|Founding Words, Lasting Ideals|
Though their goals differ, in their need for capable and far-seeing management, large institutions of every kind are much alike. It is important to society that this need be met — and an opportunity and an obligation for Yale to educate men and women to meet it.
—from “The Birth of the School,” by William S. Beinecke
These words are from a speech delivered by William S. Beinecke in 1983 at the fifth reunion of the Yale SOM charter class. Beinecke YC ’36, one of the primary forces behind the creation of Yale’s new business school in 1974, used the speech to outline some of the ideas that had motivated him and other like-minded Yale alumni to push for this new school.
Much has changed in the world of business since the school’s founding. The Yale School of Management has likewise matured from a start-up to an established institution. But many of the convictions and concerns that motivated Beinecke in the 1970s remain key concepts for the school today.
Beinecke spoke about designing a school that would train leaders for the demands of a fast-changing business world, with an emphasis on understanding all types of organizations, and these remain foundational principles at the school. (Read more about the current Yale approach.) From the beginning, the intention was to create a Yale business school — one that drew on the university’s strongest traditions and could extend the reach of the university’s ethic of educating leaders in service to society.
Beinecke’s conclusion, with its emphasis on how Yale SOM graduates can make a difference in the world, could be delivered to this year's graduating class as easily as the Class of 1978: “Our business leaders are among the ablest, most energetic citizens we have. We can use their brains and drive in every important thing that needs doing…. Speaking for myself and others for whom this School represents the fruition of our highest hopes, I will say that important as it is for you of the Class of ’78 to achieve much in your careers as managers, it is equally important for you to achieve much as citizens and as cultivated men and women. Only if you and your successors strive equally for all those goals will this School be truly a success. Only then will you be truly a success.”
Read the full text of “The Birth of the School.” (PDF)