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The impact of campus buildings cannot be measured by the efficiency of design or the total square footage. But when infrastructure enables people to work together, converge disciplines, be creative and capitalize on good ideas and opportunities, extraordinary things can happen.

The Graduate Pavilion planned by the Eli Broad College of Business, and being funded in part by a $10 million challenge grant from Eli and Edythe Broad, will create a new hub for business education at MSU. The plans are in keeping with the rising national status of the college and will usher in the latest in technology and collaborative learning areas—precisely the kind of flexible, open spaces needed to groom business leaders who will be expected to thrive in team environments.

Meanwhile, on the west side of Michigan, the MSU Grand Rapids Research Center is shepherding in a new era of medical discovery. The university broke ground on the six-story, 162,800-square-foot facility in June. The center will bring MSU bench scientists together with clinical-based faculty physicians in the College of Human Medicine on a grand scale. When completed in late 2017, the center will support more than 40 research teams poised for finding answers in autism, inflammation, transplantation, cancer, genetics, pediatric neurology, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, women’s health and reproductive medicine, among other critical health areas.

Vision for Graduate Pavilion

A new ecosystem for business learning

The Eli Broad College of Business envisions an academic ecosystem that attracts outstanding students, world-class faculty, dynamic corporations, ambitious employers, and proud alumni. And they know they can accomplish this with the addition of a new 100,000 square foot facility.

The Graduate Pavilion—which will house the MBA and all master’s degree programs in business under one roof—is part of a bold plan to build on the status of the Eli Broad College of Business as a recognized leader in business education.

Built alongside the existing Eppley Center, the pavilion will meet four specific needs: flexible classrooms for core and elective courses; team rooms and common, multi-use spaces to facilitate and enhance teamwork and collaboration; technology-enhanced spaces for data analytics, telepresence and remote collaboration; and spaces for career management, employer relations, recruiting and networking.

In essence, every inch will be dedicated to teaching and instruction, student and programmatic support, or career management services. The pavilion is projected to cost $60 million to create.

“We recognize that in order to realize our aspirations to be a top-of-mind business school and our vision of providing a vibrant teaching and learning environment that mirrors the real-world workplace and will best prepare our students for the global economy, the college must take action now and construct a new facility to make this happen,” says Sanjay Gupta, the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Dean.

The pavilion will provide a new front entrance to the business complex for students, faculty and the greater business community and will make a bold statement about the college and its aspirations. This in turn will have a significant impact on the standing of the college.

Today, MSU’s MBA programs rank in the top 20 among public universities in all major rankings. However, the college cannot expect to hold that position or move forward without an investment in facilities. In recent years, many of the college’s business school counterparts in the Big Ten have undertaken building projects, including the University of Michigan with a $135 million expansion of its Ross Business School complex and the University of Nebraska which recently began an $84 million expansion.

The pavilion also has an important role to play in attracting talented students and faculty. In interviews with potential business students admitted to MSU but who chose to go to another school, ‘facilities’ was consistently ranked as one of the top three deciding factors. Making a difference in these results will require the college’s learning spaces to be upgraded well beyond mere window dressing.

A key feature of the Graduate Pavilion will place career planning in the forefront, reinforcing the success of the college in producing graduates who are highly sought after by employers. For example, the college is on U.S. News and World Report’s list of top 10 MBA programs with the Most Employed Graduates, with 95.6 percent of full-time MBA graduates landing a job in three months after graduating in 2014. The pavilion will centralize career management services for both graduate and undergraduate students in a modern and prominent place, providing recruiters an improved experience and making it easier for potential employers to make connections.

The new facility also will enhance the ability for students to interact with recruiters, business leaders and alumni as well as with faculty and fellow students. Virtual meetings with business leaders and mentors will be possible thanks to technology-enhanced spaces that assure communication and collaboration can take place, regardless of geographical distance.

In a recent survey of business students at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, MBA students reported spending an average of nine hours each day in the business center—outside of class time. The students also said most of their extra time there was spent in pursuit of career-related goals. These included changing or advancing careers, landing an internship or connecting with future business partners.

“In the Graduate Pavilion, we imagine a facility that will promote collaborative learning and relationship building within a technology-rich environment, deepen the sense of community, and foster the growth of the next generation of transformational thinkers, leaders and doers who make business happen,” Gupta says. “Whether graduate or undergraduate, there is not a single student enrolled at the Broad College of Business who will not be touched by the Graduate Pavilion.”

The Empower Extraordinary campaign goal for the college is $136.6 million.

Donors are stepping up to help fuel the positive momentum of the college, among them Bob (’64, Business) and Anna Lou Schaberg, who earmarked the Graduate Pavilion, a business scholarship and a fund for business curriculum innovation in their $3.5M Empower Extraordinary campaign gift.

Peter Secchia Quote

Putting great minds together

Grand Rapids is poised to become one of the top destinations in the nation for medical research talent. The combination of medical education, clinical practice and academic research now concentrated in the region, already is attracting some of the nation’s most promising research scientists eager to join MSU College of Human Medicine and area partners such as Spectrum Health, Van Andel Research Institute, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s and Grand Valley State University.

As these leading scientists have come, they have accomplished together what none could have done alone. But, they have run out of space needed to continue to build on their success.

The MSU Grand Rapids Research Center (GRRC) is a critical project designed to meet the needs of a growing number of leading medical researchers. With space to grow and space to collaborate, these research all-stars will be set to transform our understanding, treatment and study of some of the world’s most difficult medical issues.

The cost to build the GRRC is projected to be $88.1 million with a goal that $40 million will come from private sources. MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon hopes to fund at least $10 million of that from economic development sources.

“We all know that talent is going to be a key to the future and that discovery will help drive economic development,” says President Simon. “In order for us to grow as a state, as a community, we have to have the best talent and the facilities that will allow people to do their best work. With this research facility, together we are creating a more promising future.”

Just five years ago, the MSU College of Human Medicine opened the Secchia Center as its new headquarters in Grand Rapids. The $90 million, seven-story building, named for lead benefactors Peter and Joan Secchia, came as the college underwent one of the largest American MD medical school expansions, doubling the size of its enrollment to educate nearly 800 future physicians. It also was part of a long-range strategy that involved partnerships with the Van Andel Research Institute and Grand Valley State University to lease laboratory space to support new National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded researchers recruited to Grand Rapids.

As the number of principal investigators and their teams has grown, all available options for additional laboratory space have been exhausted. In recent years, the college has recruited 20 principal investigators and their teams with as many as nine more expected within two years. In the coming years, the new research building will be large enough to house a total of 44 teams.

“The addition of this beautiful Big Ten Research facility establishes a gateway to the Medical Mile of Grand Rapids and creates a new level of opportunity and partnership that will move the economic needle in West Michigan,” says Peter Secchia. “MSU is a proud member of the CIC (Committee for International Cooperation) of the Big Ten which is responsible for more than $10.2 billion in conducted research—far more than the Ivy League’s $4.3 billion. The GRRC will help to tap into this network on a deeper level and expand the medical research agenda. It will be a magnet to attract business in the life sciences and growth in biotechnology. Joan and I are really excited to be part of it all.”

What all the GRRC teams will undertake as they work in close proximity with practicing physicians is yet to be imagined, President Simon notes. But, the quality and talent of the people recruited thus far has led to accomplishments on an international scale.

For example, in the area of women’s health, the Center for Women’s Health and Reproductive Research and the National Gynecologic Cancer Translational Research Center of Excellence have amassed a collective 400-plus peer-reviewed publications. MSU and Spectrum Health together are approaching national top-tier research rankings for women’s health. They recently discovered lethal differences in target genes and MicroRNAs found in African American women with endometrial cancer.

Neuroscience researchers in the Department of Translational Science and Molecular Medicine, led by professor and chairperson Jack Lipton, have secured more than $16 million in grant awards and boast more than 225 peer-reviewed publications. MSU neuroscientists were selected to test three gene therapies for effect on cellular regeneration and therapy. The scientists recently made an important discovery that a change in the Alzheimer’s disease protein may cause neurodegeneration.

Interestingly, fifty percent of all external research funded by the NIH is performed by scientists at medical schools and teaching hospitals. In recent years, following the opening of the Secchia Center, MSU has seen tremendous growth in NIH funding. In neuroscience, MSU ranks 15th in NIH funding, with half of that funding in Grand Rapids. Researchers in women’s health have been awarded more than $16 million in grants and awards. Among medical departments of obstetrics and gynecology, they moved from not being ranked at all to a ranking of 21 out of 141 for NIH funding.

The economic impact of an expanded biomedical research footprint does not end with grant funding. MSU recently commissioned Anderson Economic Group to evaluate the benefits of the GRRC. Key findings included approximately 400 new jobs and an increase of more than $28 million in local annual spending. A knowledge economy is an important factor in economic development. The GRRC will be staffed with highly skilled employees—a full 86 percent of positions will require an advanced degree.

The GRRC has been carefully designed to maximize its impact economically, but also to maximize research productivity.

A key element of premier research universities is shared spaces to run experiments. Called “core labs,” there will be five in the new research building. One will be devoted to advanced microscopy and another will house state-of-the-art devices to provide central services in genetics, genomics and biomarkers. Some of the core labs will run day and night, populated by multiple researchers from both within the university and from partner institutions. All will promote broad scientific collaboration and will eliminate duplication of expensive equipment in multiple places.

Much like the Graduate Pavilion being planned by the Broad Business College, the new research center puts a premium on open spaces for collaboration. Each floor will include shared spaces to encourage scientists and clinicians to meet informally to talk about their work and share ideas. Also like the Graduate Pavilion, many of the areas will be made flexible in design. Partial walls and moveable benches will not only allow for casual meetings, but also the flexibility to adapt to changing needs.

Importantly, the center will expand the research experience of medical students. Today, more than 90 percent of medical students in the college participate in research with faculty, compared to the national average of 68.2 percent.

While the building itself will be great, it is the medical research that will be conducted inside that is most important, says Elizabeth Lawrence, senior associate dean of the College of Human Medicine for planning, finance and administration.

“We know that men, women and children are waiting for relief from debilitating diseases. And helping them requires scientific discovery,” Lawrence says. “The building will have some of the best scientists in women’s health, neurology and pediatrics in the country. The real goal is not that you get them in the building, but you put great minds together, and they will germinate new approaches, better treatments and tomorrow’s cures.”

Brick and Mortar Gifts

Brick and mortar gifts:
a cornerstone of our past and future

Private support for buildings at MSU has long been a part of MSU’s legacy.

The tradition of private support for facilities at MSU actually dates back to 1917, when Ransom E. Olds, of Oldsmobile fame, gave MSU $100,000 to rebuild the Engineering Building, which had burned down in 1916. Renamed Olds Hall, it still stands today next to the Hannah Administration Building.

In more recent decades, MSU completed the Clifton and Dolores Wharton Center for Performing Arts in 1982—a dramatic addition to campus education and entertainment that was made possible partly by generous alumni support. The center received a significant upgrade and expansion in 2009 from private support, yielding improved amenities for performers and new space for community art education.

In 1993, the North Business Complex opened. The project was the centerpiece of the MSU 2000: Access to Opportunity capital campaign. Another centerpiece of that campaign was MSU’s Horticultural Demonstration Gardens and the 4-H Children’s Garden.

From 2000 through 2007, many facilities were funded through private support during The Campaign for MSU.

The McPhail Equine Performance Center, a significant advancement in veterinary medicine, opened in 2000, made possible entirely through private support. Some 40 years in the making, MSU’s Biomedical and Physical Sciences Facility opened in 2001 after receiving private support. It is MSU’s largest academic building, connecting to both the Chemistry and Biochemistry buildings, and represents a substantial advancement in the quality and “connectivity” of science facilities, including research and teaching laboratories. The James B. Henry Center for Executive Development also opened in 2001 thanks to more than $11 million in private support.

In 2003, the International Center completed its 10,000-square-foot expansion following $3.6 million in private support. An endowment to MSU by Delia Koo made possible the third-floor addition, providing additional classroom and office space for MSU’s international programs. The center’s academic wing was named the Delia Koo International Academic Center.

In 2006, Lyman Briggs College in Holmes Hall was renovated thanks to more than $2.2 million in private support.

In recent years there has been significant private support for facilities in athletics—the Clara Bell Smith Student-Athlete Academic Center (1998), the Alfred Berkowitz Basketball Complex (2001), the Skandalaris Football Center (2008), the Demmer Family Hall of History (2008) in the Skandalaris Center, the DeMartin Soccer Complex (2008), the McLane Baseball Stadium (2009) and the Secchia Stadium for softball (2011). Construction of Pentecost Plaza (2012) at the entrance capped off the new Old College Field additions. Additionally, the John and Marnie Demmer Shooting Sports Education and Training Center came to be almost entirely by private support, led by a $1.5 million gift from the Demmer family.

In 2010, the College of Human Medicine opened the Secchia Center, a $90 million, privately funded medical education facility, named after alumni and lead donors Peter and Joan Secchia.

The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum opened in 2012. This dramatic building, designed by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid, was made possible by more than $45 million in private support—including the largest private gift to the university in history from founding benefactors Eli and Edythe Broad.

The Bott Building for Nursing Education and Research also was completed in 2012. Made possible by a $7 million commitment from the Timothy and Bernadette Marquez Foundation, a $7.45 million grant from the National Institutes of Health-Center for Research Resources, and the generosity of more than 1,000 benefactors, it has created a highly visible presence for the College of Nursing.

In the Empower Extraordinary campaign, Spartan Stadium’s North End Zone addition, a significant facility for athletic recruiting as well as the football program, opened in 2014 thanks to donor support. Plans are underway for the Lasch Family Golf Facility and an expansion of the Berkowitz Basketball Complex thanks to private support as well.

Building the future

The support for these and many other facilities have not just added to the campus skyline, most importantly, they have raised the bar in MSU’s teaching and research.

In every case, these facilities make the difference between holding course and moving ahead. The Broad College Graduate Pavilion and the Grand Rapids Research Center are on track to do the same.

To learn more about making a gift to support MSU facilities call (517) 884-1000 or visit