Formally cutting the ribbon on Horton-Hardgrave Hall are, from left to right, Harbert College of Business Dean Annette L. Ranft, SGA President Mary Margaret Turton, Auburn University Provost Bill Hardgrave, Auburn University Trustee Raymond J. Harbert, Auburn University Trustee Jimmy Sanford, and Auburn University Interim President Jay Gogue.
It's a great day for the Harbert College of Business at Auburn University."
Auburn University’s Harbert College of Business held a ceremonial ribbon cutting Friday, September 13, to formally open a new, 100,000-square-foot business building named for two former deans, George Horton and Bill Hardgrave. Horton served as the Dean of the School of Business from 1973-1984 and Hardgrave, the university’s current provost, served as the Dean of the Harbert College of Business from 2010 to 2017.
“The naming of this new facility marks a significant milestone in the history of our college,” said Harbert College of Business Dean and Wells Fargo Professor Annette L. Ranft. “From our beginnings in limited classrooms scattered across engineering buildings, the chemistry building, and in Thach and Tichenor Halls, we are now realizing our vision of having a world-class business school complex that will stand among the nation’s best. The addition of Horton-Hardgrave Hall, alongside Lowder Hall, reflects our commitment to student success.”
A $15 million lead gift, announced in 2017, from 1982 business alumnus Raymond Harbert and wife, Kathryn, helped make construction of Horton-Hardgrave Hall possible.
"It’s exciting and very gratifying to me to view these two men as bridge builders for Auburn University, the college of business and for all its many students, faculty and alumni," said Harbert, who preceded the building's naming by reciting the poem, "The Bridge Builder." "For the transformative vision and dedication to the now Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, it is my distinct pleasure and honor to welcome you to the new Horton-Hardgrave Hall. Dean Horton's vigorous leadership paid handsome and rapid dividends, and suffice it to say, Bill Hardgrave's tenure as dean is the definition of transformative."
Pictured are Gavin Hardgrave, Bill Hardgrave, Ronda Hardgrave, Kathryn Harbert, and Raymond Harbert.
Hardgrave believes the Harbert College of Business is on the brink of soaring to even greater heights.
"This is just the beginning for the college," he said. "I was fortunate to be here at a time when Raymond Harbert and many other great people stepped up and said, 'We want to make an investment' in really what I viewed as a startup and got us going. We are just getting started. This place, under Dean Ranft's leadership and the faculty and staff that we have here, and the phenomenal students, this place is going to soar. I'm anxious to see what happens next.
"It's unbelievable for Raymond and Kathryn to do this, but it should have the name of every dean who has ever been here and the name of every faculty member. I am so honored that I represent a huge group of people who have made this college successful."
The six-story building, which broke ground in April 2017 and opened its doors to students on August 19, features:
- An Innovation Lab that encourages students to move beyond the boundaries of conventional practices
- Multiple team rooms geared toward collaborative group projects
- A spacious atrium with ample seating and desk areas for student study
- An event space that allows the college to host conferences and career fairs
- State-of-the-art, Engaged and Active Student Learning classrooms with multiple video screens and adaptable seating
- A rooftop terrace with covered seating that overlooks the campus
“Auburn University is recognized in the state and across the nation as the place for a business education,” Interim President Jay Gogue said. “This incredible facility is just one more step in the university’s evolution and an indication of Auburn’s commitment to producing the best and brightest of the business community.”
Founded in 1967, the college now serves as home to nearly 5,000 undergraduate and 800 graduate students, 73 tenure-track faculty members, seven research centers and institutes (Auburn Technical Assistance Center, Center for Ethical Organizational Cultures, Center for Supply Chain Innovation, The Lowder Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship, RFID Lab at Auburn University, Small Business Development Center, and Thomas Walter Center for Technology Management), four academic departments in finance, management, marketing, and systems & technology and a highly recognized School of Accountancy.
“The ever-evolving needs of our state, the country and indeed the world, requires scholarly thought, innovative thinking and engaged learning,” Ranft added. “Our world-class business complex will facilitate our faculty’s ability to address these needs, to develop job-ready and career-minded graduates and provide a space that will bring the business world to Auburn.”