Università Bocconi was established in Milan in 1902, with a generous endowment from Ferdinando Bocconi, a wealthy merchant. Named for his lost son, Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi thus became the first Italian institution of higher education to grant a degree in economics.
Since its inception, Bocconi has stood for liberalism, pluralism, and social and economic progress. While a private institution, Bocconi has traditionally been more than an elite university. It has consistently promoted and practiced equality of opportunity among its many generations of students, by actively subsidizing the education of disadvantaged and deserving students. In the words of its first Rector and President, Leopoldo Sabbatini, Bocconi's mission is to "promote harmony between school and life."