College of Business: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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State Farm Expands Partnership with College; Investment Supports New Classroom Space


State Farm and the State Farm Companies Foundation have pledged $500,000 to support the College’s $75 million fund-raising initiative, Investing in Excellence. The gift, to be made over five years, will fund classroom space in the new Business Instructional Facility.

The State Farm Companies Foundation supports efforts of excellence in higher education throughout central Illinois and the nation. “Our support of the University of Illinois' Business Instructional Facility is a serious response to a workforce issue.  The Foundation is pleased to assist the U of I College of Business as it prepares and educates our future labor force,” said Mike Fernandez, Vice President, State Farm Corporate Communications and External Relations.

“This is a significant investment in the College,” said Avijit Ghosh, dean of the College of Business at the University of Illinois.  “We are excited by and proud of our partnership with State Farm. The firm’s involvement in the Insurance and Risk Management Program and the Research Park has benefited our programs, our students, our faculty, and the firm.”

Stephen D’Arcy, the John C. Brogan Faculty Scholar in Risk Management and a professor of finance in the College of Business, echoed those sentiments.

 “Clearly, this partnership will benefit both the corporate partners and the University,” he said. “In today’s fast-changing business environment, risk managers and insurers need to have access to quality, independent research on the major issues they face. Such research can be essential both for making appropriate decisions and for citing as authoritative work in regulatory and court hearings. By creating a partnership between industry and the University, corporate partners can direct research on the most critical issues they are facing, participate in the research process by providing their expertise, and have initial access to the results of the research programs.”

The State Farm gift is particularly important to the College because it supports classroom space – a premium commodity on campus. The new facility, scheduled to open in Fall 2008, will provide 160,000+ square feet of space to accommodate 18 state-of-the-art classrooms, career development and academic counseling centers, student program offices, a recruitment suite, a 300-seat auditorium, and space for students to meet and study.

 “The facility is intended to enrich the student experience at Illinois,” Ghosh said. “This gift directly influences the quality of our programs. We’re delighted that State Farm is supporting this fundamental aspect of business education.”

UIUC College of Business