College of Business toasts 50 years on campus

Faculty and luminaries look back at the history of the department, praise its value to the university


Photo by Kelsey Lorraine

Cathy Reitz sings with the Troppo Big Band Jazz Orchestra as a part of the College of Business’s 50-year anniversary in Schneider Hall.

Story by Sydney Purpora, Copy Editor

UW-Eau Claire’s College of Business celebrated its 50-year anniversary on campus Friday, Sept. 30 at Schneider Hall.

Honoring the department’s achievements over the years, the College of Business Bash invited students, faculty, alumni and community members to partake in the celebration.

The bash consisted of music by Troppo Big Band Jazz Orchestra and the a cappella group Innocent Men. Organizers offered food and drinks for the public to enjoy and a variety of activities sponsored by organizations though the department.

Interim Dean College of Business Timothy Vaughan said he felt privileged to be a part of the college’s golden anniversary.

“It is very humbling realizing that we are celebrating 50 years and it is an honor to be the interim dean this year,” Vaughan said.

Throughout Schneider Hall, designated rooms spanning from the first to third floor contained themed activities and the College of Business organizations’ presentations for all to see.

Eau Claire marketing graduate, Michelle Shreder, participated in the international group Association Internationale des Étudiants en Sciences Économiques et Commerciales (AIESEC) throughout her college career and attended the bash to help out the organization’s presentation room.

Shreder said she enjoyed coming back to Eau Claire for the College of Business Bash and seeing the growth of the organization since she graduated.

“It feels good to be able to come back and connect with people that I graduated with and professors,” she said. “Just seeing how much the organization has grown since then is great.”

According to Chapter VI of the Wisconsin State College at Eau Claire records, the start of the College of Business can be connected to a written request placed in 1955 by William Davies, the president of the Wisconsin State College at Eau Claire.

Davies wrote a letter to Eugene McPhee, the director of the Board of Regents of the Wisconsin State Colleges, addressing the university’s need for more business education.

As the years went on, the university began to add more business related classes and majors under the Department of Economics. Eventually, in 1966, the university formed the School of Business (renamed the College of Business in 1994) that offered bachelor’s degrees in business administration and accounting.

Since it’s inception 50 years ago, Vaughan said the university has continually changed and improved their program to keep up with the technological advancements of the business world.

“When the technology of the business world changes, we have to adapt our curriculum to those changes,” Vaughan said. “We are always trying to keep pace with the modern business world.”

Currently, Vaughan said the College of Business offers a variety of internships, applied field projects and collaborative research opportunities with faculty for those involved with the College of Business, along with a wide variety of classes for students to choose from.

Brooke Volpone, a senior marketing student, said being a part of the department has made her realize that she picked the right field of study.

“Knowing that I am enjoying my classes is exciting because I now know that I am in the right profession and going towards the right goals,” Volpone said.

Eau Claire’s College of Business is one of five percent of business colleges worldwide accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) Vaughan said.

Vaughan said their short term goals for this year are to prepare for AACSB in fall 2017 and improve the problem-solving component of their curriculum, allowing students to explore more unstructured problems in the classroom.

Reflecting back on the 50 years the department has been at Eau Claire, Vaughan said many greats have come through the department and they will continue to add to the list.

“I am looking back and thinking there are big shoes to fill in terms of faculty that have come before us,” Vaughan said. “We are building on a legacy of really great instructors.”