Boston University’s School of Management was renamed the Questrom School of Business Monday as a result of a $50 million donation from Allen Questrom, an alumnus, and his wife Kelli Questrom.
“Our job, our mission, is to look well beyond the horizon and educate the next generation of leaders, preserving, creating and transmitting knowledge that will serve future generations,” said BU President Robert Brown at the unveiling ceremony. “Today will be remembered as a great milestone in this transformation both for the School of Management and Boston University.”
Following the announcement in the school’s auditorium, the faculty, staff and students in attendance gathered in the large atrium, where 500 red, white and teal balloons were dropped from the fifth story of the building at 595 Commonwealth Ave.
The gift marks the biggest donation in BU’s history, said Kenneth Freeman, the dean of Questrom.
“This is like launching a new phase in a company or a business’s existence,” he said. “We are a fine business school today, and we have outstanding graduates. What the Questrom School of Business, this naming of our gift, does, is further accelerate our opportunity to become one of the world’s elite business schools. It provides us the funding to make the next steps.”
Shirts with the phrase “Questrom Means Business” were handed out during the renaming announcement ceremony.
The Questroms have donated to SMG twice in the past, once to endow the deanship of the college and another to name two professors “Questrom professors,” Freeman said.
“For many donors, [donating is] like an investment,” he said. “Given Allen and Kelli’s, particularly Allen’s, stellar career in retailing, Allen and Kelli are investing in this school, a school that changed his life, so that they can help future generations have a better life as well, and so they’re giving from their heart.”
One way the money will be used is to recruit and endow 10 new faculty chairs for Questrom, Freeman said.
“[This enables] us to recruit scholars from outside the school into the school to supplement our already excellent faculty here, so we get to grow our faculty and bring world-class scholars here to join our already exceptional faculty,” he said.
The donation from the Questroms will also be used to construct a new classroom building that connects to the existing building, Freeman said. The new building will face Bay State Road and will house the graduate business program.
This donation plays a large part in accomplishing the comprehensive university campaign goal of $1 billion, which was launched in 2012, BU spokesman Colin Riley said.
“This $50 million gift certainly sits at the top of the pyramid of the tremendous donations over the past few years and puts us well ahead of schedule,” he said. “We’re looking at a 2017 time frame.”
Several Questrom students said they are pleased with the donation and the changes coming to the school.
Jessica Nguyen, a senior in Questrom, said although she will not be around to see the upcoming changes, she is glad the renaming happened before graduation.
“The name really legitimizes the school of business,” Nguyen said. “It turns [the school] from something generic into something more specific and stand out among competitors — the Kellogg School of [Management] or [Ross] School of Business. It’s great.”
Shubhankar Misri, a sophomore in Questrom, said he does not think a name change will greatly change the way the school is run.
“I definitely appreciate it,” he said. “It’s going to change a few things around probably. In terms of the way the courses are structured and the way Dean Freeman conducts it, I don’t think there’s going to be a big change. The emphasis on ethics and stuff is going to remain.”
Julian Aguilar, a sophomore in Questrom, said he is happy with the donation, but wished the wealth could be distributed throughout the rest of the university.
“I wish other schools within the university were endowed from time to time,” he said. “I love this building. It’s beautiful. I love this school, and the money definitely contributes a lot to the facilities we have. When I walk into CAS [the College of Arts of Sciences], I think ‘This could use some money to be renovated.’”
Samantha Gross contributed to the reporting of this article.