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 school’s president, Richard Khuen III, changed the name of the institution 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 other Pittsburgh locations, including downtown’s famed William Penn Hotel, Robert Morris purchased a building of its own in 1959, the Rust Engineering Building at 600 Fifth Ave. in downtown Pittsburgh. Three years later, Robert Morris acquired the estate of Oliver Kaufmann in Moon in order to build its first residential campus. The first students on campus lived in the Kaufmann mansion, where today sits Massey Hall. A record 1,800 students are living at the Moon campus during the 2012-13 academic year.
In 1961, Robert Morris became a nonprofit institution so that it could become a junior college, a change necessitated by a decision of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants to require candidates for the CPA exam to earn a college degree. The following year, the name of the school changed to Robert Morris Junior College, and then in 1969, it became Robert Morris College.
Robert Morris continued to grow throughout the next three decades, expanding to include graduate degree programs and adding more bachelor’s programs as well. In 1977, Robert Morris joined the NCAA Division I for interscholastic athletics, and with 23 Division I sports, RMU now has more than any other university in the Pittsburgh region.
In 2002, following approval by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the school became Robert Morris University. The university welcomed the largest freshman class in its history in the fall of 2010 with 900 new students. That year, RMU sold the Pittsburgh Center – the former Rust building – to Duquesne University. In 2011, Robert Morris opened a new School of Business Building at the Moon campus, and the next year the university unveiled the Wheatley Center for the School of Communications and Information Systems. RMU also offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs at RMU Downtown and RMU Cranberry.