On Sept. 25, University leaders, donors, faculty, staff, students and guests joined together to dedicate the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation. An appreciative, standing-room-only crowd filled the Meyer Conference Center. The celebration continued throughout the day with the 2015 Leadership and Innovation Summit, as the leading voices in technology, energy and healthcare participated in three Q&A forums that addressed the challenges faced by their industries and what the future holds.
The technology forum, facilitated by Rick Welday, BBA '90, president of AT&T AdWorks, featured industry experts Godfrey Sullivan, BBA '75, president, CEO and chairman of Splunk; Trent Voigt, BS '86, founder and chief executive officer of JetPay Payment Services; and Bob Beauchamp, chairman and CEO of BMC Software and a Baylor University Regent.
Ray Perryman, BS '74, president and CEO of the Perryman Group, moderated the energy forum with industry leaders Paul L. Foster, BBA '79, chairman and executive chairman of Western Refining; Baylor Regent Mark McCollum, BBA '80, executive vice president and chief integration officer of Halliburton; and Bob Simpson, BBA '70, MBA '71, co-founder of XTO.
Healthcare panelists Jon Foster, BBA '84, president of American Group HCA; Laura Irvine, BA '94, executive vice president of the Methodist Health System; and Baylor Regent Joel Allison, BA '70, CEO of Baylor Scott & White Health, participated in a discussion moderated by Ed Trevathan, executive vice president and provost of Baylor University.
The Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation opened to rave reviews on Aug. 24, the first day of classes for the fall semester. On Sept. 25, the University celebrated the dedication of the campus and hosted a series of panels in which prominent Baylor alumni discussed issues of technology, energy and healthcare. (Baylor Magazine will cover each of these topics in the Winter 2015-16 issue.)
The $100 million, 275,000-square-foot campus, which was supported by more than 550 generous alumni, is truly a world-class facility, featuring innovative design to maximize the educational experience for Baylor students.
"Baylor wanted to model the business school after a 21st century learning environment, to make sure students are learning in a way that fosters them transitioning into a professional or corporate environment. Having a variety of spaces for collaboration outside of the classrooms is critical," Adam Bush, architect for Overland Partners, said during an August tour of the building. "This building has a broad range of learning environments; we have not seen another business school with this variety."
Baylor and Overland benchmarked a number of other leading business schools across the country, including Yale, UPenn, William and Mary, and the corporate retreat at Deloitte University.
The Foster Campus is built like a town square, with offices and business centers on the four terraced floors opening to the Earl C. Hankamer Atrium. The idea is to create natural interaction and opportunities for collaboration.
The atrium features a video wall, large touch screen information kiosks, an Au Bon Pain Café, and ample comfortable seating for a living room-like feel. Five interior structural pillars prominently display the school’s 10 values, such as integrity and teamwork. The centerpiece of the ground floor is the Hodges Capital LLC Financial Market Center, which simulates the environment of an investment firm.
"We originally talked about the atrium as being similar to a geode; the outside of the building is brick and fits the historic character of the campus, while the inside is full of daylight, glassy, open and airy," Bush said.
"The atrium's skylight apertures face different directions, so you'll see various lighting and color effects throughout the day and throughout the year," Bush said. "The skylights are designed to drive natural light down further to the atrium floor while managing light more carefully on the upper levels, so there is a comfortable balance of light both vertically and horizontally within the space."
Particularly striking architectural features are the six team rooms cantilevered out into the atrium, with terraces atop each one for additional study space. Students reserve the rooms online or via wall-mounted iPads outside each door.
"The projecting team rooms are unique and are some of the most popular spaces within the building. They provide distinct vantage points while still affording great spaces for collaboration," Bush said.
The upper floors resemble retail storefronts, with different departments and centers visible through floor-to-ceiling glass walls, making them easy to locate and navigate.
The 45 high-tech classrooms come in four sizes and are designed for ultimate flexibility and adaptability. Most classrooms feature lecture capture, and 13 have videoconference capabilities. Classroom furniture, technology and lighting can be arranged in multiple configurations to support various styles of instruction.
"Baylor was wise in pushing for classroom variety, lots of flexibility and long-term adaptability in case one layout proves to be more successful than another. The building is also configured for easy access for updating technology infrastructure in the future," Bush said, adding that the Foster Campus is designed to be a highly sustainable facility--one that can be fully utilized now but remains adaptable for variables like changing technology, programmatic changes and easier long-term maintenance.
"Both the business school and the University were very good about working closely with us, talking through ideas, listening and really evaluating project cost-value benefits. We have really appreciated that," he said.
The facility's exterior blends beautifully into the traditional campus architecture, while the interior is unique. The size, scope and attention to detail makes the Foster Campus a place all alumni should see in person.
Sustainability efforts in the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation include efficient mechanical systems, dimmable LED lighting, green power and water-use reduction. Baylor will pursue Gold-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for the campus.