November 9, 2004

Graduates, donors celebrate new GSB opening

The new Graduate School of Business Hyde Park Center made its official opening Saturday, November 6, in a giant celebration as part of the University of Chicago's Alumni Weekend. Approximately 200 former and current faculty and students of the Graduate School of Business (GSB) gathered in the maroon and white decorated building to listen to Ted Snyder, dean of the GSB, mark the occasion.

"This morning we are here to dedicate this building and the work that will go on in it," he said, mentioning the GSB's research of the changing business world. Meanwhile, two performers, dressed as businessmen, sat suspended above ground.

Snyder, University President Don Randel, former students and donors of the GSB—including Dennis Keller, CEO of DeVry Inc., and David Booth of the Dimensional Fund Advisors—and the building's architect, Rafael Viñoly, made up the panel of speakers.

The occasion brought together GSB graduates and faculty to view the new center, the first building on the University's main campus that was built specifically to house the GSB. Many of the GSB's fulltime MBA classes had previously been located at Rosenwald, Stuart, and Haskell Halls.

Randel thanked those who helped orchestrate the building's construction for supporting one of humankind's noblest activities: architecture.

"It is important to remember as we celebrate the high level of architecture that the talent on the outside will only be as good as the intellectual talent inside of it," Randel said, remarking that he hopes the remarkableness of the building will inspire its students to greatness too.

John Huizinga, the Walter David "Bud" Fackler Professor of Economics at the GSB, quoted his favorite musician, Tom Waits, on how much work it took to build the center.

"Get behind the mule in the morning and plow," Huizinga said. "Basically, if you want to build a building like this, you've got to work hard and work with the people essential to creating a building."

Huizinga, a major player in the advisory group of GSB faculty that spearheaded the construction, got a standing ovation after he described the hard work and the preparation to get the building where it is. He outlined the group's main objectives for the building: to have a place for its students to spend their days and nights, where the research in economics can continue and where student-faculty interaction can be easily facilitated in Hyde Park.

Andrew Alper, a 1981 GSB graduate and president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, served on the advisory board that selected the architect. Alper, who has a house in Max Palevsky East named after him, said that the building, which exceeded every expectation they had, could not have been possible without the dedication of the donors to the cause of scholarship.

"Higher education is the highest leverage in philanthropy there can be," Alper said. "Higher education is the best investment here at the GSB. You have huge output from the students and not enough endowment. I think that's highly efficient." Peppering his speech with economic terms, Alper said he looked forward to the dividends the school would provide.

Snyder pointed the audience to the centerline of the Winter Garden, which is located at the back of the building, adjacent to Ida Noyes.

"The Prime Meridian, through Greenwich, England, is considered the center of the world. I would like to proclaim that the prime meridian for management and economics education is right here—and it is that line," Snyder said to buoyant applause. He added that the garden would symbolize the work of the faculty to develop economics education, to build enterprise, to increase efficiency, and to build economics globally. The Winter Garden was dedicated to Richard Rothman—a 1977 GSB graduate and chairman and CEO of the Black Diamond Group—who made a $20 million donation to the building.

Robert S. Hamada, the former dean of the GSB from 1993 to 2001, started the initial project to create a building just for the GSB's use on campus. As he looked at the building he helped create, Hamada said that it had exceeded everything in his wildest dreams.

"It was the recognition that the GSB was here to educate leaders for business, MBAs were very popular and the other schools were becoming very competitive for students and faculty that we decided to build a new facility," Hamada said. While he had nothing but fond memories of the three buildings that used to house the GSB, Hamada said that a new, single building was necessary because the GSB was too overcrowded and too divided to serve its purpose to students in Rosenwald, Stuart, and Haskell.

As students and alumni toured the new building during daylong festivities, all had positive comments about the GSB's new home.

"It's a world-class facility; it seems to foster a sense of community and will attract more talented students to the GSB," said Murli Buluswar, a 2001 GSB graduate. "It is hard to have a brand new building and synchronize it with the architecture here at Chicago, but I think they did a good job incorporating the style here, especially with the space."