History of the College of Human Environmental Sciences

Home Economics Building

A postcard of the Home Economics Building, later named Gwynn Hall, in 1929. Image courtesy University Archives: C: 5/1/8.

A department of household economics was founded at MU in 1900. At the time, it was housed within the College of Agriculture. The initial one-year program was designed for young women who wished to learn proper management of the home.

In 1906, the program expanded and a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics was added. The mission of the new program was to correlate work in art and physical, biological and social sciences with studies of home economics.

In 1924, construction began on Gwynn Hall, the college's first building. Home Economics became a school within the College of Agriculture in 1960. To mark further expansion of the program, Stanley Hall was built in 1961. In 1973, the program became an independent college.

The School of Social Work joined the college in 1988. Also in 1988, the name was changed from Home Economics to the College of Human Environmental Sciences (HES) to better reflect the mission of the college and focus of the disciplines. In addition to the School of Social Work, HES departments include: Architectural Studies; Human Development and Family Studies; Nutritional Sciences (including Dietetics and Exercise Physiology); Personal Financial Planning; and Textile and Apparel Management. Programs are located across campus in Gywnn, Stanley, Gentry, McKee and Clark Halls, with the college administrative base housed in Gwynn Hall. The college also boasts a thriving extension component.