Isenberg School of Management

The Isenberg School of Management is the school of business at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. It was founded in 1948 as the School of Business Administration, later being renamed in 1983 to the School of Management and then to it's present name in 1998. The Doctorate program is the oldest and largest in business education amongst New England’s public universities.


Isenberg is also made up of the following departments

  • Department of Accounting
  • Department of Finance
  • Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management
  • Department of Management
  • Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management
  • Department of Marketing
  • Department of Operations & Information Management
  • Business Communication Program


The college offers the following Bachelors in Business Administration degrees:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Operations

The college offers the following Bachelors of Science degrees:

  • Hospitality and Tourism Management
  • Sport Management

The college offers a Masters of Business Administration.

The college offers a MBA/MS Dual Degree in:

  • Public Policy and Administration
  • Sport Management
  • Civil Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

The college offers the following doctorate programs.

*Business Administration *Sport Management


1947—The University of Massachusetts establishes the School of Business Administration, with ten faculty members. Its Acting Dean, Philip E. Gamble, an economist, is also Head of the University’s economics department. The school’s original site, North College (near present-day Machmer hall), was razed in the 1950s.

May 1949—Isenberg awards its first bachelor’s degrees to 15 students, including John Conlon ’49, who will return to serve as the school’s Undergraduate Dean and its Acting Dean three times.

1952—To lead the school’s reorganization prompted by growing demand (450 students), Isenberg welcomes its first full-time dean, Milo Kimball.

1954—Isenberg moves to Draper Hall; the school awards its first MBA degrees to three students.

1957—Following a national search, Isenberg welcomes its second longest-serving dean (10 years), Himy B. Kirshen. The school’s student population exceeds 500.

1958—Isenberg earns its first national accreditation—for its undergraduate program—from the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

1959—Isenberg establishes a four-department structure comprising Accounting, General Business and Finance, Management, and Marketing. With several variations, the configuration will remain in place for over three decades. Isenberg introduces its first off-site program, an evening MBA program in Pittsfield, in cooperation with General Electric.

1963—Isenberg’s MBA program becomes one of 53 in the nation with AACSB accreditation. Isenberg has 20 MBA students.

September 1964—Isenberg moves into its new School of Business Administration building. Its high-profile location opposite the planned Whitmore Administration building (1967) signifies the ascendency of business education on campus and its increasing demand (850 students) by baby boomers. The new building sports 40 faculty offices for its 35 faculty members, thirty classrooms, and two statistical labs with electrical outlets every few feet to power business machines. During the fall of 1964, the building’s third floor offers unrivaled viewing of varsity football games on the site of present-day Haigis Mall. (A year later, varsity football relocated to newly built McGuirk Stadium.)

1966—Galvanized by student demographics and education financing through government deficit spending, Isenberg’s student population crosses the 1000 mark.

1967—Isenberg becomes the first public school in New England to offer the PhD in business administration. In that role, Isenberg elevates its status by attracting more high-level educators and by preparing new PhDs to meet the soaring demand for business education.

1968—Wendell R. Smith, a former Wharton Professor and head of the Marketing Science Institute, is Isenberg’s new dean.

1972—Isenberg has 1500 students (375 in graduate programs) and 77 faculty members.

1974-1977—George S. Odiorne becomes Isenberg’s fourth full-time dean. With ten books and 120 articles to his credit, the high-profile dean is the nation’s leading exponent of Management by Objectives. During Odiorne’s three years as dean, Isenberg’s student population increases by 50% to over 2000. Several months before Odiorne’s arrival, Isenberg’s Department of Accounting holds its first Annual Awards Ceremony and Banquet, attracting 200 alumni and students. And shortly after his departure in August of 1977, Isenberg creates its own placement office, a satellite of the University’s campus-wide Placement Services. The placement office, which leverages alumni influence with their companies, is the early forerunner of the Chase Career Center. 1978—Harry T. Allan, former Dean of the business school at Syracuse University, becomes Isenberg’s 5th full-time dean. He will serve for six years. Isenberg attracts 250 alumni and student awardees to its first Annual Awards Banquet. The ceremony recognizes James F. Sullivan ’55, owner of a prominent insurance agency in West Springfield, as the school’s first Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient. Isenberg expands its on-campus MBA and MS programs from one-year to two, giving it two simultaneous on-campus MBA cohorts/classes.

1979—Isenberg ramps up its commitment to public service research with the largest grant in its history—$400,000 from the U.S. Department of Urban Development. Through the grant, a multidisciplinary Isenberg research team evaluates HUD’s Section 8 Housing Assistance Program.

1980—Isenberg adds a second off-campus MBA site, creating a Part-time MBA program at Holyoke Community College. Isenberg fosters entrepreneurship in its new role as state headquarters for the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center network, a partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Massachusetts Department of Commerce.

1981—Soaring demand for an Isenberg education and the school’s increasingly high standards are evident in applications to the freshman class. More than 2,000 applicants yield a class of 350—an applications/entry ratio of six to one.

1983—Name Change: the School of Business Administration since its inception is henceforth called the School of Management. Dean Allan explains: “We are preparing future members of management in the private, not-for-profit, and public sectors. We want our new name to reflect those broadened responsibilities.”

1983—Externally funded training and research funds and contracts to Isenberg exceed $1 million. The school welcomes 350 freshmen from an applicant pool of 2,950. Isenberg leverages alumni and corporate support to hire its own placement director, Richard Fein, who will serve in that role for three decades.

1984—For the first time, alumni support to Isenberg exceeds $100,000. Ninety firms recruit at the school.

1987—Thomas O’Brien becomes Isenberg’s 6th full-time dean. A savvy insider in Boston’s business and academic communities, O’Brien joined Isenberg following ten years as chief financial officer at Harvard University. The convocation honoring his arrival featured keynote speaker and former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volker. At the gathering, O’Brien emphasized his commitment to transform Isenberg through unprecedented support from alumni and business. Serving as dean for 19 years, O’Brien will energize the school through its first comprehensive development campaign, its Harold Alfond Building Wing (2002), two new departments—McCormack Sport Management and Hospitality & Tourism Management, and its name change to the Isenberg School of Management.

1987—In its first-year, Isenberg’s Operations Management program attracts 14 student/majors. By 1990, it is the school’s fastest-growing major with 90 undergraduates and ten Ph.D. students. 1988—With a $120,000 grant to Isenberg’s newly founded Institute for North American Trade and Economics, Isenberg becomes an academic leader in teaching and research focused on America’s business relationship with its leading trading partner, Canada.

1989—Isenberg promotes entrepreneurship in the classroom through The Flavin Fund for Entrepreneurial Studies, a gift from John Flavin ’59 and his family in memory of his brother, former Singer Company Chairman Joseph Flavin Jr. ’53. The $1.5 million bequest, the largest to date in UMass history, will endow a chair held for two decades by former cable TV company entrepreneur Jim Theroux.

1991—Isenberg’s MBA program ranks among the nation’s top fifty in Business Week’s Guide to the Best Business Schools. Isenberg ranks 15th–one of four publics—in the northeast, which includes all MBA programs east of Ohio and north of Virginia.

1993—UMass business alumnus Charlie Nirenberg’s ’46 $1 million dollar gift to Isenberg establishes the Charles and Janet Nirenberg Chair of Business Leadership. Charles C. Manz becomes the first holder of the chair 2 ½ years later.

1994—With a gift from Michael Philipp MBA ’82, Isenberg launches its Center for International Securities and Derivatives Markets (CISDM). The center’s founder, Isenberg finance professor Thomas Schneeweis is a long-time advocate of derivatives markets and research.

1995—Isenberg has over 16,000 alumni. In the fall, the school’s personal computers link with the University’s fiber optic infrastructure, channeling the enhanced graphics of the early (soon to be eclipsed) web browser, Mosaic.

1996—Isenberg’s role in the just-launched Campaign for the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is to raise $26 million in private support for a new building addition, endowed faculty positions, a stronger Annual Fund, and a curriculum innovation fund. That is a necessity given the sustained decline in state funding for UMass to 34% of its operating budget. “You’ll realize that a dollar goes much further at UMass than anywhere else,” emphasized campaign co-chair John Flavin ’59.

1997—A $6 million contribution to the school from Eugene ’50 and Ronnie Isenberg is the largest private gift in UMass history. Two-thirds of the gift spearheads the $4 million “Isenberg Challenge,” to be matched by $4 million from the University and $4 million from alumni. The Challenge will fund a 60,000 sq. foot building addition at the school.

1998—The School of Management officially becomes the Isenberg School of Management. A lavish banquet in October honors Gene and Ronnie Isenberg, attracting 800 alumni and friends to the Mullins Center.

1998—Isenberg’s Center for International Securities and Derivatives Markets (CISDM) publishes the first issue of its Journal of Alternative Investments, the first “blind-refereed” periodical devoted exclusively to derivatives and other nontraditional investments.

1999—Isenberg’s Off-campus MBA Program comprises 290 students—248 in Springfield and 42 in Pittsfield.

2000—An $850,000 challenge grant from the venerable Kresge Foundation is a ringing endorsement of Isenberg’s alumni involvement and expanding national footprint.

2000—A ground breaking ceremony in November kicks off construction for Isenberg’s $16 million building wing. Thomas Schneeweis is named first Michael ’82 MBA and Cheryl Philipp Professor in Finance.

2001—In January, Isenberg gains early mover advantage by offering a fully accredited Online MBA program.

2001—John F. Smith Professor Anna Nagurney founds the Virtual Center for Supernetworks. The multidisciplinary initiative focuses on the behavior and design of intersecting transportation, communications, supply chain, and other networks.

2002—Isenberg’s $16 million building addition—the Harold Alfond Management Center—opens in September and is formally dedicated a month later. Two established campus programs—the Department of Sport Management and the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management—join Isenberg in September. With the new departments, Isenberg’s alumni population increases from 20,300 to 29,900.

2002—Isenberg’s Center for International Securities and Derivatives Markets is the recipient of an $8.8 million database that tracks hedge funds, commodity trading advisors, and futures funds. It renames its acquisition, the CISDM Database.

2002—Soren Bisgaard, a world-class statistician and quality management innovator, is appointed Eugene M. Isenberg Professor in Integrative Studies. The chaired position is funded through Gene Isenberg’s original $6 million gift.

2003—Sheila Bair, who will leave Isenberg three years later to head the FDIC, joins the school as Dean’s Professor of Financial Regulatory Policy.

2003—Isenberg launches an MS program in accounting, one of two AASCB-accredited MS in accounting programs in New England.

2005—In an annual national survey by Princeton Review, Isenberg’s Fulltime MBA program ranks tenth in Overall Academic Experience and fourth in the category Best Professors.

2006—Isenberg’s HTM program launches its $6.3 million Marriott Center for Hospitality Management. On the 11th floor of the University’s Campus Center, the 12,000 square-foot facility features a 140-seat dining room, an advanced food laboratory/kitchen, a basic food laboratory/classroom, and a beverage laboratory/classroom.

*Timeline by Louis Wigdor, Senior writer and editor at Isenberg, 2016


i/isenberg_school_of_management.txt · Last modified: 2021/09/03 12:47 by
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