The Department of Finance is one of seven degree-granting units in the E. J. Ourso College of Business. The roots of the department and college go back to 1899 when LSU created a four-year curriculum in commerce within the College of Arts and Sciences. By 1928, roughly coincident with the university's move to its present campus, a separate College of Commerce was established, in which the Department of Economics and Business Administration provided instruction in finance.
Over the next ten years, graduate education became part of the department's mission in the mid-1930s, with the Master of Business Administration (1935), the Master of Science (1936), and a doctoral program (1938). "Insurance and Real Estate" was the first finance-specific undergraduate curriculum to appear in the university catalog, in 1945.
In 1959, the college was reorganized and renamed the College of Business Administration, with a separate Department of Finance, consisting of eight faculty members, and a curriculum in finance. Business law was included within the department, possibly because of the financial aspects of property law, securities law, and contract law.
Beginning in the late 1950s, finance as a discipline became more analytical and less concerned with the administrative aspects of the firm. Quantitative analysis emerged as a part of the research and practice of finance. Reflecting this trend, between 1963 and 1971, the department also provided instruction in statistics, and was titled the Department of Business Finance and Statistics. In 1965, the first privately supported, named chair on campus, the Louisiana Bankers Association Chair of Banking, was established in the department.
In 1971, the college again reorganized, separating the department into a Department of Quantitative Methods and a Department of Finance. Business law faculty remained with the finance group. In 1978, the college moved from Himes Hall to its present home in Center for Engineering and Business Administration (CEBA) later renamed to Patrick F. Taylor Hall.
In 1981, the Louisiana Real Estate Commission Chair in Real Estate, the first fully endowed chair on the LSU campus, was established. The mid-1980s also saw the establishment of the Real Estate Research Institute within the department.
Technology changed the way we teach finance in the twenty-first century. In 2002, we opened the SMART Lab, our 44-station simulated interactive trading floor and research facility. In 2005, the LSU Foundation established the Student Managed Investment Fund, further adding to the learning opportunities of our students.
The generosity of our alumni and friends over the years has resulted in the endowment of five chairs and several professorships for the department. Through their support and the perseverance and dedication of our faculty and staff, the department continues to advance its mission: to create innovative, challenging, high quality educational experiences for its students; to conduct, publish, and apply meaningful scholarly research; and to provide excellence in service to the state and local community, the profession, and the university.
In 1996, the college was renamed the E. J. Ourso College of Business Administration in honor of its major benefactor. In 2005, the name was officially shortened to the E. J. Ourso College of Business.