 26. The weather didn’t affect the pace of technological innovation; in 1976 the University employed a hulking Univac 1108 computer for registration that did not, alas, make registering for classes any easier.


The College of Business and Management is the first University of Maryland college to gain a separate undergraduate admissions program, allowing the school to become more selective in its admissions process. The Center for Quality and Productivity (MCQP) opens, another of Dean Lamone’s research and study centers. The Executive-in-Residence program is established to give students closer contact with the professional community.


CBM offers an MS degree for the first time, allowing students to specialize in information systems, management science, or finance.


CBM offers a joint program with UM School of Law to create the MBA/JD degree, significantly reducing the time it would take to earn both degrees.


Michael D. Dingman, founder of Signal Corporation (now Allied Signal), gives a $2 million gift to create the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. One of the first entrepreneurial centers in the nation, Dingman Center facilitates and supports the growth of new enterprise ventures, helping budding entrepreneurs develop the strategies that will let them get off to a healthy start.


The Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) is established to grapple with the growing trend toward globalization.

Research at Smith

Since 1965, when the school received its first research grant, Smith has become a place for outstanding scholarship. In three of the last four years, the Financial Times has ranked the school in the top 10 in research in the world, as measured by the number of papers published in top business journals. Smith attracts top faculty in each department who are making significant contributions to both knowledge and practice, sometimes in collaboration with their peers in engineering and the sciences. 

The World at our Fingertips ... 1991 to 1996


With a solid academic reputation, a new home - Van Munching Hall - and increasing respect from the business community, the College of Business Management is poised to take its place on the international stage as a leader in research and a producer of quality graduates. And the name changes. Again.


Alumnus William E. Mayer, MBA ’67, is appointed dean and agrees to take on the responsibility for five years. During his tenure the school’s reputation and rankings will improve, its visibility in the academic and business world will increase, and the MBA curriculum will be completely overhauled. The Dean’s wine collection grows to 10,000 bottles during the same period.


Leo Van Munching, Jr. ’50—b-school alum and president of the company holding the exclusive franchise to import and distribute Heineken and Amstel Light beer—donates $5 million toward the construction of the College’s new home, Van Munching Hall. Van Munching Hall will accommodate many more students and faculty and provide space for the computer labs the school needs to keep ahead of the technology curve. Back at Tydings Hall, the IBM-Total Quality program is a collaboration with industry that gives students valuable experience working in teams in a quality business environment. 


Few people knew what e-mail was and the first palm computer, Apple’s Newton 100, was still in development. But lunchbox-sized “mobile phones” looked pretty cool on TV. Graduating seniors looked forward to more TV time: “College of Business and Management majors can look back and say goodbye to 30-pound business law textbooks, living on vending machines between classes, and 8:00 a.m. accounting classes,” the 1992 Terrapin reported gleefully. Still, all that hard work paid off for CBM graduates. The country was in a recession and the unemployment rate was at 7.5%, but the starting salary for an MBA from the college was $44,000. 


CBM moves into state-of-the-art Van Munching Hall. The building is christened, of course, with a bottle of Heineken. 


The Terrapin Fund, a student-managed portfolio of endowment funds, is established with a donation of $250,000 from the College of Business and Management Foundation. The fund is managed by a select group of second-year, full-time MBA students to give them practical experience in asset management. (It is renamed the Mayer Fund in 1999 to honor the commitment of William Mayer.)


A new MBA curriculum is rolled out. Emphasizing hands-on learning and real-time decision-making, the coursework provides an ideal learning environment to help students better understand the issues they will face in the working world.


Desktop videoconferencing is first used in an MBA class for 40 students working in teams with students from Indiana University in Indiana. This course is the first of many which use technology to link students at the college to other students and faculty around the world. 


CBM becomes the Maryland Business School. 


The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship holds its first annual conference for women entrepreneurs. Titled “Money, Markets, Momentum—Growth Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs,” the event attracts more than 100 women business owners from the Washington metropolitan area.


The IBM-TQ program becomes the QUEST (Quality Enhancement Systems and Teams) program, in collaboration with the A. James Clark School of Engineering and the College of Computer, Mathematical and Physical Sciences. This interdisciplinary three-year program gives high-achieving undergraduates a chance to pursue team-based coursework.


A grant from the United States Agency for International Development allows the College to jointly sponsor the Management Education in Poland program with the University of Lodz. It is the school’s first overseas executive education program.

A Matter of Ethics

There are the team-building exercises during orientation, the classes, the consulting project, and the case competition. And then, just a couple of weeks or so before graduation, there’s one last requirement before final exams: the trip to prison. 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business requires its full-time MBA students to go to prison as part of an innovative Business Ethics Experiential Learning Module (ELM). The ELM gives students a hard-hitting look at business ethics issues. In addition to the prison visit, students interact with ethics experts and do role plays in which they grapple with issues such as discrimination and whistle blowing. 

The Business Ethics ELM, which began in 1996, includes a half-day stay in prison and panel discussions and presentations by inmates: former MBAs and business executives. Lectures from experts in the field of business ethics, group discussions and role-plays round out the ELM. 

Smith School takes its ethics education so seriously that all other classes and activities are suspended each year during the two-day Ethics ELM.

Ascent to the Top - The Move to Excellence ... 1997 to 2004


The b-school becomes the Robert H. Smith School of Business and a remarkable transformation is underway. The Smith School is educating men and women to become agents of positive change in the world... to broaden their horizons, exposing them to new business practices, different cultures and new ways of thinking.


Howard Frank is appointed dean. Frank, an engineer, entrepreneur and sci-fi art enthusiast who once served as director of the Information Technology Office at DARPA, zealously promotes his vision for the school: to win renown for producing technology-savvy executives who are masters of the creation, management and deployment of knowledge and information. 


A joint graduate program in business, engineering, and computer science—the MS in telecommunications—is offered. 


New MBA concentrations in telecommunications, technology management, supply chain and logistics management, and electronic commerce are introduced. These types of cross-discipline content innovations in the curriculum are part of the school’s new business model, structured around the creation, management and exploitation of information.


On March 30, 1998, Robert H. Smith, an alumnus who graduated in 1950, pledges $15 million in support of business school. Named the Robert H. Smith School of Business in his honor, this transformational gift allows the school to develop the facilities and resources it needs to make its vision a reality. 


The Smith School launches a Baltimore-based, part-time evening MBA program. Construction on the new wing of Van Munching Hall continues. 


To attract and retain the best faculty, the Dean’s Office announces a three-year program to bring faculty salaries up to parity with those of similar business schools. 

Over the last four years, 80 new faculty members have joined the Smith School from the world’s premiere research institutions in one of the most successful business-school recruiting programs in this country to date. Today Smith has more than 175 full and part-time faculty members, teachers and adjuncts, each selected for excellence in research, teaching, and their ability to advance the school's netcentric agenda.


Leo Van Munching Jr.’50 donates $6 million to help finance the expansion and renovation of Van Munching Hall, which will give Smith the most advanced information technology infrastructure and learning environment in the nation.


The Smith School launches a part-time, evening MBA program in Washington, D.C. This brings the total number of evening tracks to five, offered at three locations: Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., and Shady Grove (Montgomery County, Md.)


A new faculty category is created: non-tenure track permanent, “superstar” teaching professors to improve the quality of teaching in the undergraduate program and reduce the overall teaching burden of tenure-track faculty.


Smith’s first Netcentricity Conference brings together experts to discuss the impact that ever-changing technology is having on the forces that drive business challenges, whether financial, strategic, organizational or technological.


The opening of the new wing of Van Munching Hall doubles the size of the school, uniting the undergrad and graduate students under one roof for the first time ever and making it possible for nearly all the undergraduate business courses to be offered in one building, rather than 13 different buildings scattered across campus.


The Center for Electronic Markets and Enterprises receives a three-year, $2-million grant from the National Science Foundation to study electronic markets for time-sensitive goods; research will be conducted at the center by Smith School faculty and members of the University’s economics and computer science departments.


Carly Fiorina, MBA’80 and chairman and CEO of Hewlett Packard Company, is keynote speaker at the Smith CIO Forum, a yearly meeting of top information officers, technology strategists and academic researchers.


The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship helps initiate the New Markets Growth Fund (NMGF), $20-million venture capital fund created to invest in early and expansion stage companies located in economically distressed sections of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Investors in the NMGF include public entities, private institutions, and high net worth individuals.


The 18-month executive MBA (EMBA) program is launched. The program is designed to provide just-in-time, built-to-order executive education to managers while addressing the educational and developmental needs of their sponsoring companies.


The Smith School identifies itself as a model for business education and knowledge advancement for the 21st century with the adoption of a new tag line, “Leaders for the Digital Economy.”


The Smith School introduces an Executive MBA program in Beijing, China. The Beijing program is offered in partnership with the University for International Business and Economics, which provides facilities, support and marketing while Smith School provides academic content and faculty. 


The New Markets Growth Fund Practicum course, in which MBA students work with the $20 million New Markets Growth Fund, is unanimously selected as the winner of the 2003 national Outstanding Entrepreneurship Course of the Year at the 18th Annual United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Annual Conference in Dallas.


Nextel announces a ground-breaking partnership with the Smith School to distribute its Blackberry handheld to the entering full-time MBA class. MBA students will have instant access to professors, coursework, and each other as part of the most wired MBA program ever.

Netcentricity: Making the Most of the Wired World

Netcentricity is our new favorite word. It describes the instant, constant, complex interconnectedness of a world where information is knowledge and knowledge is power.

Smith’s Netcentricity Labs for Finance, Supply Chain Management and Behavioral Science give students hands-on experience in an environment that simulates the real world. In the Supply Chain Management Lab, students use models and simulations to learn how events and decisions made within today’s “virtual” supply chain impact overall performance for the entire organization - a critical lesson in today’s global economy. In the Financial Markets Labs, students work as asset managers with access to real-time data from Reuters, just as they would on Wall Street. In the Behavioral Lab, students use the latest software and techniques for data mining and analysis. Just as important, students gain the confidence and analytical skills they need to succeed as business leaders in the emerging netcentric economy.

Smith’s technology savvy reflects the University of Maryland’s pivotal role in the early days of the Internet. The university played a major role in the development of ARPANET and was the first host of “MAE East,” the telecommunications hub connecting ARPANET to users in the early 1980s.

Rising International Recognition

The stature of the Smith School has advanced dramatically over the past decade, and the school has been consistently recognized for excellence among top-tier business schools. Most recently, the entrepreneurship program was ranked #1 based on a survey of alumni by Entrepreneur magazine (2004.) The MBA program was ranked #18 in the nation (Financial Times, 2004) and #7 nationwide in management information systems (U.S. News & World Report, 2004.) Smith has been called a top-20 Tech-Savvy business school (Business 2.0, 2001) and been rated #3 nationwide for its “Techno-MBA” program (Computerworld, 1999.) 

Setting the Standards for Research

Smith’s laboratories and research centers generate knowledge and develop new ideas that can be quickly transferred to the classroom, the boardroom, and the marketplace. Rich new research paths develop from the cross-disciplinary interaction between faculty, students and members of the business community. The labs increase faculty and doctoral student research productivity as well as providing resources for teaching at the undergraduate, MBA, and doctoral levels. as they seek to understand the dynamic forces that impact the digital economy.

Between 1998 and 2003, Smith established: 

• The Supply Chain Management Center, which researches and defines best practices in supply chain management (1998). 

• The Center for E-Service, now called the Center for Excellence in Service, which studies and helps shape customer relationships in the digital age (2001).

• The Netcentric Financial Markets Laboratory, which simulates real-time stock exchange trading to support finance education and research (2001).

• The Center for Electronic Markets and Enterprises, which explores how the networked economy is transforming markets and businesses (2001). 

• The Center for Human Capital, Innovation and Technology, which explores the interface of key organizational resources to discover how they can be managed to create competitive advantage (2003). 

• The Netcentric Behavioral Laboratory, which provides resources to conduct experimental research on human behavior (2003). 


Strong And Growing ... 2005 to Present

The Smith school's vision is to be a world leader in generating new knowledge in the emerging global economic and business paradigm and providing thought leadership to students, corporate executives and policy makers, so that they can be agents of both economic prosperity and transformative social change.



Smith launches the Center for Health Information and Decision Systems (CHIDS), a research and development center aimed at delivering cutting-edge research and thought leadership focusing on the use of advanced information and decision technologies in the health care systems business processes and management.


In its first year, the school’s China Business Plan Competition attracts 20 Chinese start-ups eager to win the $45,000 in prizes offered.


Smith launches its Undergraduate Fellows Program to give opportunities to specialize and integrate classroom knowledge with real-world activities and hands-on applications through internships, labs, extracurricular programming and other experiential learning opportunities.


In response to a critical shortage of auditors after the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Smith launches its Master of Business in Accounting program. It will become the first of several new MS programs.


A $1.4 million grant from the Department of Education allows the Smith School to launch the Center for International Business Education and Research, to serve as a significant national resource center for regional businesses, academics, students and public policy makers. It is one of only 30 CIBER centers nationwide, each selected for demonstrated global strengths and reputation.


Smith is ranked No. 9 in the United States by the Princeton Review for offering the greatest opportunity for minority students.


Smith creates the $50,000 Lemma Senbet Fund to gives students the chance to research companies and manage and invest money from the school’s endowment fund. The fund managers’ goal is to outperform the S&P 500 index. The fund will pay a 5 percent dividend to the Deans Office each year. 


Smith alumni Carly Fiorina, former president and chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, and Kevin Plank, founder and chief executive of Under Armour, create a $175,000 alumni donor endowment fund for the Smith Schools Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship to invest in student- and alumni-run companies.


Smith custom executive education program is ranked No. 8 globally for value for the money by the Financial Times.


Smith strengthens the attractiveness of its PhD program with a $12 million initiative that provides “super-stipends,” more research support and state-of-the-art facilities.


G. “Anand” Anandalingam is appointed dean of the Smith School. Anandalingam, who joined the school in 2001, was Ralph J. Tyser Professor of Management Science and served as senior associate dean, chair of Smith’s decision, operations and information technologies department. He earned his Ph.D. (1981) and S.M. (1977) in operations research with a minor in economics from Harvard University, and he holds a B.A./M.A. in electrical sciences from Cambridge University, England. Prior to joining the Smith School, he held academic and leadership positions at the University of Pennsylvania and its Wharton School of Business for nearly 15 years. He also served on the faculty at the University of Virginia.


Smith is selected as an inaugural “Changemaker Campus” in partnership with Ashoka, a non-profit network of social entrepreneurs. Ashoka chose the University of Maryland as one of four U.S. campuses to develop a model for future university-based initiatives that will promote innovation and social change.


Smith launches its MS in Business: Finance degree.


The Smith School launches the Center for Social Value Creation to engage every student in courses and experiential learning programs that build leadership and an understanding of how businesses can create both economic prosperity and transformative social change. Melissa Carrier is named executive director.


The school expands its space in Baltimore’s BioPark to better serve students at the Baltimore campus.


EY donates $250,000 to create the EY Freshman Fellows Orientation Program and endowment. The gift will support orientation programs and presentations for Smith’s two-year Freshman Fellows program, an innovative combination of cohort-style classes, experiential learning, co-curricular activities and events that create a cohesive learning community linking students, faculty, staff, corporate partners and alumni.


The Center for Financial Policy is launched to promote research and education in financial policy that impacts corporate governance, capital allocation and risk management, emerging markets, and the stability of the global financial system.


The Smith School partners with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are teaming up for the Global Challenge, a first-of-its-kind competition that challenges teams of MBA and other graduate students to develop business solutions that support international development. Teams will be tasked with devising a new public-private alliance that allows a private enterprise to meet its long-term business goals while contributing to international development initiatives in a specified region.


The Center for Leadership, Innovation and Change is launched to promote research and programs that foster effective leadership, build organizational capabilities for innovation and change, and promote social stewardship in organizations.


The BB&T Foundation gives $1.5 million to support to business ethics and leadership programs at Smith. Awarded over a 10-year period, the gift will fund new curriculum and the BB&T Colloquium on Capitalism, Ethics and Leadership lecture series.


Smith receives a $1 million endowment from the Henry & Elaine Kaufman Foundation to support a fellowship in business history, in affiliation with the school’s Center for Financial Policy. University of Maryland history professor David Sicilia was appointed the first Henry Kaufman Fellow in Business History.


The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship celebrates its 25th anniversary with a visit from benefactor Michael Dingman, international investor, businessman and philanthropist.


Smith partners with the Gettysburg Foundation to develop customized leadership programs that integrate lessons from the historic Civil War battle.


Smith is one of five business schools selected by The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) to participate in a groundbreaking pilot program aimed at enhancing the strategic communication and reputation management education provided to the nation’s MBA candidates.


The Dingman Center’s Cupid’s Cup Business Competition goes national for the first time. 


The school’s first online degree program, the online MBA, is launched.

Special thanks are due to Dr. Rudolph Lamone, Professor Emeritus, and Anne Turkos, University Archivist. The information in this article was gleaned from many archival sources, including a monograph by the late Dr. Charles A. Taff, distinguished Smith School professor and benefactor, entitled “Developments Leading to the Formation of the College of Business and Management.” 


Robert H. Smith School of Business
Map of Robert H. Smith School of Business
University of Maryland
Robert H. Smith School of Business
Van Munching Hall
College Park MD 20742