The Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens is a nationally competitive business school that offers seven degree programs, six at the graduate level. The college also operates nine centers for outreach and research, as well as its Executive Education Center in Atlanta. In 2006 Terry College was ranked as both a top twenty public business school and a top fifty graduate school by U.S. News and World Report. That same year the school was also ranked among the top twenty public business schools by Business Week magazine and the Financial Times newspaper of London, England.
The Terry College of Business was created as the School of Commerce in 1912 on the UGA campus. The School of Commerce was very small in the first several decades of its existence. By 1930 the school graduated about forty students annually and offered such programs of study as finance, secretarial sciences, and industrial relations. The Great Depression stimulated interest in business, which led to an increase in enrollment during the 1930s. In 1941 the school’s name changed to the College of Business Administration.
In 1947 the college took control of the University System Center (previously the Evening School of Commerce of the Georgia Institute of Technology), an unaccredited business school in Atlanta administered by the University System of Georgia. Renamed the Atlanta Division of the University of Georgia, the school expanded rapidly during the 1950s, until enrollment became too large to remain under the control of the College of Business Administration. In 1955 the state Board of Regents separated the school from UGA and converted it into a four-year business school, the Georgia State College of Business Administration. This new school would later become Georgia State University.
As UGA’s College of Business Administration continued to grow, more attention was given to the hiring of faculty members who placed a strong emphasis on research. As the faculty became more accomplished, the reputation of the college grew.
In 1977 the College of Business Administration started one of the first schools of accounting in the United States. Economic growth in Georgia, particularly in the Atlanta metropolitan area, led to rapid growth for the college. As Atlanta became a center of industry, the College of Business Administration underwent numerous changes to accommodate the new demands. The college also made strides in educating nontraditional students, specifically those who already had jobs and were seeking additional training.
Endowments for the College of Business Administration increased under the leadership of Albert W. Niemi Jr., who served as the college’s dean from 1983 until 1996. During Niemi’s tenure, funding for the college rose from $3.5 million to $32.5 million.
In October 1991 the college’s name was changed to the C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business. The name honors Florida insurance executive C. Herman Terry, a Georgia native and 1939 alumnus of UGA who, along with his wife, donated $6 million to the school in 1990. The Terrys’ bequest, the largest cash gift in the college’s history, was used to fund various endowed chairs, faculty fellowships, and scholarships. By 2002, during the deanship of P. George Benson, endowments for the Terry College of Business totaled more than $56 million. In 2007 Robert T. Sumichrast was appointed dean of the college.
As of 2006 the Terry College of Business comprised more than 100 faculty members and an undergraduate population of 2,100 students. The school offers ten undergraduate majors to students pursuing the bachelor of business administration degree: accounting, banking and finance management, economics, general business, international business, management, management information systems, marketing and distribution, real estate, and risk management and insurance. The college also offers a doctoral degree, as well as five master’s degrees: the executive master of business administration, master of business administration, master of accountancy, master of Internet technology, and master of marketing research.
In January 2006 the Music Business Certificate Program, an interdisciplinary program administered jointly by Terry College and UGA’s Hodgson School of Music, began operation. Offering a curriculum of music theory and history combined with business courses, the program was developed by UGA alumni Bruce Burch, a songwriter, and Steve Dancz, a composer. Initial funding was provided by George Fontaine, a 1976 graduate of Terry College and the founder of Doolittle Records (later New West Records) in Austin, Texas. In August 2006 a memorial fund supporting the program was established in honor of Phil Walden, the cofounder of Macon-based Capricorn Records.
Research and Outreach
In addition to its academic degree programs, Terry College also supports nine centers and institutes: the James C. Bonbright Center for Public Utilities, the Center for Enterprise Risk Management, the Center for Information Systems Leadership, the Coca-Cola Center for International Business, the Coca-Cola Center for Marketing Studies, the Institute for Leadership Advancement, Non-Profit Management and Community Service, the Bernard B. and Eugenia A. Ramsey Center for Private Enterprise, and the Simon S. Selig Jr. Center for Economic Growth. The various missions and services of these centers include supporting the research of Terry College faculty, coordinating graduate and undergraduate instruction, and offering educational outreach programs to the public.
In 2005 Terry College opened the Executive Education Center in the Buckhead area of Atlanta. The center houses the college’s Executive MBA program and facilitates interactions between the Atlanta business community and Terry College students and faculty. The facility contains classrooms, conference rooms, office space, and a special events room, in which Terry Third Thursday, a monthly breakfast speaker program, is offered to the Atlanta business community.