Spring 2017 Issue

The W&M MBA turns 50

A half-century of principled achievement and business education

By Phoebe M. Brannock ’18 and Ben Kennedy '05

For the last 50 years, the William & Mary master of business administration program has responded to a rapidly shifting world by proudly producing graduates of principled achievement and purpose. Today, MBA students at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business receive a world-class education that is both cutting-edge and rooted in strong tradition.

To mark the golden anniversary of its MBA program, the Mason School will celebrate on June 2 and 3 in Williamsburg. MBA alumni from every class are invited to attend the event, which will be the biggest MBA-only alumni weekend ever held at William & Mary.

“The opportunity to gather with our alumni as we mark this historic occasion was too promising to pass up,” says Larry Pulley ’74, dean of the Mason School. “Fifty years of outstanding faculty, accomplished alumni and world-class programs is worth celebrating.”

The MBA program began in 1967 as a small department of the university, sharing academic buildings with other departments. As student demand increased in the ’70s, William & Mary had to respond.

“As both the undergraduate and graduate programs grew in response to the needs of the marketplace, so did what we teach and how we teach it,” explains Ken White, associate dean for MBA and executive programs at the business school.

Dean John Jamison added the Executive MBA program to the business school’s offerings in 1986 as a way for executives to return to school and receive further business education. Those enrolled in the Executive MBA program travel to campus every other weekend for an intensive round of courses. That program, in turn, celebrated its own 30th anniversary last fall.

In subsequent years, the reputation of the W&M MBA programs continued to grow. In 2005, the

business school was named for Raymond A. “Chip” Mason ’59, L.H.D. ’98 to honor his dedication and advocacy of business education at William & Mary.

“Chip is a visionary,” says Pulley. “He saw William & Mary’s achievements in business education and realized there was still a huge opportunity to seize. We are so fortunate to be the beneficiaries of his vision.”

In 2009, the Business School moved into their new facility as a result of a significant gift from noted healthcare entrepreneur Alan B. Miller ’58, D.P.S. ’14. Miller Hall, now personifies the School’s entrepreneurial spirit, as it inspires the next generation of leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs.

In addition to providing MBA students with a top-notch facility, the business school has continued to add programs with the innovative spirit that inspired its founding. The Flex MBA — designed for working professionals and conducted on evenings — was recognized in March as the 16th-best program in the country, jumping 50 spots in the rankings. In 2015, the business school launched an online MBA, the first online program available at William & Mary.

And as for the record-breaking MBA celebration in June, it’s a historic opportunity to recognize innovation and progress across the school and its alumni.

“We’re planning an enormous weekend.We’re really looking at a program that celebrates our history and the vision that Dean Pulley and others have for the future,” says Eliza Parrish, director of alumni engagement at the business school.

The weekend will kick off with a Great & Grand Cocktail Party on Friday night and wrap up with a dinner on the Sunken Garden, complete with live music by an Army Band quintet. Between events, guests can attend various panels and receptions.

The Mason School’s revolutionary outlook has kept the MBA program relevant in a changing environment for 50 years. As evolving technology and innovation forces the world of business into uncharted territory, the passion and support of the Mason School of Business’ alumni and faculty will undoubtedly ensure another successful 50 years.

To honor this special occasion, the MBA 50th alumni planning committee set an ambitious goal to raise $5 million for MBA Scholarships. The weekend’s events will celebrate the community of alumni who surround and support the school and its mission to provide a world-class business education to the next generation of graduates.

Registration and information about the MBA 50th is available at visit http://masonevent.info.

To learn more about the Raymond A. Mason School of Business Online MBA, visit http://onlinemba.mason.wm.edu.