Southern Illinois University (Carbondale campus). Business Office. | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
The Business Office was a predecessor to the Office of the Controller. It managed the financial and fiscal affairs of Southern Illinois University, specifically in regard to financial reporting, purchasing, disbursement of funds, and auditing. The university’s financial and fiscal affairs were handled by the Registrar until 1917, when the position of Business Manager was created for this purpose. Professor Richard V. Black, who was also head of the Commerce Department, served as the Business Manager and added the position of “institutional bookkeeper.” Tracy L. Bryant, also in the Commerce Department, succeeded Black, who died in 1919, as Business Manager. In 1926, Edward V. Miles became the Business Manager and held the position until his retirement in 1958.
The Business Manager was the head of the Business Office. In 1951 the university explored creating a position of Controller as a result of the Klein and increased interest from the Board of Trustees to monitor university finances. Instead the position of Vice President for Business Affairs was created in June 1952, filled by Dr. George H. Hand who reported to the university President. Miles of the Business Office reported to Hand, as did Physical Plant (William A. Howe), the University Architect (Charles Pulley), the Personnel Office (Max M. Sappenfield), and Auxiliary Enterprises (Paul W. Isbell). The Business Office continued as the primary unit responsible for university fiscal procedures and affairs, and served in an advisory role during budget preparation. At this time the Bursar, Chief Accountant, Purchasing Agent, Auditor, and General Storekeeper reported to Miles.
The Office of Business Affairs was reorganized in 1966. The service functions were separated into Business Affairs – Services Division and the fiscal functions into Business Affairs – Fiscal Division. The Services Division retained Physical Plant, University Architect, Personnel Office, and Auxiliary Enterprises. Mr. C. E. Peebles was appointed Director of the fiscal division, which included Accounting, Bursar, Disbursement, Payroll, and Purchasing. Both divisions reported to the Vice President for Business Affairs. Peebles became Assistant to the SIU Chancellor in 1969. At this time Board members and university officials believed there should be a controller responsible for the university’s finances, possibly in response to the University House controversy. The Board of Trustees created the position of Comptroller (Controller) at the November 12, 1969 meeting, effectively ending the position of Business Manager. The Controller position stayed inactive, with Peebles remaining in charge of fiscal affairs while Assistant to the Chancellor, until Mr. Donald Arnold was appointed the first Controller on October 15, 1971.
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