RMU's History & Heritage: Robert Morris University RMU's History & Heritage | Robert Morris University


Robert Morris University was founded in 1921 in downtown Pittsburgh as the Pittsburgh School of Accountancy. The school’s founder, educator and accountant Andrew Blass, rented classroom space in the Blackstone Building. In 1935, the institution changed its name to the Robert Morris School of Business in honor of the Founding Father popularly known as the "financier of the American Revolution."

After leasing space at several Pittsburgh locations, including the William Penn Hotel, the school purchased a building of its own in 1959 at 600 Fifth Ave. Soon after that, in response to a new requirement that Pennsylvania accounting students have a college degree in order to become CPAs, Robert Morris became a nonprofit institution and junior college. 

At the same time, responding to a development boom near the new airport and Parkway West, Robert Morris acquired Pine Hill Manor, the Moon Township estate of Oliver Kaufmann, and began building a residential campus in 1963. The first students on campus lived in the Kaufmann mansion, where today sits Massey Hall. By the end of that decade, Robert Morris had become a four-year college.

The school continued to grow and expand, joining the NCAA Division I for interscholastic athletics in 1977 and adding graduate degree programs and more bachelor’s programs as well. For decades, some students commuted or lived on the Moon campus and took classes there exclusively, while others studied entirely at the downtown building, usually in the evenings after work. The Fifth Avenue building was sold in 2010, though the university still offers classes in the Golden Triangle at its RMU Downtown location.

In 2002, following approval by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the college became Robert Morris University. While alumni from the early days may still recognize some of the original buildings, a spate of recent and ongoing new construction — from academic buildings to residence halls to the football stadium — ensure that the institution continues to provide students with a vibrant, attractive residential campus community for living and learning.