The history of the Peter J. Tobin College of Business began with a historic donation of $10.25 million 20 years ago from then-dean of the College of Business, Peter Tobin, and his wife Mary in May 2000. What was once known as the College of Business Administration became The Peter J. Tobin College of Business (TCB), making it the first school at the University named after a private individual.
Today, at its 20-year milestone, Tobin College of Business is ranked as one of the top business schools in the country. Rising 27 spots from last year, TCB is ranked 50th by industry publication Poets&Quants on its annual list of the Best Undergraduate Business Schools. TCB’s online M.S. in Accounting and Taxation programs are ranked 19th in U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 report, and Tobin’s undergraduate insurance program also ranks 11th in the same publication.
Tobin himself earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from St. John’s in 1965. According to a University press release, after Tobin was appointed dean of The College of Business in 1998, he helped supervise the integration of The College of Insurance into The College of Business. This established the St. John’s Manhattan campus, which now houses the School of Risk Management — a division of TCB – The Language Connection Institute, the Katherine & Shelby Cullom Davis Library and classrooms.
When offered the position of dean, Tobin’s only request was to have his wife, Mary, work alongside him. She held the position of Director of Special Projects for Tobin College and was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2009. Two years after she left the Board in 2016, she passed away.
In 2000, Tobin was recognized with the Medal of Honor, the highest award that an alumnus can receive from the University. In 2017, renovations to Bent Hall included new signage to the front of the building that now reads, “The Peter J. Tobin College of Business.” A subsequent $10M lawsuit was filed on behalf of Bruce R. Bent, whom Bent Hall is named after, although signage that reads Bent Hall still remains at the side of the building.
When making his original $10.25 million donation in 2000, Tobin emphasized his motivation — the need for people to make change immediately, rather than waiting. His distinct perspective and understanding of the University furthered his desire to make a valuable impact.
“We have had a unique view of what is going on in the College and what the needs are,” Tobin said at the time of the donation. “Those needs are now. To do something 20 years down the road would not have had the kind of impact we think it will have by making this contribution today.”