Oct. 5, 2023 marked the long-awaited launch of DePauw’s School of Business and Leadership. The day was filled with excitement and cheer as students, faculty, staff, and honorary guests attended the official opening and ribbon cutting ceremony in John Harrison Hall. Celebrations had begun the day before in the Kresge Auditorium at the Green Center for the Performing Arts, where guests were invited to a reception and lecture titled “Leadership, Philanthropy and the Liberal Arts.” The event featured a conversation with highly accomplished alumnus Steve Sanger ‘68 and guest Jeff Ubben, moderated by Jon Forrt ‘98.

DePauw Student Government President Paige Burgess '25 (third from left) cuts the School of Business and Leadership ribbon alongside President Lori White (middle) and SBL Dean John Clarke (second from right). Image courtesy of DePauw Instagram @depauwu.

The School of Business and Leadership is expected to play an integral part in DePauw University’s efforts to achieve academic renewal and develop the educational resources for current and prospective students. Its inception and launch follows DePauw's new three-school model, which aims to create an interdisciplinary teaching and learning environment for all students. The School of Business and Leadership has introduced new academic major options for students such as Finance, Business Analytics and Entrepreneurship.

Furthermore, Harrison Hall was selected to be the primary building to house DePauw’s School of Business and Leadership. The complete renovation of John Harrison Hall’s first floor was made possible thanks to the generous donations from the Hoover and Ubben family. After recently receiving approval for construction from DePauw’s Board of Trustees, contractors and DePauw’s Facilities Management tirelessly worked hand-in-hand to deliver the ambitious project in a relatively short time frame. The building has a modern and sleek theme, which features configurable classroom designs, state-of-the-art resources, and access to beneficial systems such as The Bloomberg Terminal. This software is the most powerful, flexible tool for financial professionals who need real-time data, news and analytics. 

As the newly appointed dean of the School of Business and Leadership, John Clarke comes highly qualified with more than 20 years of experience in academia and leadership through The University of Illinois and Tulane University. Dean Clarke explains that “DePauw’s School of Business and Leadership is different than others of its kind, as it is there to serve all DePauw's students regardless of their major, because students in the arts and sciences can greatly benefit from learning about entrepreneurship and that leadership is for everybody.’’ 

The new school is part of the many progressive changes enacted by the Board of Trustees, represented by Board Chair Doug Smith during the opening ceremony. In his speech, he described DePauw as a  “great example of how liberal arts education is evolving,” in line with how DePauw University is the only top 50 liberal arts university in the Midwest with a business school, and joins the one of only four in the nation. 

The establishment of the School of Business and Leadership has received mixed reviews within the DePauw community. Student organizations have expressed concern over the lack of prioritization for other pressing on-campus issues and the alleged resource reallocation to fund the School of Business and Leadership. Paige Burgess ‘25, president of the DePauw Student Government, expressed in her speech that whilst the School of Business and Leadership will create opportunities for all students, other areas and departments of the school should not be neglected at its expense.  

Starting from the class of 2026, students of DePauw will now have the opportunity to major and graduate from the School of Business and Leadership; however, all students regardless of their majors are encouraged to utilize the resources provided by the new institution. Students are personally invited by Dean John Clarke to his office for further questions.