Concordia College held a press conference to release new information about the much anticipated naming of the School of Business and details about the plan for the new addition to the college. Students, faculty, administrators and Fargo-Moorhead area journalists filled the standing room-only Morrie Jones Conference Center on Sept. 23 to learn that the school will be named the Offutt School of Business in honor of Ron Offutt, whose donation to the School of Business is the largest single gift in the history of the college.
Interim President Paul Dovre began the press conference by giving some background information about Concordia’s business school. He said business has been the largest major of the college for decades. With the new school of business, Dovre anticipates the Concordia business program will become one of the outstanding undergraduate programs in the country.
The start-up cost for the new school of business is projected to be $50 million, with $37 million already committed to the undertaking by donors. Ron Offutt, long-time member and chair of the Board of Regents, was the donor of the lead gift toward the $37 million that has been raised. The undisclosed amount donated by Offutt is the largest single gift in Concordia’s history; the college’s largest public gift previously was $7.5 million from Earl and Dorothy Olson for the Olson Skyway, and there have also been anonymous donations in that range.
Due to Offutt’s dedication to business and to the college, Dovre announced that the new business school will be named the Offutt School of Business.
Offutt was received with a standing ovation, and as the audience settled down, he took a moment to say that this business school was the vision of the late President Pamela Jolicoeur, and that he was thrilled to “transform her vision to reality.”
“I’m honored to give back to the school I love,” Offutt said.
According to Greg Cant, dean of the Offutt School of Business, students can expect many new changes with the new business school. There will be a new comprehensive curriculum featuring four key perspectives: ethics, global business, entrepreneurship and leadership. An Investment Club will be formed, where students can make real time investments with real capital resulting in real consequences. Additionally, all students will need to partake in an internship.
The Offutt School of Business will be located in the Grant Center in East Complex. It will be joined to the rest of the campus by the sky bridge, and will be the first academic building to face Eighth Street.
The repurposed building will be three stories tall and feature 12 new classrooms, an open commons, a boardroom, a trading lab for the Investment Club and a student-run coffee shop. Work on Grant Center is scheduled to begin this spring and open in the fall of 2012.
With the new curriculum and facility, Concordia will “redefine business education within the liberal arts tradition,” Cant said.
“When it comes to influencing the affairs of the world,” Offutt said, “Concordia means business.”
Kate Campbell, class of ’13, is the copy editor of The Concordian and is majoring in English education. She is from Sauk Rapids, Minn. At Concordia, Kate is involved in choir and band and works at the Writing Center. After graduation, Kate would like to teach English in a middle or high school.