Heider 100: the 1950s

Heider 100: the 1950s Highlights

Image of Heider College of Business from now and 100 years ago

1950-1959

In 1956, Creighton changed the name of its business college from the College of Commerce to the College of Business Administration (CoBA). It’s a name that would last into the 21st century. This meant the degree conferred to students at graduation changed from a Bachelor of Science in Commerce to a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA).

The Rev. Carl Reinert, S.J., assumed the presidency of Creighton at the start of the decade and led the University until 1956. In his 2006 The History of Creighton University 1878-2003, historian Dennis Mihelich, PhD, long-time faculty member in Creighton’s History Department, states that Fr. Reinert aimed to assimilate the University into the Omaha community and the surrounding region. What did this mean? Practically, it meant adding well-known Omahans, even non-Catholics, to Creighton’s Lay Board of Regents. With such esteemed “outside” help, Creighton was able to raise money for new facilities and an expansion of academic programs.

Budget concerns dogged Reinert’s early years at Creighton, brought on in part by inflation from the Korean War. Additionally, new income and estate taxes pinched the wealthy, making them potentially hesitant to donate to Creighton. This problem was not unique to Creighton; other universities, private ones especially, faced similar challenges. But neither Fr. Reinert nor Creighton would be deterred.

  • During a 1950 speech, Fr. Reinert laid out a list of university needs, such as a library and a new student lounge. To makes these and other needs a reality, he reorganized the University’s development program. How did that take shape? One example is Fr. Reinert developed a plan to contact the heads of local corporations and request annual donations to Creighton. He went a step further when he allowed members of the Lay Board of Regents access to the University’s budget to give them a full understanding of the school’s financial situation.
  • During the 1957-58 academic year, tuition rose modestly, from $225 per semester to $250 per semester.
  • Perhaps CoBA’s biggest development during the 1950s came in 1959, when Fr. Reinert announced a $1 million grant for a new business school building. The new facility would sit on ground that had been occupied by a portion of Creighton Stadium, which by then was mostly used to host local high school games and practices. As for the “old” College of Commerce, it would become a space to house offices for student organizations.
  • To honor Fr. Reinert’s appeal to members of the board of the Eppley Foundation, the new CoBA building, standing four-and-a-half stories tall and containing 50,000 square-feet, would be named the Eppley Building and dedicated early in the next decade.
  • The Eppley Building would house space specifically for the Bureau of Business Research, which was intended to strengthen ties between Creighton faculty and Omaha businesses. Events such as panel discussions and a symposium were held to bring these two constituencies together.

Notable Alumni

WARREN DUNN, BSBA’56

Warren Dunn joined the Nebraska Bar in 1958, but it was in bars across the world, not courtrooms, where he really made his mark.

Dunn left Creighton in 1956, spent time as a claims adjuster for U.S. Fidelity and Guarantee Company, then put in seven years as a special agent in the FBI, the last two at the office in Milwaukee.

That’s Brewtown, USA, of course, and Dunn eventually made his way into the frothy industry. He joined Miller Brewing Company in 1966 as assistant counsel, then worked his way up the ladder — general counsel, vice president, etc.

He became active on the Wisconsin Who’s Who scene, too, joining the board of St. Mary’s Hospital, the Association to Prevent Blindness, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (check) and Chamber of Commerce and the Green Bay Packers.

Dunn became Miller’s president and CEO in 1991 and chairman and CEO in 1992 before retiring in 1994.

See our entire 100 year timeline