“This marks an important milestone in a momentous journey we have been involved in over the last few years,” said Avijit Ghosh, dean of the College of Business, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new College of Business Instructional Facility.
The College ceremonially broke ground on April 28 for the new building, which will be built at the corner of Sixth and Gregory. The facility, designed by Illinois alumnus Cesar Pelli, will be the first sustainable building on campus, following “green” building guidelines. It is expected to open in the fall of 2008.
Speakers at the ceremony included Dean Ghosh, Board of Trustees Chair Larry Eppley ’82 ’82 MAS, University of Illinois President B. Joseph White, Chancellor Richard Herman, Investing in Excellence campaign co-chairs Avy Stein ’77 and Michael Tokarz ’71 MBA ’73, and Illinois Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn. Each speaker spoke with pride about new facility and the benefits to future students.
Ghosh opened the ceremony, describing the work required to get to the groundbreaking. He explained how plans began during one of the largest budget cuts the University had ever seen, yet College administrators remained dedicated to the vision and committed to the future of the College and its students. He cited the new facility as a place where students could learn and grow and said it would “provide a heart and soul for the College of Business.”
White told the audience how proud he was to be apart of such a premier University. “There is an arms race in building education facilities, and guess what? We win!” he said, indicating the honor this new building will bring the University.
Quinn spoke about the link between a premier business school and a state’s economic health. He explained how the jobs of the future will require a solid education and that the College’s commitment to its students and faculty will ensure economic stability for Illinois. “The College of Business means big business for Illinois,” said Quinn.
Chancellor Herman thanked the alumni and other donors for their help in making the facility a reality. “There is no greater gift than a commitment to future students,” Herman said.
Students, faculty and staff, alumni, investors, and other friends of the College of Business attended the ceremony held under a huge tent on a warm spring afternoon. Hope was the most prevalent emotion exhibited by guests as they looked to the future. Anthony Sarnecki, a graduate student in the MBA program, saw this event as proof of the College’s top-ranked status. “Potential students, employers, and ranking agencies will take notice that the University of Illinois is again setting the standard for the world to follow,” Sarnecki said.
Each of the speakers posed by a beribboned shovel following the ceremony. Throughout the afternoon, various groups of donors and long-time supporters of the College took a turn posing for photos by the shovels.
The groundbreaking ceremony marked, said Ghosh, a “transition from a historic past to a preeminent future” and was a tangible reminder of the College’s commitment to excellence.
More information and photos of the panel discussion and the groundbreaking ceremony are online.