Evan Hierholzer, Managing Editor
In a media event last Thursday, President Thomas Keefe officially announced the University of Dallas’ receipt of a 12 million-dollar donation, the largest single gift in the university’s history, which, in addition to securing a new name for the College of Business, will also go toward the construction of a new, state-of-the-art academic building to house the college.
The donors are Satish and Yasmin Gupta, philanthropists and community leaders in the Dallas Fort Worth area. Satish leads SB International, Inc. as chairman, president and CEO, while Yasmin serves as director and executive vice president. SB International, Inc. is a company in Dallas that engages in steel distribution. Both Satish and Yasmin Gupta are graduates of the University of Dallas’ Master of Business Administration program.
“I’m so grateful that within our alumni ranks are some of the most impressive and inspirational people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing,” said Robert Scherer, dean of the College of Business, in his opening remarks at the event.
The Guptas’ donation comes at a time of great growth for UD and specifically the College of Business.
“This gift is coming in the midst of a renaissance of the College of Business,” said Keefe. “We were witness to the College of Business earning the very prestigious distinction – the AACSB accreditation – the gold standard of accreditation among business schools of the world.”
The new building, which will be known as SB International Hall, will house the College of Business, now officially renamed the Satish and Yasmin Gupta College of Business. SB Hall will be a three-story building of 50,000 square feet, and it is to be erected on the site formerly occupied by the old Dominican priory, on the north side of campus. The groundbreaking to take place in the coming months, and the building is scheduled to open fall 2015.
“We want the business school to also be a beacon, standing tall, to educate young students to bring out their entrepreneurial skills and to remind the community what an important role the university plays in the future of our students,” said Yasmin Gupta, comparing the new structure to the university’s Tower.
Additionally, Satish and Yasmin Gupta emphasized in their comments on Thursday that they want the college to be the kind of welcoming institution that they themselves encountered in the University of Dallas. Satish and Yasmin Gupta both attended classes and worked on campus at UD when they arrived from India, and both spoke of their positive experience with the faculty and students.
“My memories of this university are very dear to me. I came here September 1979, 20 years old, right out of India. This was my second home at that time … When I got here, I realized this university had embraced us. What a wonderful, great home,” said Satish Gupta.
“We want the College of Business to transform the lives of future students just as it transformed ours and touched our hearts,” said Yasmin Gupta. “[UD is] a school that has made such a lasting impact on our lives and our careers, and we are now so happy to be able to enhance the education, the programs and the technology at the University of Dallas and strengthen its reputation as one of the finest educational institutions in Texas. By providing this business school with a new facility, we hope it will become a catalyst to attract the best possible students and make the same kind of positive impact on them that UD had on us, when Satish and I studied here.”
Satish and Yasmin Gupta also expressed their wish for the College of Business to play a role in the greater global community.
“We hope our contribution is particularly inspiring to the global community. Satish and I come from an Asian heritage, where our culture, tradition and education are an important part of who we are. Our dream is for the College of Business to be a global meeting ground for diversity, a place where students from all parts of the world can learn from each other and live in harmony, just as it was for us when we first came here,” said Yasmin Gupta.
“A person coming from a different faith, from a different background, a different culture, a different country, can come here at the University of Dallas, can come here in this country, and succeed,” said Satish Gupta.
President Keefe, in his closing comments, echoed the Satish and Yasmin Gupta’s pride in the opportunity and acceptance which they see realized in America generally and in the University of Dallas specifically.
“We [UD] are what is great about America. The Guptas are what is great about America. We are one great country that has collectively worked together … I couldn’t be more proud to be a president of any university, and this is the proudest day of my life as president of the University of Dallas.”