The Business of Preserving Our Planet

The new Stanford GSB campus––the Knight Management Center––is being made possible by Stanford GSB’s Campus Sustainability Fund, which received $5 million––its first and largest gift.

July 15, 2007

When the new Stanford GSB campus––the Knight Management Center––goes up on Serra Street in 2008, it will not only be a friendly environment, it will also be friendly to the environment. That’s because Stanford GSB is working to make sure that the entire 360,000-square-foot project meets the highest environmental sustainability certification.


C. Angus Wurtele, MBA ‘61, and his wife, Margaret von Blon, support the Campus Sustainability Fund. | Photo: M. J. Wickam

The earth-smart aspect of the new complex is being made possible by Stanford GSB’s Campus Sustainability Fund, which has received $5 million––its first and largest gift to date––from C. Angus Wurtele, MBA ’61. Wurtele is presently the proud owner of Terra Valentine Winery in St. Helena, California. “We talk daily about sustainable farming and organic wines, so the environment is very much on my mind,” he says. “I don’t think there will be one big solution to climate change and pollution, but rather a lot of smaller entrepreneurial efforts that will have a big impact. I see the new business school campus as one such noble project, and I hope my gift will inspire others to help bring it to fruition.”

The new campus, named for Philip H. Knight, MBA ’62, whose unprecedented $100 million gift paved the way for the project, is on track to meet LEED Platinum standards—the highest certification offered by the U.S. Green Building Council. The new campus will feature numerous small buildings, which can be climate controlled more easily than one large structure. It will rely on the temperate Stanford weather for natural ventilation and will incorporate innovative heating and air conditioning systems, as well as some solar power. The complex will capture and treat a significant percentage of storm water runoff and will be designed for efficient water use.

Moreover, all of the Knight Center’s building materials will be nontoxic, and at least 50 percent of the previously developed site area will be restored with native or adapted vegetation (accomplished by putting the 900-car parking facility underground). Spaces and windows have been configured so that nearly 90 percent of occupants will have a direct line of sight to the outdoors.

The center is designed to support the school’s new approach to management and leadership education. It integrates collaborative workspace for faculty, flexible teaching facilities that accommodate a variety of class sizes as well as experiential and team-based learning, and inviting public spaces that allow for greater engagement with the Stanford campus as a whole. Stanford GSB expects to break ground on the project this summer.

Wurtele was a member of Stanford GSB Advisory Council from 1989 to 1998 and a volunteer for class reunions and Stanford GSB’s 75th anniversary campaign in 1999. A former naval officer and a graduate of Yale, he was the longtime CEO of Valspar, formerly Minnesota Paints. He took over the business at the age of 27 after his father’s death and orchestrated a series of acquisitions that made it one of the nation’s leading paint and industrial coating companies. Wurtele and his wife, Margaret, now split their time between Wayzata, Minnesota, and the Napa Valley.

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