The College of Commerce and Business Administration at Tulane University was established in 1914 at the urging of the New Orleans Association of Commerce, an influential organization of local business leaders dedicated to improving the civic, industrial and commercial welfare of the city. Convinced that the future growth and prosperity of New Orleans depended upon the establishment of an academically rigorous college of business, 200 members of the association contracted with Tulane to underwrite the cost of establishing a new business school at the university. Morton A. Aldrich, professor of economics and a champion of the effort, was chosen as the college's first dean.
Two years later, Tulane University became one of 16 founding members of AACSB, the nation's leading accrediting body for collegiate schools of business. Other founding members included Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, New York University, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, University of Nebraska, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, University of Texas, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Yale University.
In 1940, the College of Commerce introduced a Master of Business Administration degree program, and in 1942, the college moved from Gibson Hall, where classes had been held since its founding, to its own dedicated building, Norman Mayer Memorial Hall.
Reflecting a nationwide shift toward graduate education, the College of Commerce discontinued its undergraduate business program in 1963. The program was reinstated in 1978.
In 1966, the college established a doctoral program in business, and in 1983 it introduced an Executive MBA program.
In 1984, the business school was named in honor of New Orleans businessman and philanthropist A. B. Freeman, former chairman of the Louisiana Coca-Cola Bottling Co., in recognition of a gift from the Freeman family. Two years later, the Freeman School moved from Norman Mayer to Goldring/Woldenberg Hall, a new 83,000 square foot building located in the heart of Tulane's uptown campus.
In the early 1990s, the Freeman School began to expand globally, introducing Executive MBA programs in Chile, China and Mexico and faculty development PhD programs in Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela.
The Freeman School introduced a Master of Accounting program in 1993, a Master of Finance program in 2003 and a Master of Management Energy Major program in 2011.
In November 2003, the Freeman School celebrated the completion of a new building, Goldring/Woldenberg Hall II. Built at a cost of $25 million and featuring state-of-the-art classrooms and an electronic trading room, the building serves as the home of Freeman School graduate and professional programs.
1834 Tulane founded
1914 Business school founded
1916 Founding member of AACSB
1926 Alpha Chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma, business honor society, founded
1947 First Tulane Business Forum
1961 Beta Nu Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, accounting honor society, founded
1967 First PhD offered
1983 First EMBA program initiated
1984 School named after Alfred B. Freeman
1986 School moved to Goldring/Woldenberg Hall
1993 Master of Accounting program instituted.
1993 Taiwan ROC EMBA program initiated.
1993 Freeman Reports, investment research publications on publicly held, Louisiana-based companies, initiated using the Bloomberg financial system.
1994 Stewart Center for Executive Education established.
1997 Chile EMBA program initiated.
1997 Burkenroad Reports, initiated in 1993 as Freeman Reports, endowed and named in honor of William B. Burkenroad, Jr.
2003 Addition of Goldring/Woldenberg Hall II
Founder of the School of Commerce and first dean, 1914-1939
William Burkenroad, Jr. (Class of 1923)
Chairman of J. Aron & Co., a leading coffee imports company. Honored in the names of the Burkenroad Reports, Burkenroad Center for Ethics, and the Burkenroad Atrium in Goldring/Woldenberg Hall I.
Alfred B. Freeman
New Orleans entrepreneur and owner of Louisiana Coca-Cola Bottling Co.
Richard W. Freeman (Class of 1934)
Civic leader, member of Tulane Board of Administrators, Vice-Chair of Louisiana Coca-Cola, former Chairman of Delta Airlines. Honored in the name of the Freeman School of Business.
Stephen Goldring and Malcolm Woldenberg
New Orleans entrepreneurs and founders of Magnolia Marketing Co. Honored in the names of numerous Tulane buildings including the business complex.
Albert Lepage (MBA 1971)
Co-Chairman (retired) of Lepage Bakeries, Inc., whose gift in 2015 established the Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Frank B. Stewart, Jr. (Class of 1957)
Chairman of Stewart Enterprises, Inc. Honored in the name of the Stewart Center of Executive Education.