This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Academic Business: Professionalization and the University Business Officer




McWhorter, Lynn Price

Type of Degree





This dissertation examines the place of the college and university business officer in institutions of higher education across the U.S. South. In 1927, George Howell Mew, newly minted business officer at Emory University, was the driving force behind the creation of the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers [SACUBO]. Over the next fifty years members of SACUBO succeeded in creating an institution which transformed the business officer from a functionary who reported bookkeeping numbers to the board of trustees into an administrator and vice-president of the university. In the process, business officers helped transformed the college and university from an individual institution working with hundreds of students into campuses enrolling tens of thousands students and managing billions of dollars. A number of forces pushed college and university business officers into a position of responding to external pressures: philanthropy in the 1920s, research grants in the 1930s and 1940s, the need to train military personnel for wars from World War I into the 1980s and the accompanying regulations, the alliance of research universities with industry, and social pressures such as race relations and student protests. Though sometimes better than others, SACUBO helped college and university business officers navigate the complexities of the modern university.