Our history

The University of Leicester School of Business has a long and distinguished history.

The University was originally conceived and developed by prominent civic leaders and business proprietors in the local community to respond to the devastation from the 1914-1918 war. The idea for a University College was initiated by Reverend Joseph Wood of the Literary and Philosophical Society and funded by a large number of kind donations from private benefactors. One of these benefactors was Thomas Fielding Johnson (1828-1921) a prominent Victorian businessman and philanthropist.

Timeline of significant events in the School Of Business’ history:

1921 - At 10.00am on Tuesday 4 October the University College, Leicester opened its doors for classes.

1922 - Permanent lectureships in particular subjects established, with Mr P W Bryan, previously at the London School of Economics taking up one of these positions.

1924 - A £20,000 donation enabled the development of a Department of Commerce with Mr P W Bryan taking charge and appointing R V Rodwell, a part-time lecturer in Accounting.

1932 - In February, the Academic Committee passed the notion that a full BSc (Econ) should be implemented.

1936 - Florence Hartshorn was the first graduate of the BSc (Econ), graduating with a second class honours degree.

1957 - The University College was granted Royal Charter and gained its independence on Wednesday 1 May.

1958 - First students admitted to University of Leicester degrees in the summer of 1958.

1958 - The Department of Commerce and Economics gains independence, and loses ‘commerce’ from the title becoming known as the Department of Economics.

1980 - Professor Peter Jackson became Head of Department and during his headship initiated discussions with the University regarding the creation of management courses.

1989 - The Management Centre was launched under the directorate of Professor Jackson, initially recruiting distance learning students to MBA, management, marketing and finance courses. The Management Centre complemented the work undertaken by The Centre for Labour Market Studies (CLMS) which had been established within the Faculty of the Social Sciences in 1986 as a semi-autonomous entrepreneurial centre and had developed a track record in distance learning provision. CLMS was initially built on the research activities of an interdisciplinary group of academics interested in the areas of labour markets and training drawn mainly from the disciplinary areas of sociology, education, economics and management.

1992 - The Management Centre welcomed postgraduate campus-based students.

2000 - The Management Centre launched its first undergraduate campus based programme as well as gaining recognition as an independent department.

2007 - The Management Centre gained full school status and became known as the School of Management. The School had established itself as one of the largest providers of distance learning management courses in the UK and had a reputation for offering high quality flexible management education around the world. It was now offering a full suite of programmes, taking students from undergraduate courses, through to specialist masters programmes and the development of a strong PhD research community.

2011/2012 - The School of Management merged with the Centre for Labour Market Studies.

2016 - In August it was announced by the President and Vice Chancellor that the expertise in the University's Department of Economics and School of Management was to be bought together to create a new School of Business with Professor Zoe Radnor the first appointed Dean.

2019 - The School of Business will be moving to a new purpose built campus at Brookfield. This site was the former home of Thomas Fielding Johnson and the historic building is being restored to become the new reception for the School of Business.