The Kenan-Flagler School of Business held a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, announcing the $150 million construction of Steven D. Bell Hall.
The North Carolina State Legislature provided $75 million for the project, but another $75 million in private funding is needed to expand Kenan-Flagler. A third of them were donated anonymously.
UNC alumni Jackie and Steven Bell, chairman emeritus of Bell Partners, a Greensboro, NC-based condo investment and management firm, donated another $25 million
“In life, very few people have the opportunity to influence thousands of young people,” Steven Bell said. “I’m honored and humbled to help double the size of the undergraduate business school.”
President Kevin Guskiewicz said at the ceremony that he hopes to teach and develop more students and leaders for the future as the business school expands. He talked about how the new space will strengthen a collaborative culture and help build community.
“The new state-of-the-art building, Steven D. Bell Hall, will advance our critical mission and expand our presence in the Carolinas,” said Guskiewicz. “This will allow Kenan-Flagler to meet the challenges of business education in an evolving world. demand and better teach the new generation in state-of-the-art facilities.”
Guskiewicz introduced keynote speaker Jamie Dimon – CEO of JPMorgan Chase. Dimon discusses his career path, the benefits of in-person work, racial equity and leadership advice.
“(Leadership) is a responsibility, and you take that responsibility seriously,” Dimon said. “You owe your family, friends, country and community.”
Later in the ceremony, Steven Bell said the new hall would impact not just the UNC community, but the entire state. About 70 percent of business school graduates return to North Carolina within 10 years, he said.
“These young entrepreneurs will make North Carolina a stronger and more productive place for all of us,” he said.
Sallie Parkhurst, a senior and business administration major at UNC, said she believes the new building will open doors for future leaders and provide opportunities for those who have not traditionally had the opportunity to take undergraduate business programs.
Parkhurst said she particularly thinks the expansion will help with class spacing.
“I do think there’s a space issue, not just with class registration, but with the class size now. I think my undergraduate class is 350 people, and the number of applicants is well over 1,000,” Parkhurst said. “So I think this new building expands the program and provides more opportunities for those 1,000 applicants to do the careers they love, love and want to do.”
Ultimately, the hope is that this project will allow the business school to eventually double the size of its undergraduate business program, attract more students, enhance learning and address space constraints.
Board chairman David Boliek said the establishment of the university has always encouraged moving forward efforts like the new business school building.
Kenan-Flagler wanted to change the environment, such as creating outdoor green spaces, using the natural environment to reduce energy use, and achieving LEED Platinum sustainability standards.
“We can never stop innovating, we can never stop building, we can never stop setting the pace for all great universities,” Boliek said.
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