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Lisle, Illinois ~ Benedictine University administrators, joined by the monks of St. Procopius Abbey, welcomed hundreds of students, faculty, staff, donors and honored guests in a dedication for its newest academic building, the Daniel L. Goodwin Hall of Business, at a blessing and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, October 17.
The addition brings students, educators and business leaders together to learn, lead and innovate for the future of the dynamic business industry, said James L. Melsa, Ph.D., chair of the Benedictine University board of trustees.
“This building will offer Benedictine students an educational experience like no other,” said Melsa. “It will enhance the University’s partnerships with corporations around the world, attract top-tier students, educators, speakers and business leaders that will bring the marketplace to Benedictine and help the University to shine on an international scale.”
Named for the vice chair of the University’s board of trustees who provided the lead gift, the Daniel L. Goodwin Hall of Business is the largest classroom building on campus. Goodwin Hall will help to bolster the University’s renowned undergraduate and graduate business programs and provide generations of students with more hands-on, forward-thinking business training and the resources they need to be competitive in the global workplace.
“Goodwin Hall provides us with cutting-edge amenities and second-to-none facilities,” said Sandra Gill, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business at Benedictine. “We believe that offering our students greatly improved learning facilities and academic programs that are relevant is the right thing to do. Our students at all levels are already way out front in adopting values-based leadership practices through our curricular and co-curricular efforts. The new building is a lasting testament to our commitment to prepare highly competent values-based business leaders.”
Construction of the innovative, 125,000-square-foot, four-story Goodwin Hall began in April 2014 and final touches were completed prior to last weekend’s opening.
Goodwin Hall is the home for the University’s graduate and undergraduate business programs, including the internationally-recognized Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior and doctoral programs in Organization Development and Values-Driven Leadership.
Among the building’s many features is a 600-seat auditorium for presentations and lectures from leading business thinkers; a state-of-the-art Bloomberg Trading Lab that will provide students with access to peer-ranked investment simulations, public and private company accounting and international economic data, and other real-time financial information; and a 6,000-square-foot “Global Hall” entrance area that includes an etched glass globe, digital stock ticker and billboard-sized high-definition media wall that can broadcast business news from across the world.
“When you tour the classrooms, you will see they are pretty well thought-through from the way you enter into them, the way many of the classrooms are modular in nature so students can work in teams and even the Wink walls where faculty and students can come together to write their thoughts on the wall,” said President Michael S. Brophy, Ph.D. “It really builds on an intellectual community with people coming together. Those things are going to add up, just the fact we put this level of thought into these facilities mean a lot.”
“The University is poised for great things if we use this building to its potential,” said President Emeritus William J. Carroll, Ph.D., who helped lead the charge for the new building before stepping down earlier this year. “We have a faculty in place and an administration in place who will see this as a golden opportunity to continue to build the University. The business faculty waited so long for a state-of-the-art facility. Now they can run with it.”
Utilizing Bloomberg Professional Service technology, students will gain access to the same information platform used by key decision-makers in business, finance and government. They will learn how to analyze financial markets, assess economic scenarios and interpret key news developments impacting the global economy.
“Other universities in the local area don’t have these types of resources and the resources make a difference,” said Deb Cernauskas, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Department of Undergraduate Business. “Students will have the opportunity to go to a corporation and say ‘I know how to use this,’ and it shows that they have the capacity to learn different types of software and that makes a difference to a company. Our students are going to be able to do simulated trading, they will learn risk management and learn what it means to place different trades, which is something they weren’t getting before.”
Other faculty praised the new academic space for its potential for enhanced learning.
“In the new building, our students will have comfortable spaces to meet for group projects, to check email between sessions and to gather in groups to debate ideas,” said Jim Ludema, Ph.D., co-founder and director of the Center for Values-Driven Leadership. “The new technology throughout the building means our students can work collaboratively and share their ideas with one another easily. More than that, the building’s design is inspiring – it conveys a sense of energy and excellence, which is exactly what we want to foster in our students.”
In addition to numerous classrooms, labs and study spaces, Goodwin Hall includes a Starbucks Café on the second floor; 150-seat and 80-seat seminar rooms on the third floor; a banquet facility and terrace event space on the fourth floor.
“The classrooms are incredibly interactive, which is so refreshing to see,” said Sam Ortega-Guerrero, a Political Science major and president of the Student Senate at Benedictine. “A lot of times technology is brought into schools without training individuals on how to properly use it and I know the biggest thing with this building was all the faculty were trained in advance, which I think will be huge and will help us lead the way when it comes to innovation and technology in comparison to other schools.”
A full renovation of the campus quad complete with newly landscaped walkways and rain gardens serves as a central gathering place on campus, connecting the front entrance of the building with other key academic, enrollment and student life buildings.
In keeping with the Benedictine values of stewardship, designers and architects incorporated many green and renewable building materials and amenities, such as recycled construction materials, low-flow water fixtures, high-performance insulation, lighting occupancy sensors and a chilled beam cooling and heating system.
“The features of this building are going to carry us through for the next few decades and the potential for this building will take even longer to fully realize,” said building namesake Daniel L. Goodwin. "I’m pleased at the way it integrated into the quad and integrated into the University architecture.”
The College of Business at Benedictine gives students the tools to have a transformative experience in the business world and prepares them through a values-centered approach to business education, incorporating the development of fundamental management, ethical and socially responsible leadership, and critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
Since the initial class of 39 business students graduated from the University a little more than 40 years ago, more than 10,000 students have graduated with business degrees and nearly 2,000 are currently enrolled in the College of Business’ various programs.
“To say that we are excited about this new building is a gross understatement,” said Ricky Holman, assistant professor and chair of the Master of Business Administration program. “We are now able to provide current technology and programs for our students that will best prepare them and help them in the real world of business.”
Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls 10,058 students in 56 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. Benedictine University is ranked No. 2 among the country’s fastest-growing campuses between 2003-2013 in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of private nonprofit doctoral institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among “America’s Top Colleges” for the fifth consecutive year in 2015. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the fifth largest in the Chicago area in 2015.