Dr. Jack Meek knew something was off when he walked into Founders Hall the first day of class in 1985.
The number of students waiting for him in his Introduction to Public Administration class was double the expected enrollment. He discovered the classroom was double booked.
“Our programs were growing faster than the facilities could keep pace,” said Meek ’74, professor of public administration.
The College of Business and Public Management (CBPM) evolved throughout its history from La Verne College’s Department of Business to a program under the College of Graduate and Professional Studies in 1987, to a college of its own in 2003.
Increasing demand prompted professors to hold classes off site to accommodate students.
“I had classes in Lutheran High School,” said Ibrahim “Abe” Helou, CBPM’s dean since 2008. He started in 1993 as an assistant professor of business administration.
The Masters of Public Management program launched off campus in 1974.
Larry Schroeder ’86, ’08, now a Claremont city councilman and interim chief financial officer for Placentia, worked as a police dispatcher in the San Gabriel Valley when he started taking classes off campus.
Schroeder and numerous other law enforcement employees took 10-week classes in management and organizational theory back in the 1980s in West Covina, part of an on-site degree program.
“After work, we’d jump in the car and head on down to West Covina,” he said.
Chino City Manager Matthew Ballantyne ’04 praised the flexibility of the college’s public administration program.
“It catered to the working professional with a family. My first impression was that it was extremely manageable and would complement what I was doing in the workplace,” he said.
Landis Academic Center’s 1996 opening solved much of the main campus’ space issues, but faculty and staff continued to meet changing academic needs of the growing student population.
“As we expanded, we sought program quality improvements, financial support for career development, participation in national student competitions, and faculty research,” Meek said.
Former Dean Gordon Badovick and Associate Dean Rita Thakur helped the college obtain federal grants in the 2000s to support student success, career development, and outreach programs such as the summer business camp, REACH.
In 2000, Meek helped make Masters of Public Administration the first nationally-accredited program at the university.
National accreditation is currently being sought in business administration, health services, and gerontology.
The international relationships Helou built over the years helped grow the college’s international student population.
When he first came to the university, Helou said the only international business students were from Thailand. Now the college recruits from 20 to 30 different countries and international students comprise about 16 percent of CBPM’s enrollment.
Between the college’s high-ranking online programs, corporate presence and campus programs, Helou sees a promising future for CBPM.
“I’m very optimistic we will continue to build the college of choice for management education in the region,” he said.