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UAlbany Selects Internationally Renowned Architect Perkins+Will to Bring World-Class Business School to Capital Region

Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher makes UAlbany one of first campus stops on SUNY-wide tour; Ernst & Young alumni gifts push building campaign close to $64 million goal

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

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Chancellor Nancy Zimpher addresses the crowd at a UAlbany news conference announcing the selection of architects for the new School of Business building, and Business School support from Ernst & Young alumni

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher addresses the crowd at a UAlbany news conference announcing the selection of architects Perkins+Will for the new School of Business building and support from Business School alumni at professional services firm Ernst & Young. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 4, 2009) -- In one of her first stops on her statewide 64-campus tour, State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher joined University at Albany Interim President George M. Philip today to announce the selection of the architecture firm Perkins+Will as the designer of the University's new School of Business building. Chancellor Zimpher was welcomed for the first time to the University at Albany campus and the Capital Region by the UAlbany community and regional political and business leaders.

The selection of Perkins+Will, an internationally recognized leader in business school design and sustainable architecture, will help UAlbany fulfill its vision to have the new facility serve as a center for learning, networking and innovation for future and current business professionals throughout the Capital Region and New York State.

UAlbany joins the ranks of some of the world's leading institutions of higher education for which Perkins+Will has planned or designed business school facilities, including the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, the Haas School of Business at UC-Berkeley, and the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. Perkins+Will is an international leader in sustainable architecture. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment selected two Perkins+Will buildings as Top 10 Green Projects for 2009. This international award recognizes the best examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions.

"The partnership between UAlbany's School of Business and its alumni demonstrates how the public/private model leverages resources that otherwise wouldn’t be available for such an important undertaking," said Chancellor Zimpher. "This facility will serve as an intellectual hub for business students, faculty and professionals in the Capital Region, New York and throughout the world."

In February, the SUNY Board of Trustees voted unanimously to name Dr. Zimpher the 12th chancellor of SUNY, the largest comprehensive system of public higher education in the country. Chancellor Zimpher is visiting SUNY's 64 campuses during her first three months. The tour constitutes the first step in the creation of a SUNY-wide strategic plan.

The University also announced that recent philanthropic gifts have brought total support for the building within 10 percent of its $64 million goal. A group of 61 UAlbany School of Business alumni at the professional services firm, Ernst & Young, and the Ernst & Young Foundation contributed $100,000 for the School of Business project, bringing total private support to more than $3 million. The University also received $54 million in support from the 2008-09 New York State budget for the state-of-the-art academic and research facility. The private support represents more than 1,300 individuals as well as numerous international and national firms.

"In this era of fast-moving, global business, the selection of Perkins+Will ensures this building will offer our students and faculty a world-class facility with an innovative learning environment," said Interim President Philip. "We thank the alumni at Ernst & Young for investing in their alma mater. Their generous support brings us closer to our fundraising goal."

Part of the support from Ernst & Young will be used to provide resources for a communication class for accounting majors, as well as mentoring, and career and faculty development. Ernst & Young hires about 25 School of Business graduates each year, and accepts 15-20 interns.

"The University at Albany alumni at Ernst & Young are committed to supporting excellence in higher education and preparing UAlbany students for professional service careers in business," said Alex Fredericks, ’95, partner at Ernst & Young.

"We are enthusiastic about working with Perkins+Will to design a modern facility that will enhance innovation, entrepreneurship, community engagement, and collaboration with other colleges at the university, and also promote the intellectual growth of our students and faculty," said School of Business Dean Donald S. Siegel. "We thank our alumni at Ernst & Young for providing the resources to better prepare our graduates to become this country’s next generation of successful entrepreneurs. We are within reach of our $64 million goal, but as most fundraisers know, the last 10 percent is always the most difficult."

Consistent with the University's commitment to sustainability, the business school's plan will integrate Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) measures, incorporating green building design elements to improve energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

"Perkins+Will is dedicated to setting worldwide standards for exceptional service and design innovation in architecture, interiors, branded environments, and planning and strategies," said Robert Goodwin, AIA, design principal of Perkins+Will. "We're confident that the design of the new building will be a memorable expression of the vision of the UAlbany School of Business."

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, School of Business Dean Donald Siegel, Interim President George Philip

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, School of Business Dean Donald Siegel, Interim President George Philip. The selection of Perkins+Will, a recognized leader in business school design and sustainable architecture, will help UAlbany fulfill its vision of the School of Business as a center for learning and innovation for business professionals throughout the Capital Region and New York State. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

Plans for the building call for a student-focused environment featuring technologically advanced classrooms and meeting spaces, wireless Internet access, breakout rooms for team projects, space for student and career services, student reception areas, collaborative research centers, and additional graduate assistant work space. There will also be space allocated to student and faculty-based enterprise.

The School of Business currently occupies a building on the uptown campus designed in the 1960s. Since then, the School's enrollment, faculty, programs and physical needs have grown exponentially. Small-scale renovations and facelifts are no longer sufficient. The new building will position the School to compete more effectively with other prominent business schools for outstanding students and stellar faculty scholars, while improving teaching, learning and research environments. The business school building is expected to be completed by 2013.

"UAlbany's new business school facility is an investment in our region and state in providing a state-of-the-art learning environment for students and business professionals," said Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari. "I look forward to seeing the results of the architect’s design and am pleased that UAlbany’s business school building will join the ranks of other prestigious schools."

"This new building will become home to the business professionals who will one day lead the economy of our state," said New York State Senator Hugh Farley, professor emeritus of UAlbany's School of Business. "This facility will provide a state-of-the art learning environment to help strengthen the School’s status among the elite business programs in the United States."

The School of Business is engaged in exceptional undergraduate, graduate and executive programs, pioneering research, and the ethical and globally oriented pursuit of business opportunity. The School is renowned for innovative contributions to the business and accounting professions through discovery, communication and the application of new knowledge. Eighty-five percent of School of Business undergraduates are employed full-time within three months of graduation and another 12 percent go on to graduate school. For the full-time MBA program, 97 percent are placed in full-time positions within three months of graduation.

In addition, the School was named among the Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs most highly rated by their students, according to a report in the April issue of Entrepreneur magazine. The School is one of 15 top-rated graduate schools of business named to "Student Opinion Honors for Business Schools" in the general management category.

The School's MBA program also ranks ninth in the nation as a "Greatest Opportunity for Women," according to the Princeton Review's 2009 Best 296 Business Schools. The ranking determines the support structure for female students at the school, the level of business school coursework for women entrepreneurs, and whether case study materials for classes proportionately reflect women in business.

Recently, the Society for Human Resource Management, the premier human resource association, certified the School's Human Resource Information Systems concentration as one of four MBA programs in the country that meets criteria for a comprehensive education in human resource management. It is the only MBA program in the nation to incorporate information technology into a human resource curriculum. The HRIS MBA program was established in 1985.

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Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 18,000 students. An internationally recognized research university with 58 undergraduate majors and 128 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked University, visit www.albany.edu. For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit www.albany.edu/news/experts.shtml.

Nathaniel Cady
UAlbany Faculty

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