The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business has received a pledge of $25 million from a prominent Dallas businessman to help fund construction of a new building to house graduate programs and expand conference and executive education capacity.
The gift from Robert B. Rowling and his wife Terry Hennersdorf Rowling marks the launch of an effort that seeks to raise $58.25 million in donations, which in conjunction with other institutional funds are necessary to complete the new graduate building. The gift also signifies the beginning of a three-phase process to replace and renovate facilities to accommodate growth in the undergraduate Texas BBA and Business Foundations programs.
Red McCombs, the namesake of the business school, told The Statesman it took some serious convincing to get Rowling to agree to have his name put on the new building. “Bob wasn’t looking for any visibility for himself,” McCombs says, but it’s important for students to see the name of a successful entrepreneur.
Ennead Architects has been hired to design the building, whose key design priorities include increasing the effectiveness of interactions between faculty members and students, promoting flexibility in the use of classroom spaces, integrating new learning technologies and increasing team preparation rooms and study areas. The 458,000-square-foot Robert B. Rowling Hall is planned to open in the summer of 2017.
Rowling is the owner and chairman of TRT Holdings Inc., which owns the Omni Hotels & Resorts chain, Gold’s Gym International, Tana Exploration Company and various other investment assets. Rowling has previously served on the University of Texas System Board of Regents and was also chairman of the University of Texas Investment Management Company. In 2005 he was inducted into the McCombs School of Business Hall of Fame. Robert and Terry Rowling, as well as their son Blake, earned undergraduate degrees from the school of business.
“Bob Rowling already has served his alma mater at the highest level of volunteer leadership, and with this gift, he and Terry enter the pantheon of the university’s most historically significant supporters,” says University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers. “This building itself will embody many traits that are key to business success ”” flexibility, common areas for interaction, and the ability to take advantage of evolving technology. And we are proud to have Bob Rowling’s name on it.”
Read more about this significant gift to the UT McCombs School of Business here.