Ribbon cutting of SB Hall

Codie Barry, Contributing Writer

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With the beginning of the new semester, students wander the halls of SB Hall for the first time. Photo by Elizabeth Kerin.

SB Hall, the newest addition to the University of Dallas campus, was officially unveiled on January 15 at a ribbon cutting ceremony held on the front lawn facing the building.

President Thomas Keefe gave the opening remarks, and Bishop Kevin J. Farrell, bishop of the Diocese of Dallas and chancellor of UD, gave the invocation.

An air of excitement and opportunity surrounds the new building. Joseph Murphy, chairman of the University of Dallas Board of Trustees, sees it as the fulfillment of what Eugene Constantin wanted for the university: for it to be a “real university.”

Because the building was funded by an international company, President Keefe hopes it can make UD a school of international renown, a testament to the high quality of the university.

Furthermore, according to City Manager of Irving Chris Hillman, SB Hall is built on the highest point in Dallas County. It stands as a sort of lighthouse, lit at night from within, a symbol of the hard work of Satish and Yasmin Gupta, donors of the $12 million gift that made SB Hall possible.

“[SB Hall] was completed on time and under budget, with no changes made,” Keefe said.

SB Hall is designed to be energy efficient. It is also a “smart” building, as seen in the classrooms full of computers and the stock market ticker.

The atriums on each floor give the building a sense of openness and community. The third floor has tables and booths for sitting in, and many of the offices have large windows, or walls made of glass.

The international and collaborative environment of the building, made evident by the numerous flags hanging in the foyer, is especially appropriate, not just because SB International is a worldwide business, but also because the Guptas both speak of the valuable diversity at the University of Dallas. They recall classmates from Africa, China, Iran, Turkey and Europe. They hope SB Hall can add to this diversity by being a place of culture and learning for all nationalities.

Yaneth Navarro, a 2012 MBA graduate of the University of Dallas, travelled from her home in Fort Worth to attend the ceremony. She noted the importance of SB Hall as one of the few business buildings in the world with a woman’s name on the front.

“It is so exciting to see women advance in business,” Navarro said.

Yasmin Gupta herself said she hopes SB Hall can stand as a testimony to the women of the business world and inspire women to go far in business.

Satish and Yasmin Gupta came to the University of Dallas from India in 1980.

Dr. Robert Wood recalls Yasmin Gupta as the secretary of the Philosophy Department and described her as “poised and elegant.”

Satish Gupta worked in Blakely Library. At night he and his wife would use the typewriter in the philosophy department to start their business, SB International.

After the great success of SB International, the Guptas wanted to show their gratitude to their university and to make a difference in the lives of future students.

“Do not be afraid of challenge,” Satish Gupta said to students at the official opening. “Challenge is a part of life. Know the difference between good competition and greed.”

Just as challenges are a part of life, according to Satish Gupta, so too are they an inevitable part of the opening of a new building. An email from Dr. Brett Landry, interim dean of the College of Business, to the faculty on Jan. 21 noted a few problems in SB Hall that the administration is working to fix.

“Moving into a new academic building can be exciting as well as frustrating as we start classes and work to complete SB Hall at the same time,” Landry wrote.

Issues with the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC) caused wide temperature swings in the building in addition to problems opening and closing doors.

SB Hall was closed Friday through Sunday to allow facilities and the HVAC contractor to fix the problems, according to Landry’s email.

Other problems include difficulties with projectors and erasing whiteboards.

Freshman Paul Patton, who has two classes in SB Hall this semester, said he believes SB Hall is both well-constructed and well-run.

“I think they did a very good job with it,” Patton said. “My biggest complaint is that they keep it really hot. All in all, I am very impressed with the job they did.”

Philosophy professor Dr. Chad Engelland, who is teaching courses in SB Hall this semester, noted the differences between the new building and the rest of UD.

“Most UD classrooms are earthy—dark, brown and cramped—sort of like Hobbit holes but without the roundness,” Engelland said. “SB, by contrast, is celestial—bright, white and spacious.  I have to keep reminding myself, ‘I am still at UD.’”

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