College of Business at UM to Celebrate Centennial Sept. 21-22

The University of Montana College of Business invites all alumni and friends to help celebrate its centennial anniversary on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 21-22.

Festivities will include an outdoor luncheon, brunch with current students and more, culminating with a riverfront party at 7 p.m. on Friday in Missoula’s Caras Park.

“Over the past century, our college has helped 20,000 alumni follow their dreams, and it has made so many contributions to the business community of this state and beyond,” said Chris Shook, Sprunk and Burnham Endowed Dean of the College of Business. “That meaningful history, the success of our students and alumni, and our vibrant future are what this centennial celebrates.”

The weekend will kick off on Friday with a lunch provided by Five on Black, the Brazilian restaurant founded by a College of Business alum. The college will officially ring in its 100th anniversary on the banks of the Clark Fork River at an evening party featuring music, brews and hors d’oeuvres provided by a variety of UM business alumni, including Market on Front, Big Dipper Ice Cream and Big Sky Brewing.

Celebrations continue on campus Saturday, when the college will hold its scholarship brunch to celebrate student achievement and donor contributions. Attendees will then head to Washington-Grizzly Stadium to cheer on the Griz football team as it faces Sacramento State.

Throughout the weekend, centennial attendees will have access to a host of activities – options including a golf scramble at the UM Golf Course, group hikes to the “M,” tours of Gallagher Business Building and the UM campus, and the opportunity to record memories in an oral history format.

Registration includes lunch on Friday afternoon, the riverfront garden party in the evening and brunch on Saturday. Participants who register by Tuesday, Aug. 21, receive the early-bird rate of $75 per person. To register and see the full centennial schedule, visit

UM’s business college got its start when the State Board of Education authorized the organization of the School of Business Administration in 1918. With three faculty members and 25 students, it offered courses such as shorthand, typing and accounting on the top floor of Main Hall. By 1920, the school had one of the largest enrollments at UM, something it maintains today.

The school became one of the first 50 business schools nationwide to receive American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business accreditation in 1949, also something it maintains today.

Throughout the ensuing decades, the school continued to grow. It launched its Master of Business Administration program – a highlight of any modern business school – in 1965. In 1975, it established the Beta Alpha Psi honorary accounting fraternity. A strong tradition in accounting continues at UM today, with the Master’s in Accountancy program ranking in the top 20 nationally.

The 1980s and 1990s saw the development of the John Ruffatto Business Startup Challenge, which the college still runs in partnership with Blackstone LaunchPad. The competition has played a role in the initiation of a host of companies that now operate on local and international levels. Another highlight includes the 1996 dedication of the William and Rosemary Gallagher Business Building, which the college occupies today.

UM’s business college now offers six majors, a minor and three graduate degrees. The college is known for graduating students who enter the workforce not only with business skills, but real-world acumen. Its list of notable and accomplished alumni is extensive and includes highly successful entrepreneurs, as well as current and former executives at Fortune 500 companies and locally influential startups.

U.S. News and World Report has ranked UM’s College of Business as the top business school in the Big Sky Conference for the past two years, a ranking that puts UM 101 spots in front of the next business school in Montana.

For more information, visit the centennial website, call 406-243-6276 or email