March 15, 2019 : By Drew Menard - Liberty University News Service
Room-by-room, details are coming into place at the new, 78,000-square-foot Liberty University School of Business — cozy furniture with ocean blue padding, light wood veneers, textured carpet, and workspaces with smooth, chocolate-colored tabletops. Outside, precast panels are being installed over the red brick outer shell as construction crews get the facility ready to open in May. The $33 million project is the latest in the university’s nearly $1 billion campus transformation.
The three-story structure will serve as a home base for the School of Business, which includes 152 programs from the certificate to the doctoral level, as well as centers of excellence focused on entrepreneurship, financial literacy, cybersecurity, and stock trading. Many of the centers are open to students of all majors, and have opportunities for them to work with local and national businesses.
“This building is to share with the entire student body on campus, our alumni, and the students in our online degree program,” School of Business Dean Dr. David Brat said. “We are really excited about some of the programming for online students. We have telepresence capability where we can communicate with the rest of the world, so our students will be able to get in a room and talk about entrepreneurship with 50 students in Spain. We can bring in CEOs of major corporations and government officials, and they can be on screens in real time with students.”
The ability to interface with the rest of the world is an important capability, Brat explained, as business becomes increasingly international.
“This building has everything students could possibly need,” he said. “The whole building is set up to incorporate technology across our programs to make students successful in the real world. We have a technology foundation that you won’t find anywhere else.”
From the fields of cybersecurity, which currently has more than 300,000 open jobs, to information technology, information systems, and computer science, the School of Business is giving students the tools they need to fill needs in the job market. The second floor has advanced computer terminals at every desk, in addition to computer labs, data centers, and a networking lab.
On the first floor, a stock trading simulation room, operating in partnership with BB&T, will feature an LED stock ticker that wraps around the top of the room and streams the latest market activity from Wall Street. The room will include Bloomberg terminals where participants of Liberty’s Student Asset Management program will manage a pool of funds on behalf of the university, making investments and market trades under the supervision of a faculty member.
A 500-seat auditorium will provide a much-needed additional event space on campus, and students will also have plenty of conference rooms to sharpen their boardroom presentation skills.
“Some of my favorite rooms are the huge student common areas on the second and third floors,” Brat said. “I’m excited as a dean to walk out into the middle of the commons every day and meet with students to hear about their faith, what they need, what they are aiming for in their lives, and their career plans.”
Liberty’s business programs are taught from an ethical foundation framed by a biblical worldview.
“I don’t think you can have a better combination of our mission of Training Champions for Christ and a state-of-the-art, new technology-centered business school with world-class programs,” Brat said. “What a way to shape students for their careers so they can help shape the world.”