Hankamer School of Business celebrates 100-year anniversary

Hankamer Business School is housed within Paul L. Foster Business Building, where generations of successful business owners and leaders have graced its halls. Photographer | Abby Roper

By Shae Whittle | Reporter

The Hankamer School of Business celebrated 100 years of education this year and used the anniversary to reflect on the rich history that has brought the school to where it is today.

Established in 1923 by former Baylor President Samuel Palmer Brooks, the business school saw its first graduating class in 1925 and has carried a legacy on campus ever since. Baylor’s business school now ranks among the best in the nation.

“The 100th anniversary comes at a very interesting time,” Dr. Andrea Dixon, executive director of the Center for Professional Selling, said. “It can be frightening, but at the same time, we can all embrace how our roles provide that opportunity to help students cast a new vision for their work. My work 20 years ago is very different than what it is today, and if we go back 100 years ago, people’s work was very different. So, I firmly believe in human beings’ ability to be resilient and to adapt and adjust and to be incredibly creative. And that’s what we will be called to do.”

About 300 faculty members provide over 3,900 students in the business school with the tools needed to succeed during their Baylor career and beyond, with students having the opportunity to pick between 13 programs. The five most popular majors are accounting, finance, marketing, business fellows and management information systems.

Another area of study, professional selling, is a trademark of the business school, which holds the title of the very first sales major in the nation.

“Baylor was actually the first university to put a stake in the group in the professional selling space in 1985,” Dixon said. “We’ve actually been the first program to build a competency-based model, and what I mean by that is that … every deliverable that a student does for a class is mapped against a specific skill-building area that we want a student to be able to acquire over time.”

Another program available for students is sports strategy and sales. According to its website, S3 operates with the goal of transforming “the business of sports and entertainment to value competitive compensation, work/life integration and fulfilling careers.”

“We’re unambiguously Christian, so you get a Christian worldview, and your education is one of the best educations in the country, and you get to follow your passion for sports, music and entertainment,” Dr. Kirk Wakefield, executive director of the Center for Sports Strategy and Sales, said.

Wakefield has been a part of Baylor for about 40 years now. After receiving his MBA in entrepreneurship from the university, he returned years later as a professor. He said that throughout his time in and around Baylor, he has noticed a progression in the business school.

“We strive for excellence in everything,” Wakefield said. “I think that’s the biggest difference. We went from being a good school — those good at some things, say, back in the 80s or previously — to today, where we try to be excellent at everything.”