Supplementary Notes

    1. In the 1890 Report of P. D. Dodge, Treasurer (who also taught commercial courses), Mr. Dodge says, “If there is any school in the south that furnishes colored people an opportunity for a commercial course and a thorough business training, I have not heard of it.”
    2. A catalog description of “Phonography” states: “Special attention given to a thorough understanding of the principles and to mechanical execution. Supplementary reading is furnished from Phonographic literature.”
    3. Below are excerpts from the 1897-98 Catalog (pp. 61-63). They introduce the “Business School” and conclude with a description of the unusual course named “The World’s Fair.”

Business School 

There are two reasons for a Business School.

In the first place, business has now become a profession, and many of its principles and usages can be learned to best advantage in a class, under an instructor, just as law and medicine are learned. The best educated college graduate can still learn something in a business school.

And in the second place many who can not or do not get a college course are thrust into business, and need the best preparation that they can secure.

For these reasons “business schools” are thronged in all our great cities.

If then multitudes of young people are to receive a “business training” it is important that they attend the best school. For the school at Berea these special advantages are claimed:

It is under the management of trained educators who can insure the use of methods which will give the best results.

It is conducted in connection with a College Academy, Music Department, etc., so that its students can take other branches at small expense, and share in the general educational advantages of a literary institution. (Lectures, Concerts, Library of 12,000 volumes, etc.)

It is removed from the distractions and temptations of a great city, and is surrounded by the best intellectual and moral influences.

Its fortunate location and careful management secure health, comfort, and scale of expenses which defies competition.

The Business School is under the same general supervision as the other departments, and under the immediate direction of its Head, Tutor Potter, to whom correspondence should be directed.

General Information

When to enter. Students may begin work at any time during the school year convenient to themselves, but will find it much to their advantage to begin with the opening of the Fall or Winter Term. (See calendar page 4.)

Time Required. The time required to complete the Business Course depends largely upon the ability and application of the student, usually from six to nine months.

Requirements for Admission. Students entering for a Business Course should possess a fair common school education with English especially emphasized. Students deficient in any branch will find an excellent opportunity to make it up in one of the many Academy or Model School classes.

Graduation. Those who complete the course and pass a satisfactory examination will be awarded a certificate of graduation by the College.

Situations. No reliable institution will promise situations to students. Representatives of Berea College have a wide acquaintance in the large cities of the country. It would hardly be possible for any school to be better prepared to aid worthy graduates in securing positions.

We shall be pleased to give additional information relative to expenses and other matters.

Address, Edgar A. Potter,
Berea, Kentucky.

Estimate of Expenses for one Term in the Business School.

Tuition and Incidental Fee
*Rent, fuel and Lights
Board, first month
Board, second month
Board, third month

*This implies that a student furnishes his own bedding, etc.


Rent of typewriter, 1 hr. per day

Courses of Instruction 

English.—The student receives the best possible instruction, being placed in the College or Academy class for which he is best fitted, and coached by his instructor in the business school.

Mathematics.—The student has the double advantage of being placed in the College or Academy class for which he is best fitted, and coached by his instructor in the business school.

Commercial Law.—Lectures covering the general principles of common and statutory law, and legal procedure, as they apply to contracts, partnerships, loans, liens, collections, importations, and other commercial transactions.

Business Writing.—Perhaps the first thing by which a young man applying for a position is judged by his handwriting. Daily practice is given under careful supervision.

Business Forms.—This is an important branch of Commercial Law, and thorough instruction is given in the drawing of notes, leases, wills, mortgages, certificates of stock, bills of sale, etc.

Business Correspondence. – The great volume of business is done by correspondence, and our students are trained in a terse, clear, and easy style of composition, and are practiced in letters regarding all branches of business and trade.

Bookkeeping. – This is one of the most practical applications of mathematics. A thorough course in single and double entry, with numerous special devices used by expert accountants is given.

The World’s Fair. – This is the most perfect realization of the “actual business system” which is recognized as the only up-to-date method. For The World’s Fair we have all the apparatus of actual trade and traffic-banks, stores, stocks, and bonds, monies, office, market reports. Each student is furnished with a certain capital, rents a store or office, opens a set of books, deposits, his funds in a bank, negotiates loans, handles foreign exchange, keeps track of his resources and liabilities, and completes his transactions with a profit or loss according to his skills and attention to business. The transactions of this miniature business world are often as exciting as a ball game, and the student quickly acquires a more complete and varied business experience than would be gained by long employment in any single department of a great city establishment.

  1. Through the years, the College catalogs dealt various with gender designations in listing Departmental staff, e.g.:
    • originally and for years, a male was listed as “Professor,” females were “Miss” or “Mrs.”
    • eventually came “Mr.” and “Ms.”
    • similarly “Chairman” became “Chairperson.”
    • finally, in 1999, staff member names appeared in the Departmental section with first initial and last name, no gender designation.


  2. In his 1932 Report to the President, Dr. Weidler seems both proud of his Department’s “economy” and a bit disgruntled about his teaching arrangement. He points out that:
    • course in economics are given an alternate years.
    • this saves the salary of a second professor.
    • makes majoring in the Department difficult for students.

    He notes that nine course are offered with one professor who is also Dean of Labor.

  3. The organization of a Lower Division (two years of high school and two of college) resulted in a “merger” of Economics and Business Departments for that Division while Upper Division still had an Economics Department. This newly merged arrangement apparently generated some minor tensions. Reports to the President in 1940 and 1941 indicated that:
    • Dr. Weidler was “very happy in the progress that has been made,” but doubted the wisdom of greater development “toward secretarial sciences and business education.”
    • Mr. Davidson, Academy in Business, described the merger as “very constructive,” but was concerned that the “Upper/Lower Division Joint Committees” were designed to “give Upper Division faculty veto power in possible changes in Lower Division program.”


  4. The Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration was approved in an April 1946 joint meeting of Upper and Lower Division Faculties. It was approved as one of several recommendations from the Curriculum Committee. No discussion is reported in the minutes of that meeting. No discussion?
  5. In April 1952, Mr. Hougen (Manager, Boone Tavern) and Dean Louis Smith had lunch and a lengthy meeting with four leading representatives of the Hotel/Restaurant: President of the Kentucky Hotel Association, the Executive Secretary of the Kentucky Hotel Association, Head of the Kentucky Park Hotel Division from the Department of Conservation in Frankfort, and an owner of hotels in Corbin and Virginia. The archival folder which contains reports from that meeting also provides documentation of Mr. Hougen’s central role in creating out Hotel Management program as the first such offering in Kentucky, one much encouraged by professionals in the field.
  6. While changes in Departmental leadership were generally uneventful transitions, Mr. Newbolt’s resignation 1959-60 was to protest a space allocation decision by the College Dean. At the time, Mr. Newbolt’s private comment was: “I don’t mind being a chief clerk but I would like to be a good chief clerk!”
  7. The 1962-63 self-study responded to questions presented by Dean Smith. One question inquired about courses with small enrollments – 10 or fewer. Our report noted that two courses of that size were constrained by external factors; there were currently 12 classes with more than 30 enrolled and 5 with over 40; and this Department “is far more concerned with large enrollments then with small.” Elsewhere, the Report pointed to the number of students majoring in the Department which gave each staff member 50-60 advisees.
  8. During the late 1960’s, a grant from Sperry and Hutchinson permitted the Department to sponsor two outstanding lectureships: Michael Hoffman, Director of the Economic Development Institute, International Bank for Reconstruction & Development (a.k.a. World Bank) and Paul McCracken, Professor of Business Conditions, University of Michigan. Both lectures met with classes and gave major public lectures.
  9. In October 1975, Phil Spears proposed creation of “an administrative development training laboratory” operated 1976-79.In April 1976, the Dean Stolte proposed and the curriculum Committee recommended that the Business Education and the Executive Secretarial curricula be eliminated from the Business Administration major. In a lively meeting of College Faculty, this motion was defeated.

Other Information of Interest

Courses in Commerce, Business, and Economics have often been a taught by other members of the Berea College community:

  • P.D. Dodge, Treasurer & Steward
  • A.G. Weidler, Dean of Labor
  • Wilson Evans, Dean of Labor
  • Daniel Yang, Treasurer
  • Robert Pettys, Director of Non-Academic Personnel
  • William Stolte, Academic V.P. and Dean
  • Robert Johnstone, Chair, Agriculture Department
  • Richard Hougen, J.B. Morgan, and Robert Stewart, Managers of Boone Tavern
  • Leigh Jones, V.P. for Finance
  • Jane Stephenson, President John B. Stephenson’s wife
  • Rebecca Grandgeorge, Office Manager/Labor Supervisor, Dept. of Economics & Business

Courses have been taught by persons from the Berea community at large:

  • Fred Williams, Attorney and President, Berea National Bank
  • Jerry Gilbert, Attorney, Berea’s City Attorney and one-time Chair of E.K.U. Board.
  • Glenn Jennings, President of Delta Gas
  • Suzanne Fong, Attorney
  • Ron Fouts, Berea Alumnus and Entrepreneur
  • Steven Connelly, Attorney and Mayor of Berea