Spears School of Business

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Established 1889
Type Public
Dean Ken Eastman
Location Stillwater, Oklahoma, United States
Affiliation Oklahoma State University
Nickname Cowboys/Cowgirls
Mascot Pistol Pete
Colors Orange & Black          
Website http://spears.okstate.edu/

The Spears School of Business (or Spears School) is the business component of Oklahoma State University. Located in Stillwater, Okla., the Spears School is composed of seven academic departments with more than 100 tenure and tenure-track educational professionals. The college’s student body is made up of nearly 4,000 undergraduate students pursuing 15 degree fields and approximately 800 graduate students studying in seven different master's degree programs. The Spears School also offers several Ph.D. programs, including business administration, economics and the new Ph.D. in Business for Executives.

Academic programs at the Spears School are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business since 1958. Currently, the Spears School ranks in the top 15.5 percent of business schools, according to the 2011 rankings by the U.S. News and World Report.

Oklahoma State University is a comprehensive university with instructional, research, and outreach missions. OSU is composed of four campuses and extensive off-campus instructional and assistance programs. The combined enrollment for these locations exceeds 28,000 students. The Stillwater campus has an enrollment of more than 20,000 students and a full-time faculty of more than 900. Seven percent of undergraduate enrollment and 17 percent of graduate enrollment comes from more than 90 foreign countries.


1894 photo of OSU's Old Central

It was almost as if they made “the run” to establish a college; it happened so fast. The Land Run of 1889, as every Oklahoman knows, refers to the event that took place on April 22, 1889. When the signaling shot was fired, more than 50,000 people with little money, high hopes and enormous courage descended in a mad competitive rush to stake claims on land that was later to become a part of the state of Oklahoma. Stillwater, the home of Oklahoma State University and the Spears School of Business, was included in that area. The very next year, the hardy souls who settled in Stillwater saw the founding bill passed for the organization of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of the Territory of Oklahoma – the school that later became Oklahoma State University.

The establishment of the college was made possible by the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, which granted 30,000 acres to each eligible state for the establishment of colleges. In 1890, a second Morrill Act was passed, granting “a portion of the proceeds of the public lands to the more complete endowment and support of colleges for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts established under the provisions of an act of Congress approved July 2, 1862” (Clark, para. 1). In time, the purpose the land-grant colleges expanded. Now, the purpose of the colleges is threefold: to teach, conduct research and perform outreach activities.

Even with the generous grants from the government, the first few years for the Agricultural and Mechanical College of the Territory of Oklahoma were difficult. Classes at the college began on Dec. 14, 1891 and were held in the Congregational Church in town. Initial enrollment consisted of only 45 students, though that number swelled to 70 by the end of the year. In June 1894, the college dedicated its first building, Old Central, which still stands on the campus today.

Not long after the first class of students graduated, the college hired its first business teacher: Georgina M. Holt. Holt, who was born in Ireland, came to the college in 1898 to teach stenography and typewriting. Holt resigned from the college after teaching for just five years, though she only left to marry Dr. Lowery Layman Lewis. According to Kincaid (1987), “L.L. Lewis was one of the most capable, most revered of all the people who ever served the college” (p. 14). In fact, Lewis Field, the famous home of the OSU Cowboys football team, was named in honor of L. L. Lewis. During his tenure at the college, Lewis served as a teacher and researcher and as the president of the college, dean of the school of science and literature, and dean of veterinary medicine. Lewis was also instrumental in furthering the development of business education for the college.

After Holt resigned, she was replaced by Z. J. Cawood, who was given the title “Principal of the Business School.” The school was divided into two departments: stenography and typewriting, and the business course, which explored such subjects as English, commercial law, business forms, and business correspondence. Even so, the school was not truly separated from the rest of the college until 1914, when Lewis helped establish the School of Commerce and Marketing. Though at the time it was noted that this was the first business school in the nation, it was actually not; however, it was, in fact, the first department of marketing ever established. During its first year, there were 37 students enrolled in the school, though that number increased to 164 in just two years. By 1920, enrollment was 298, and in 1921 it grew to 365. The school also expanded the courses it offered based on the four sides of business: production, marketing, finance and accounting.

In 1922, the School of Commerce and Marketing recorded the largest enrollment of any of the six schools on the campus, and it got its first official building, called the Old Engineering Building. Perhaps the most significant event that year, however, was the school’s adoption of a policy allowing women to be admitted to the School of Commerce and Marketing on the same basis as men. The school’s life in the Old Engineering Building was short lived. In 1925, the School of Commerce upgraded to Morrill Hall, the stately building that still stands next to the Business Building on campus today. By 1927, the college had 12 faculty members. The tuition for Oklahoma residents was absolutely free at that time, and non-Oklahoma residents only had to pay $10.00 per quarter. Rent for a dorm room was $27.50 to $31.50 per semester. In total, the cost for a student to attend Oklahoma A&M College was between $300 and $450 for a nine-month term.

In 1929, Raymond Doty Thomas was chosen as dean for the School of Commerce. Thomas revolutionized the college, and the school’s most coveted award for undergraduates was eventually named after him. According to Kincaid (1987), “Although perhaps it was not apparent at the time, the year Raymond Thomas became dean of the School of Commerce signified the end of one stage in the evolution of the College of Business Administration” (p. 35). On Oct. 29 of that year, the stock market crashed, greatly influencing the future of the college. As Kincaid (1987) noted, “It ushered in the world-wide panic and depression that would pervade the lives of everyone for the next decade.”


Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business is in the top 14.9 percent of business schools in the United States, according to the 2012 rankings by U.S. News & World Report. The Spears School is ranked one of the top 70 schools out of the 651 business schools accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Oklahoma State’s part-time MBA program is in the top 28 percent in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, listed at No. 75 of the 335 programs surveyed in 2012.


Since 1958, all academic programs in the Spears School of Business have been accredited by the AACSB International.

Spears School of Business Building

Undergraduate Programs[edit]

  • Accounting - The BSBA is a four-year program that results in a BSBA degree with a major in accounting. The specific objective of this program is to provide basic conceptual and business knowledge as a foundation for accounting career development.
  • Economics and Legal Studies - The Department of Economics and Legal Studies in Business provides education in economics and law.
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • General Business
  • International Business
  • Management
  • Science and Information Systems
  • Marketing

Master’s Programs[edit]

  • Business Administration (MBA)
  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Management Information Systems (MSMIS)
  • Quantitative Financial Economics (MSQFE)
  • Telecommunications Management (MSTM)
  • MBA/MSTM Dual Degree

Certificate Programs[edit]

  • SAS and OSU Data Mining
  • Business Data Mining
  • Information Assurance
  • SAS and Marketing Analytics

Ph.D. Programs[edit]

  • Ph.D. in Business Administration
  • Ph.D. in Accounting
  • Ph.D. in Entrepreneurship
  • Ph.D. in Finance
  • Ph.D. in Management
  • Ph.D. in Management Information Systems
  • Ph.D. in Marketing
  • Ph.D. in Economics
  • Ph.D. in Business for Executives

Institutes and Centers[edit]

  • Center for Applied Economic Research (CAER)
  • Center for Executive and Professional Development (CEPD)
  • Center for Social and Services Marketing (CSSM)
  • Center for Telecommunications and Network Security (CTANS)
  • Institute for Research in Information Services (IRIS)
  • Riata Center for Entrepreneurship

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Minnie Lou Bradley, Class of 1953, first woman to graduate from OSU with a degree in animal husbandry, matriarch of Bradley 3 Ranch in Childress County, Texas
  • Gordon Eubanks, CEO and President, Symantec Corporation, makers of Norton AntiVirus 8
  • Clark Hallren, Managing Director of Clear Scope Partners, financial and strategic advisor for those operating in the media and entertainment industry. Hallren is former Managing Director of the Entertainment Industries Group of JPMorgan Securities, Inc.
  • Paul Miller, former President of the Associated Press and former Chairman and CEO of Gannett Company (publisher of many newspapers including USA Today, Arizona Republic and the Indianapolis Star)
  • Neal Patterson, CEO of Cerner Corporation
  • T. Boone Pickens, Corporate tycoon; has donated over $235 million to OSU, including the renovation of the football stadium
  • M. B. "Bud" Seretean, former CEO of Coronet Industries, former general manager of the Atlanta Hawks
  • William A. Scroggs, insurance agent and Founder of Kappa Kappa Psi
  • Charles Watson, Chairman, Founder and CEO of energy giant Dynegy Corp., owner of the Houston Aeros professional hockey team
  • Jerry Winchester, President and CEO of Boots & Coots International Well Control Inc. and CEO of Chesapeake Oilfield Services

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°07′20″N 97°04′02″W / 36.12222°N 97.06722°W / 36.12222; -97.06722