History of the Foster College

In 1897, Lydia Moss Bradley founded Bradley Polytechnic Institute as a tribute to her children, all of whom died at a young age, and her late husband, Tobias. The school was originally a two-year junior college, but by 1920 many programs of study were extended into four years. It was in this year that business education began at Bradley.

In 1920, the Department of Business Administration and Economics was organized, offering a two-year program of study. In the next three years, demand for a four-year program became so great that in 1923, the Bachelor of Science program was instituted within Bradley Polytechnic Institute. 

In 1924, the Department of Business Administration and Economics became the Department of Business Administration, with Loyal G. Tillotson appointed the first dean. 

In 1946, Bradley Polytechnic Institute was fully reorganized, and became Bradley University. One of the units became the School of Business.  

By 1950 another reorganization of the university resulted in the formation of separate colleges, including the College of Commerce. Robert A. Jamieson became first dean of the business college. The name of the college was changed to the College of Business Administration in 1956 to reflect the contemporary name for business schools.

In 1978, The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) granted special business accreditation to the undergraduate program. In April 1983, AACSB International accredited the MBA program. The following year in May, AACSB International granted separate accreditation to the undergraduate accounting program. At this time, Bradley was one of only 40 schools in the United States to receive such accounting accreditation. 

In 1994, the College of Business Administration was renamed the Foster College of Business Administration in honor of a generous gift from Tom and Ellen Foster, both Bradley graduates. 

Today, the Foster College of Business consists of 54 full-time faculty, 700 undergraduate students, and 115 graduate students.