Walter J. Matherly Hall


Walter J. Matherly

In 1926, Walter J. Matherly came to the University of Florida to organize the newly formed School of Business Administration and Journalism (formerly the Department of Business). By 1933, the school was accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and was renamed the College of Business Administration with Matherly as its first dean.

During Matherly’s two-decade tenure, the College of Business Administration grew tremendously. He advocated a larger faculty to reduce class size and provide specialized training, correspondence teaching and guidance counseling to future students. Matherly also recognized the need for more space and channeled resources into infrastructure. As a result, a new facility was built; but one month before the building’s dedication ceremony, Matherly passed away.

Matherly attended William Jewell College in Missouri and obtained his master’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1916. Before coming to UF, he taught at the University of North Carolina. Matherly served as president of AACSB from 1935 to 1936 and was also a founder and the first president of the Southern Economic Association.

Although Matherly never lived to see the fruits of his labor, his dedication and foresight laid the foundation for a prospering college and a building that bears his name.

Facility History

Matherly Hall housed the College of Business Administration and was constructed in post-World War II style featuring a clay tile gabled roof and brick veneer. New additions include expansive window fenestration and linear cast concrete detail in harmony with surrounding campus buildings.

The School of Business Administration originally consisted of three departments: business administration, economics and sociology, and journalism. The College of Commerce and Journalism became a separate entity in 1926, and the School of Business Administration was elevated to College status in 1933. The Bureau of Economics and Business was formed in 1929, the precursor to the current Bureau of Economics and Business Research.