Bob and Laura Reynolds join (from left) Milan Puskar Dean Josh Hall and West Virginia University President Gordon Gee in cutting a ribbon to open Reynolds Hall, the new home of the John Chambers College of Business and Economics, 26 August 2022.
(WVU Photo/Brian Persinger)
Reynolds Hall, the futuristic 186,000-square-foot complex set to transform teaching and research in higher education, is officially open for business.
The new house of West Virginia University John Chambers College of Business and EconomicsReynolds Hall held its grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday (August 26) with its namesake, Bob and Laura Reynoldsin hand.
The building began as the vision of Bob Reynolds, president and CEO of Putnam Investments, a Clarksburg native and 1974 WVU finance graduate.
While this vision was realized more than five years later Reynolds’ gift of $10 million to start construction, the opening of the complex does not mean an end. It’s a start for fostering the academic components of business education at WVU — and for uniting the University in an open, innovative environment that has changed the landscape of the Monongahela River and features experiential learning classes, a real-time stock indicator, computer labs, a 300-seat auditorium, an inviting atrium and social staircase modeled after the one at Google headquarters, 50 study rooms, a café and dining area, green space and a gym.
“We saw that West Virginia was on the cusp of reinventing itself, and we believed the best way to do that was from within,” said Bob Reynolds, on what inspired them to give. “This is a building that will transform entrepreneurship in the state by training the next generation to think differently about business from day one.”
Reynolds Hall promises to be more than a new facility on campus. High-tech and hands-on learning spaces include Wehrle Global Supply Chain Lab, Roll Capital Markets Lab AND labs dedicated to social media and marketing, data analytics and cyber security. Within these labs, faculty will work directly with students in using the latest technology for projects and research.
“Generations of Highlanders will walk through this building and see business going on around them,” Reynolds added. “They will learn to build, make a mistake or two and become better for it.”
President Gordon Gee had the honor of announcing the initial gift from the Boston couple five years ago. Gee on Friday touted the potential to create from within the building’s walls.
“Its labs and teaching tools will also create new synergies between industry and academia, creating engagement opportunities for our students that lead to internships and work placements,” Gee said.
“Bob Reynolds has always been a driving force for innovation in the mutual fund industry, and it is fitting that he and his wife Laura have brought such a catalyst for innovation to life on our campus.”
Gee acknowledged other business leaders and friends of WVU who made gifts of $1 million or more to make Reynolds Hall possible:
• Marty and Katherine Becker
• Encova Foundation
• Open Esbenshade
• The Hayhurst family
• Family of the late Don and Marcella Hoylman
• Penny and Rob Roll
• Bill and Patricia Sheedy
• The Wehrle family
Cindi Roth, president and CEO of the WVU Foundation, said Reynolds’ vision predates the gift from 2017. Reynolds began talking to leaders at the College and the WVU Foundation more than 10 years ago.
“Bob’s overwhelming positivity and ability to seize opportunity has served him as a pioneer in the financial services industry, and he used those same skills to build momentum for this extraordinary testament to the power of philanthropy,” Roth said.
In addition to the ribbon cutting, Reynolds Hall hosted an open house and tours of the learning labs and student resource spaces, which saw faculty, staff and students share their vision for the new building and its impact.
“Today marks the beginning of a new story for West Virginia University’s business school,” said Milan Puskar Dean Josh Hall. “Reynolds Hall is more than bricks and mortar: it is a shining beacon of hope for our College, our campus and the state of West Virginia. It will pave the way for our students to make their mark on the world in ways that only Highlanders can.”
The University also recognized partners who helped shape and deliver the project on time: Strada, Gensler, PJ Dick and WVU Facilities and Services.
For Reynolds, who grew up 40 minutes from the Morgantown campus, the ceremony served as a full-circle moment. Although the ceremony centered around him and his contributions, he acknowledged that Reynolds Hall would not have happened without the support of his fellow Highlanders.
“Thank you to everyone in this room, from the project teams who worked tirelessly from the first beam to the last brick, B&E’s fellow donors and friends of the College who funded the spaces where students will learn by doing, to the faculty and staff you change lives every day through your dedication and compassion to WVU students,” said Reynolds.
“And a special thanks to my family, and especially my mother, Juanita, who is here today and can witness firsthand how a West Virginia boy can be transformed by the power of business education and the love of sports of mountaineering.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Heather Richardson
Assistant Dean of Communication, Engagement and Impact
John Chambers College of Business and Economics
304-293-9625; [email protected]
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