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Cambria-Rowe Business College

History 1891-2011

1891 - Rowe College was opened.  Dr. D.I. Rowe came to Johnstown from Pittsburgh and set up classes on the third floor at 542-544 Main Street in downtown Johnstown. It was established as a women's college.

1903 - Rowe College changed hands and Mr. S.H. Isenberg took over the presidency.
- The mission was changed to commercial education primarily for office support, male or female.
- Their motto - We will give you full value for your money
- Their advertising read - "Rowe College stands for that which is best in Business College training”

1906 – A rival school, Cambria Business College was opened at the corner of Franklin and Lincoln Streets in downtown.

1907-1926 - The two schools were rivals for students

1926 - At this time in history, the burden of operating all phases of the School's operations, including outside soliciting for students, fell upon the shoulders of the president/owners.  Both President’s of Rowe College and Cambria Business College struggled with the busy schedules. The story is told that on a cold winter evening the two presidents met on the doorstep of a prospective student.  They decided that the effort and competition were just too much and that it would be better to consolidate their operations.

1927 - An agreement was reached and the name of the school became Cambria-Rowe Business College.

1954 - CRBC moved its campus to an old house that was remodeled on the corner of Vine and Stoneycreek Streets.

1955 - When the Korean War ended, another influx of veteran students applied under the GI Bill.  Enrollment exceeded capacity of the house that held 182 students.  They began to rent additional space on the third floor of the YMCA building at the corner of Vine and Market Streets.

October 1, 1959 - Cambria-Rowe gains recognition as an accredited Two-Year School of Business.  CRBC was among the first business schools to apply and be approved.

Early 1960s - The National Radiator Company was put up for sale at 221 Central Avenue.  Mr. Walter Suppes, Sr. bought the property as an investment.  Mr. Suppes was approached by the President of Cambria-Rowe, Douglas Devaux, and Mr. Devaux made an offer to rent the property.  An agreement was made and building plans began.  Walter Suppes, Jr, eventually took over the property and suggested that he would like to sell the building if the college was interested.  The property was purchased and became the permanent home for the Business College.
-Around this same time, CRBC received full recognition as an accrediting agency by the US Department of Education which meant students attending were now eligible to receive financial aid if they qualified.

1972 - First graduating class received their associate’s degrees - The commencement was held at the Mercy Hospital Auditorium.

1975 - Mr. Devaux was approached by Mr. Robert Mullen.  He eventually sold his ownership interests to Mr. Mullen and Abbott Park Associates. They decided to do a stock purchase as this retained the original charter from 1927 which allowed them to keep the name college.

1976 – William Coward met with Robert Mullen and accepted an admissions representative position while also being responsible for the day- to-day operations of the entire school.

1977 – Of course, this was the year of the Johnstown Flood which, as with many other businesses, was one of the biggest hurdles the college, staff, and students had to overcome. The college was really in a growth spurt before the flood hit. Details of the flood as recalled by Bill Coward were emotional. He remembers the school on Central Avenue almost as if it were an island. The building was untouched, while almost everything around it devastated. Bill and the rest of the staff decided to keep the school open in the days right after the flood. As word spread to the students that CRBC was open, they seemed to make their way to the building just to tell their story. Classes resumed approximately one week after the flood. The staff and faculty tried to maintain a sense of normalcy to help get people back on their feet.

1978 – Mr. Coward became Director of Cambria-Rowe Business College.

1980 – A new decade meant big changes at CRBC, foremost was the introduction of computers. The first piece of computer equipment the school bought cost them $10,000 and had 64K. Bill remembers the sales rep telling him that this was more memory than you will ever need. The school continues to again see growth three years after the flood.

1986 – Bill Coward pushed to hire a computer person as he saw a future of nothing but computers. He found Mike Artim, a graduate from IUP with a degree in Management Information Systems. Bill says that Mike helped the school move forward even within his first year of employment.

1988 – The school was bought once again, this time by Bryant and Stratton. Bill also became a 20% owner. During the months after the buy, Bill noticed the complexion of the school was beginning to change and not for the good. Hard times were once again ahead.

1992 – This was a huge year in CRBC’s history. IU8 Indiana approached Bill as their school was being dissolved. They were interested in transferring their students to CRBC Johnstown. Bill was worried about the commute for the students and decided to open a campus in Indiana. This move saved the jobs of faculty and staff and the educations of the students already enrolled. Quickly this campus blossomed. Also Mike Artim had proven to be a huge asset to CRBC and was promoted to Executive Director. Bryant and Stratton began to struggle and they decided to sell to William Coward.

1993 – The actual sale was tough and lasted many months. The closing was finally completed late this year.

1998 – Change was again on the horizon at CRBC. Bill and Mike began discussing what eventually became known as the CRBC laptop initiative.

1999 – The dream became a reality in the Fall of 1999 when all students received their own laptop computer once enrolled. Another large development this year was that Bill Coward decided to step back a little and put Mike Artim in charge of the day-to-day operations.

2005 – This was the year CRBC introduced its Success Strategies course. This was the beginning of the realization of what employers really want: graduates who have tremendous EQ skills or soft skills, skills such as a positive attitude, a good team player, and more.

2011 – Cambria-Rowe Business College celebrates its 120th Birthday!!! Like the 119 years before, CRBC will again be ahead of the curve with exciting news to be unveiled soon. Another change is on the horizon; one that will set us apart and prove why we are leaders in the Business College industry. We are proud to have been in this community for 120 years and plan on being here for that many more. We will continue to serve our community with the latest in technology while never forgetting our roots and tradition.

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Business Administration
Legal Assistant
Medical Assistant
Clinical Elective

Medical Office Administration

For more information about our graduation rates, median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, please view our Student Consumer Information.


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