The future of business education is here. With a dedication ceremony on Oct. 3, Drexel University officially marked the opening of the 12-story, 177,500-square-foot Gerri C. LeBow Hall—the new home of the University’s LeBow College of Business. Gov. Tom Corbett and benefactor Bennett S. LeBow joined Drexel President John A. Fry and LeBow College Interim Dean Frank Linnehan at 11 a.m. for the dedication of the new building at 32nd Market Streets.
“The opening of Gerri C. LeBow Hall marks a major milestone for the University,” said Fry. “This new building will transform business education at Drexel and affirm LeBow College’s stature as one of the nation’s premier business schools. We are extremely thankful to Ben for his generosity and commitment to helping prepare future generations of students for leadership roles in an increasingly complex world.”
The opening of the $92-million building named for Bennett LeBow’s late wife also marked the announcement of LeBow College’s new School of Economics. The elevated status for economics at Drexel will include growth of the doctoral program in economics, the launch of a master’s degree in economics, recruitment of additional high-quality research faculty and deeper collaborative research efforts with other schools and colleges at Drexel and around the world.
“My Drexel education was the catalyst to my professional success,” said Bennett S. LeBow. “I know first-hand the passion and hunger in LeBow to provide a superior education to students and I am delighted to do what I can to make its vision a reality.”
LeBow, a native of West Philadelphia, described his gift of $45 million to Drexel in 2010 – the 12th-largest single gift ever awarded to a U.S. business school – as a ringing endorsement of the business school and its accomplishments. He made his first gift of $10 million in 1999; since then LeBow College’s stature has risen steadily nationally and internationally.
His gift supported the construction of the Gerri C. LeBow Hall that replaced an outdated Matheson Hall built in 1965. The new building is designed by Philadelphia's Voith & Mactavish Architects, LLP. and New York’s Robert A. M. Stern Architects, LLP. Its exterior features approximately 67,000 square-feet of limestone combined with glass.
Gerri C. LeBow Hall’s interior features undergraduate and graduate classrooms organized around a dramatic central atrium that is accessible from entrances at the building's three corners. An open stair within this atrium leads to a 300-seat auditorium, a 100-seat lecture hall and a conference center. On the building’s upper floors, faculty offices are interspersed with seminar rooms and group study rooms—a deliberate mix of uses fostering the collegial interaction between students and faculty that is essential to the best in business education. The building also includes a green roof and is Green Globe certifiable.
“Thanks to Bennett LeBow’s long-term commitment to the College, we have been able to attract more students, recruit top scholars and support research that ranks our faculty among the best in the world,” said Linnehan. “The opening of this new building will help us further enhance the connection among the business community, our faculty and our students for which LeBow and Drexel are so well known.”
The new building will house LeBow College’s five centers: the Center for Corporate Governance, the Dana and David Dornsife Office for Experiential Learning, the Center for Corporate Reputation Management, the Center for Research Excellence, the Center for Teaching Excellence and an Institute of Strategic Leadership. The Baiada Institute for Entrepreneurship, which is affiliated with Drexel’s Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship, will also move to the third floor of the new facility. The Baiada Institute focuses on entrepreneurship in action, offering mentoring programs, business incubation, student clubs and unique opportunities that advance entrepreneurs.
LeBow, who received an honorary doctoral degree from Drexel in 1998, made his reputation as a turnaround specialist, investing in struggling companies that a less bold businessman might have avoided. Through restructuring and smart management, his Brooke Group Ltd. resuscitated enterprises in industries as wide-ranging as jewelry, real estate and sports collectibles.
Since its founding in 1891, Drexel University has distinguished itself by emphasizing experiential learning in its curriculum through its cooperative education program. Each year 1,500 companies in 33 states and 40 international locations choose Drexel students to work within their organizations, fulfilling their hiring needs, while offering students critical real-world experience to jumpstart their careers. Drexel is the nation’s 14th largest private university and is ranked among the best national universities by U.S. News & World Report.