A posh and polished crowd gathered Wednesday night to ring the opening bell on University of Richmondâ€™s newest facilities addition, Queally Hall, in the Robins School of Business.
Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell made the keynote speech on the future of higher education, such as new additions like Queally Hall, and its importance related to Americaâ€™s free enterprise system.
The hall, which comprises 37,000 square feet was â€śbuilt for the things we pride ourselves on, student and faculty interactions,” said President Edward Ayers.
Contained within it are eight new classrooms, the 225-seat Ukrop Auditorium — where the dedication was held — along with the Lessing Trading floor, a finance lab with access to real-time data, and a 25-seat boardroom that would make Donald Trump proud.
While coming and going, faculty and staff can grab something to eat at Louâ€™s, the campusâ€™ newest dinging facility that features simple sandwiches and salads.
The whole structure was built in accordance with the US Green Building Councilâ€™s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) protocol, and is expected to achieve its Silver standard sometime soon. Green measures include reserved parking spaces for hybrid vehicles and the use of 75% recyclable materials during construction. It will become one of seven LEED-certified buildings on campus.
The delegation was addressed first by President Ayers, who called its namesake, university trustee Paul Queally, â€śa man of obvious intelligence and high energy.â€ť
Board of Trusteeâ€™s Rector Charles Ledsinger commented on the â€śanimationâ€ť he sees faculty and staff â€śbring to these halls every day.” He welcomed the partnership of the business community to the task of â€śpreparing students for the global business area.â€ť
Dean Nancy Bagranoff spoke next, and called it â€śThanksgiving day — now that we have the facilities to match the people.â€ť
Gov. McDonnell, who took office early last year, provided the dedicationâ€™s keynote address. â€śIt is a marvelous day in the history of the University of Richmond,” he said, â€śand in these times we should not forget that America is the most generous country on Earth.”
The governor spoke of a tradition of public service, and commented that the achievements of UR students and faculty were a â€śtestament that permeated all schools at the university.”
While discussing Virginiaâ€™s own financial situation, he called the unemployment rate (currently at 6.6 percent) â€śunacceptable and painfully high.â€ť Encouraging students to â€śwork hard and dream big,â€ť he lauded URâ€™s business education as a way to â€śpromote American Exceptionalism, independence and competitiveness.”
â€śAll of us need better education,â€ť McDonnell said when discussing the recent economic crisis. He said maybe if the country educated the public better, the past three years would not have been what it was.
McDonnell said that recent Virginia legislation to invest further in higher education passed in the Senate bipartisan.
The legislation is â€śthe Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011 for the purpose of fueling strong economic growth in the Commonwealth and preparing Virginians for the top job opportunities in the knowledge-driven economy of the 21st century,â€ť according to Virginia.onpolitix.com.
McDonnell also discussed his goal to increase the amount of young people educated in Virginia from 38 percent to 50 percent in the next 15 years.
Besides the strong initiative in higher education, Virginia is known to support its citizens in small business endeavors, McDonnell said. According to Forbes Magazine, Virginia is the â€śbest state for business.â€ť
McDonnell also said that he is going to visit Japan and China this May.
After his speech, a panel of representative from national financial institutions discussed â€śThe Word From Wall Street,â€ť according to the nightâ€™s program. Regarding the recent nuclear disaster in Japan, some of the panelists shared their word.
Alan W. Breed, President of Edgewood Management, LLC, said that Japan perhaps needed the disaster in order to spur their spending. He said the â€śbreak the windowâ€ť analogy fit here because now Japan had to fix it.
John J. Barker, Portfolio Co-Manager of Neuberger Berman Group, LLC, said that there is now a risk for other energy sources after the Japan earthquakes. He stressed the importance of solar energy in lieu of nuclear energy policy.
Words of advice were given by Joseph P. Landy, Co-President of Warburg Pincus, LLC: he warned of the soon to rise Japanese automobile prices and for retail investors to be careful when trying to make short-term goals from such a disaster.
Unable to address the Japan disaster, McDonnell ended his speech and said that the University of Richmond is representative of the United States’ success in established higher education institutions. He said that Queally Hall would allow students to work hard and be able to go out and help the world.
The Robins School of Business was recently ranked twelfth in the nation according to BusinessWeek.