The first bachelor's degree in business administration was offered in 1925 and the first master's degree in 1931. A school of business was established in 1961 with 28 faculty members and 823 students. Business became one of the colleges of the university in 1965. In 1969, the building housing the college was named for Robert B. Pamplin, a 1933 business graduate who later became chairman and chief executive officer of Georgia-Pacific Corporation. The college itself was renamed in 1986 in recognition of a $20 million gift to the college from Pamplin and his son, Robert B. Pamplin Jr., who also attended Virginia Tech and is president of the R. B. Pamplin Corporation.
An addition to Pamplin Hall was opened in the fall of 1987 and renovations in the original building were completed in the fall of 1988. Today, the college accounts for about 20% of all business degrees awarded from Virginia's 14 senior public institutions. All degree programs are accredited by the AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The college is ranked in the nation's top 50 undergraduate business schools by U.S. News & World Report and among the top 100 MBA programs worldwide by the Financial Times.