Photo Courtesy of Corey Seeman
As a Student Ambassador, one of my responsibilities is to provide the occasional tour for prospective students. Since my second tour of duty brought me to Ann Arbor in mid-2007, I entered just around the time when dissatisfaction with Ross’ current campus began to ebb and flow. Students griped about the bathrooms, the lack of breakout space, the bathrooms, the lack of social space, the bathrooms….yeah, the building was sort of a weird cocoon that had neither charm nor personality, a sort of prison for a program that prides itself on creativity and learning through doing. Presenting our facility to the bright-eyed inquisitive professionals always seemed more like a laborious requirement than a privilege.
I actually didn’t realize that Ross was building a new facility when I applied — but it certainly was the proverbial cherry on top of the Breyer’s Cookie Dough sundae nestled in my lap. And over the past year, every new piece of information that seeped through the cracks, be it a chance encounter with Dean Dolan or a member of Student Government, brought a refreshing yet apprehensive sensation.
The new building has been called many things — incredible, unique, artsy — but I still think “Bright Orange McDonald’s” was the clear favorite in my book. My friends and relatives that came to visit would comment, as we strolled through campus, on that “weird one over there”, unbeknownst that the strange looking behemoth at the corner of Hill and Tappan would be our future home.
Today, on a dreary, snowy day in Ann Arbor, this anonymous cavern of a space swung open its doors for us, almost like it was Yao Ming inviting us to his first open shootaround: we knew it was going to be good, but we wanted it to prove that all this nuisance was worth the wait. Twenty minutes in, while slung back in a comfy, leather chair with an appetizer in hand, I gazed up at the ultra-fab reflective lighting and the snow-covered glass roof set as the backdrop…and I couldn’t help but utter a simple “woo hoo!” that only those within a couple of meters could have heard.
There sat Dean Dolan, calmly speaking with several students, trying his hardest not to boast about just completing one of the single largest facility projects ever undertaken by a business school. I approached with the typical formality (“Heya Dean Dolan!”) and proceeded to warn him that I’d be giving him a hug. And I did just that — the guy who somehow convinced a real estate baron to give $100 million of his money to building this thing deserved something more intimate than a handshake. After all, it was a hell of a gift, and the first I’ve received in the form of brick, stone, and Italian terracotta.
You can check out the new facility for yourself here.