With the opening of Austin Hall in 2014, the Austin Family Business Program is taking the opportunity to honor one of the pioneers of family business at Oregon State.
For years, the advisory board of the Austin Family Business Program had wanted to find a way to honor the program’s founder, Pat Frishkoff.
Frishkoff worked to start the program in 1985, at a time when there was little emphasis on family business in universities. After retiring from OSU in 2002, she continued to help families through her Leadership in Family Enterprise organization.
“What she put together was the beginning of family business education,” AFBP Director Sherri Noxel said. “The only other program that existed was at Wharton, and that was very different, more consulting focused. Pat was able to develop family business education integrated into an existing college of business.”
The perfect opportunity finally presented itself with the construction of Austin Hall, the new home for the College of Business. The new building is named for Ken and Joan Austin, who provided a $10 million gift for the project and also supported Frishkoff’s efforts in 1985.
Austin Hall means a new home for AFBP as well, including a new director’s office. With that opportunity presented, a group of anonymous donors stepped forward to name the office in Frishkoff’s honor.
“That reflects the community we’ve built, with not just one but multiple people stepping up,” Noxel said. “I just couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to honor her than to have a space dedicated to future directors.”
The honor was announced April 19, the same day as the construction launch for Austin Hall, at a gathering at the current AFBP space in Strand Agriculture Hall.
The honor was kept secret from Frishkoff until Noxel raised a toast and presented her with a bouquet of roses.
“Her husband [Paul Frishkoff] was in on it,” Noxel said. “Only later I learned he can’t keep a secret. [Pat] said at the end of the day, ‘You mean Paul knew?’”
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
The murals date to the 1930s and depict a number of people important to the history of Oregon State University and the state of Oregon itself, including John Andrew Bexell himself.
After posting the story on Facebook, though, we got a question not about the murals’ past but their future. A commenter was curious what happens to the murals after the College of Business moves to Austin Hall in fall of 2014.
We got in touch with Malcolm LeMay, Director of Operations for the college, to see what’s planned for the murals once the College of Business moves on.
“The murals belong to Bexell and will not be moved,” LeMay said.
Oregon State doesn’t see buildings belonging to an individual college, as programs change names and locations quite a bit. With that in mind, the murals will stay put.
And that will give College of Business faculty, staff, students and alumni another reason to come back and visit Bexell from time to time.
Walking to the CH2M Hill Alumni Center library July 12, Oregon State College of Business Dean Ilene Kleinsorge took one look at the buffet table and sighed.
“My immediate thought was how unfortunate it was they had to order so much for six people,” Kleinsorge said referring to the number of people she thought would be at the reception.
What the Sara Hart Kimball Dean didn’t know was her family, friends and colleagues had assembled to recognize her by naming the Dean’s Boardroom at Austin Hall, the future home of the College of Business, in her honor.
Kleinsorge was presented with a plaque recognizing the accolade, which will hang in her office until permanent signage is installed in Austin Hall after its scheduled completion in 2014.
“I see three faces [walking in],” Kleinsorge remembered. “I see [alumnus and donor] Larry Brown, [OSU President] Ed Ray then I see my daughter. I’m trying to put it together and it didn’t make sense. It really didn’t until the plaque.”
Since becoming Dean in 2003, Kleinsorge has pushed for the new building, working tirelessly to help raise the needed funds. The building is named for Ken and Joan Austin, alumni who committed $10 million to the project.
With the project nearing success, a group of alumni decided a more permanent reminder of Kleinsorge’s efforts was needed, stepping up to make the naming possible:
Stephen and Marian Bailey
Larry H. and Dena Brown
Malcolm and Monette LeMay
Duane and Barbara McDougall
Jon and Margie Masterson
Irva Kay Neyhart
Tod and Kimberly Perkins
Don and Jennifer Robert
John and Kate Stirek
Ken and Marta Thrasher
Jack and Virginia Wilborn
Ken Thrasher hosted the presentation, thanking Kleinsorge for her service and noting her commitment to getting the Austin Hall campaign off the ground.
“Her leadership has been absolutely phenomenal,” Thrasher said. “It’s been a wonderful tribute to her to have this be a part of her legacy of what she’s created at Oregon State University and the College of Business.”
President Ray said he’s been impressed with Kleinsorge’s ability to articulate what the building would mean to those outside the university. As Ray pointed out, just telling someone you need a new building isn’t enough.
“You actually need to be talking about the extraordinary things you’re accomplishing despite the [current] building, and you need a great building to match the great people and things that are being accomplished,” Ray said. “Ilene and her colleagues did a tremendous job demonstrating the quality of the faculty and students they were attracting and what the possibilities were longer term, bringing them all together.”
Kleinsorge said she didn’t feel the full impact of the honor until an early-morning walk on Sunday.
“I was an emergency room nurse,” she said. “You take that shock and trauma, and if you emote, you do it at home where it won’t affect the outcome.
“[Sunday] I began to think about each of the people on the plaque, how important each has been in supporting me, and the tears flowed,” Kleinsorge said.
While Kleinsorge said it’s difficult to express the depth of her gratitude for the honor, she sees it as an indication she succeeded in both staying true to the needs of Oregon State students while connecting with those outside Corvallis.
“It means a great deal,” she said. “Future Oregon State University business students will know they had a dean who cared enough that they had a place to inspire them.”
As for the donors who made the honor possible, Kleinsorge said each name engraved into the plaque represents a personal connection that’s helped make Austin Hall a reality.
“They reflect what is the best part of OSU. A generous spirit, success, strong ethic, and they value education.
This month we got some new sketches of the proposed look for Austin Hall, the future home of the Oregon State College of Business.
The building, made possible by a $10 million commitment from alumni Ken and Joan Austin, will be an expansive 100,000 square feet and include 10 classrooms, a 250-seat auditorium, a cafe and event space and other amenities.
These images come from THA Architecture, the design firm working on the building, planned to open in fall of 2014.