Reynolds Hall, the futuristic 186,000-square-foot complex set to transform learning and research in higher ed, is officially open for business.
The new home of the West Virginia University John Chambers College of Business and Economics, Reynolds Hall held its grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony Friday (Aug. 26) with its namesakes, Bob and Laura Reynolds, on hand.
The building began as the vision of Bob Reynolds, president and CEO of Putnam Investments, Clarksburg native and 1974 finance graduate of WVU.
While that vision has come to fruition more than five years after the Reynolds’ $10 million gift to kickstart construction, the opening of the complex does not signify an end. It’s a beginning for propelling academic components of business education at WVU – and for uniting the University in an open, innovative environment that has changed the landscape of the Monongahela River waterfront and features experiential-learning classrooms, a real-time stock ticker, computer labs, a 300-seat auditorium, an inviting atrium and a social stairwell modeled after one at Google headquarters, 50 study rooms, a café and dining area, green space and a fitness center.
“We saw that West Virginia was at the threshold of reinventing itself, and we believed that the best way to do that was from the inside,” Bob Reynolds said, on what inspired them to give. “This is a building that will transform entrepreneurship in the state by training the next generation to think differently about business from day one.”
Reynolds Hall promises to be more than just a new structure on campus. High-tech, hands-on learning spaces include the Wehrle Global Supply Chain Lab, Roll Capital Markets Lab and labs devoted to social media and marketing, data analytics and cybersecurity. Within those labs, faculty will work directly with students in utilizing cutting-edge technology for projects and research.
“Generations of Mountaineers will walk through this building and see business happening all around them,” Reynolds added. “They’ll learn to build, make a mistake or two and become better for it.”
President Gordon Gee had the honor of announcing the initial gift from the Boston couple five years ago. Gee on Friday touted the potential brewing from within the building’s walls.
“Its labs and learning tools will also forge new synergies between industry and academia, creating engagement opportunities for our students that lead to internships and job placement,” Gee said.
“Bob Reynolds has always been a driving force for innovation in the mutual fund industry, and it is fitting that he and his wife Laura have brought such a catalyst for innovation to life on our campus.”
Gee acknowledged other business leaders and friends of WVU who made gifts of $1 million or more to make Reynolds Hall possible:
- Marty and Katherine Becker
- The Encova Foundation
- Hap Esbenshade
- The Hayhurst family
- The family of the late Don and Marcella Hoylman
- Penni and Rob Roll
- Bill and Patricia Sheedy
- The Wehrle family
Cindi Roth, president and CEO of the WVU Foundation, said Reynolds’ vision predates the gift from 2017. Reynolds started talking with leadership at the College and WVU Foundation more than 10 years ago.
“Bob’s overwhelming positivity and his ability to seize opportunity has served him well as a pioneer in the financial services industry, and he used those same skills to build momentum for this incredible testament to the power of philanthropy,” Roth said.
In addition to a ribbon cutting, Reynolds Hall hosted an open house and tour of the learning labs and student resource spaces, which saw faculty, staff and students sharing their vision of the new building and its impact.
“Today signifies the start of a new story for West Virginia University’s business school,” said Milan Puskar Dean Josh Hall. “Reynolds Hall is more than bricks and mortar: it is a shining beacon of hope for our College, our campus, and the state of West Virginia. It will pave the way for our students to make their marks on the world in ways that only Mountaineers can.”
The University also recognized partners that helped shape and deliver the project on time: Strada, Gensler, PJ Dick and WVU Facilities and Services.
For Reynolds, who grew up 40 minutes away from the Morgantown campus, the ceremony served as a full-circle moment. Although the ceremony centered around him and his contributions, he acknowledged that Reynolds Hall would not have happened without support from his fellow Mountaineers.
“Thank you to everyone in this room, from the project teams who worked tirelessly from the first beam to the last brick, the fellow B&E donors and friends of the College who funded spaces where students will learn by doing, to the faculty and staff who change lives every day through your dedication to, and compassion for, WVU students,” Reynolds said.
“And a special thank you to my family, and especially my mother, Juanita, who is here today and can attest first-hand to how a West Virginia boy can be transformed by the power of business education and a love for Mountaineer sports.”