‘A great time to reflect’

CBA: 50 years of excellence

Recently renovated Wittich Hall

Posted 3:48 p.m. Wednesday, July 21, 2021

UWL’s College of Business Administration has seen a lot in 50 years.

Since being founded in 1971, it’s adapted to radical shifts in business and technology — from the advent of the internet to globalization and a world-altering pandemic.

Along the way, CBA faculty have instructed and inspired thousands who have gone on to successful business careers. And it promises to do so for another 50 years and more.

“This is a great time to reflect on the CBA’s commitment to excellence and everything the college has accomplished over the past half-century,” says Interim Dean TJ Brooks. “And the future looks incredibly bright. With a state-of-the-art facility, outstanding students and faculty, and close partnerships with the local business community, we’re in an excellent position to build upon all our success.”

The history of business education on campus begins long before the college’s founding.

It’s roots date to the economics program in the ’50s. With majors added throughout the 1960s, by the end of the decade momentum was building for a full-fledged business school. The School of Business Administration — later renamed the CBA — was created in 1971.

As globalization and new technology transformed business in the ’80s and ’90s, the CBA transformed as well.

“We were adding courses, growing the college and adapting to the world,” notes Dean Emeritus Bill Colclough, whose 35 years with the college included 10 as dean. “There was a continuous effort to identify critical learning outcomes and enhance the curriculum around topics like globalization, information systems, ethics, leadership, communication skills, sustainability and engagement.”

The CBA also developed partnerships to enhance learning and support local businesses. The most prominent example is the Small Business Development Center, which provides various services to local business owners and entrepreneurs.

“The SBDC’s work in the community is a very tangible demonstration of the impact the CBA and the university has in the region,” notes Anne Hlavacka, ’84, SBDC director. “It’s rewarding to be able to assist an individual with an idea and support the initiative to create and grow a business.”

In CBA history, there have never been more opportunities or challenges than in the past two years.

The Menard Family Midwest Initiative for Economic Engagement and Research — supported by a $2.1 million gift from the family of John Menard Jr. — is providing students and faculty with hands-on learning opportunities.

The new home of the CBA, Wittich Hall, is modernizing education.

Meanwhile, faculty have pivoted to the pandemic, moving courses online and finding creative ways to reach out to students and the community.

“The CBA has shown a remarkable ability to evolve with the changes and challenges we see in the world,” Brooks explains. “We’re excited to see what will come in the next 50 years.”

Time to celebrate

Get all in for 50 years forward!

Join the CBA on campus Oct. 22 and 23 to celebrate the college’s 50th. Take part in the Wittich Hall Ribbon Cutting, brunch, a Third Street pub crawl and more! Details at: uwlax.edu/cba/50th-anniversary