Stanford GSB christened its new home, the Knight Management Center, at a lively April 29 celebration that began with a formal dedication ceremony and later let loose as a flash mob, and the Stanford Marching Band descended on the school's new town square.
The event marked the end of a three-year building project that produced a facility that will enable the business school to move forward and grow in the areas of curriculum and innovation.
“We’re now able to turn the physical spaces that have been created here into intellectual learning places,” Stanford GSB Dean Garth Saloner said of the 8 new buildings on the 12.5-acre site.
Six hundred banners bearing words and phrases meant to inspire change, written by members of Stanford GSB and Stanford communities, flowed from the new buildings. The banners echoed the business school’s slogan: Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world. Visitors also had the chance to contribute their words of change on banners that can be seen online and will be displayed in the future.
Stanford President John Hennessy thanked the donors, many of whom were present at the dedication ceremony, for the new center, “which is not only a gift for students today, who have already fallen in love with the place, but a gift for students of the future.”
Philip H. Knight, who earned his MBA at the school in 1962 and for whom the Knight Management Center is named, said that in the coming decade the school will redefine management. “People come up to Penny [his wife] and me to thank us for making this possible,” Knight said. “I tell them it is an honor for us to be associated with a special institution.”
Knight wrote his business plan for Nike in a small business class at the school taught by the late Professor Frank Shallenberger.
Thousands of visitors, alumni, and members of the Stanford community toured the 8 buildings after the dedication ceremony and had the opportunity to see some of the 100 classrooms of various sizes that enable teaching a new curriculum in flexible learning spaces.
As visitors enjoyed the Stanford Gospel Choir and Mendicants a capella group, they had the chance to sample locally grown foods at the Arbuckle Dining Pavilion, coffee specialties from the TA Associates CafÃ©, and appetizers from Schwab Residential Center dining services. The crowd also sampled the terraces, patios, and shaded picnic benches, which are designed as spaces to meet, share a meal or cup of coffee, and think collaboratively.
The firm Hit and Run T-Shirts helped guests of the open house customize T-shirts bearing messages of change, while some visitors took self-guided tours of the 360,000-square-foot facility using cell phones to call in and learn about specific locations and features of the buildings.
The green features of the sustainably designed center, which is seeking a LEED Platinum® rating for environmental sustainability from the U.S. Green Building Council, were visible during the open house, including the roof-mounted photovoltaic panels; the long, narrow buildings that allow more natural light in; and the 870-space underground parking structure that eliminates the "heat-island effect" of traditional uncovered parking lots.
Visitors also had the chance to view the public art pieces dedicated to change, such as the cornerstone that reads: “Dedicated to the things that haven't happened yet and the people who are about to dream them up”or the Monument to Change as it Changes, a wall composed of panels that constantly change color, creating constant movement and different patterns.
And they could stand in Phil Knight’s footsteps. An installation imbedded near the town square’s entrance includes a quotation from the man whose lead gift launched the project and imprints of two distinctive waffle-soled shoes.
By Arthur Patterson