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A century of Leadership

In 1922, Ivey began in the basement of Western’s University College, a small part of the Faculty of Arts program. Now Ivey takes its place on the global stage, standing as one of the world’s leading business schools. Take a walk through Ivey’s history, from the basement of University College to the boardrooms of some of top organizations in the world.


Ivey NCMRD Building Circa 1986
Ivey Graduation Ceremony
  • 1919

    Due to demand from First World War veterans, Dr. W. Sherwood Fox, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science and Dr. K.P.R. Neville, University Registrar, investigate options for teaching Commerce and Business.

    Drs. Neville and Fox conduct a comprehensive study of all recognized business courses of University grade in North America. It was determined that the Harvard School of Business case-study method was the most effective style of teaching.

  • 1922

    Ellis H. Morrow, a Canadian who graduated from Harvard, is appointed Head of the Department of Commercial Economics, Faculty of Arts. Teaching begins as an option within the Faculty of Arts.

  • 1923

    First six graduates with the degree, Honours Business Administration (HBA) for Business Administration granted.

  • 1925

    Morrow establishes strong links with the Harvard Business School and travels to Harvard for training, under the direction of HBS Dean Wallace B. Donham.

  • 1927

    Department of Commercial Economics name changed to Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Arts.

  • 1929

    Phillip H. Hensel appointed Head of Department. Ellis Morrow founds Faculty of Commerce at the University of British Columbia.

  • 1932

    Graduate work in Business begun.

  • 1933

    Quarterly Review of Commerce published. The name was later changed to Business Quarterly, Ivey Business Journal, and now Ivey Business Journal Online.

  • 1938

    Walter A. Thompson appointed Acting Head of Department.

  • 1942

    Ross B. Willis appointed Acting Head of Department.

  • 1948

    Canada's top 100 CEOs and Presidents meet at Western and determine that there is a need for a National School of Business Administration. Actions from this meeting included the establishment of an Advisory Committee, and work started in examining the feasibility of an MBA degree program, Executive Education programs, and PhD program.

    The Management Training Course (MTC), Canada's first Executive program started. MTC was led by Walter Thompson, and combines Western and Harvard faculty.

    Canada's first MBA program established. Teaching began in the fall of 1948.

  • 1950

    The School of Business Administration is established as a separate faculty at Western with offices located in the basement of University College.

    Lloyd W. Sipherd appointed first Dean of the School.

    Richard G. Ivey, Q.C., appointed first Chairman of the Advisory Committee.

    First MBA degree granted.

  • 1951

    School moves to its first building, Goodholme (see picture), a former residence, located near the current location of King's College.

  • 1953

    Marketing Management Course established, as the second Executive program. Jack J. Wettlaufer is the founding Director.

  • 1954

    Fred W.P. Jones appointed as Dean.

    Richard G. Ivey receives Honorary Doctor of Laws degree for his work with the Business School.

  • 1955

    Jack R. White, President, Imperial Oil Company, appointed as Chairman, Advisory Committee.

  • 1957

    Richard G. Ivey leads an effort that funds the building of the School of Business Administration Building on campus. The building opens and honours his leadership by carrying his name (see photo - Richard G. Ivey at the ceremony to open the new building).

  • 1961

    Senate approves the first PhD program in Business in Canada.

    W. Harold Rae appointed Chairman of the Advisory Committee.

  • 1963

    Jack J. Wettlaufer appointed as Dean of the School.

    MBA program expands and adds second section.

  • 1964

    First PhD degree awarded to Alexander Mikalachki, MBA '60.

    Ford Foundation awards five-year grant in support of the PhD program.

  • 1967

    Alumni Directory published, to commemorate Canada's Centennial. 5,927 alumni are listed.

  • 1968

    John E. Brent appointed Chairman of the Advisory Committee.

  • 1969

    Addition to the Richard Ivey Building doubles size of the School.

    Grant received from the Richard Ivey Foundation and the Richard and Jean Ivey Fund to support computer equipment and graduate fellowships.

  • 1970

    “Plan for Excellence” started to raise $1.5 million for research, MBA, and PhD Fellowship programs.

  • 1971

    Thanks to the support of CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) the School assists in the development of management studies programs at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica and Trinidad.

    50th birthday parties are celebrated with alumni across Canada. The first official alumni clubs start as a result of this initiative.

  • 1974

    Centre for International Business studies established by Professor Harold Crookell, thanks to a five-year grant from the Federal Government (Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce).

  • 1975

    The School offers its first international Executive program, the Brazilian Management Course, led by Professor John Nicholson.

    Alan Burton of Simpson's appointed as Chair of the Advisory Committee.

  • 1978

    C.B. (Bud) Johnston appointed as Dean.

    Spencer Hall Continuing Education Centre officially opened, in partnership with the University of Western Ontario and Scotiabank.

  • 1980

    John A. (Jack) Armstrong of Imperial Oil appointed as Chairman of the Advisory Board.

  • 1983

    James C. Taylor Distinguished Lecture in Finance established.

    Ralph M. Barford of GSW and Camco appointed as Chair of the Advisory Committee.

  • 1984

    CIDA funds the China Program, as School partners with Tsinghua University. Professor J.J. (Joe) DiStefano is the founding Director.

  • 1985

    Professor David S.R. Leighton appointed first Director of the National Centre for Management Research and Development (NCMRD).

  • 1986

    NCMRD building opens thanks to support from the Federal Government, The University of Western Ontario, and private donors.

    Donald G. Campbell of Maclean Hunter appointed Chairman of the Advisory Committee.

  • 1989

    Professor Alexander Mikalachki appointed acting Dean.

  • 1990

    Professor Adrian B. Ryans appointed Dean.

    Richard J. Currie elected Chairman of the Advisory Committee.

    HBA International Case Competition established.

  • 1991

    J.J. Wettlaufer Executive Development Centre opened in Toronto.

    Ivey Executive MBA program established in Toronto led by Professor J.P. (Peter) Killing.

  • 1992

    Spencer Hall expanded doubling its size.

  • 1993

    Earl H. Orser, Chairman, London Life Insurance Company, appointed Chairman of the Advisory Committee.

    Journal of International Business begins its five-year term at the School with Professor Paul Beamish as the Editor.

  • 1995

    Lawrence G. Tapp, former CEO, Lawson Mardon, is appointed Dean.

    Richard M. Ivey family donates $11 million and School honours the relationship, that started more than 45 years ago, by renaming the School after the inaugural Chair of the Advisory Committee, Richard G. Ivey.

    This gift forms the beginning of The Ivey Campaign, supporting the School's move to the world stage.

    Ivey's Executive MBA by videoconference is launched, led by Professor Terry Deutscher.

  • 1997

    The Ivey Campaign publicly launches, with a target of $75 million – the largest campaign by a single faculty in Canadian history. The Campaign is chaired by Bruce Birmingham, President of the Bank of Nova Scotia.

    Ivey's interest in Asia gathers momentum, with the establishment of the Asian Management Institute (AMI), led by Paul Beamish. AMI leads research and case writing initiatives for Ivey with Asian themes.

    Alumni help celebrate Ivey's 75th anniversary with parties across Canada and in major international centres.

  • 1998

    The Cheng Yu Tung Management Institute is officially opened in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, thanks to the generous support of Henry K.S. Cheng, HBA '71, MBA '72, LLD '97.

    The Hong Kong Executive MBA program opens, with Joe DiStefano as its first Director.

    The Ivey Alumni Association Board is established, with representation from alumni of various ages, geographies and degrees. Ron Charles, MBA '71, Managing Partner, The Caldwell Partners, is appointed the inaugural Chair of this group of 40 alumni.

    The first Ivey Distinguished Service Awards are given to Earl Orser, LLD '91; Donald K. Johnson, MBA '63, and Michael Needham, MBA '68.

    Ronald Gage, Managing Partner, Ernst & Young, is appointed as Chair of the Ivey Advisory Board.

  • 2000

    Ivey is ranked by the Financial Times as one of the top 20 MBA programs in the world.

    The first students of the Hong Kong Executive MBA program graduate in Western's first convocation outside of Canada.

    Larry Wynant becomes Executive Director of the Cheng Yu Tung Management Institute and Ivey's first Associate Dean, Asia.

  • 2001

    The Ivey Campaign successfully closes having raised more than $78 million in support.

    Ivey was ranked as the No. 1 Business School outside of the U.S. by The Wall Street Journal and rated in the top tier by Forbes, Business Week and the Financial Times.

    Christopher Matthews, MBA '72, CEO, The Hay Group, is appointed as Chair of the Ivey Advisory Board.

    The establishment of the Leenders Professors Emeriti Lounge is announced, thanks to the generous support of Arkadi Kuhlmann, HBA '71, MBA '72.

  • 2002

    The NCMRD is expanded, an atrium is added and the building renamed the Lawrence National Centre for Policy and Management thanks to a generous gift from R. John (Jack) Lawrence, HBA '56.

    Spencer Conference Centre is expanded and renovated with the new entrance wing being named the Donald K. Johnson Executive Wing, after the generous support of Donald K. Johnson, MBA '63.

  • 2003

    Carol Stephenson appointed Dean of the Richard Ivey School of Business.

  • 2004

    Arkadi Kuhlmann, HBA '71, MBA '72, Chairman and CEO, ING Direct USA fsb, is appointed as Chair of the Ivey Advisory Board.

    (Photo: the Lawrence Centre addition and Atrium as seen from University College Tower)

  • 2005

    Ivey announces the launch of Cross-Enterprise Leadership™ (CEL), a revolutionary new approach to business education.

    Ivey begins a comprehensive redesign of its programs, research and organization to focus on Cross-Enterprise Leadership™ which provides future leaders the skills to continuously adapt to the societal forces swirling around them such as globalization, competition and technology. It envisions a generation of executives who, even as they find themselves in functional roles, will have the breadth and capacity to always see the bigger picture and to lead initiatives that enhance the whole enterprise.

    In May 2006 the Ivey MBA became a 12-month program and takes place at Spencer Conference Centre.

  • 2006

    Dean Carol Stephenson transforms the MBA program into an intense 12-month learning experience, focused on the capabilities required for Cross-Enterprise Leadership™, the driving force behind Ivey's revolution in business education.

    Kevin O'Brien, HBA '93, Partner SECOR Consulting, is appointed as Chair of the Ivey Alumni Association Board.

    Spencer Conference Centre, formerly Spencer Hall, is renamed Spencer Leadership Centre.

  • 2007

    ING Leadership Centre officially opens in downtown Toronto and is the new home of the Executive MBA Program and Executive Development.

    Ivey's first 12-month MBA class graduates.

    Carol Stephenson reappointed for second five-year term as Dean, effective July 2008.

    Ivey welcomes a fifth HBA section delivering on the first phase of its strategy to build the world's best undergraduate business program.

    Ivey's business library was renovated and re-named in honour of C.B. "Bud" Johnston, HBA '54, MBA '57, Ivey's Dean from 1978 – 1989. More than $1.8 million was raised in his honour and announced at the dedication ceremony held on Homecoming weekend.

  • 2008

    Ivey celebrates the 60th anniversary of both its MBA and Executive Development programs, the oldest in Canada, and the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Cheng Yu Tung Management Institute, Ivey’s Hong Kong Campus.

    Site selected and approved for new landmark Ivey building in front of Brescia College on Western Road.

    Ivey students spend a day with the "Oracle of Omaha" Warren Buffett as part of the J.C. Taylor Lecture in Finance series.

  • 2009

    Ivey welcomed the 50th class into the Executive MBA program, a program that has operated in Canada since 1991 and in Hong Kong since 1998.

    With start-up funding of $5 million from the Government of Canada, and building on Ivey's established strength and leadership in bridging the gap between business, science and technology, Ivey establishes the Ivey International Centre for Health Innovation.

    Architects Hariri Pontarini are unanimously selected by the New Building Task Force to bring the vision of the new building into fruition.

  • 2010

    Dean Carol Stephenson serves as a member of the organizing committee for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games.

    Ivey announces the formation of the Ian. O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership following a generous gift from Ian Ihnatowycz and Marta Witer. The Institute has a clear mandate to "secure Ivey's position as one of the top ten leadership institutes on a global basis."

    Dean Carol Stephenson receives the Order of Canada for her contributions to Canadian business as a pioneering executive in the telecommunications industry and as Dean of the Richard Ivey School of Business.

    Ivey welcomes inaugural MSc class of 36 students.

    Ivey introduces the 39 Country Initiative, providing free use of its teaching content to universities in the world's 39 poorest countries.

  • 2011

    Janet De Silva appointed Associate Dean of Ivey Asia.

    Phase I of Ivey's new building complete. Throughout the late summer and early fall, many staff members and some graduate students move into the new building permanently.

  • 2012

    Ivey's MSc wins the CEMS school of the year, awarded to the business school that has the best student evaluations overall, measuring the effectiveness of the CEMS Master in International Management (MIM) academic program, career, and program services.

  • 2013

    Robert (Bob) Kennedy begins his role as the ninth dean of the Ivey Business School.

    Ivey Business School wraps up its Campaign for Leadership announcing the school had exceeded its $200 million goal. The campaign, publicly launched in 2010, secured $206 million in funding, marking the largest fundraising effort in the school’s 90-year history.

    In September 2013 the Ivey Business School celebrated the grand opening of the Richard Ivey Building and the School's 90th anniversary as Canada's premiere business education leader.

    learning-to-lead-coverThe Grand Opening on September 9 featured a keynote address by former astronaut, Commander Chris Hadfield, and hosted approximately 2,000 members of the Ivey Community. In honour of the School's 90th anniversary, an updated edition of "Learning to Lead" was released, featuring the last 20 years of Ivey's history and a new chapter on the Ivey family.

    Dean Carol Stephenson completes her second term as dean of Ivey Business School.

  • 2014

    Ivey's MBA Program places first among 27 international schools in Bloomberg Businessweek MBA rankings.

  • 2015

    Professor Chris WH Chan named Associate Dean of Ivey Asia.
    Bloomberg Businessweek ranks Ivey top International MBA Program for the second year in a row.
    Michael Bernstein, MBA '96 appointed Chair of the Ivey Alumni Network.
  • 2016

    The LEADER Project, a student-driven overseas economic development program, celebrates its 25th anniversary. 
    Scotiabank gives $3 million to the School to create the Scotiabank Digital Banking Lab at Ivey.
    The Richard Ivey Building wins multiple Canadian and international architectural awards for its cutting-edge design.
    Andy Chisholm, MBA '85, Advisory Director, Goldman Sachs & Company appointed Chair of the Ivey Advisory Board.
  • 2017

    Dean Bob Kennedy accepts an appointment as Dean of the Business School at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and steps down as dean of Ivey effective June 30, 2017.

    Mark Vandenbosch, Associate Dean of Programs, appointed Acting Dean, effective July 1, 2017 through May 3, 2019.

  • 2019

    Sharon HodgsonSharon Hodgson becomes the 10th dean of the Ivey Business School.

  • 2019

    Ivey’s Accelerated MBA for Business Graduates program begins, offering a 14-month, while-you-work, blended learning MBA for working professionals with an undergraduate business degree.

  • 2021

    Ivey launches a one-year Master of Management in Analytics program for working professionals.

  • 2022

    Ivey and corporate partners launch the Women in Asset Management program, offering 14 weeks of combined in-class training and internship experience to women in Western University’s undergraduate programs, in an effort to address the industry’s gender gap.

  • 2023

    Ivey celebrates its 100-year legacy of real-world leadership with a launch event at the Richard Ivey Building and numerous Ivey Alumni Network chapter events around the world throughout the year.

    Ivey announces a new Graduate Diploma in Business and Sustainability in the MSc Program.

    A $3.5-million gift from BMO expands Ivey’s leadership programming across Western University’s campus.

    Ivey announces a landmark $30-million from Donald K. Johnson. O.C., MBA ’63, LLD ’07, to support a new downtown Toronto campus. The new facility located in First Canadian Place (77 Adelaide Street W.) will triple the footprint of Ivey’s current Toronto campus.

  • 2023

    Sharon Hodgson announces she will retire in June 2024

  • 2024

    Julian Birkinshaw, MBA ’91, PhD ’95, accepts an appointment as Dean of Ivey Business School, effective August 1, 2024

  • 2024

    Sharon Hodgson retires as Dean of Ivey

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