Tag: history

Olin100homepageAs part of our Centennial series, we turn the clock back to the 1960s when the business school outgrew its first building and moved to a remodeled dormitory.

This is the text of an actual memo found in the Olin archives. It’s from 1961 and typed on a typewriter with carbon paper to create multiple copies:

Memo to all Business School Faculty

From: Dr. Arthur Mason Jr., Acting Dean

Subject: Dedication and open house of Prince Hall on May 5 and 7, 1961

In the evening of Friday, May 5, you, the faculty, will be host to Mr. Prince at a stag dinner in Prince Hall. The schedule of events for this affair are as follows: 5:30-6:30 p.m., refreshments at Chancellor Shepley’s house; 6:30 p.m., dinner and dedication at Prince Hall. This affair will be a small, informal one at Mr. Prince’s request.

After dinner, Mr. Prince will be given a personal tour of the building, so I hope that all of us will have our offices available for display.”

Frank J. Prince was coming to the WashU campus to see a project that he helped fund. Namely, the transformation of a former dormitory into an academic building that would be called Prince Hall—the home of the business school from 1961 to 1987.

On the day Prince Hall held its open house, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that “Prince Hall…has three times the number of seminar rooms and a third more classrooms than the business school’s former headquarters, Duncker Hall. It has a machine room and statistics laboratory, and library space for 15,000 volumes.” The May 7, 1961 edition of the newspaper also reported that the remodeling of Liggett Hall from a dorm to the new home of the business school “cost about $325,000.”


Frank J. Prince, on right, looks on as the building formerly known as Liggett Hall is dedicated as Prince Hall.

Prince was a Director and former President of Universal Match Corporation, a company founded in St. Louis in 1925, and described by The New York Times as “the world’s largest manufacturer of matchbooks.”

Ironically, the matchbook magnate’s name would replace an even more famous name—Liggett—that had graced the dormitory since its construction in 1902. Elizabeth J. Liggett, widow of St. Louis tobacco merchant and partner in the firm Liggett and Myers, was among the small group of donors Robert Brookings had assembled to fund the first buildings on WashU’s new hilltop campus west of Forest Park.

The Liggett dormitory for men was constructed to the west of the “first quadrangle,” known today as the Brookings Quad, and was located on the current site of the Danforth University Center (DUC).

Gary Hochberg, who served as dean of the undergraduate program for 25 years before developing the Specialized Masters Programs until his retirement in 2014, remembers what he called the ‘Prince Hall two-step.’  “Some of the hallways were so narrow in Prince that when two people crossed paths,” Hochberg recalls with a smile, “they had to turn sideways to pass each other. It was like doing a little dance just to get down the hall.”

A 2006 Student Life article says Vice Chancellor Emeritus Frederic Volkmann cited Prince Hall’s “troubling features such as numerous load-bearing walls, poorly constructed rooms and difficulties with making the building accessible as per the Americans with Disabilities Act” as reasons for its demolition later that year. The Danforth University Center (DUC) has replaced the historical building.

For more stories about Olin’s first century in business, please visit Olin100.wustl.edu

Photos courtesy of WashU Archives.

WashU’s School of Commerce and Finance was founded in 1917 as the First World War was heading into its final year. In 1920, as the country and economy began to recover from the war, Student Life reported University increases in tuition, salaries, and room rents:

“The increase in tuition applies only to students entering Washington for the first time…The tuition in the College, the School of Commerce and Finance, the School of Architecture, and the School of Engineering will be raised from $150 to $200 per year.”

sl1920-tuition-increase-commencementFaculty salaries were set to increase by 50% over the 1916-1917 rates for professors making $4,000 or less. The increase was contingent on reaching a campaign goal for a salary endowment fund.

In 1925, Isador Loeb was named the third dean of the business school. He had been acting president of the University of Missouri, was a well-known constitutional lawyer, a skilled political scientist, and an expert on tax laws and Missouri history. The new dean had a keen interest in public service and was responsible for a new focus and the new name: the School of Business and Public Administration.

Loeb introduced bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in public administration to the curriculum at WashU, which had previously offered only BS and MS degrees in business administration.

1933-dean-loebBy 1929, the business school had 200 students enrolled and 100 candidates for degrees. It had changed its name to include Public Administration a few years earlier and was clearly gaining in stature as suggested in this essay from The Hatchett yearbook:

“The man with a business college education is receiving recognition of a new character. He is succeeding where the so-called ‘practical’ man is failing. After considering this situation and the fact that there are more openings for business men than for any other line of workers, the wonderful scope and possibilities of this school in the future will be seen.”

Dean Loeb retired in 1940 after serving longer than the previous two deans. He did not retire from public service. Archival documents describe Loeb’s post-deanship career this way, “He accepted the grueling job of the Office of Price Administration (OPA) price administrator for the St. Louis area, served as a special investigator for the National War Labor Board, and became involved in the drive for a new state constitutional convention. He died in 1954 at age 85.”

1923 illustration from The Hatchet yearbook for a student group called The Quad-Wrangles.

1923 illustration from The Hatchet yearbook for a student group called The Quad-Wrangles.

Read more on the Centennial website, Olin100.wustl.edu

Sources: “Fifty Years in Business,” by George Monaghan, Washington Magazine, 1967; Washington University in St. Louis, A History, Ralph E. Morrow, 1996; The Hatchett, Washington University yearbook, 1923, 1929; WUSTL Archives

You’re invited to celebrate Olin’s Centennial all year long on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, wherever you are on social media. Follow Olin and check out the Centennial website for fun photos from the archives, trivia, and history. We’re planning some fun contests, selfie stations, and parties that will pop up from now until graduation.

We’ve got a hundred years of amazing graduates, professors, events, and stories to share. Be a part of Olin’s Centennial, join the celebration, and make some history of your own this year. This video will help you get excited about our history and our future:

By 1919, the two-year-old School of Commerce and Finance at WashU was “exceeding expectations,” according to its dean, William Gephart. He anticipated enrollment of 50 or more students that fall and was worried about them being cramped in the classrooms available in Brookings, Ridgely and Cupples Halls. Dean Gephart wanted the business school to have its very own building, as soon as possible.

(second row from top, second to the left)

Charles H. Duncker Jr.,(second row from top, second to the left), graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1914 with Phi Beta Kappa honors (the Washington University chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was chartered in 1913, which made Duncker part of the first group of students to be so honored), was a member of the track team, editor of the yearbook, and a member of the junior and senior honorary societies.

Gephart found a generous donor for the building in the family of Charles H. Duncker Jr., who had graduated from Washington University in 1914.

Charles Jr. enlisted in the army in 1917 after working for his father’s firm, Trorlicht-Duncker Carpet Co. He was commissioned as a lieutenant before deployment to France in May 1918.

Less than six months later, Charles Duncker was killed when his unit was shelled near Thiancourt, France. His promotion to the rank of captain reached his regiment 10 days after his death.

The exact amount of the gift from Mr. and Mrs. Charles Duncker Sr. and their son’s widow, Ada Nicholson Duncker, is not known, but construction of the building to honor the young officer was projected to cost “$200,000 or more.” That would translate to approximately $2.5 million in today’s dollars.

1945- Duncker Memorial

The memorial tablet on the side of Duncker Hall facing the Brookings Quad.

The corner stone for Duncker Hall was put in place by University Corporation president Robert S. Brookings and Chancellor Frederic A. Hall in 1923 (see top photo). Duncker Hall opened for classes in 1924. The business school called Duncker Hall home until the 1960s when, once again, it needed more room for a growing faculty and student body.

See more history and share your memories on the Olin Centennial website.

All photos courtesy of Washington University Archives

Brush up on your St. Louis history with this quiz and download the app to discover 250 birthday cakes in historic locations all over the city. It’s a year-long celebration that’s just getting underway with plenty of free events for everyone.