Friday afternoon, with a late bit of sun peaking through after early morning clouds, the Oregon State University College of Business community took a moment to celebrate the construction launch of Austin Hall, the new home for the College of Business that will open in Fall 2014.
That community included not just current students and faculty but alumni, friends, family and those invested in Oregon and its continued economic growth – and it was a capacity crowd with more than 300 people in attendance.
“The dream and this journey to Austin Hall has been a vision of so many alumni and donors for many years and I have had the privilege of carrying this dream and sharing the story of the College, of Bexell Hall, of the people and the programs,” College of Business Dean Ilene Kleinsorge told the crowd assembled on 26th Street to see the official launch.
The lead gifts came from two storied OSU families, those of Ken and Joan Austin and the Al and Pat Reser. Together they pledged a combined $16 million — $10 from the Austin’s themselves — to kick off the campaign.
Then Friday Kleinsorge announced that 1965 College of Business graduate and E*TRADE co-founder Bernie Newcomb raised his already substantial gift of $250,000 to $1 million, becoming the sixth to pledge at least $1 million.
Newcomb has been a strong supporter of the College of Business for many years.
Friday Newcomb’s partner Gerry Marshall was in attendance at the construction launch. She also took time to visit with COB faculty and staff picked as Newcomb Fellows and the students supported by the Newcomb Family Scholarship.
Newcomb’s gift pushed the campaign past its original $30 million philanthropic goal, a major milestone as the campaign continues toward the Fall 2014 completion of Austin Hall.
Throughout the afternoon different members of community took turns to share their thanks and what the new building will mean to them.
Oregon State University President Ed Ray addressed the gathering, and noted that while many buildings at OSU have names on them, Austin Hall will be a fitting tribute for a great OSU family.
“I can’t think of a name other than Austin we could be prouder of being on this building,” Ray said.
College of Business student Connor Deeks shared testimonials from his fellow students, from bringing together students, alumni and faculty into a single space to the creation of a landmark students could point to as a point of pride.
“Austin Hall will propel students to achieve their highest potential,” Deeks said. “I take great honor in saying thank you.”
Representing the state of Oregon, state Treasuer Ted Wheeler pointed out that while Austin Hall was a great moment for OSU, it would pay dividends for the entire state economy by helping to better prepare graduates to contribute in the workforce.
“[Austin Hall] is the kind of thing we need to invest in now to continue the economic development of our state,” Wheeler said.
You can continue to follow the progress of Austin Hall by going to business.oregonstate.edu and clicking on the live webcam, where you can watch the construction as it happens