Palm Beach Atlantic (PBA) University recently gathered to celebrate the Marshall E. Rinker School of Business achieving accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

By securing this impressive stamp of approval, PBA is now recognized in the country’s top six percent of business schools. Further, PBA is one of only eight universities in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) to receive AACSB accreditation.

The AACSB is a nonprofit that has worked globally since 1916, accrediting schools of business dedicated to excellence.. This accreditation is considered the gold standard for business schools because of its international recognition. To get approved for certification, a school must go through a rigorous process of implementing programs, meeting committees and following strict guidelines.

Dr. Brian Strow, dean of PBA’s Rinker School of Business, credited this accomplishment to every member of his faculty. The school voted to seek AACSB accreditation in October 2015, and they finally achieved it on May 5, 2023, after years of hard work.

One faculty member who worked especially hard on this project was Dr. Lane Cohee, who spent countless nights in his office pouring over paperwork to help ensure the requirements. Dr. Cohee now has a peer-reviewed publication focusing on transforming a small business school to achieve prestigious recognition.

“While everyone had a fingerprint on this project, no one’s fingerprint is deeper or more embedded than Dr. Lane Cohee,” Dr. Strow said.

Explaining the new goal of the business school, Dr. Cohee remembered a story from his childhood in Concho, AZ, in the 1970’s. During his time living there, Concho had a fluctuating population of 100 to 150 people. The community was so small that people had to drive 15 miles to the next town to play any type of sport.

However, Cohee’s father and his friends one year decided to build a place for their sons to play minor league baseball. They were loaned a plot of land, dug up real dugouts and even built an outfield fence. The entire community came to life briefly as it rallied around the baseball field. Everyone came out to watch the game and eat concessions.

“For that season, and that season alone, Concho experienced the closest thing it ever had to Friday Night Lights,” said Dr. Cohee with a laugh.

Dr. Cohee quit Little League after that season and recalled that the field was utterly unrecognizable when he entered college. Everything had deteriorated and been taken over by nature. The process of entropy, the natural decline of things, had won.

He cautioned the business school from feeling like the work is done and instead viewed their collective accomplishment as the beginning of the true journey to success.

“Without persistence and determination, fields of dreams become fields of weeds,” Dr. Cohee said.

Dr. Strow also thanked PBA’s Regional Business Advisory Board, which had a board meeting right before the dinner to discuss future opportunities for students, and the Titus Center for Franchising, which has over 100 members on its board, for stepping up in the accreditation process.

Dr. Debra Schwinn, president of PBA, also acknowledged the entire school for the accomplishment, stating that it had arrived at the perfect moment for students looking to take advantage of internships and jobs with the rising number of Fortune 500 companies moving into West Palm. She stated that this fits perfectly into the university’s God-Sized Dreams master plan, which will include a new six-story home for the Business school.

To learn more about PBA’s Rinker School of Business, click here.