Our History

COBA Centennial Celebration Book

In 1927, following UTEP’s transformation into a general college, a full-fledged department of Business Administration came into existence under the direction of Abi Elizabeth Beynon, the first female department head in UTEP’s history. Following the expansion of the curriculum in 1927, the College of Mines (now UTEP) transformed into a general college while maintaining its mining engineering program. All of the new courses not associated with engineering became known as "arts and sciences." In 1931, the “arts and science” curriculum became a four year Liberal Arts college operating under its own president.  Business and Economics were established as combined departments and, in 1932, the school received authorization to award a Bachelor of Arts degree.  At this point, the non-engineering curriculum became known as the School of Arts and Education with Charles A. Puckett as its first dean. That same year, the Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Economics is approved with the first degree being awarded in 1933.  By 1935, a separate Bachelor of Arts majors were awarded in Business Administration and Economics.

With the 1939-1940 academic year, the College of Mines reorganized and changed the name of the "Arts and Education" to "Arts and Sciences," with Puckett remaining as dean. In 1946, a student could conduct a Bachelor of Arts with a Business Administration or Economics Major or a Bachelor of Business Administration. The Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy became Texas Western College in 1949 following World War II in recognition of the steady broadening of College’s offerings and interests.

President Joseph M. Ray, in 1966, once again reorganized the College breaking the School of Arts and Sciences into four separate schools: Liberal Arts , Education , Science , and Business Administration .  The year of “Glory Road” also witnessed the historical beginnings of the formal organization and unit of UTEP -- our College of Business Administration.  The College of Business Administration was founded with nine optional concentrations of study. That year John Marvin Richards became Dean of the School of Business Administration and the Texas Legislature changed the institutional name of Texas Western College to The University of Texas at El Paso.

1973 was a major step forward for our College of Business Administration (CoBA) with the addition of graduate degree offerings.  COBA’s dean, Dr. John Marvin Richards received approval to create the MBA degree on April 13, 1973 and launched the program in fall 1973 with five evening courses.  Dr. Thomas F. Lee became dean in 1975 and, by 1976, the annual total MBA degrees conferred had risen to 25 including the first three women recipients.

Research in the business disciplines was woven into the fabric of CoBA. In 1984, the Bureau of Business and Economic research published the El Paso Economic Review and the Southwest Journal of Business and Economics. A year later, CoBA became a Texas Census Data Affiliate and contracted with the Small Business Administration to administer the Small Business Institute.  In 1986, it published its revision of the Statistical Abstract of El Paso, Texas, the first in 10 years. The College also undertook responsibility for the Center for Professional Development in 1983; and by 1986 was offering yearly over 100 non-credit workshops and seminars for over 2,000 professionals in the El Paso Area.

Over the next five years, COBA revised its curricula, established new admission and retention standards, and hired 33 new faculty and professional staff -- all of which contributed to the accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) for all undergraduate and graduate programs, which was acquired for the first time in 1989.   This was and is very important for the Graduate and Undergraduate Business Administration programs and for the Accounting programs of the College.  Today, fewer than 5% of business schools throughout the world have earned this prestigious designation.  The College continues strict accreditation reviews every five years and has proudly maintained its distinguished designation.

In 1991, Dr. Timothy P. Roth became Interim Dean and was followed by Dr. Frank Hoy. Under his leadership, several advances became part of the CoBA’s fabric.  The MBA went into online and off-campus environments.  The UTEP MBA began a partnership with The Boeing Company to offer a pilot Accelerated MBA (AMBA) at Boeing’s El Paso manufacturing facility.   Tom Fullerton joined the UTEP Department of Economics & Finance in 1996.  Jointly with personnel from the Texas Center for Border Economic Development, Professor Fullerton laid the groundwork for the Border Region Modeling Project (BRMP). Thanks to the sustained support of corporate investors, the BRMP continues to successfully conduct research that has contributed to the human and economic development of the United States-Mexico border region.

April 2003 marked another milestone for the College. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the proposal for a new International Business doctoral program. This Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Program in International Business emphasizes strong quantitative research methods. The Ph.D. program in International Business started in 2004 and graduated its first doctoral student four years later. The program was designed to prepare new generations of faculty from diverse backgrounds to meet critical research and teaching challenges projected in international business and business education.

In July of 2004, Dr. Gary J. Mann was selected as interim Dean for the college. The following year, when Dean Robert Nachtmann assumed leadership of COBA, he quickly moved to update the MBA curriculum and hire professional dedicated staff in order to grow the MBA program. UTEP “re-launched” the AMBA program in fall 2007 with two large cohorts hosted in part by the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce and Wells Fargo Bank. In fall 2008, another large AMBA cohort was launched through a hosting partnership with GECU.

In 2008, the UTEP MBA received its first national ranking, placing 6th in Hispanic Business magazine’s “Best Business Schools” top 10 list. In 2009, the program moved into 2nd place. During the next five years, the program received the #1 ranking by Hispanic Business in an unprecedented sequence of best in nation awards for MBA education of Hispanics.

Dr. Nachtmann responded to the increasing demand for MBA alternatives by proposing new executive and full-time MBA formats. In spring 2010, COBA celebrated the grand opening of a 12,000 sq. ft. facility in the Chase Building downtown that featured three classrooms, student collaboration areas and administrative offices. By spring 2011, The UTEP GBC was home to four AMBA cohorts, two EMBA cohorts and a FTMBA cohort.

During the following years, the UTEP MBA received several other accolades among them ranking in “Best of the Best MBA Schools” by Professional Woman’s Magazine and Hispanic Journal; ranking among the world’s top 35 “Rising Star” business schools identified by FindyourMBA.com; named the best “Example of Excelencia ” for graduate programs by Excelencia in Education, a Washington D.C. non-profit dedicated to identifying best practices in Latino/a educational attainment; Excelencia in Education also recognized the Ph.D. program as one of the nation’s best at increasing academic opportunities and achievement for Latino students, and the College was awarded the “Vision of Excellence” by the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.  Today, the UTEP Master of Business Administration (MBA) is internationally ranked and recognized for innovation and the success of its graduates and its doctoral program has graduated more than forty students, who currently hold academic appointments throughout Texas and the nation.

The Mike Loya Center for Innovation and Commerce was founded in 2012 through generous contributions from UTEP alumnus Mike Loya. The Center connects the College of Business Administration and the College of Engineering.  Together, these Colleges innovate for UTEP and for our regional economy.  The Loya Center provides faculty across both Colleges with research funding, graduate students with fellowships, supports students in the creation of new businesses, and, in 2014, launched joint BS/MBA degree programs, that enable undergraduate Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Industrial Engineering students to obtain a BS degree in their discipline and an MBA from COBA in a compressed five-year format.

The Center for Hispanic Entrepreneurship (CFHE), a research entity within the College of Business Administration, is also re-energized this year. Its goal is to conduct research in new business creation and to assist in the development of Hispanic businesses.  It provides in partnership with the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce the necessary information and training to those in need of business knowledge, and supports the business community of professionals, students, and scholars.

The Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness, founded in 2014, serves as a multi-disciplinary research platform for the creation and application of practical research in order to help foster the region’s competitive capacity. The Hunt Institute brings together regional stakeholders from the public and private sectors to examine issues and offer policy insight into areas such as business development, education, infrastructure and urban planning, energy and natural resources and public health.

Today, we find the College of Business Administration to be organized around three departments: Accounting and Information Systems , Economics & Finance and Marketing and Management ; and seven academic degrees.  All supported by a dedicate research/teaching faculty and managed by a professional staff for growth and development.  The efforts of past and current leaders, faculty, students, staff, alumni, and friends of COBA have provided UTEP with the confidence necessary to propose to the UT System Board of Regents and to our State of Texas Legislature the construction of a new College of Business Administration {COBA) Complex comprising 215,000 gross square feet. The proposed complex will enable the re-consolidation of all undergraduate and graduate business education on the UTEP campus and add greatly needed conference space with associated parking.

Historical Dates 

First course in Political Economy at School of Mines 

The  College of the City of El Paso and its School of Commerce becomes a branch of the School of Mines 

Accounting offered for the first time 

First  Business Administration Courses 

Combines Business and Economics department - First Bachelor of Arts major in Business 

First  Majors in Economics and Business Administration 

First  Bachelor of Business Administration under school of Arts and Sciences 

Business and Economics (later Economics and Finance) were split into separate departments under the School of Arts and Sciences. 

School of Business Administration was established 

A third department, Accounting, was added 

New College of Business Administration Building 

National Accreditation by American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business for graduate and undergraduate programs 

First  Ph.D. Cohort in International Business 

Opening of Graduate Business Center in downtown Chase Building 

The Mike Loya Center for Innovation and Commerce was is founded in conjunction with The College of Engineering 

The Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness is founded