Like many successful ventures, the Sawyer Business School started small — but with a powerful idea.
When it launched in 1937, the Business School offered classes only two nights a week, and you could count the number of students on one hand. But what it lacked in size, the Suffolk College of Business Administration, as it was then known, made up for in ambition: To make a top-quality undergraduate business education accessible to students who might not otherwise be able to afford it.
Today, the Business School offers more than 100 undergraduate courses and has more than 1,600 undergraduates from 72 countries studying at Suffolk’s Boston and Madrid campuses and other locations around the world.
So when it came time to mark the 75th anniversary of the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) program at one of the Business School’s first in-person gatherings in more than two years, there was much to celebrate.
More than 100 people — faculty, students, staff, and alumni from as far back as the Class of 1962— attended the event held April 7, 2022, in Sargent Hall. Speakers included Amy Zeng, Dean of the Business School, Suffolk President Marisa Kelly, and Suffolk Provost Julie Sandell. Also in attendance were former SBS Dean Bill O’Neill and Susan Atherton, the first associate dean of undergraduate programs at the school.
“We are proud that the Sawyer Business School supports the University’s mission of providing access to education, regardless of one’s particular circumstance, location, or future passions,” Dean Zeng told the crowd.
President Kelly echoed those thoughts, noting that the Business School’s goals have always “aligned with the original 1906 ‘access and opportunity’ founding mission” of the University. Provost Sandell said that the BSBA takes business education to another level by “harnessing the natural entrepreneurship and competitiveness of Sawyer Business School students.”
Two current BSBA students also shared remarks. Alex Kontis talked about her experience as the first Business School honors student to progress on to Suffolk University Law School via the Suffolk Law Scholars Program, which enables undergraduates to complete their bachelor’s degree in three years and then start at the Law School. Maria Camargo Conteiro talked about not knowing any English before she came to Suffolk from Brazil and her surprise and pleasure at being elected president of the student-run finance and investing club. The event also featured other current BSBA students discussing projects they’d worked on this year that reflected the Business School’s three main pillars of its educational approach: global education, immersive consulting, and service-learning. In addition, there were student representatives from Suffolk in the Hub, a new student-run marketing agency.
Business has changed over 75 years—so has undergraduate business education
Since the BSBA degree was inaugurated in 1946, SBS has become a dynamic and diverse institution that emphasizes immersive experiences, service learning, and global education for hundreds of students every year. The School has also achieved global recognition from rankings outlets worldwide including CEO Magazine, The Princeton Review, US News & World Report, and many others. Not only that, SBS is the only business school in the nation to obtain three important accreditations from the leading international accreditation agencies in the areas of Business and Accounting, Healthcare Management, and Public Administration.
“It was wonderful to be able to celebrate our accomplishments, our achievements, and our heritage,” said Dean Zeng. “I’m incredibly pleased that so many alumni, friends, and supporters of the Business School were able to be there.”
Dean Zeng also thanked the many people who made donations to SBS during Suffolk’s Week of Giving: The Sawyer Business School Day of Giving happened to coincide with the day of the event.
Watch the speaking portion of the evening, which featured Dean Amy Zeng, President Marisa Kelly, Provost Julie Sandell, and two student speakers, Alex Kontis and Maria Camargo Carneiro.
Take a look back at 75 years of the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) at the Sawyer Business School.