The College of Commerce and Business Administration at Tulane University was established in 1914 at the urging of the New Orleans Association of Commerce, an influential organization of local business leaders dedicated to improving the civic, industrial and commercial welfare of the city. Convinced that the future growth and prosperity of New Orleans depended upon the establishment of an academically rigorous college of business, 200 members of the association contracted with Tulane to underwrite the cost of establishing a new business school at the university. Morton A. Aldrich, professor of economics and a champion of the effort, was chosen as the college's first dean.
Two years later, Tulane University became one of 16 founding members of AACSB, the nation's leading accrediting body for collegiate schools of business. Other founding members included Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, New York University, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, University of Nebraska, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, University of Texas, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Yale University.
In 1940, the College of Commerce introduced a Master of Business Administration degree program, and in 1942, the college moved from Gibson Hall, where classes had been held since its founding, to its own dedicated building, Norman Mayer Memorial Hall.
Reflecting a nationwide shift toward graduate education, the College of Commerce discontinued its undergraduate business program in 1963. The program was reinstated in 1978.
In 1966, the college established a doctoral program in business, and in 1983 it introduced an Executive MBA program.
In 1984, the business school was named in honor of New Orleans businessman and philanthropist A. B. Freeman, former chairman of the Louisiana Coca-Cola Bottling Co., in recognition of a gift from the Freeman family. Two years later, the Freeman School moved from Norman Mayer to Goldring/Woldenberg Hall, a new 83,000 square foot building located in the heart of Tulane's uptown campus.
In the early 1990s, the Freeman School began to expand globally, introducing Executive MBA programs in Chile, China and Mexico and faculty development PhD programs in Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela.
The Freeman School introduced a Master of Accounting program in 1993, a Master of Finance program in 2003 and a Master of Management Energy Major program in 2011.
In 1997, the Freeman School opened a satellite campus in Houston and began offering Professional MBA, Executive MBA and Master of Finance programs for working professionals in Texas.
In November 2003, the Freeman School celebrated the completion of a new building, Goldring/Woldenberg Hall II. Built at a cost of $25 million and featuring state-of-the-art classrooms and an electronic trading room, the building serves as the home of Freeman School graduate and professional programs.