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Tippie College of Business To Celebrate 150 Years of Business Education at Iowa

Business education has been a part of the University of Iowa for 150 years, and the Tippie College of Business is celebrating that sesquicentennial.

"We've come a long way since the first business class was offered in the History Department in 1858," said Curt Hunter, dean of the Tippie College of Business. "We're now the largest and highest ranked business college in the state, and we're the largest educator of business leaders in Iowa. Certainly, that's something to celebrate."

Business education at Iowa traces its roots to a history class called Moral Philosophy offered in the spring of 1858, the university's first year of offering classes. The class examined what was then known as political economy, which included elements of what would become economics, finance and commerce.

Business education was still in its infancy at the time. It had been less than 75 years since Adam Smith's groundbreaking studies ushered in a modern understanding of free market economics, and the United States was still early in the process of shifting from an agrarian to an industrial economy.

"It was a revolutionary time for business and the study of its operations and processes was still rare," said Hunter. "The university was really looking ahead when it offered even a single class on the subject."

Business education first developed within the university's social sciences department, incorporating parts of political science, commerce, economics, finance and sociology. It was spun off into its own college in 1921, as the College of Commerce, and became the Tippie College of Business in 1999 to honor alumnus and benefactor Henry B. Tippie.

Today, more than 14,000 Tippie alumni are living and working in Iowa, out of a total of more than 40,000 living alumni around the world. Hunter points out that some of Iowa's top business leaders received their college educations from the Tippie College of Business, including Des Moines business legends John Pappajohn and Marvin Pomerantz, beverage distributor Zac Voss, and Musco Lighting president Joe Crookham.

"We're proud to play such a large role in the continued strength of the Iowa economy, and to help it grow and diversify to meet the challenges of a changing and globalizing economy," Hunter said.

The college meets those challenges by providing students with a solid academic program at every level. Its undergraduate program is regularly ranked high by many ranking organizations, and the Financial Times ranks the accounting program as one of the top 10 in the world.

The Tippie School of Management offers several programs for workers who want to advance their careers, including full-time and executive programs in Iowa City and part-time programs in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities. The college also offers an Executive MBA program in Hong Kong.

The Henry Fund and the Krause Fund are two student managed investment portfolios that give students the opportunity to learn about finance and markets by investing and managing real money in the stock market. Both portfolios are consistently honored as the best in their class.

The Tippie College of Business is also a leader in developing new and innovative ways to teach business. The Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute provides an intensive week-long series of workshops held each summer at Lake Okoboji, where selected undergraduate students learn about building a business and receive firsthand advice from some of Iowa's top entrepreneurs.

And the Iowa Electronic Markets is one of the most successful ongoing experiments in prediction markets. The markets provide investors with a real-money opportunity to buy and sell contracts on such items as where flu will hit, where hurricanes will make landfall or who will win a presidential election. The IEM's political markets attract traders from around the world and Slate magazine calls it the "big daddy of political prediction markets."

Tippie also provides its students with numerous opportunities for global study and preparation for careers in the global market. It works with centers in London and Madrid to offer internship opportunities in those countries, and recently became the administrator and degree and credit granting institution for the Consortium of Universities for International Studies in Asolo, Italy, one of the world's top study abroad centers for business students.

The university will commemorate the sesquicentennial with a gala celebration on Friday, Sept. 5 at the Riverside Resort and Golf Course in Riverside.


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