In the late ’60s Stanford Graduate School of Business went through several changes as it attempted to attract a less homogenous student body. Triggered by the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, Dean Ernest C. Arbuckle appointed an ad hoc committee of students, faculty, and administrators to make recommendations on “what the business school could do about racial and urban problems.” The group, headed by faculty member Gail M. Oxley, recommended that:
- The MBA curriculum be adjusted to include realistic treatment of the racial and urban problems that have become an important part of the environment of business;
- Stanford GSB by academic year 1969-70 admit 10 or more disadvantaged students who might not meet all admissions standards and that a tutorial program be organized to aid these students;
- Stanford GSB hire one or more members of minority groups for faculty and/or staff positions;
- The dean’s office investigate the feasibility of an exchange program between Stanford GSB and the faculties of predominantly black schools of business or commerce;
- The dean appoint a representative to organize an inter-disciplinary Institute of Urban Affairs within the university;
- Encourage continued efforts of Stanford GSB students to help disadvantaged minority businessmen.
In 1968, the school took several important steps towards promoting diversity by attracting disadvantaged students to the school. Nathaniel Pugh Jr. was appointed Associate Director of Admissions. To increase the number of minority applications a nationwide drive was launched to recruit minorities for the MBA program and in fall of 1968 a drive was started to raise corporate contributions for minority fellowships. Stanford GSB also received a special grant of $50,000 from the New York accounting firm of Donaldson, Lufkin, Jenrette as “risk money” to be used “in innovative fashion to further educational opportunities for minorities”. A new required course was added for the school year of 1969-70 in Business, Government and the Changing Environment, which dealt with urban, racial and poverty problems.
In 1970 Stanford and nine other leading U.S. schools formed the Council for Opportunity in Graduate Management in Education (COGME) to increase minority interest and enrollment in management study at the graduate level. The Alfred P Sloan foundation awarded COGME $1 million to be used for student financial aid and to support and strengthen minority programs.
Students welcomed the changing school environment during these times. In 1972 Nathaniel Jones became the first Black student to be elected president of the Stanford GSB Student Association. In 1971–72 and 1972–73 the student association allocated 20 percent of its projected revenues for minority student fellowships.
In 1984 two other minority alumni groups were formed. Stanford GSB gay and lesbian graduates created their own alumni organization called the Stanford Gay and Lesbian Business Association. Hispanic alumni also united to create the Hispanic Alumni Association, an association that galvanized to boost minority enrollment by representing Stanford Business School at campus “minority recruiting days” and by urging Hispanics in the workforce to consider MBA study.
According to Kathleen Gwynn, the school’s director of MBA admissions at the time, the pool of minority applicants was dwindling because “fifty percent of minority applicants had not started the application process because they believed there was not enough financial aid available for them.” However, she claimed that the school could provide substantial fellowships to every minority candidate admitted into the MBA Program. Scholarships and financial aid directed specifically at minorities were beginning to become more prevalent. In 1990, the Bank of America Foundation gave the school a $300,000 gift to be used to help recruit and retain minority students and faculty. In 1993 the KPMG-Citicorp PhD Project was started to increase the number of minority professors by acquainting prospective minorities with the option of becoming business school professors.