Austin Falley
School of Business

Ceremonial groundbreaking for new School of Business building

Fri, 10/18/2013

LAWRENCE — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback joined alumni, donors and community members today as the University of Kansas School of Business celebrated the start of construction of its new $65.7 million building project.

The 2 p.m. event culminated in a ceremonial bell ringing atop a reproduction of the iconic New York Stock Exchange balcony, where KU leaders and major donors joined the governor.

Neeli Bendapudi“It is truly a great day to be a Jayhawk,” said Dean Neeli Bendapudi, who spoke at the ceremony, along with KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. “It was my mission, in returning to KU, to bring this new building project to reality. We gather today because of the truly moving support of our alumni and friends, our benefactors who made this happen.”

The building — which is currently planned to be a six-story, 166,000-square-foot structure — will be located on the east side of Naismith Drive, across from Allen Fieldhouse at the south entrance of campus. The project is expected to be completed for the 2015-2016 academic year, KU’s sesquicentennial.

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little“Today, we celebrate a new building that will position KU to compete with any business school facility in the world,” said Chancellor Gray-Little. “Once complete, this building will be a tremendous asset for the university — and the entire state of Kansas.”

The new School of Business building will be the largest academic facility ever erected at KU entirely through private support. To date, donors have contributed about $48 million in gifts and pledges of the $55.7 million fundraising goal for construction of the building, including a lead gift of $20 million from the Capitol Federal Foundation of Topeka. KU is providing $10 million for infrastructure costs such as site preparation.

“This new facility will have a lasting impact on the state’s economy, as KU and its business school play a vital role in preparing and educating future Kansas business leaders,” said Gov. Brownback. “The new building reinforces my vision of driving economic growth in Kansas through entrepreneurship and innovation — and this new building will give KU’s business programs the resources to do so.”

The Chicago office of Gensler, a global architecture firm, will serve as lead designer of the new building, with Kansas City-based Gastinger Walker Harden + BeeTriplett Buck and its local partner. JE Dunn Construction has been hired as the project’s general contractor.

Construction is set to begin within the next few days. KU will relocate tennis courts, beach volleyball courts and an activity field, which currently rest on the new building’s future site, to the open space between Robinson Center and Watkins Memorial Health Center.

“Whether you gave $20 or $20 million, the School of Business is humbled by your support,” Bendapudi said. “This new building will inspire collaboration of all kinds, and will allow us to attract top students and faculty for many years to come.”

“We are grateful to all the donors who have generously contributed to this project, which will be one of the milestone accomplishments of Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas,” said Dale Seuferling, president of KU Endowment. Far Above is a $1.2 billion comprehensive campaign for the university. The campaign seeks support to educate future leaders, advance medicine, accelerate discovery and drive economic growth to seize the opportunities of the future.

The campaign is managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner. See it here:
Rock Chalk! Junior Ashlie Koehn named KU's 18th Truman Scholar
Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening.

.@KU bschool 's KIP team includes @KU _SADP students in all-ages housing project. #KUworks
Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner From KU News Service: Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening. To her surprise, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was on the other end of the call letting Koehn know she had been named a 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Koehn is the 18th KU student to be named a Truman Scholar and the only 2015 recipient from the state of Kansas. Earlier this month, she was also named a 2015 Udall Scholar. And in spite of a distance of more than 10,800 kilometers and 11 time zones, Koehn’s thrill from hearing the news from the chancellor came through loud and clear. “Ashlie’s experience at KU epitomizes a quality undergraduate experience. She challenged herself in her coursework, exposed herself to different research opportunities, studied abroad in Germany, Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan, and participated in both student government and community service projects,” Gray-Little said. “This is quite a year for Ashlie. Her hard work is a wonderful reflection on her and also a great reflection on the university, and we all congratulate her.” Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Koehn, a member of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program, is majoring in environmental studies, economics and international studies. Her goal after earning her KU degree is to pursue a master’s degree in economics at either the London School of Economics or the University of Reading, with a focus on the economics of climate change. In 2014, she received KU’s Newman Civic Engagement Award for her work establishing the Coalition against Slavery and Trafficking. Her involvement with the issue was sparked by Hannah Britton, associate professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies, who hosted national conference on contemporary slavery at KU three years ago. “Ashlie and I met several times to think about what KU students could contribute to the issue of slavery and human trafficking, and the result was her founding of KU CAST,” Britton said. “After a year as president, Ashlie successfully handed the organization over to the next student leader. She demonstrated her strong leadership qualities by setting a unique goal and then pursuing it with her sense of passion, engagement and dedication. No matter the country or context, her leadership strength is evident in her coursework, her public service and her work experiences.” The University Honors Program works with a campus committee to select KU’s nominees for the Truman Scholarship and supports them during the application process. Anne Wallen, assistant director of national fellowships and scholarships, noted it was an amazing ruse to pull off the surprise. Originally, the call was set up to be between Wallen and Koehn. “I was totally not prepared to be greeted by Chancellor Gray-Little, but it was an amazing surprise for sure,” Koehn said. “As a first-generation student, it took time to learn the collegiate system, but my parents taught me to be resourceful and independent from a young age and KU and the Kansas Air National Guard have provided me with the opportunities to drive me into the future, both at graduate school and in my career. I plan to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue a career as an environmental economist helping to shape future trade agreements and leverage action on important international environmental issues, particularly concerning climate change.” Koehn also had a surprise of her own for the chancellor — the meal she was helping to prepare was not exactly typical Kansas dinner fare. On the menu with her host family in Kyrgyzstan on Monday was a traditional Kyrgyz meal called Beshbarmak, or “five fingers,” because you eat it with your hands. The dish is made of horse and sheep and was being prepared as a birthday celebration for Koehn’s host mom. Chancellor Gray-Little, as she signed off from Skype, made sure to encourage Koehn to enjoy her Beshbarmak. Koehn is the daughter of Rodney and Carolyn Koehn of Burns. She graduated from Fredric Remington High School in Moundridge. She is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard and currently on leave while studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the KU Global Scholars Program and a past member of the Student Senate. In addition to being named a 2015 Truman and Udall scholar, she was named a 2014 Boren Scholar and Gilman Scholar and in 2013 was named the Kansas Air National Guard Airman of the Year.

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
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46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
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