One hundred years ago this January 27, the University of Southern California signed a charter to establish the College of Commerce and Business Administration, with the encouragement and support of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.
It seemed a risky proposition at the time. But when 20 local businessmen pledged $1,000 each to back the venture, the University took the chance. Four faculty were hired, and the College of Commerce and Business Administration was born.
As founding dean, Dr. Rockwell Dennis Hunt, said about the occasion:
“We had won the confidence and the goodwill of the business community. The College of Commerce and Business Administration of the University of Southern California was well on its way…”
“With our deep legacy in building this institution, it only made absolute sense for me to be here. It is a true honor for me to represent the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce to help you celebrate 100 years.”—Maria Salinas, President and CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
The first class of 358 students foreshadowed the school’s outlook—featuring students from almost every state in the nation, international students, and even three women. The early mandate was to educate men and women with an entrepreneurial mindset, and an eye on international commerce.
Celebrating the Signing
To commemorate the day and celebrate an ongoing partnership, USC Marshall welcomed Maria Salinas, president and CEO of the Los Angeles area Chamber of Commerce. Marshall and Leventhal deans, faculty, staff and alumni attended the reception, held at the University Club.
“It’s not every day you turn 100,” said Marshall interim dean Gareth James, E. Morgan Stanley Chair in Business Administration and Professor of Data Sciences and Operations. “The LA Chamber of Commerce was one of our very first champions and sponsors. We are honored to have Ms. Salinas here with us today to help mark the occasion.”
“With our deep legacy in building this institution, it only made absolute sense for me to be here,” said Salinas. “It is a true honor for me to represent the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce to help you celebrate 100 years.”
She accepted a framed replica of the original proclamation signed by the Chamber on Jan. 27, 1920.
The celebration ended with the unveiling of a 1938 portrait of Dean Hunt.