Founded in 1984 with the support of UA alumnus and entrepreneur Karl Eller, the Center — then the Karl Eller Center for the Study of the Private Market Economy — defined its mission and established its reputation during the 21-year tenure of then-director and Anheuser Busch Chair holder, Gary Libecap. Historic and groundbreaking institutional partnerships, such as with the Office of Technology Transfer, McGuire learners have access to University intellectual assets, including research faculty and university innovation. These sources of discoveries and inventions often form the basis for venture plans developed in the educational programs.

In the 30+ years since the center was established, more than 2,000 graduates have gone on to launch hundreds of ventures — often based on the plan they conceived in the program — with many more applying their entrepreneurial skills as a significant competitive advantage in the workplace.

The center and its capstone teaching program were both renamed in 2003 in recognition of the Vice President and Director of the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, Christopher McGuire, and his wife, Carol. The Palm Desert California based Berger Foundation and its VP provided significant support — financial and personal — to the center and its program, since its inception. Karl Eller was among those participating in the formal renaming ceremony and celebration of the McGuires.