College celebrates 100 years of preparing leaders and begins a new century with a new name

DePaul University’s college of business opened its classroom doors on Jan. 11, 1913.

Its mission, according to a class bulletin, was “to equip its students for success in the larger, more ruminative and more intricate affairs of business” and prepare them “for leadership in their respective endeavors.”

One-hundred years and 62,903 alumni later, the College of Commerce—now known as the Driehaus College of Business—has more than lived up to this mission.

The college has been a pioneer in many areas. It was one of the first 10 business schools founded in the United States, the first business college at an American- Catholic university and the first to be located in Chicago’s Loop. The college admitted women three years before they had the right to vote. Its faculty members—from the late Fred Arditti, the financial futures industry innovator, to Werner F. M. De Bondt, co-founder of the field of behavioral finance—have helped shape business practice and thought.

Generations of promising undergraduate students, working professionals, military veterans and the children of immigrants have received their business educations at DePaul. Today, graduates can be found in the executive suites of a wide range of global enterprises, from Abbott to Zebra Technologies. Others have founded successful entrepreneurial ventures. Many contribute to charity and civic organizations that address worthy causes in Chicago and beyond.

To commemorate this 100-year legacy, the college is hosting a series of centennial events for alumni, students, faculty and staff this academic year.

Upcoming events include Alumni U on April 13. Business graduates will be invited back to the Loop Campus for a day of dynamic mini-lectures by faculty members.

“Alumni U will provide an opportunity for alumni to reconnect with faculty, network with fellow alumni and update their knowledge through discussions focused on timely business issues,” says organizer Kevin Stevens, director of the School of Accountancy and Management Information Systems.

On May 2, the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business and the College of Law, which also turns 100 this academic year, will host an alumni networking event where grads can mingle and celebrate both centennials.

For more information and to register for Alumni U and the networking reception, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 800.437.1898 or

Alumni also are encouraged to visit the Driehaus College of Business centennial website,, to submit memories and photos from their college days. The site features “100 Facts and Firsts” about the college’s history and more information about centennial events.

Additional coverage of the college’s legacy and how it has shaped its alumni over the past 100 years can be found in DePaul Magazine’s winter issue:

The centennial celebration began in the fall with the official renaming of the college for Richard H. Driehaus (B.S.C. ’65, MBA ’70), the Chicago financier and philanthropist whose relationship with the business school spans half its history. Last February Driehaus, founder and chairman of Driehaus Capital Management, donated $30 million to DePaul to support the recruitment and retention of business faculty.

“Forty-seven years ago, I graduated from DePaul and began my career in finance,” said Driehaus during the college’s Sept. 19 rededication ceremony attended by faculty, staff and trustees at the DePaul Center. “My goal was to be a successful businessman. Never did it occur to me I would be in a position to give back to my alma mater like this. I am humbled by my life’s journey and grateful to be in this position.”

Driehaus credited his professors for inspiring him to become a successful business leader. “Clearly, the intellectual development I experienced through DePaul University, as both an undergraduate and through the graduate school of business, was an important factor in how my career and life have evolved,” he said.

“Memories of certain professors linger with all of us through a lifetime,” the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., DePaul’s president, noted at the renaming ceremony. “That’s what Richard wants for the next generation at DePaul. That’s what his gift is. His gift is professors—excellent professors who can be there with students for the next generation just as they’ve been there in the past for him and for our students today.”

Added Ray Whittington, business school dean: “As we begin a new century of business education, we see Richard’s generosity transforming our college into one with a world-class academic reputation that continues to embrace the critical importance of the relationship between the faculty and students.”

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