The Labovitz School of Business and Economics (called the School of Business and Economics before 2003) became a separate collegiate unit as part of a structural reorganization on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus in 1974. In 1947, when the Duluth State Teachers College became a part of the University of Minnesota system, the degree program in business became a major in “Business and Economics” for the Bachelor of Arts degree. This degree was the responsibility of the Department of Business and Economics, one of several departments constituting the Division of Social Sciences at the Duluth campus.
A Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Economics was added in 1952-53. Bachelor of Accounting (BAcc) and Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degrees were added during 1970-72. BAcc and BBA were the two degree programs that moved to the newly formed School of Business and Economics in 1974. The BA and BS degrees in Economics were moved to the newly formed College of Letters and Science, and the Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Business, Economics, and Office Education was moved to the College of Education. The BA degree in Economics was moved to LSBE from CLA in 2013.
An MBA degree was added in 1976 in Duluth and extended to the Rochester, Minnesota, market in 2002. The Accelerated MBA and 4+1 Integrated Programs were launched in 2017.
The Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER), LSBE’s research outreach entity, began in the early 1960s, when Cecil H. Meyers, UMD professor of economics, began producing a powerful and popular research report—the Duluth Business Index (DBI). The BBER was officially established in 1970 with Dr. Meyers as its first director (1970-1979). Current director, Monica R. Haynes, has been with the BBER since 2014.
Undergraduate Majors in LSBE
Initially, students completing the BBA degree could choose a General Business Administration track or select from the following concentrations: Accounting, Finance, Industrial Relations (later changed to Personnel and Industrial Relations (1979), and then to Human Resource Management (1985), International Business, Management Science, and Marketing. A Management Information System (MIS) concentration was added in 1987.
The School switched from concentrations to majors in 1993 with the introduction of three majors: Finance, Marketing, and Management (Human Resource Management, Organizational Management, and MIS). MIS became an independent major in 1999. Nine new majors have been added to the BBA degree since 2000:
- 2007 - Health Care Management
- 2008 - Financial Markets (a sub-plan under Finance before 2008)
- 2011 - Marketing Analytics (renamed Consumer Insights and Analytics in 2020)
- 2012 - Economics
- 2013 - Marketing and Graphic Design
- 2014 - Entrepreneurship
- 2015 - Financial Planning
- 2019 - Professional Sales
- 2020 - Business Analytics
- 2023 - Risk Management and Insurance
In 2019, the two sub-plans within the Organizational Management major were split into two separate, stand-alone majors: Management and Human Resource Management. With the introduction of these two majors, the old Organizational Management major was discontinued.
LSBE Departments and Buildings
At the time of its formation, the School had four departments—Accounting, Economics, Finance & MIS, and Management Studies, which included Management, Human Resources, and Marketing. In 2006, a fifth department, the Department of Marketing, was added to the School. The school was reorganized into four departments in 2017—Accounting and Finance, Economics, Management Studies, and Marketing.
LSBE was first housed in its own building in the summer of 1981 and was opened to classes that September. Though the building was designed to serve a student population of approximately 1,200, the actual enrollment in 1981 was 1,466. Two levels in the school provided space to house the School’s administrative units, faculty offices, and classrooms.
By fall 2002, enrollments had swelled to 1,672. The growing number of students, faculty, and staff, as well as a need for modern teaching spaces, initiated discussions for a new, state-of-the-art building for the School. A generous gift from Joel and Sharon Labovitz in 2002 helped support the construction of a new building—named in honor of the Labovitzes. In the summer of 2008, faculty and staff moved into the 76,260-square-foot building that through its sustainable design and construction had attained a gold level LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Spread across three floors, the building has ample natural light, varied classroom configurations, state-of-the-art technology, and easy access to the rest of the campus.
LSBE has had five deans and three acting/interim deans. Dr. Hyung K. Kim served as an acting dean from 1974-75. During this period, the School experienced rapid growth in its enrollments.
LSBE’s first regular-appointed dean, Dr. Robert S. Hancock, professor of Marketing from the Department of Management Studies, served in that role from 1975-77. Dr. Hancock was instrumental in establishing the School’s MBA Program.
Dr. David A. Vose, an economist by training, served as the dean from 1977 to 1992. Prior to assuming this role, Dr. Vose served as UMD’s Vice Provost for Academic Administration. He also chaired the Building Committee, which oversaw the construction of the School’s first building, and he played a major role in the creation of UMD’s Center for Economic Development (CED).
From 1992 to 1994, Dr. Thomas B. Duff served as the acting dean. He was called upon to serve again for another year in 1997-98. Dr. Duff played a primary role in helping attain AACSB International accreditation for the School.
Dr. Rodrigo J. Lievano came to UMD from the University of Hartford, Connecticut, to serve as LSBE’s next dean from 1994 to 1997. He was responsible for reorganizing the Committee and Governance Structure of the School in a way that helped faculty and administration focus on matters critical to accreditation.
Dr. Kjell R. Knudsen became LSBE’s dean in 1998. Under his leadership, the school was accredited in 2000. Dr. Knudsen served as dean until 2013, after 15 years in that role.
Dr. Amy B. Hietapelto joined UMD in 2013 from Northeastern Illinois University, where she had been serving as a dean. After eight years as LSBE’s dean, she stepped into the role of UMD’s interim Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs in the summer of 2021. Concurrently, Dr. Praveen Aggarwal, who had been serving as the School’s associate dean for the past nine years, assumed interim dean responsibilities.