Breaking New Ground

College expansion marks a new era of teaching and learning.

By Mary Ellen Alu
Image by Christa Neu/Architectural Renderings by Voith & Mactavish Architects

aerial view of construction site

The College of Business formally broke ground this past May for a 74,000-square-foot building that will be infused with technology and provide students and faculty with flexible, collaborative spaces for learning, teaching and research. The building also will be the new home of the Vistex Institute for Executive Learning and Research.

“The beauty of the building is not in the limestone and mortar, although it is gorgeous,” Georgette Chapman Phillips, the Kevin L. and Lisa A. Clayton Dean of the College of Business, told members of the Lehigh community at the groundbreaking ceremony. “It is in its interactivity, in its capacity for motion and momentum and in what it means for our students as they embark on their business education and discover their careers.”

Rising on Packer Avenue between Taylor and Webster streets, the new three-story, four-floor structure is expected to open in fall 2022. Construction was originally scheduled to begin in 2020 but was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The building will accommodate classes in the College’s undergraduate and graduate programs and provide 16 additional teaching spaces. It will also provide space for an expanded Bosland Financial Services Lab, Data Analytics Lab, Rauch Media and Communications Lab, Behavioral Lab and a business innovation/incubator space for entrepreneurial exploration.

The configuration of the classrooms will allow for simulations, case study presentations and hackathon events. Also, labs will be equipped with multiple large screens for instructor use and specialized group tables will have individual student monitors. Newly configured smart spaces will support faculty research and teaching.

“Our new building reflects Lehigh Business and Lehigh University—not just who we are, but our commitment to what we hope to become. We wish to be a college that breaks boundaries at the intersection of business and technology. We strive to embrace change that will better support our students, our faculty and our community," Phillips said.

The new building will sit catty-corner to the Rauch Business Center. 

rendering of new business building classroom

Phillips, whose area of scholarly research is real estate, noted that buildings give physicality to a community’s goals and aspirations. As beautiful as the new structure will be, “the joy of our new building goes beyond structure. For me, the building symbolizes how we are embracing new ways to engage business students, business leaders and business faculty.”

“Innovative and successful companies are inclusive, adaptive and disruptive,” Phillips said. “That’s what we are teaching our students to be, and we are doing it in immersive and experiential settings.”

The expansion project was made possible as a result of the financial gifts from donors who have expressed confidence in the future of the College of Business.

Among the donors who attended the groundbreaking were Sanjay Shah ’89 MBA, whose early contributions established the Vistex Institute, and Ted Walsh ’88, who will have a classroom-in-the-round in the building named after him in recognition of his generosity. 

Also at the ceremony was Lehigh Trustee Jeffrey Bosland ’88 ’22P, senior managing director of the Financial Institutions Group at Cerberus, who told attendees that his Lehigh education “meant so much in my life” and provided him with the foundational tools in finance, accounting, marketing and management that he needed to succeed in the business world. Bosland earned a finance degree at Lehigh; his son Andrew is a current student. 

A champion of the College of Business and a first-generation student, Bosland was instrumental in establishing Lehigh’s first Financial Services Lab in the Rauch Business Center. In recognition of support from him and his wife Debra, the expanded lab in the new building will be named the Bosland Financial Services Lab.

rendering of new business building

“This new building,” he said, “will enable Lehigh to achieve new heights with state-of-the-art technology, dynamic physical learning spaces, new interactive remote capabilities and much, much more.”  

Christopher Scott ’94, managing director at Morgan Stanley, commended Dean Phillips for her vision and leadership. “She is a bold, unflappable leader, and her passion for this project shows,” said Scott, a champion of the College. A classroom in the new building will be named in recognition of Scott’s generosity.

Since the Rauch Business Center opened in 1991, the College of Business has seen significant growth. Enrollment has increased 43 percent, faculty has increased 38 percent and new programs, including a FinTech minor and executive education, have been added.