The Kenan-Flagler Business School held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday to announce the $150 million construction of Steven D. Bell Hall.
The North Carolina General Assembly provided $75 million for the project, but required another $75 million in private funding for the expansion of Kenan-Flagler. A third of that was donated anonymously.
Another $25 million was donated by Jackie and Steven Bell, UNC alumnus and chairperson emeritus of Bell Partners, an apartment investment and management company headquartered in Greensboro, N.C.
“In life, few people have the opportunity to influence thousands of young people,” Steven Bell said. “I am honored and humbled to be able to help double the size of the undergraduate business school.”
Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said at the ceremony that he hopes to teach and train more students and leaders for the future with the expansion of the business school. He addressed how the new space will strengthen the culture of collaboration and help build the community.
“The new state of the art building, Steven D. Bell Hall, will advance our critical mission and expand our impact here at Carolina,” Guskiewicz said. “It will enable Kenan-Flagler to meet the challenging needs of business education in the ever-evolving world and to better teach the rising generation in a state-of-the-art facility.”
Guskiewicz introduced the keynote speaker, Jamie Dimon — the CEO of JPMorgan Chase. Dimon discussed his career path, the benefits of working in-person, racial equity and leadership advice.
“(Leadership) is a responsibility, and you're gonna take that responsibility seriously,” Dimon said. “You owe it to your family, your friends, your country, your communities.”
Later in the ceremony, Steven Bell said the new hall will influence not only the UNC community, but also the state. He said about 70 percent of business school graduates come back to North Carolina within 10 years.
“These young entrepreneurs will make North Carolina a stronger and more productive place for all of us,” he said.
Sallie Parkhurst, a UNC senior and business administration major, said she thinks the new building will open doors for future leaders and give opportunities to those who did not traditionally have a chance to be part of the undergraduate business program.
Parkhurst said she especially thinks the expansion will help with spacing issues within classes.
“I do think there is a space issue, not only with class registration, but with class size right now. I think my undergraduate class is 350 people, and the applicant pool is well over 1000,” Parkhurst said. “Therefore, I think this new building expands that program and gives those 1000 applicants more opportunity to do what they love and enjoy and want to do as a career.”
Ultimately, the hopes are that this project will allow the business school to eventually double the size of the undergraduate business program, attract more students, enhance learning and solve spacing constraints.
David Boliek, chairperson of the Board of Trustees, said the founding of the University has always encouraged forward-moving endeavors like the new business school building.
Kenan-Flagler hopes to make environmental changes, such as creating outdoor greenspaces, leveraging the natural environment to reduce energy use and achieving LEED Platinum sustainability standards.
“We can never stop innovating, we can never stop building and we can never stop setting the pace for all great universities,” Boliek said.
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