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Business school groundbreaking opens era

Miller receives a framed rendering of the building that will bear his name.A new chapter in the history of the William and Mary Mason School of Business began March 30, as more than 200 students, faculty, staff, community members and invited guests gathered to break ground for the new Alan B. Miller Hall.

The event officially marks the beginning of a new era at the business school—eventually bringing together all faculty, staff and students at the Mason School together under one roof in a new, state-of-the-art, 160,000-square-foot structure. Construction is expected to begin in May, and the building, to be located at the corner of Jamestown Road and Ukrop Way, is scheduled to open in the fall of 2009.

“It is crucial to the future of the College that its school of business be a world-class window of the vibrant and defining global commercial enterprise,” William and Mary President Gene R. Nichol said as he thanked Miller. “That will now be possible.”

The new building will consist of state-of-the-art facilities for instruction, student activities, faculty offices, visiting scholars, research and other purposes. It will house the undergraduate, master’s of business administration (MBA), master’s of accounting (MAcc), and Executive MBA (EMBA) degree programs as well as the Center for Corporate Education (CCE) and the Center for Entrepreneurship.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us and of transformational importance to this business school,” said Lawrence B. Pulley, dean of the business school and T.C. and Elizabeth Clarke Professor of Business. “Alan B. Miller Hall will be a significant landmark and the western gateway to this campus. It will help us build interactions within the Mason School as well as with the campus, the broader Williamsburg area and the world. Alan B. Miller will sit at the core of what we are and will enable our ambitious aspirations for what we can become.”

The groundbreaking ceremony, which was held on the site of the future building on what was formerly known as the Common Glory parking lot, featured remarks from Nichol, Pulley and building namesake Alan B. Miller. Guests also were treated to a 3-D virtual video tour of the proposed building that gave viewers a unique look inside the future Alan B. Miller Hall. The tour allowed viewers to see what the new building’s library, café, common areas, classrooms, faculty offices and other features will look like. The tour also presented an impressive aerial view of the building, built virtually on a blueprint.

The remarks and virtual tour were followed by the ceremonial groundbreaking, replete with “golden” shovels and hard hats, by key partners of the business school.

Miller, a 1958 William and Mary graduate, is president, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Universal Health Services, Inc. (UHS), which he founded in 1978. UHS, one of the nation’s largest and most respected healthcare management companies, operates acute care hospitals, behavioral health facilities and ambulatory centers nationwide.

“I love the United States, and I believe that economic power, the power of business, is what has allowed America to be a leader in the world. We can’t afford to lose that,” Miller said. “In some way, if any and all of us can help develop business leaders, companies and entrepreneurs who can propel the United States forward, that’s what I’d like to be part of. I’m sure this school will help that.”

The groundbreaking is the culmination of seven years of planning, analysis and design. It officially marks the next phase for the business school and adds the third element to Pulley’s vision of the business school as the crossroads of people, programs and place.

“This remarkable facility will reflect who we are as a business school and enable our efforts to create the next generation of great business leaders,” said Pulley.

After a 24-month construction schedule, the building will be open for business in the fall of 2009. At the time of the move-in, the student population is projected to be 625 undergraduates and 410 graduate students. An estimated one-sixth of all undergraduates at William and Mary either major or minor in business.

A public-private partnership, the building will cost a projected $75 million; nearly $50 million will come from private funds through the Business School Foundation. While a substantial portion of the private funds have been secured, the school continues to seek financial partners in support of the building.

The College will seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the building as part of its commitment to the principle of sustainable design. The building’s architects are from the firm Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP, in New York. Stern is known around the world for design achievements in the public and private sectors and has been an industry leader in the design of buildings that are environmentally sustainable and energy-efficient. The firm is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council.

For more information and to view the virtual tour, visit the business school’s Web site at mason.wm.edu.