On a sun-drenched fall semester afternoon on September 16, Isenberg alumni, students, faculty, and staff celebrated ground breaking for the school’s $62 million Business Innovation Hub. Beneath a tent on Isenberg’s northwest lawn and with construction equipment in the background, the audience heard enthusiastic remarks from Dean Fuller and three Isenberg alumni—Ed Shirley ’78, Stephanie Berenson ’16, and Martin Boyle ’15. Emceed by Associate Dean Lisa Pike Masteralexis, the ceremony also offered messages from Massachusetts Senate President Stanley Rosenberg ’77, Chancellor Subbaswamy, and several UMass officials.
Following the ceremony, key speakers posed with shovels and hardhats for ceremonial groundbreaking photos. Over one hundred Isenberg freshmen and sophomores also donned plastic hardhats with the Isenberg logo in animated group photos. It is those students who as future juniors and seniors will inherit the new building when it opens for business in the spring of 2019.
When the Business Innovation Hub does open in January of 2019, the futuristic building complex will add 70,000 square-feet of classrooms, labs, and student-focused spaces. The latter will include an expanded career center, advising areas, and a spacious learning commons.
Securing National Competitiveness
The new facility will equip Isenberg’s students with the state-of-the art resources that will ensure their national competitiveness, Dean Fuller told the gathering. At the same time, it is a signifier of Isenberg’s elevated status among the nation’s top public business schools. (The school’s undergraduate program, he noted, is ranked 11th among the publics by Business Week; Isenberg’s online MBA program is ranked 9th worldwide by The Financial Times.)
“A great education is a solution to the most difficult problems,” continued Fuller, recalling an inspiring conversation with the school’s namesake, Eugene Isenberg ’50. To secure Isenberg’s competitiveness, Fuller continued, action must accompany words: “If you execute against the competition, you win,” he emphasized. "A great education is a solution to the most difficult problems”
Alumni Support Is Critical
That, he added, includes alumni support, which will prove critical in making the new building a reality. To that end, the Dean has worked overtime to build a culture of philanthropy at Isenberg. “Commitment starts early,” he remarked, citing progress in raising participation in the annual senior class gift to the school. When Fuller arrived as dean, that participation rate, he noted, was at 8%. Today, it exceeds 39%.
“I was proud to make my pledge four years ago to help support fund raising for this new facility,” affirmed Ed Shirley ’78, an Isenberg graduate who exceled as vice chairman of Procter & Gamble and CEO of Bacardi. “Facilities absolutely make a difference. . . And in the spring of 2019, Isenberg will have facilities that will begin to match the vision and status of an iconic business school. I encourage all alumni—whether you are a recent grad or someone like me—to support Dean Fuller and Isenberg in their journey to transform the school into one of the iconic business schools in the country.”
Two recent grads, Stephanie Berenson ’16 and Martin Boyle ’15, couldn’t have agreed more about investing in Isenberg and its power to transform lives. “As Isenberg grads, we are so prepared for the real world, it’s crazy,” remarked Berenson, who is a Business Development Specialist with Vistaprint Corporate. “Isenberg students—often described as possessing grit, persistence, and resourcefulness—know how to exceed expectations in all they do,” observed Boyle. “These students who inhabit this new space will share those qualities. They will find boundless opportunity at Isenberg.”