By Chelsea Cabral, Staff Writer
UMass Dartmouth’s business students now have a place to call home as the university hosted a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, October 20 to celebrate the newest expansion to the Charlton College of Business, dubbed the “Learning Pavilion.”
The ceremony drew the attendance of many students, alumni, faculty, and university officials to the new $15 million, 22,000 square foot expansion. The Learning Pavilion provides students with state-of-the-art classrooms—the first set of new classroom space in over a decade, new meetings spaces, a business innovation center and a large auditorium, seating up to 160 people.
“The new space will facilitate innovation and entrepreneurship by promoting collaboration among students, faculty, staff, and the South Coast community,” said Charlton College Dean Angappa Gunasekaran.
Interim Chancellor Peyton Helm expressed how the new Learning Pavilion couldn’t have been made a reality without the assistance of the Charlton Family; especially the late Chuck Charlton, whose charitable help to the UMass Dartmouth campus assisted in paving the way for the College of Business’s original construction in 1997.
The Charlton Foundation contributed a $3 million gift to support construction of the College of Business building back in 1997, which at the time was the single biggest donation the UMass system had ever received.
The College of Business opened its doors in 2004, housing a space for the deans, faculty and students ever since.
Soon after, the Charlton Board of Trustees realized that the school was in dire need of an expansion to create a central place for business students to call their own.
That’s when the Charlton Foundation pledged an additional $3 million donation to construct an expansion to the original building, with the university raising the additional $1.5 million it needed to fund the project.
In 2014, six years later, the extra funding was complete and construction began in June of 2015.
With the help of the Charlton College of Business’s Board of Trustees, and the numerous donors that helped make the project possible, the expansion was able to be completed on time and within budget, right in time for the start of classes in September.
“[We are] glad to have the support of our local officials,” says Helm. “There were a lot of people who did hard, smart work…We commemorate [their] effort and thank the donors and the builders. This was a project that takes vision and effort and sometimes even takes decades to complete.”
UMass President Marty Meehan was also in attendance, praising the latest expansion to the College of Business and how it enhances the campus’s status and that of the entire UMass system.
“UMass Dartmouth faculty and students are world class… and this exciting [Learning Pavilion] is exactly what our university deserves. It is beautiful and really well done.”
Enrollment at the Charlton College of Business has risen exponentially since the last ten years with the MBA program growing from 143 to 330, according to a recent UMass Dartmouth press release. The college has also brought forth new Master of Science programs in Accounting, Health Care Management and Technology Management.
Dean Gunasekaran is already looking towards the future of the college of business in terms of the addition of new programs and the many uses the new expansion may bring, such as the building of a stock market trading room.
He also added that the more space will contribute to the increase of the university’s business enrollment as well.
“We had high hopes, but the Learning Pavilion has exceeded even our wildest expectations,” says Gunasekaran.