Main Content

History of the Rotman School

Changing the face of business education since 1901

The Rotman School's history of transforming business education goes back to 1901, when a diploma program in commerce was established at the University of Toronto. 

How we got here

The Rotman School has been training future business leaders since 1901, when the diploma program in Commerce was inaugurated at U of T's Faculty of Arts. The School of Business became a faculty in 1972, and was renamed in honour of graduate and donor Joseph L. Rotman in 1995. Over the past 15 years, the School has quadrupled its endowment, and tripled its physical footprint, its faculty and its student body.   

Below in reverse order are some further milestones of our historic journey:

2022 Rotman launches Purpose into Action: Academic Plan 2022-2027, a strategic roadmap for the next five years and then launches Fueling Purpose into Action, an ambitious fundraising campaign as part of U of T’s Defy Gravity campaign.
2021  On July 1, 2021, Professor Susan Christoffersen was welcomed as the new dean of the School. For more information about Dean Christoffersen,  please visit the Rotman dean area of our website.
 2020  Tiff Macklem appointed Governor of the Bank of Canada. Professor Kenneth Corts becomes Interim Dean.
2019  Launch of the new Rotman brand, focused on personal and professional transformation, and new brand tagline Here's Where It Changes.
Rotman dean Tiff Macklem confirmed for a second five-year term.
2018 Rotman Commerce program increased its enrolment and breadth of programming and professional services, and investment in faculty recruitment and retention increased.
Introduction of several specialized master's programs - the Master of Management Analytics, the Master of Financial Risk Management- as well as the Graduate Diploma in Professional Accounting.
New partnership for the Rotman Global Executive MBA program is launched with Bocconi University’s SDA Bocconi School of Management.
2016 Rotman Catalyst Fund established with the transformational gift of $30 million by the Rotman family.
2015 Joseph L. Rotman, the visionary entrepreneur, philanthropist and supporter of the Rotman School, passed away.
2014 On July 3, 2014 Tiff Macklem joined the school as dean.
2013 On December 5, Tiff Macklem, a leader in national and international financial systems, was named the new dean of the School. Macklem was formerly the senior deputy governor of the Bank of Canada. 
2012 On May 1, 2012, the Rotman School opened the doors to an expanded facility, Rotman's South Wing.

The undergraduate Commerce program at the University of Toronto’s St. George campus announces its new name – Rotman Commerce – thanks to a $2.5-million gift from Sandra and Joseph Rotman.


The Province of Ontario announces $50 million in funding to the School for an expansion to provide space for a 50 per cent increase in the size of the School’s graduate programs.
The School introduces the 20-month, five-term Master of Finance program.
Marcel Desautels, founder, president and CEO of the Canadian Credit Management Foundation, once again supports the ongoing initiatives of the Desautels Centre for Integrative Thinking with a gift of $10-million, bringing his total gifts to the Rotman School to a remarkable $31 million.
The School receives a gift of $18 million from Sandra and Joseph Rotman.  

2005 The Rotman School receives a significant boost to Integrative Thinking and its mission to revolutionize business education with a $10-million gift from the Canadian Credit Management Foundation (CCMF) and its founder Marcel Desautels

Rotman School completes a $4-million expansion with an addition to the 4th and 5th floors, providing space for faculty offices, meeting rooms, research and other offices.
A $10-million gift from Michael Lee-Chin establishes the AIC Institute for Corporate Citizenship at Rotman and pushes the U of T’s collective campaign over its $1-billion milestone.

2000 $10-Million Gift Creates Marcel Desautels Centre for Integrative Thinking
The Rotman School develops a new model of business education for the 21st century. 
1998 Former management consultant Roger L. Martin is appointed Dean. A new vision and graphic identity are launched.
1997 The Faculty of Management receives a $15 million donation from Sandra and Joseph Rotman to support its vision and goals. The gift is matched by U of T, creating a $30 million endowment fund. The School is renamed the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management in their honour.
1995 The Joseph L. Rotman Centre for Management opens, establishing a new home for the Faculty of Management.
1972 The Faculty of Management is officially established after the launching of a doctoral program in 1969.
1951 The Institute of Business Administration is founded, a predecessor of the School.
1938 A Master of Commerce degree is introduced.
1901 The University of Toronto begins offering undergraduate courses in management.

Scroll your way to a smarter you.

Rotman Insights Hub
Insights that cut through the noise

We Are Rotman

What can Canada's leading business school do for you?

Which program
is right for you?
Find out »