In just a few months, 2017 will come to an end, closing out
Siba’s year-long celebration of 70 years in operation in the St. Louis region.
It’s easy to look back on those years and think of the huge number of changes
the school has undergone. At the same time, however, many of our core values
are still intact and leading our mission today. So let’s take a walk down
memory lane because while we’ve come a long way, we can’t wait to see how far
Stevens – The Institute of Business & Arts got its start
in 1947 as the St. Louis affiliate of Patricia Stevens, a modeling and “finishing”
school for young women. Patricia Stevens herself was a working fashion model,
and there were many schools bearing her name around the country, but the one in
St. Louis was operated by the Klute family. In addition to modeling and
comportment classes, young women could also take courses that would aid in them
in the post-WWII work world – think secretarial skills.
Over the years, Patricia Stevens’ catalog of offerings expanded
to include not just short-term certificate and diploma programs, but also
Associates and Bachelor’s degrees. The school’s longest-running programs, which
are still among its most popular, are the Retail Management/Fashion
Merchandising and the Interior Design programs. One other major change to this
once-all-girls college was the addition of men. The school now functions as a
completely co-educational environment.
Major changes came to the college in 2010. Previously, the
school had never had a permanent campus. Although it’s always been located in
downtown St. Louis, the location changed every 10 years into a new leased
space. Alumni may recall our locations on Olive in the 80’s or at Union Station
in the 90’s. In 2010, the school moved to its new, permanent location on
Washington Avenue in the city’s revitalized garment district.
The building, originally built in 1917 for the Gerorge E
Keith shoe factory underwent a $3 million dollar renovation. At this time the
school also changed its name to Stevens – The Institute of Business & Arts,
or Siba, for short. The changes were made in part to reflect the modernization
the college had been undergoing for years; from a modeling school for women to
a co-educational college offering a full slate of Associates and Bachelor’s
Now, seventy years after it began, Stevens – The Institute
of Business & Arts still honors a long tradition of service to the St.
Louis region though its talented alumni, but today we also offer an alternative
to students seeking a less-conventional approach to college. For us that means
college leadership that’s nimble to the changing professional world and
adjustments to curriculum to make students more marketable after graduation. It
means honoring our long-standing commitment to small, nurturing classes. And it
means cultivating an environment where students can feel free to be themselves.
Looking toward the next 70 years, Siba is sure to see more
changes, because as we all know the only constant is change, and we welcome the