Ground was officially broken on Lynn University’s International Business Center (IBC), the new home of Lynn’s College of Business and Management today (March 22). As one of the events celebrating the first 50 years of Lynn’s history, this business center is a nod to Lynn’s future and a signature historic milestone that will be felt long into Lynn’s next 50 years.

In addition to hard hats and shovels, the ceremony was punctuated with flags and a flyover - and a surprise donation.

A procession of students carrying an impressive array of flags from 70 nations represented by those enrolled in the business school highlighted the business school’s international flavor, and additional students carried banners representing the school’s nine majors.

The business faculty also processed, with a few who made a spectacular entrance as they flew overhead in an orchestrated flyover by two of the Burton D. Morgan School of Aeronautics airplanes.

“Today we not only celebrate the groundbreaking of this incredible new international business center, but also the diverse spirit of our campus,” Lynn University President Kevin M. Ross said. “From Albania to Zimbabwe, students in this college currently represent 70 nations.”

The groundbreaking began with opening remarks by Ross who recognized the donors, Board of Trustees, the architectural firm Gensler, Gerrits Construction, the construction manager and business school alumni, among other groups.

A surprise gift
“The project started with a $6 million lead gift from an exceptionally generous alumni donor who has chosen to remain anonymous,” Ross said. “This donor has not only made a difference at Lynn but has also graciously given around the world and truly embodies the global spirit of our new international business center.”

Ross also thanked and acknowledged others who made gifts including Christine E. Lynn, chair of the Board of Trustees, who donated $1 million to name the lobby area, and Marlene Goldstein, who donated $1 million in honor of her late husband Arnold, beloved Lynn professor - who she said would have been “very proud” -  to name the lecture hall.

The anonymous lead donor also offered to match an additional $3 million if the university raised $3 million. “We are close to receiving that matching gift and have raised $2.1 million out of the $3 million,” Ross said.

And before Lynn and Goldstein could take to the stage to speak, a man approached Ross and whispered in his ear. Ross went back to the podium to announce that Guest of Honor Dr. Alhaji Muhammadu Indimi, founder and chairman of Oriental Energy Resources Ltd. and last year’s honorary degree recipient, and his partner Shahid Ullah, of oil and gas company Afren, offered to close out the challenge grant and donate the $900,000. This surprise gift adds to the fundraising goal of raising $14.5 million needed for construction.
 
The audience gave a standing ovation as Ross said, “We staged a lot for this groundbreaking, but I can assure you this was not part of it.”

Ross then welcomed someone with more than a passing interest in the new building who “has a smile a mile wide” - Thomas Kruczek, dean of the College of Business and Management - who summed up his feelings in a word, “Wow!”

“Our new International Business Center is truly a game-changer for the College of Business and every student who passes through its doors.” he said. “But the center is going to be so much more than just a building … it will forever change the way we teach, mentor and guide our students.”

The building will include a Center for Entrepreneurship, a Venture Lab, collaborative work spaces, a new Career Preparation and Internship Center that is the “kind of innovation that puts Lynn at the forefront of a student-centered real world education,” and Beyond the Classroom which will provide office space for outside companies to allow students to observe and intern on campus.

Read the full story and see more photos.