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Breech School of Business Administration History



The Breech School of Business Administration and Economics, established in May of 1957, and the Breech building which houses the Breech School were made possible through the financial commitment of one of Drury’s alumni, Ernest R. Breech. The Breech School’s curriculum, designed to provide a commitment to business education grounded in Drury’s liberal arts tradition, was seen as a new model for professional schools.    

Through the years, the Breech School has continued to maintain its foundation in a liberal arts, while strengthening its commitment to excellence in business education.  The School holds Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accreditation (AACSB). This accreditation, achieved by fewer than 5% of business schools worldwide, demonstrates the high quality of the Breech School’s programs.

The strength of the Breech school has always been the dedication of faculty and staff to student education.  The history of the Breech School is revealed through the memories of alums as they recount stories about the faculty members who influenced their lives.  Names on that faculty roll call include Wilbur Bothwell, Jerry Poe, Charles Mercer, Curt Strube, Paul Rogers, Claudia Cox, and many others. 

Ernest Breech Biography

Ernest R. Breech (1897-1978), a native of Lebanon, Missouri, is remembered best today for his years as head of Ford Motor Company and Trans World Airlines, but these positions were only two of the many facets of his long and successful career.

Mr. Breech attended Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, from 1915 to 1917. At the end of 1917 academic year he moved to Chicago and took a position as an accountant with Fairbanks-Morse and Company. In 1921, he passed the C.P.A. examination at the University of Illinois with the highest grade, an event he referred throughout his life as giving him the greatest satisfaction of his business career. 

Soon afterward, Breech joined Yellow Cab Company, which merged with General Motors Truck and Coach in 1925. He was general assistant treasurer of General Motors from 1929-1933. From there he became president of North America Aviation from 1933-1935, and was later named president of Bendix Aviation.

In 1946, Mr. Breech became executive vice-president of Ford Motor Company, and from 1955-1960, he was chairman of the board and alternate chief executive officer. After a one year of leisure, in 1961 he took over the ailing Trans World Airlines and rebuilt it into a highly profitable organization.

Today, Ernest Breech is regarded as a model corporate manager. The School of Business Administration at Drury University is named in his Honor.