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April 7, 2017

Husson receives largest gift in its history from Alfond foundation

Courtesy / WBRC Architects ▪ Engineers
Courtesy / WBRC Architects ▪ Engineers
An artist's rendering shows what the new College of Business building will look like when it's completed on the Bangor campus of Husson University. The university announced today it is the recipient of a $4 million matching gift from the Harold Alfond Foundation to go toward the cost of the project — the largest gift in the university's history.

Husson University announced today it is receiving a $4 million matching gift from the Harold Alfond Foundation to go toward the construction of a new College of Business building on its Bangor campus.

"This is the largest outright gift ever made to Husson University during our 119-year history," Husson University President Robert A. Clark said in an event this morning at the university's Gracie Theatre attended by students, faculty and alumni, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Greg Powell, chairman of the Alfond Foundation. "The extraordinary support and generosity shown to us today by the Harold Alfond Foundation will help us transform students' lives. This gift will help us provide future generations with the facilities and technology they need to successfully prepare to compete in today's global economy."

The fundraising goal for the project is $16 million. Approximately, $1.7 million has already been given or pledged to this project, according to the university. In its matching gift, the foundation pledged to provide $1 for every $2 donated to Husson for the project, up to a total of $4 million.

"Husson University is committed to meeting the needs of the Maine economy through its entrepreneurial and interdisciplinary educational initiatives," Powell said in his prepared remarks. "This is an institution with strong, committed leadership and a strategic vision for the future, and we are delighted to support its efforts."

Cross-pollination of science, entrepreneurship

When completed, the College of Business building will feature approximately 32,000 square feet of experiential classrooms and offices, supported by an advanced technology infrastructure.

"It will fuse business education with science, technology, engineering, art, and math opportunities," Husson said in its release announcing the Alfond gift. "These STEAM-oriented learning spaces will become the incubators of future jobs in our state."

In its release, Husson said the new building would encourage "cross pollination of science and entrepreneurship in unique 360-degree classrooms dedicated to innovation" and featuring interactive learning spaces designed to foster interdisciplinary learning."

An anonymous donor in 2016 already has given $1 million toward a new facility within the building that will be dedicated to the creation and marketing of virtual reality applications designed to enhance collaboration between the College of Business and Husson University's New England School of Communications.

"This high-tech learning environment will be dedicated to creating virtual reality applications and testing outcomes with real-world business applications," the university said in its release.

The university anticipates the new building will boost enrollment, citing the addition of the new Ronan Center for Financial Technology, which spurred a 58% increase in enrollment of finance-related students over a two-year period.

It also envisions greater synergies with the Richard E. Dyke Center for Family Business that will give Husson students a deeper understanding of business issues affecting Maine. Currently, 40% of Husson students are enrolled in the College of Business.

"This gift ensures that Husson University will maintain its leadership role as Maine's leading center of business education," said Clark. "Providing them with the facilities and technology they need to achieve career success, regardless of their prior economic circumstances, is central to our mission," added Clark.

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