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College of Business

The College of Business and Economics (COBE) addresses “important business and societal issues by being effective, innovative and risk-tolerant.” COBE is based in the Micron Business and Economics Building.

Early Years

Business education started in 1939 when BJC became a public institution. Before then, the curriculum was primarily liberal arts and preparatory for continued education. President Dr. Eugene Chaffee stated the vote to form a junior college district depended upon the addition of vocational and technical education.

The first business curriculum was offered in 1934-1935. Students preparing to transfer to University of Idaho’s Business Administration program were required to take Economics in year one, and Principles of Economics in year two. Elective courses included Raw Mater and Markets, Business Organization, Shorthand, Dictation, Mathematics of Finance, and Principles of Accounting. Freshmen in Fall 1939 could enroll in an Associates of Arts with a Business Curriculum, which included Business Organization in their first year and Principles of Accounting and Principles of Economics in their second year. All other courses followed the general curriculum. Students could also enroll in the semi-professional business curricula designed for students not intending to continue on to a four-year school. That program included courses in Business Mathematics, Marketing, Retail Merchandising, Psychology of Salesmanship and Advertising, Business Writing, and Statistics.

By 1944, the Department of Business Administration was one of the largest on campus, featuring eleven distinct courses and employing five faculty. Clisby T. Edlefsen served as the chair, though he was excused during World War II for military leave. In 1946, the department was renamed Division of Business and Economics and Edlefsen oversaw the departments of General Business, Economics, Secretarial Science and Business (Secretarial).

School of Business

In 1967, the Division of Business and Economics was renamed and reorganized into the School of Business and Public Administration. The School included Accounting, Business Education, Economics, Finance, General Business, Management, Marketing, Marketing, Distributive Education, Real Estate, and Secretarial Science.

In the fall of 1971, students had the new option to obtain a Masters in Business Administration, one of the first two masters degrees. In 1979, the School of Business received professional accreditation from the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). That year the school had 2,200 majors enrolled in 15 undergraduate programs.

Division/School Names

Department of Business Administration
Division of Business and Economics, 1947-1966
School of Business and Public Administration, 1969-1971
School of Business, 1971-1984
College of Business, 1984-1996
College of Business and Economics, 1996-present

Research Centers

Center for Business and Economic Research

In the 1969 Annual Report, Dean Rose recommended Business faculty needed to put more effort into research and publication. That year, the State Board of Education approved to form the Center for Business and Economic Research, however the School Board did not allocate any funding. Rose sought aid from Boise’s businesses and raised $9,600 to start research projects that would benefit Idaho’s Southwest businesses. Very early activities were split into three categories: special courses for students and the general public, seminars for students and the general public, and general community research.

Center for Management Development

The Center for Management Development was formed in 1975 as an outreach arm of the College of Business. This center offered reasonably priced courses for local business and professional communities.

Idaho Business Development Center

In 1984, the Economic Development Administration granted Boise State University $77,000 to start the Idaho Business Development Center, a research and programming entity to “provide specific technical assistance to a limited number of businesses in area such as marketing, loan applications, or production” as well as some other services (Focus, November 1984).

Division Chairs/Deans

Division Chairs

C. Barton McMath, 1939-
Clisby T. Edlefsen
Robert E. Rose, 1965-1968

From 1948 to 1965, the Division expanded course options but remained unchanged in administration. Clisby T. Edlefsen was replaced by Dr. Robert Rose as chair of the Division in 1965, when the school became a 4-year institution.

Robert E. Rose, 1968-1970
V. Dale Blickenstaff, 1970-1974
Charles D. Lein, 1974-1977
Thomas E. Stitzel, 1977-1992
Bong Shin, 1992-1993
Douglas J. Lincoln, 1993-1994
William N. Ruud, 1994-1998
William Lathen, 1998-2006
Howard L. Smith, 2006-2007
Diane Schooley-Pettis (interim), 2007-2008
Patrick Shannon, 2008-2014
Kenneth Peterson, 2014-2018
Mark Bannister (interim), 2018-2020
Mark Bannister, 2020-

International Vision

By the 1990s, the College of Business was determined to include international, or global, perspectives in the curriculum. In 1992 they began offering an international economics emphasis business degree. Led by professor Nancy Napier, the International Business program focused both on providing students with global business skills and preparing the local economy for the growing trend of globalization.

In 2016, COBE entered into a partnership with the National Economics University of Vietnam where 40 Vietnamese students will study at Boise State University and the University of Vietnam, and earn degrees from Boise State University.


An Idea Grows by Eugene Chaffee
Boise State College Catalogs 1965-1966, 1971-1972
Idaho Statesman, July 10, 1969.