Frederick Smith, chairman, CEO and president of the FedEx Corporation, gave the keynote speech at a program commemorating the grand opening of the new School of Business building Wednesday.
The $56 million business school building is comprised of the newly constructed Duqu?s Hall and the renovated Funger Hall. GW business school graduates and Ric and Dawn Duqu?s attended the ceremony; the couple donated $5 million to the building that bears their name.
“Our three sons would have come with us, but because we spent their inheritance money on this building, they’re not here,” Dawn Duqu?s joked.
Smith’s speech and the ribbon cutting were the feature events in the week’s grand opening celebrations, which include addresses by global business executives, panel discussions and an open house.
Smith’s address, “Going with the Flow: How to Succeed in a Macro-trend Environment,” highlighted what he sees as the four macro trends in business.
“Business is about risk. It’s about developing new things. It’s about going into the unknown,” Smith said.
The new business school complex unites academics and research with high-tech research facilities, including a capital markets room where students can have access to real-time stock quotes and engage in mock-trading, as well as a behavioral lab with two-way mirrors for the study of focus groups.
The finished structure is the result of two years of renovation and construction. Duqu?s Hall opened for classes at the start of this semester.
While the audience of more than 150 people was composed mainly of administrators and trustees, business school students gathered around the second-floor balconies and on the stairs to look down at the speakers in Oglethorpe Great Hall.
Freshman Steven Sciuto, GW School of Business student ambassador, spoke of the appeal of the business school. Sciuto said he made his decision to attend GW because of the new business school; Sciuto said he has been monitoring the building’s construction on the Webcam on his computer.
Beyond attention to the new facilities, the academic quality of the business school has received praise recently. The Financial Times named GW’s M.B.A. program 47th in the United States and 75th in the world in its 2006 top full-time global M.B.A. programs rankings.