Business education at Fordham has a colorful history that dates back to a winter's day more than 90 years ago. Below is a brief tale of the business school’s first moments — a testament to the sheer amount of time that Fordham has considered it a priority to educate students for the halls of commerce.
On a chilly day in 1920, a man named Hugh S. O'Reilly crossed Fordham's Rose Hill campus for an appointment with then-President Father Edward P. Tivnan, S.J. He pitched the idea of starting a business school at Fordham, and he succeeded.
The following fall, Fordham business students took up their pencils and textbooks on the seventh floor of New York City's iconic Woolworth building, on the northern edge of Manhattan's financial district. At first, there were only night classes: in accounting, business English and business law. The students — all men — aimed to take the New York State CPA examination. In reflection of that, Fordham called the division the School of Accounting.
The fledgling business school grew over time, adding a three-year certificate program in 1922 and a bachelor of science degree program in 1926. Fordham confirmed its place on the business-education map when, in 1939, the school joined the prestigious American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business and was awarded a chapter of its honor society for outstanding business students, Beta Gamma Sigma.
These were the earliest roots of what would become known as the College of Business Administration and, most recently, the Gabelli School of Business, in honor of a 2011 gift from alumnus Mario Gabelli (GSB '65).
The school expanded and changed over time — admitting women, welcoming larger numbers of students, and occupying various spaces in Manhattan and on Fordham’s main Rose Hill campus in the Bronx, where it lives today — but through it all, what lasted was a commitment to a comprehensive education for the entire student. We look forward to new generations of students becoming part of that proud tradition.