Originally, the Business School was founded for an entirely different purpose than that under which it operates today. Shortly after the Spanish War there was a demand for university trained diplomats and municipal experts. A plan of courses was arranged for training men for these positions, but when it was submitted to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, courses such as banking and accounting were included. In the spring of 1907, F. W. Taussig '79, professor of Economics assumed the task of raising funds for the "Graduate School of Public Service and Commerce." But the panic of 1907 precluded all plans.
On March 30, 1908, the Corporation voted to establish a Graduate School of Business Administration on the former plans. Henry Lee Higginson, after a few minutes' conversation with Professor Taussig offered to supply all the needed funds.
The problem was now to determine how, as well as what, to teach. The lecture system was first adopted for the young school, but within a year the Langdell case system was accepted. The ideal was to establish business as a profession, therefore a degree was given.
With the increasing demand for college training after the World War, the enrollment of the school jumped from 159 to 400 in 1919. Classes and offices of the school overflowed from Lawrence Hall into the New Lecture Halls, Emerson, Harvard, University Hall, and several museums.
A campaign was officially opened to raise $5,000,000 on March 20, 1924, President Eliot's ninetieth birthday, for the new buildings at Soldiers Field. The campaign was unexpectedly brought to a close. George F. Baker, the "dean of American business" said he "lost interest" when asked to give the first million. Instead he donated the complete amount. Dedication of the beautiful now buildings took place on June 4, 1927. Thus, in a quarter of a century, a flourishing school had sprung into existence, to teach, as President Lowell describes it, "the oldest of the arts, but the newest of the professions."