Mendoza School of Business

Grow the Good in Business: The Century Mark

In 1921, founding dean Rev. John Cardinal O’Hara, C.S.C., charged “Notre Dame’s business school” with being a force for good in society.

Today, as the Mendoza College of Business celebrates its Century Mark, this imperative defines the College’s legacy and powers its vision for the future: to educate servant leaders who contribute to human flourishing, cooperate in solidarity and compete through growing toward the best version of themselves with the help of God and others. 


During the Centennial Mass, University president Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., will bless the “Our Lady of Sorrows” icon that was commissioned to commemorate this milestone year. The icon will be permanently installed in the St. Matthew Chapel in the Stayer Center.



Cardinal O’Hara

John Francis O’Hara joined the Notre Dame faculty in 1916 as a “serious, devout and ambitious 28-year-old” with a clear vision for establishing an international commerce program worthy of Our Lady’s University. Thanks in large part to his hard work and perseverance, the University established the College of Foreign and Domestic Commerce on April 20, 1921, and named Father O’Hara as the dean.

Not everyone, however, thought that a business school at Notre Dame was a good idea.

Read more.




As dean during Mendoza’s 100th anniversary, Dean Martijn Cremers reflects on what the pandemic revealed about the true legacy of the College.

Read more.


The Founding

April 20 marks the College’s “official” founding when Notre Dame established the College of Foreign and Domestic Commerce with Father John O’Hara, C.S.C., as dean. The College enrolls nearly 400 students with a 13-member faculty.


The Hurley Building

The Hurley Building opens. Benefactor Edward N. Hurley intends it to serve as a “means of visualizing the spirit of American business and the importance to all nations of international commerce.”


The First Master's Program

Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., establishes a master’s program at the College to serve men and women from religious orders. The program, which is Notre Dame’s oldest graduate program, will change names several times before becoming the Master of Nonprofit Administration.



The College, which had changed the “Commerce” in its name to “Business Administration” in 1961, earns accreditation from the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).


First MBA Class

Notre Dame seats its first class of 50 MBA candidates: 50 men from 32 colleges and universities in 17 states and three foreign countries. In 1970, the first female student graduates from the two-year MBA program.


Hayes-Healy Building

The Hayes-Healy Building, made possible by a lead gift from Ramona Hayes-Healy, opens adjacent to the Hurley Building, providing additional classrooms and faculty space for the College’s growing business programs.


First woman graduate

In the spring semester, senior Mary Davey Bliley (BBA ’72) transfers from Saint Mary’s College and becomes the first woman to earn a ND bachelor’s degree. (Anticipating the schools’ merger, she majored in business, which SMC did not offer. When it fell through, she completed her degree at ND). In the fall, Notre Dame formally welcomed women to its undergraduate programs.


New building

The College moves to its current home in a new building designed with a nautical motif on the southwest corner of Notre Dame Stadium. The “ship of commerce” sculpture is eventually transferred from Hurley Hall and installed in the courtyard.


Mendoza named

The College is renamed Mendoza College of Business after benefaction from Tom (ND ’73) and Kathy Mendoza.


Chicago investment

Notre Dame buys Chicago’s historic Santa Fe building. A year later, the College relocates its Executive MBA-Chicago program there. Today, the building is also home to the College’s M.S. in Finance and M.S. in Business Analytics programs.


U.N. Global Compact

Mendoza is among the first business schools to sign the U.N. Global Compact initiative, Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME), which redefines business as a force for good in society.


We're #1

Mendoza earns the first of five No. 1 rankings on Bloomberg Businessweek’s list of “Best Undergraduate Business Schools.”


Stayer Center

The Stayer Center for Executive Education opens next door to Mendoza, through a gift from Ralph C. Stayer (BBA ’65). The College’s Executive Education program began in 1980.


100 year anniversary

Mendoza enters its 100th year with nearly 40,000 undergraduate and graduate alumni around the world, 2,500 students studying at campuses in South Bend and Chicago, and ambitious plans for the future


“The story of the College is largely a story of its people …” (Kerry Temple, O’Hara’s Heirs: Business Education at Notre Dame 1921-1992)

The Century Mark: Make Your Mark” project features personal essays contributed by Mendoza College of Business faculty, staff, students and alumni. From former deans to current students, every essay represents an individual, personal and lived account that illustrates the mission and impact of their Notre Dame experience on their lives through their unique journeys. Read stories here.

Make your mark in Mendoza’s history by submitting your essay to


Carolyn Woo

No. 1 responsibility

Betsy Kall Brosnan
Betsy Kall Brosnan (BBA '76)

Days of discovery

Bert de Guzman (BBA '90)

Keeping good company