University History

Preparing Students for Success Since 1921.

Robert Morris University traces its history to 1921, when it opened its doors as the Pittsburgh School of Accountancy. In 1935 the school took the name of Robert Morris, the Founding Father and Pennsylvanian known as the “Financier of the American Revolution.”

RMU Historic Timeline - 1921

The first class of 26 students enrolls in the new Pittsburgh School of Accountancy. Founder Andrew Blass models the school on the Pace Institute in Washington, D.C., where he had been dean.

RMU Historic Timeline - 1935

The school changes its name to the Robert Morris School of Business in honor of the Founding Father from Pennsylvania, and adds an applied business and secretarial studies division.

RMU Historic Timeline - 1942

The Robert Morris School moves to the William Penn Hotel to make room for its growing enrollment.

RMU Historic Timeline - 1959

The school purchases its own Downtown building at the intersection of Fifth and Sixth avenues.

RMU Historic Timeline - 1961

Robert Morris students form the NFL’s first cheerleading squad, the “Steelerettes.” They cheer the Black and Gold throughout the ‘60s, until the team moves to Three Rivers Stadium.

RMU Historic Timeline - 1962

The school becomes Robert Morris Junior College, changing from a for-profit business school to a nonprofit educational institution.

RMU Historic Timeline - 1963

First classes begin at a new residential campus in Moon Township after the college purchases Pine Hill Manor, a 230-acre summer estate, from Oliver Kaufmann, a philanthropist and executive of the Pittsburgh department store.

RMU Historic Timeline - 1969

Now Robert Morris College, the school begins offering four-year bachelor’s degrees in business administration.

RMU Historic Timeline - 1977

The Colonials men’s basketball team moves up to NCAA Division I after a string of winning seasons versus two-year colleges.

RMU Historic Timeline - 1978

First graduate students are admitted for master’s degree programs in business administration, taxation, and business teacher education.

RMU Historic Timeline - 1983

A year after its first trip to March Madness, “Bobby Mo” returns and beats Georgia Southern 64-54 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

RMU Historic Timeline - 1986

Fire destroys the Barn, the longtime home of Colonial Theatre. An Alumni Commons is built in its place, while Colonial Theatre moves to Massey Hall.

Bill Clinton at Robert Morris University

President Bill Clinton makes a September stop on his reelection campaign to tout his economic record to a crowd of about 5,000 in a packed Sewall Center.

RMU Historic Timeline - 1999

First doctoral program is offered with the D.Sc. in Information Systems and Communications.

RMU Historic Timeline - 2002

Robert Morris University takes its current name, recognizing its status as an institution of higher learning with multiple schools and degree offerings.

RMU Historic Timeline - 2005

The Colonials football program, holders of two national mid-major titles, moves from Moon Area High School field to the new Joe Walton Stadium.

RMU Historic Timeline - 2010

RMU sells its Downtown building and moves all academic programs to the Moon Township campus.

RMU Historic Timeline - 2016

The opening of Scaife Hall for the School of Nursing and Health Sciences marks the third new academic building constructed on campus in five years.

UPMC Events Center and Peoples Court

The university opens the UPMC Events Center and Peoples Court for Colonials basketball and volleyball, plus space for conventions, concerts, and other events.

John Jay Center

John Jay Center opens the first phase of its major expansion and renovation with four new engineering laboratories, an interactive digital presentation collaborative space, a 3-D printing space, and a leadership and innovation suite.