Calvin University unveils new $11 million state-of-the-art business school building


GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Calvin University on Wednesday unveiled a new, state-of-the-art, $11 million building for its new business school that university officials say will serve as a local hub for innovation and collaboration between students, faculty, and businesses in West Michigan. leaders.

The new School of Business building is a 24,900 square foot facility featuring state-of-the-art classrooms with all-new technology, a natural light-filled atrium, and a ticker that wraps around the first floor. The building is located on the east side of the Calvin campus, adjacent to the DeVos Communications Center.

At a groundbreaking ceremony for the new building on September 14, Calvin Chairman Wiebe Boer described the new business school as an institution that will train the next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders. .

“(They will set) the standards for putting people before profit, and who can focus on bottom line while considering how their business can create social impact,” Boer said at Wednesday’s event. “This is where we will train the women and men who will be in the boardrooms and demand ethical approaches to business, and accept nothing else.”

Jim Ludema, dean of Calvin’s School of Business, described the new building as a dynamic and uplifting environment designed for student success, with plenty of spaces where students can gather and collaborate.

“It’s just a great student-centered environment that calls for and supports a lot of collaboration and engagement,” Ludema told MLive/The Grand Rapids Press on Wednesday.

The facility has four new classrooms, a large seminar room, and five breakout rooms where students can work on assignments together. Each classroom has front and back cameras, which Ludema said professors can use to bring in guest speakers from around the world to speak to students in the classroom.

“We focus on global business, and understand international business and how it works and working with our global partners in Africa, Indonesia and parts of Latin America, and so we can just bring them into the classroom at any time to visit lectures,” Ludema said.

Construction of the new building was funded by an anonymous $22.25 million donation that Calvin received in 2020 to launch a new business school. Half of the funding was used to build the facility, while the other half will be used to create an endowment to fund programs at the new business school, Ludema said.

For example, the university will use this endowment to develop several new undergraduate programs offered at the School of Business, including operations and supply chain management, business analysis, financial planning, and more.

Calvin executives are also working on a new academic program in the trade school for people who specialize in trades, such as welders, electricians, plumbers and contractors, Ludema said.

The new program will allow tradespeople to earn stackable certificates in areas such as financial management, accounting, leadership, marketing and strategic planning, so they can potentially start their own business or grow in their business, he said.

“It’s for people who may have a lot of technical skills in their field, but may not have a lot of business acumen,” Ludema explained.

Ludema said the university’s support in establishing a new business school signals the continued relevance of pursuing a degree and career in business.

“Getting a business degree is a path to almost guaranteed employment,” he said. “Hundreds of millions of people in the United States alone spend the vast majority of their waking hours in a business. “To have the skills to manage these organizations financially, and in terms of ethics and integrity, a business education is extremely relevant.”

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