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Through the Years - Tracing the evolution of Purdue’s business school

Sixty-five years ago, the always innovative Purdue University established the foundation of what is now the Daniels School of Business with a department of economics. Over the years, the school took on new names, expanded programs, constructed buildings and thrived due to the generosity of devoted alumni.

Explore how the school met the challenges of each decade to become what it is today — a forward-thinking school of business intersecting with science, technology, engineering and math that celebrates its people and past while looking ahead.

An image of the Krannert Building under construction in the early 1960s



Emanuel Weiler is hired and later becomes the first dean of the business school. His relationship with business leader Herman Krannert leads to a gift that funds the school and a new building.

Emanuel T. Weiler

Arnie Cooper is among the first graduates from the management master’s program. He returns to Purdue in 1963 and becomes a pioneering scholar in the field of entrepreneurship.

A total of 29 students, all men, graduate from the first management master’s degree program.

Professor John S. Day teaching a masters class in 1957Professor John S. Day teaching a master's class in 1957

The School of Industrial Management is formed from the Department of Economics in the School of Science, Education, and Humanities, and the Department of Industrial Management and Transportation in the Schools of Engineering. The school offers graduate and undergraduate degrees.


Frank Bass, considered the “father of marketing science,” comes to Purdue. A mentor to many students and faculty, he helps establish marketing as a quantitative science.

Vernon Smith joins the faculty. A pioneer in the field of experimental economics, he wins the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2002, and a lab bearing his name is located in the Krannert Building.

Herman C. and Ellnora D. Krannert

The Krannert Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Purdue’s first named school, is established with a $2.73 million endowment from Herman and Ellnora Krannert.

Bill Lewellen Bill Lewellen

Bill Lewellen begins a career at Purdue that spans 50 years. He serves as long-time director of Krannert Executive Education Programs and is listed by the Journal of Financial Literature (along with John McConnell) in 2005 as one of the most prolific authors in finance over the past 50 years.

1969 Fall front cover Cover of the Fall 1969 edition of the Purdue Business Journal, then known as the Krannert Alumni Bulletin

Classes move from Stanley Coulter Annex to the newly constructed Krannert Building.

The school receives accreditation from the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the gold standard in business education.

Associate Dean John Day and faculty members create the Business Opportunity Program (BOP), a first-of-its-kind program aimed at broadening student access to business careers.

Dr Cornell Bell Cornell Bell

Cornell Bell, a high school principal from Gary, Indiana, is hired to direct the Business Opportunity Program. For 37 years, he serves as a father figure and mentor to hundreds of students.


Joe Forehand (MSIA ’72, HDR ’05), retired chairman and CEO of Accenture, led the company through its split with Arthur Andersen and an international rebranding campaign.

The Executives in the Classroom lecture series, later renamed the Executive Forum, is created and brings business leaders to class to speak with undergraduate students.

Marge Magner (MSIA ’74, HDR ’04), retired chair and CEO of Citigroup’s Global Consumer Group, named to the Fortune list of “Most Powerful Women in Business” and the Forbes list of “100 Most Powerful Women in the World.”

Marge Magner Marge Magner

Sam Allen (BSIM ’75, HDR ’17), retired CEO of John Deere, started at Deere after escorting company representatives in the Executives in the Classroom course.

Purdue Trustees approve name changes to the Krannert Graduate School of Management and the School of Management.

Terry Cross (MSIA ’77), retired United States Coast Guard Vice Admiral, served as Vice Commandant of the USCG, second in command, from 2004-06.

Terry CrossTerry Cross

Major remodeling takes place in the basement of the Krannert Building to accommodate new staff offices.

Venu Srinivasan (MS ’77, HDR ’14), chairman emeritus of TVS Motor Company and recipient of the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards from the government of India.

Carolyn Woo earns her third degree from Purdue and begins an academic career that leads to the business school dean position at the University of Notre Dame. She then becomes CEO of Catholic Relief Services and is named one of the “500 Most Powerful” people on the planet for her work.

Carolyn Woo


Beth Brooke (BSIM ’81, HDR ’12), retired global vice chair at EY, named to Forbes list of “100 Most Powerful Women in the World” 11 times.

Beth Brooke Beth Brooke

Greg Hayes (BSM ’82, HDR ’21), chairman and CEO of Raytheon Technologies, an aerospace and defense company with 174,000 employees worldwide and $64 billion in annual sales.

The school inaugurates its first degree-granting executive education program.

The Krannert Center for Executive Education and Research is dedicated and houses the school’s programs for working professionals.

The Master of Science in Industrial Relations program, established in 1958 and administered with other Purdue departments, is renamed the Master of Science in Human Resource Management and brought within the school.

The Center for the Management of Manufacturing Enterprises, later renamed for donor Dick Dauch, launches. It promotes research and offers opportunities for students interested in manufacturing.

Richard E. Dauch

Marie Thursby is hired from Ohio State University. She establishes several multidisciplinary programs, including the Innovation Realization Lab, aimed at boosting the university’s efforts in commercializing its technologies.


Dennis Weidenaar Dennis Weidenaar, faculty since 1966, became the fifth dean of the Krannert School in 1990.

Dave Ricks (BSIM ’90, HDR ’23), chair and CEO of Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical giant with products marketed in 120 countries.

Tarrus Richardson (BSM ’91), founder and CEO of private equity company IMB Partners, and founder of the Council of Urban Professionals, a national program to inspire and empower the next generation of diverse business and civic leaders.

A weekend program is launched in response to demand from local business leaders.

The school exports its Master of Science in Industrial Administration (MSIA) program to Germany, resulting in a partnership called the German International Graduate School of Management and Administration (GISMA).

Fall 1998 cover of Krannert Portfolio The Spring 1998 cover of the Purdue Business Journal, then known as the Krannert Portfolio


Alum Jerry Rawls pledges $10 million to the Krannert at the Frontier Campaign, allowing completion of what will be known as Jerry S. Rawls Hall.

The Master of Science in Management (MSM) degree is officially changed to a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Drew Brees (BSIM ’01), Academic All-American quarterback and Super Bowl XLIV MVP.

kmag-f2000-cover.webpThe Fall 2000 edition of the Krannert Magazine, featuring Drew Brees

Jerry S. Rawls Hall is dedicated. The award-winning facility houses 13 classrooms, a professional career center, 25 breakout rooms, distance learning facilities, and computer labs.

Rawls Hall is dedicated in an baseball Opening Day theme(Above) Rawls Hall is dedicated in a baseball Opening Day theme (Below) Jerry Rawls gives a speech wearing a Purdue themed baseball jersey

A Master of Science degree in Finance is added to the school’s portfolio, with master’s degree offerings in accounting, global supply chain management and marketing to follow in subsequent years.

Headshot of Steve WebsterSteve Webster

With a lead gift from alum Steve Webster, the Webster Suite provides space for undergraduate advisers and counselors to meet with students on the third floor of the Krannert Building.


Alum Roland Parrish provides a $2 million gift to support renovation of the library in the Krannert Building. It is renamed in his honor, the first time a major Purdue facility is named in honor of an African-American alumnus.

Students work in the Roland G. Parrish Library The Roland G. Parrish Library

Purdue offers an online master’s degree in economics, the first program of its kind offered by a major research university.

The Purdue University Research Center in Economics (PURCE), directed by Professor John Umbeck, is started and offers data-driven insights into how laws, regulations and government programs affect the market economy and individuals’ well-being.

John Umbeck

The school launches a Master of Science in Business Analytics and Information Management degree, which becomes ranked the #1 data science degree program in the United States within two years.

The Jane Brock-Wilson Women in Management Center, later renamed the Brock-Wilson Center for Women in Business, launches. It empowers women to become confident leaders and prepares men and women to excel in a diverse workforce.

Jane Brock-Wilson

Steve Webster and his wife, Linda, again provide the lead gift to transform part of the Webster Suite into a new home for the Purdue University Research Center in Economics (PURCE).

The Larsen Leaders Academy is established and provides high-achieving undergraduate students the opportunity to translate their academic experience into real-world leadership skills. Former Goodrich CEO Marshall Larsen —once named one of the “best-performing CEOs in the world” by Harvard Business Review — and his wife, Susan, provide funding for the program.

Marshall and Susan Larsen

The school announces a two-year, fully online MBA program, with a focus on technology and innovation ideal for students with STEM backgrounds.

A $5 million gift from John Krenicki Jr. and his wife, Donna, leads to the renaming of the Krenicki Center for Business Analytics and Machine Learning, which serves as a data analytics ecosystem of industry partners, students and faculty.

John Krenicki Jr. and wife Donna


Purdue and the business school pivot to online instruction in the spring as students are sent home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In-person instruction resumes in the fall.

The Krannert Drawing Room is renovated, giving students a more modern and accessible space to study and work in teams.

Krannert Drawing Room The new Krannert Drawing Room

In conjunction with the College of Engineering, the school introduces a bachelor’s degree in Integrated Business and Engineering (IBE), a reboot of the BS degree in Industrial Management that dated to the early 1960s.

Early plans for the expansion of the new School of Business Early plans for a new expansion to the School of Business

Preliminary plans are unveiled for a new state-of-the-art building that fits the school’s forward-looking culture and promotes active learning and design thinking.

Barbara and Dean White Barbara and Dean White

Funded by a $20.8 million gift from the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation, the Dean V. White Real Estate Finance Program is launched.

Purdue announces a major initiative to reimagine the School of Management into a new School of Business that will redefine the preparation of business leaders.

The Vernon Smith Experimental Economics Laboratory, located on the seventh floor of the Krannert Building, undergoes a complete renovation.

The school is formally renamed the Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business. The school aims to achieve excellence at scale while integrating business with Purdue’s renowned STEM strengths and providing transformative experiential learning opportunities for tomorrow’s leaders.

Mitch Daniels (Above) Former Purdue President Mitch Daniels speaking at a commencement ceremony (Below) Students celebrate the launch of the Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business

At our school, change seems to be a constant. Let's continue to honor the moves that have brought us to our present moment. From our new dean to our new name to a renewed focus on experiential learning, business analytics, and STEM skills, the list of ways we are evolving into a top school keeps growing. 

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