Following an earlier, unsuccessful venture by Moses Provan and others to form a Commercial College in Glasgow, the Glasgow Athenaeum was founded in 1847 to provide courses in commerce, languages, music and the fine arts. Classes were held initially in the Assembly Rooms in Ingram Street until the move to a new Athenaeum Building in St George's Place/Buchanan Street in 1888. At this time, the commercial side separated in name and became the Glasgow Athenaeum Commercial College, although it continued to share the Athenaeum building. The Commercial College became a Scottish Central Institution funded by the Scotch Education Department in 1903. In order to conduct a public appeal for funds for a new building, the College was reconstituted as the Glasgow and West of Scotland Commercial College in 1915 and an Incorporated (later a Limited) Company was formed. The College became the Scottish College of Commerce in 1955. A fine new building in Pitt Street, near Charing Cross, designed by James Miller was occupied in 1934.
The College offered a wide range of commercial and professional courses - commercial and secretarial, business administration, accountancy, law, modern languages, and social work. The Scottish Hotel School was founded in 1944 and the Scottish School of Librarianship in 1946. The Glasgow School of Management was established jointly with the Royal Technical College in 1950. Students studied for the Associateship and Diploma of the College, awards of external bodies, and external degrees of London University.
In 1964 the Scottish College of Commerce merged with the Royal College of Science and Technology to form the University of Strathclyde, but links between the two institutions were already longstanding. Moses Provan's commercial classes in 1845 had been held in Anderson's University building, the Royal College had been represented on the Board of Governors of the Commercial College since 1915, and academic collaboration had been initiated in more recent years. Further information may be found in the published history of the College by John Graham, 'The Scottish College of Commerce: one hundred and twenty five years' (1964).