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Business education has been an important effort of the University of Delaware since 1916. In 1963, the School (College) of Business and Economics was created. It earned accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International at the baccalaureate level in 1966 and the graduate level in 1982, which it has maintained since then.

Over the years, Lerner has continued to attract more students and add undergraduate and graduate programs that serve the needs of students and industry. It has been building a reputation for experience- and analytics-driven education among its students and graduates, the higher education and research community and the corporate world.

Read more about our vision, mission and plan for The Way Forward (PDF).

Lerner_Alfred_2Alfred Lerner

Born in 1933 in Brooklyn, New York, Alfred Lerner was the only son of Russian immigrants. After graduating from Columbia College in 1955, he served as a pilot in the Marine Corps and then sold furniture in New York, Baltimore and Cleveland. He later moved into real estate and banking, eventually becoming chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of MBNA America N.A.

In 1998, Mr. Lerner brought pro football back to Cleveland by buying the newly formed Browns, which began play in the National Football League the next year. He became an important figure among N.F.L. owners, serving as chairman of the league’s finance committee.

A business leader, benefactor, sports enthusiast and patriot, Mr. Lerner’s philanthropic interests included medical research and educational causes. He was known for being a positive leader, lived by the motto “officers eat last” and was quoted as saying, “humility and competence are keys to being successful.”

MBNA Endowment

In December 2002, the MBNA Foundation and the company’s executive committee endowed the University of Delaware’s College of Business and Economics with $20 million in memory of Alfred Lerner. In recognition of the endowment, the University named the college the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics.

The extraordinary gift has enabled the college to enhance and strengthen existing programs, develop new and innovative programs to meet the highest standards of academic excellence and respond to emerging industry needs.

Alfred Lerner Hall

The business school building was originally dedicated on October 17, 1997, as MBNA America Hall. The building was named in recognition of the former MBNA America, a leading innovator in the credit card industry and great supporter of educational and human service initiatives in Delaware. On December 12, 2002, in memory of Alfred Lerner and in recognition of the generous endowment from the MBNA Foundation, the building was renamed to Alfred Lerner Hall.


For the past 50 years, the Lerner College has maintained accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the sole agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the accrediting body of business schools. Lerner received separate accreditation for accounting in 1984, putting Lerner in an elite group of less than 200 schools that maintain separate accounting accreditation.

AACSB accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in business education, and has been earned by less than five percent of the world’s business programs.

Benefits of AACSB Accreditation

To be an elite AACSB-accredited business school is to be part of an established tradition of excellence. A Lerner degree backed by AACSB accreditation gives you a distinct competitive advantage in your career.

In order to obtain AACSB accreditation, a school and its programs are evaluated against 21 accreditation standards including instruction, research, curriculum development, faculty and student learning.

Accreditation typically takes five to seven years to obtain, with reviews every five years thereafter to ensure that the program’s level of quality is maintained.

Student Learning Assessment Outcomes

The University of Delaware and the Lerner College are committed to implementing student learning outcomes assessment programs. The student outcomes assessment program has one central goal: to create a University of Delaware culture of continuous academic improvement that is focused upon student learning.

Assessment programs also support the efforts of the institution for reaccreditation by Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, 267-284-5000,


Annual Report

Each September, the college publishes an annual report that summarizes highlights, accomplishments and initiatives for the previous academic year.

2014-2015 Annual Report (PDF)