A desire by Auburn University Physicians Executive MBA (PEMBA) alumni to "give back" has resulted in creation of a student area for collaborative study.
A dedication was held on April 7, with Dr. Sanjeev Saxena, of Fort Payne, Ala., and Dr. Vaughn Clagette, of Douglasville, Ga., both Class of 2013, representing their fellow PEMBA alumni driven by a passion for philanthropy to donate to Auburn MBA Programs, specifically its Graduate Executive Programs.
This new team study area resides on Lowder Hall's ground floor. It features six study rooms equipped with monitors for group review of research and presentations, as well as a central open area with tables and comfortable seating for individual and small group study.
“The dedication of these student team rooms is the culmination of efforts by five PEMBA alumni to make a meaningful donation to the Harbert College of Business,” said Stan Harris, associate dean of Graduate and International Programs. “This open interactive space gives students a place to relax, study and collaborate on group projects. In the end, this space helps improve the student experience.”
In 2013, Harris was approached by Saxena and Dr. Tej Singh, of Los Altos Hills, Calif., asking what was needed to improve the student experience. Harris quickly responded, "student team rooms." Although the Harbert College of Business has an MBA Student Lounge for individual study, it was lacking rooms for collaborative study, necessary as undergraduate and graduate programs often require students to collaborate in research and presentations.
Saxena and Singh reached out to their 2013 PEMBA cohort and were joined by Clagette, Dr. William Hawkins, of Little Rock, Ark., and Dr. Walt Reid, of Carrollton, Ga., in supporting the philanthropic effort. Singh's wife, Dr. Simran Singh, Class of 2014, and Dr. James Stewart Jr., Class of 2005, of Oklahoma City, Okla., also joined in providing naming gifts for five of the student meeting rooms.
"It’s gratifying to see the continuing impact that the Graduate Executive Programs can have on the life of the college," said Kim Kuerten, executive director of Graduate Executive Programs. "While the executive students will have priority in this space while they are in residency, it will primarily be used by undergraduate and graduate business students who do not have access to team rooms or quiet study space. I know this is a gift that will be appreciated by everyone in the years to come."
"That's what philanthropy is," said Saxena during the dedication of the student team rooms. "It's trying to make the road a little easier for those who come along after you. Trying to improve their experience. In this case, the dissemination of knowledge by these fantastic professors, and if we have the ability to improve that dissemination, it's something we have to do."