Fifty years ago, what was then known as the Division of Business and Economic Studies was officially created on the University of West Georgia campus. The name may have changed a few times through the years, but we’ve been transforming lives through education, engagement, and experiences for half a century now.
For the last 20 years, the college has been officially named the Richards College of Business. Through all these exciting changes, Richards College of Business has been dedicated providing students with an education that is rich in experiences and engagement opportunities. Richards College of Business’s vibrant history and success is a testament to it’s dedicated faculty, staff, and students. As we celebrate our 50th anniversary as a College of Business and our 20th anniversary as the Richards College of Business, we look back at the highlights of the past five decades to see how the Richards College became the incredible mainstay it is today.
The Sixties were a time of great change; the same was true at what was then West Georgia College. This was the era of JFK, the Space Race, and “The British Invasion.” During this same time, West Georgia became a four-year university, and with that change came great improvements with its business college. The Business College started as a two-year secretarial science program, but in 1963 expanded into a Baccalaureate Business Degree program. In 1964 the program developed into a Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics, and by 1965 the first department of Business Administration was created. But as enrollment grew and demand increased for new majors, another change was ushered in. And in 1967, what was originally a department loosely tied to the Division of Social Sciences offering a Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics officially became the Division of Business and Economic Studies.
The Seventies was the decade of the Walkman, Lava lamps, and portable calculators. Technology was advancing and so were learning opportunities at the College of Business. In 1971, the Master of Business Administration was first offered. Then, in 1972, the Center of Economic Education was started by Dr. Leland Gustafson. By January 1973, West Georgia received approval from the Georgia Board of Regents to create schools such as: Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, and Graduate. Soon after, Dr. J. Mark Miller became the founding Dean for the School of Business at West Georgia College.
The Eighties was an era of pop-culture craze and set a new pace for changing trends. From the birth of the 24-hour news cycle to the first desktop computer, students at the College of Business had a lot to look forward to as the world and their school advanced. The early Eighties started out strong for the College of Business as it was accredited by the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) between 1983-1984. Students didn’t have time to play with their Rubik’s cubes as the curriculum improved and the expansion and the renovation of the building housing the College of Business began. By the late Eighties, the Executive in Residence program began, and it was clear that the College of Business would continue to blossom.
We had a lot to be thankful for in the Nineties: the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the premiere of Seinfeld, and of course the start of the international Finance and Economics Program in 1990. In 1997, the College of Business was renamed the Richards College of Business when Roy Richards Jr. gave a generous endowment to the college in honor of his father Roy Richards Sr., Southwire founder, and his mother, Alice Huffard Richards. This donation gave the Richards College of Business the support it needed to create new opportunities and develop programs and departments that continue to benefit our students today.
The improvements made in the Richards College of Business in the early 2000s truly reflected the spirit of the decade: fast and technologically savvy. The 2000s was the modern revolution that brought us the iPod and YouTube. As the internet progressed, so the Richards College of Business in 2000 when we joined the WebMBA program and created an AACSB accredited MBA program online. Also, by 2002 renovation began for Adamson Hall. In 2005, Dr. Faye McIntyre was named the Dean and Sewell Chair of Private Enterprise, and she has proved to be a true asset to the Richards College as she has continued lead the college’s growth, innovation, and positive impact. Educational opportunities have continued to grow and now include studying abroad in places like Costa Rica, Spain, and Ireland. Now, Richards College of Business offers nine undergraduate degrees, three graduate degrees, seven certificate programs, and multiple extra-curricular opportunities.
Looking to the Future
As Richards College of Business celebrates these two milestones in our 50-year history, we are looking forward to a bright and successful future. Every day, our faculty, staff and students show how hard work and determination can lead to success. And every day, the Richards College of Business strives to support them in their endeavors. Whether it’s ground-breaking research, studying abroad, or innovative approaches to learning and teaching, we find ways to make sure every employee and student has the tools they need to advance in their studies and career. That’s why we are looking forward to consolidating our faculty and staff into a single location, which will improve efficiency and effectiveness and allow for greater collaboration between and throughout departments. We are so excited to look to the future and find new and improved ways to serve our students and community. We will take Richards College of Business to new heights!