Rowan University’s William G. Rohrer College of Business (RCB) follows an industry-for-the-greater-good model, just as its namesake did.
Founded in 1972 and celebrating its 50th anniversaryth anniversary throughout the 2022-23 academic year, the Department of Administrative Studies grew into the School of Business in 1986 and was renamed in 2005 for Rohrer, a banker and community philanthropist dedicated to helping grow South Jersey businesses .
Like many of the businesses Rohrer helped fund, the college named after him grew tremendously, never losing its focus on service, community, and entrepreneurial spirit.
“Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking are key to our mission,” said Dr. Sue Lehrman, dean of RCB since 2015, who noted that the University’s entrepreneurial attitude, realized, attracts thousands of students each year.
The Princeton Review AND The entrepreneur magazine in 2021 named the college’s undergraduate entrepreneurship program a Top 50 in the US, recognition of an ideal fostered by University President Ali A. Houshmand and encouraged throughout Rowan’s schools and colleges.
Lehrman believes the recognition affirmed that entrepreneurship, as taught at RCB and encouraged across campus, means following a passion to do great things.
“It’s about thinking and acting in a bold, innovative way,” she said. “Following a model established by Mr. Rohrer and greatly encouraged by Dr. Houshmand, we support students and community members to pursue big ideas, and often that means starting a business.”
RCB at a glance
Four Centers of Excellence and a wide range of academic degrees, from certificate and degree programs to an innovative and customizable MBA, help define the college at 50.
The college contains:
- Centers of Excellence in Experiential Learning, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Professional Development and Responsible Leadership;
- 12 advisory councils of regional leaders who help shape curricula and provide mentoring, internships and, often, employment opportunities for graduates;
- About 2,000 undergraduates and nearly 300 graduate students;
- More than 60 full-time faculty and a dedicated corps of adjunct instructors;
- AACSB and ABET accreditation, one of only a few American business schools to hold both.
Business for the greater good
While business schools by definition train students to turn a profit, Lehrman said RCB also places a heavy emphasis on the ways business can benefit humanity. For example, high school students at this summer’s Think Like an Entrepreneur academy applied an entrepreneurial lens to address the United Nations’ global sustainability goals such as eliminating poverty and providing clean drinking water.
“We talk about people, planet, profit“, said Lehrman. “Historically, business schools were only focused on profit, but we look at the triple bottom line, which we refer to as the ‘three Ps.'”
The purpose-driven theme carries from the dean’s office to the college’s four centers in its classrooms and affiliations.
From an MBA concentration in sustainable business practices to Accelerate South Jersey, a program launching this year to support inner-city entrepreneurs, to a long-term initiative in which business students help community residents prepare their taxes their free, said Lehrman social impact. it is always part of the lesson.
“We’re training business people committed to a higher purpose,” she said.
Stephen Kozachyn, executive director of external affairs for RCB, who directs its Center for Experiential Learning, said a project last spring with St. John of God Community Services in Westville illustrates the college’s commitment to business for the greater good. great.
In that project, 68 RCB students developed a marketing plan, studied supply chain and logistics, and provided human resources guidance for Holy Grounds, a line of coffee that St. John of God special needs customers hope to soon sell in stores of retail.
“The Holy Grounds coffee project is a perfect example of business for the common good,” said Kozachyn. “St. John of God customers roast, package and distribute coffee at yard sales, online and at some events. It’s not in supermarkets yet, but we hope to help get it there soon.”
A legacy of responsible leaders
Class of 2022 Rowan University Outstanding Student RCB graduate Joseph Cosgrove ’00 said lessons from his undergraduate studies helped set the tone for how he runs his business and has pursued his career.
As CEO of Pentec Health, a Glen Mills, Pa., company, Cosgrove leads an organization that has become a leader in patient-specific medications in dialysis centers and home settings.
In addition to being named Rowan’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year, Cosgrove was named Marcum Innovator of the Year in 2016, is a Philly 100 CEO Hall of Fame Society inductee, and received the National Kidney Foundation’s Business Leadership Award and Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
All of this, he said, wouldn’t be possible if he hadn’t learned to put customers — in his case, patients — first.
“There is no greater joy than knowing that the products we make and the services we provide are contributing to a higher quality of care,” he said.
One of the college’s longest-serving faculty members, Professor of Management and former dean Dr. Robert Fleming, said the concept of community service, sometimes referred to in the business as “servant leadership,” has been a core teaching principle within RCB for decades.
Fleming, who is also a nationally recognized expert on fire safety and emergency management, said his experience, including serving with a volunteer fire company starting in 1972, always informs his teaching.
“We have people teaching our classes who don’t just read a servant leadership script,” Fleming said. “They lived it. And when you have people who have actually done it and who share those experiences with students, it enhances the reputation of not only the College of Business, but Rowan University as well.”
Part of Mr. Rohrer’s legacy
The William G. Rohrer Charitable Foundation has given the University nearly $20 million since 1995, including more than $17 million to the College of Business.
Of this, the Foundation donated $10 million to support RCB students in 2005, then the largest gift to the University since Henry Rowan’s $100 million. In 1999, the Foundation awarded Rowan $1 million to fund business scholarships and, in 1995, an additional $1 million to establish the William G. Rohrer Professorial Chair within RCB. (In 2000, the Campbell family of Salem also donated $1 million to fund the John B. Campbell Professorship in the College of Business, which was named for the late president and chairman of the board of directors of Mannington Mills.) Foundation in 2017 pledged $5 million to establish the William G. Rohrer College of Business Honors Scholarship Program.
Mr. Rohrer, the first mayor of Haddon Township (a post he held, in all, for 36 years), posthumously left millions of dollars to organizations around South Jersey including funding for the William G. Rohrer Memorial Library in Haddon Township, Bancroft School at Haddonfield, Camden County Leukemia Society, American Diabetes Association and Arthritis Foundation.
Building on success
RCB literally built on its decades-long record of success with the 2017 opening of Business Hall, a gleaming glass and brick building on the north side of Rowan’s Glassboro campus designed to enable the college to double enrollment .
Fostering relationships within the Business Hall and across the region, the college offers a wide range of professional links, including, within the final year, a program with Saxbys Coffee to launch a student-run coffee shop in the Business Hall; a speaking engagement with Wawa CEO Chris Gheysens; and partnership with St. John of God Community Services.
As part of the college’s 50sth In celebration of the anniversary, RCB will outfit 50 first-year students in a business wardrobe to attend special events, job fairs and interviews and host a series of special events to build on the success of the first half of her. They include:
In support of RCB’s 50ththe college is also conducting a fundraising drive in which donors can make a $50 or other gift to help the college remain strong and vibrant for the next 50 years.
“We wanted to do number 50th A significant anniversary for our students, faculty, alumni, donors and community,” said Dean Lehrman. “As part of that, we’re hosting events that speak to our mission.”
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