Columbia Business School Deans
1916–32: JAMES C. EGBERT (Director, 1916–31) (Dean, 1931–32)
BA, PhD, Columbia University
Director of Columbia University Extension Teaching, 1910–16
While serving as Columbia’s director of extension teaching, James C. Egbert suggested that the substantial growth of commerce courses warranted establishment of an independent school of business. Upon the founding of the School in 1916, Egbert served as administrative head, growing admission from 61 students in the School’s first year to 515 students in 1932. He was also instrumental in getting the School its own home on the northeast corner of 116th Street. During his time as the School’s first dean, the number of faculty members also expanded significantly: from one professor, two assistant professors, three instructors, and four lecturers in 1916; to 11 professors, five associate professors, seven assistant professors, seven instructors, four lecturers, and two assistants in 1932.
In his prior role as Columbia’s first dean of Extension Teaching, Egbert led the program as an experiment, which ministered to the needs of about 900 adult education students in 1910, as part of the University’s Extension Teaching offerings. When the accelerated business climate in the early 1900s led to a demand for a dedicated business school, Egbert assumed the role of director (and eventually dean), helping the School serve over 10,000 students per year through hundreds of course offerings by 1936.
1932–41: ROSWELL C. MCCREA
BS, Haverford College
PhD, University of Pennsylvania
Area of Specialization: Economics
A Columbia professor of economics since 1916, Dean Roswell C. McCrea steered the School through the turbulent economic, political, and educational conditions of the 1930s. McCrea strengthened the relationship between the Business School and the Department of Economics by encouraging a curriculum that gave business students a broad base in economics. He also instituted an open-door policy that allowed students direct access to School leadership, cultivating a more accessible culture. In addition, McCrea’s time as dean saw the School adopt a course in accountancy, increase work on the Faculty Committee on Employment to help students secure jobs following graduation, expand and move the School’s library to the space now known as Butler Library, and hire the first full-time librarian. He strived to create an atmosphere of freedom, rather than compulsion, which in part led to high faculty member productivity and unusually low faculty member turnover.
Prior to joining Columbia, McCrea served as dean of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and head of the Department of Civics and History at Eastern Illinois State Normal School. He was also an instructor of economics at Trinity College and the Fayerweather Professor of Economics and Sociology at Bowdoin College.
1941–47: ROBERT DE BLOIS CALKINS
BS, College of William And Mary
AM, PhD Stanford University
Areas of Specialization: Industrial Organization and International Trade
Dean Robert De Blois Calkins expanded the School’s sole focus of training professionals for private enterprise to include training for public enterprise. As part of this effort, he initiated a new course, “Economics of Business,” in which students studied the behavior of the economy under pressure, applied methods of economic analysis to the problems of private business, and undertook a critical examination of public policy in its relation to the operation of the economy. Calkins was also responsible for raising the admission standards of the School with a more careful screening process. Perhaps most importantly, Calkins led the School in authorizing the awarding of a new degree in 1945: the MBA. During the first year of offering the new degree, which was available in addition to the already existing undergraduate offerings, School enrollment reached pre-war numbers as soldiers returned home and headed for university campuses across the country.
Besides his role as dean, Calkins was the vice president and director of the General Education Board of the Rockefeller Foundation and president of the Brookings Institution, leading Brookings from 1952–67 — an era in which the institution became an influential policy analysis organization. He also previously served as chairman of the economics department and dean of the College of Commerce for the University of California Berkley; vice chancellor for the University of California Santa Cruz; a mediator for the War Labor Board during World War II; director of the New York Federal Reserve Bank; and a member of the 1957 Gaither Committee, which conducted a top-secret review of the country's military and civil defense for the National Security Council.
1947–48; 1953–54: JOHN E. ORCHARD (Acting Dean)
AB, Swarthmore College
MA, PhD Harvard University
Area of Specialization: Economic Geography
A member of the School’s faculty since 1920, Dean John E. Orchard led the renovation and reorganization of the School to prepare for its upcoming transition from an undergraduate institution to a graduate institution. Previously, during World War II, Orchard served as the economic consultant to the Office of Production Management; senior assistant administrator to Edward R. Stettinius Jr., administrator of the Lend-Lease Program; and director of the General Areas Branch of the Foreign Economic Administration. He is also the author of Japan’s Economic Position (McGraw-Hill, 1930).
1948–53: PHILLIP YOUNG:
AB, St. Lawrence University
MBA, Harvard University
Areas of Specialization: Business History, Economics
Under the helm of Dean Phillip Young, the School officially became the Graduate School of Business, retiring all undergraduate offerings. Young also created the post of associate dean and appointed Professor David Dodd ’21 to serve in the position. Young revised the curriculum, broadening the scope of the School’s offerings to provide MBA students with more specialization, and devised plans for building the School internationally by adding teaching staff and encouraging research. He emphasized bringing “business and business education together” — a mission that underscored his belief in the connection between theory and practice. To that end, he launched the Junior Executive Program, a part-time degree program and precursor to today’s Executive MBA Program. Under Young’s direction, the School also became the administrator of the American Assembly, a public policy institute founded by Dwight D. Eisenhower that fosters non-partisan public policy discussions through convening research and publication.
Prior to his position as dean, Young served in a number of government and nonprofit roles including: personnel manager with Cabinet rank and chairman of the Civil Service Commission under President Dwight D. Eisenhower; ambassador to the Netherlands; executive director of the United States Council of the International Chamber of Commerce; business economist at the Securities and Exchange Commission; special assistant, US Treasury; Navy Lieutenant Commander; chairman of the board for Project Hope; and president of the Netherlands-America Foundation.
1953–54: JOHN E. ORCHARD (Acting Dean) (Orchard previously served as acting cean from 1947–48. His accomplishments are stated above.)
1954–69: COURTNEY C. BROWN:
LLD, Miami University, Ohio
BDA, Université de Sherbrooke
George E. Warren Professor of Business Policy, 1963–70
Paul Garrett Professor of Public Policy and Business Responsibility, 1970–72
Areas of Specialization: Economic Statistics, Business Ethics
Under Dean Courtney C. Brown’s leadership, the School underwent a period of profound change, including the construction of its current home, Uris Hall. Believing that the School needed the security and possibilities the new building afforded, Brown helped raise the funds for the project himself. In the classroom, he introduced a required course on the ethical and philosophical aspects of business and eliminated the remaining undergraduate courses, all while increasing the research focus of faculty members and attracting outside fundraising support from corporate America.
Before joining Columbia, Brown was chief of Economic Research at Exxon. He was founder of the Council for Financial Aid to Education and founder and former editor of the Columbia Journal of World Business. He also held the position of chairman of the American Assembly; administrator for the Commodity Credit Corporation and the War Production Board during World War II; chief of the War Supply and Resources Division of the State Department; and vice chairman of the President's Famine Emergency Commission. He is the author of several books, including: Liquidity and Instability (Columbia University Press, 1940); Putting the Corporate Board to Work (Macmillan, 1976), and a memoir, The Dean Meant Business (Columbia University Press, 1985). Brown also served as public governor of the New York Stock Exchange.
1969–72: GEORGE F. JAMES
BA, JD University of Chicago
M Law, Columbia University
Areas of Specialization: Foreign Investment, Finance
During his time as dean, George F. James focused in part on applying business management skills to the urban problems that faced New York City at the time — particularly housing, mass transit, and pollution. He also created a plan in which Columbia’s graduate engineering students could transfer seamlessly into the School’s two-year MBA program. James was also dean during a debate among faculty members over the direction of the MBA curriculum, with one group stressing the need for providing students with a liberal arts education, while another arguing that the School should provide mainly professional training. "There are two important schools of thought, and it is important that neither be submerged by the other," James stated.
Prior to leading the School, he was senior vice president of finance at Mobil Oil and a law professor at University of Chicago Law School.
1972–73: SAMUEL B. RICHMOND (Acting Dean)
AB, Harvard University
MBA, PhD Columbia University
Areas of Specialization: Economics, Statistics, Operations Research, Business Theory
Samuel B. Richmond’s 31-year tenure at the School began when he was a graduate student and continued as a professor of economics and statistics, where he earned a reputation as a passionate and enthusiastic teacher and distinguished scholar. Richmond would later serve as acting dean from 1972 to 1973.
Following his time with Columbia, Richmond was dean of the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University for 10 years. As a known expert on air transportation and a respected authority on management issues, he was a much sought-after management consultant to numerous national and international corporations and government agencies, including the Civil Aeronautics Board, Coca-Cola, DuPont, Eastern Airlines, El-Al Airlines, General Motors, Pillsbury, the US Department of Agriculture, United Fruit Company, and the US Secret Service. Richmond also authored three major books: Operations Research for Management Decisions (The Ronald Press Company, 1969); Statistical Analysis, Third Edition, (1997); and Regulation and Competition in Air Transportation (Columbia University Press, 1961). He hosted the talk show Nashville Business Edition from 1984 to 1986 and served on the boards of Corbin Limited, First American Bank Corp., Hartmann Luggage, IMS International, Ingram Industries, and Winners Corporation.
1973–75: LOUIS D. VOLPP
BS, Iowa State University
MA, PhD State University of Iowa
Areas of Specialization: Managerial Economics, Organization Design, Marketing
Under Louis D. Volpp’s leadership, both the number and quality of Business School applicants rose, helping to raise revenue for the School. Upon being named dean, he was declared by Columbia University’s President McGill as “probably the best young business dean in the country, an innovative educator, a vigorous administrator, and an engaging personality.”
Before joining Columbia, Volpp served as the first dean of the Graduate School of Business Administration at Duke University, associate provost of the University of Illinois, and director of the University of Illinois computer-based research lab.
1975–82: BORIS YAVITZ
MA, University of Cambridge
MS, PhD Columbia University
Paul Garrett Professor of Public Policy and Business Responsibility
Areas of Specialization: Management, Statistics
Before becoming dean of the School, Boris Yavitz had been a popular professor since 1964, specializing in business strategy. Yavitz, who wrote an early book on strategy and championed corporate governance, enhanced the faculty in size and scope, increased applications, improved ties with the business community, and solidified the School’s reputation as a top graduate institution. Yavitz was a stabilizing force after a series of short-term predecessors, as his New York Times obituary pointed out in 2009: “Perhaps most important, colleagues said, he restored the spirit of the school after a chaotic period, unified a schismatic faculty, and restored order to promotion and tenure.”
Before coming to Columbia, Yavitz started a land development company and served as director and deputy chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
1982–88: JOHN C. (SANDY) BURTON
BA, Harvard College
MBA, PhD Columbia University
Areas of Specialization: Accounting, Finance
John C. (Sandy) Burton concentrated specifically on faculty development during his time as dean. Prior to assuming the role, he served as chief accountant for the Securities and Exchange Commission and deputy mayor for finance for New York City, where he was instrumental in the city’s adoption of generally accepted accounting principles and helped refinance short-term debt, positioning the city to seek federal loan guarantee legislation and make long-term investments in infrastructure. Burton was also a statistician for the Brooklyn Dodgers and was named to the Accounting Hall of Fame in 1997. He argued that the accountant’s task should not be confined to auditing corporate books but should include forecasts, judgments on the corporation’s financial controls, and evaluations of management, and that accounting firms should be more open about their own finances.
1988–89: E. KIRBY WARREN (Acting Dean)
BA, MA, PhD Columbia University
Areas of Specialization: Business Policy, New Ventures, Human Resource Management, Organizational Design
Before E. Kirby Warren served as acting dean of the School, he was vice dean from 1987 to 1988. In that role, he was responsible for the School’s executive education, alumni and development, and publications. During his career, Warren provided expert witness testimony in antitrust suits and worked with numerous corporations in human resource and strategy planning.
1989–2004: MEYER FELDBERG
BA, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
MBA, Columbia University
PhD, Cape Town University
Sanford C. Bernstein & Co Professor of Leadership and Ethics
Areas of Specialization: Strategic Planning, Corporate Governance, International Business, Multinational Entrepreneurship
During Meyer Feldberg’s 15-year tenure as dean, he led the School through remarkable academic, international, and fiscal growth that mirrored the resurgence of New York City.
Feldberg grew the School’s endowment to more than $200 million from $16 million in the late 1980s and increased the selectivity from 30 percent to 11 percent. Applications to the School tripled, and the curriculum was revamped to meet the global business needs of the 21st century, including the expansion of the Executive MBA programs through groundbreaking partnerships with London Business School and the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley.
Feldberg also oversaw a concerted effort to increase the caliber of research and pedagogy at the School, leading to the hiring of more than 90 faculty members — including Joseph Stiglitz, the 2001 recipient of the Nobel Prize in economics. He strengthened the School’s network, too, helping to dramatically increase fundraising and reconnect alumni with the School.
In addition to Feldberg’s Columbia accomplishments, he was chairman of the National Advisory Council of Business Education and the Council on International Educational Exchange and served as director of Federated Department Stores Inc., Revlon Inc., Primedia, and Pane Webber Funds. Prior to joining the School, Feldberg was president of the Illinois Institute of Technology (1986-89); dean of the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane (1981–86); director of executive education and associate dean of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University (1979–81); and dean of the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town (1972–79).
2004–present: GLENN HUBBARD
BA, BS, University of Central Florida
AM, PhD Harvard University
Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics
Professor of Economics, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Areas of Specialization: Tax Policy, Monetary Economics, International Finance, Corporate Finance, and Entrepreneurial Finance.
Glenn Hubbard was named dean of Columbia Business School on July 1, 2004. Hubbard began his teaching career at Northwestern University before moving to Columbia in 1988. He served as senior vice dean of the Business School from 1994 to 1997 and co-director of the Entrepreneurship Program from 1998 to 2004. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Business School, as well as the University of Chicago. Hubbard also held the John M. Olin Fellowship at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington and a member of the International Advisory Board of the MBA Program of Ben-Gurion University.
In addition to writing more than 100 scholarly articles in economics and finance, Hubbard is the author of two leading textbooks on money, financial markets, and principles of economics, as well as co-author of The Aid Trap: Hard Truths About Ending Poverty (Columbia University Press, 2009), Balance: The Economics of Great Powers From Ancient Rome to Modern America (Simon & Schuster, 2013), and Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Five Steps to a Better Health Care System (Hoover Institution Press, 2011).
In government, Hubbard served as deputy assistant secretary of the US Treasury Department for Tax Policy from 1991 to 1993 and supervised administration efforts on revenue estimates, tax reform, and health policy. From February 2001 until March 2003, he was chairman of the US Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush. While there, he also chaired the Economic Policy Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. In the corporate sector, he is currently a member of the board of directors of ADP, BlackRock Closed-End Funds, and Met Life. Hubbard has also served on the advisory boards of several organizations, including the Council on Competitiveness, the American Council on Capital Formation, the Tax Foundation, and the Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and co-chair of the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, a past chair of the Economic Club of New York, and a past co-chair of the Study Group on Corporate Boards.