Lowell, MA – More than 100 people — including UMass Lowell leaders, students, faculty, and staff, along with state legislators and officials — broke ground recently on a new $40 million home for the university’s Manning School of Business that will become a key component in the transformation of its north campus.
The building will be named for UMass Lowell graduate John Pulichino, ’67, and his wife, Joy Tong, successful entrepreneurs in the travel-goods industry who have donated $4 million to student scholarships. UMass Lowell leaders envision that the new building will complete an innovation district dedicated to business education and scientific research and development in support of the region’s economy.
The Pulichino Tong Business Building is scheduled to open in 2017 and will serve UMass Lowell’s growing population of undergraduate and graduate students studying accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, international business, management and operations, and information systems.
The centerpiece of the 52,000sf building will be a four-story atrium overlooking an outdoor plaza formed by the new and existing buildings, creating more green space on North Campus. Additional renovations to Lydon Library — which has already seen improvements such as the recent additions of the Katen Learning Commons and the new DifferenceMaker Central for UMass Lowell’s unique entrepreneurship program for students — will connect it to the business school building and provide an open area for group projects, meetings, and other collaboration.
The building, designed by Cambridge Seven Associates of Cambridge, will incorporate high-performance, sustainable, and energy-efficient features that will meet or exceed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver-Plus standards. Other features will include a finance laboratory designed to simulate on-the-job experiences in the business world, such as a trading room with access to real-time stock market information, and technology-enhanced classrooms and seminar rooms that can accommodate more than 400 students.
The state’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) is managing the building’s construction. The commonwealth provided $25 million in bond funding for the Pulichino Tong Business Building, with $12 million of its total cost raised through private donations to date.
The start of construction on the new building comes at a time when the Manning School of Business is seeing enrollment climb at the graduate and undergraduate level, including a 79% increase over two years in the MBA program. The academically strongest freshman class in the school’s history is expected this fall.
These gains reflect UMass Lowell’s growth overall. Since 2007, the university has experienced a 45% increase in enrollment; opened eight new buildings; graduated record numbers of students; and has seen a three-year, 25-spot climb in U.S. News & World Report’s Best National Universities ranking that is the second-fasted in the nation. UMass Lowell also ranks among the top institutions in the country for graduates’ return on investment and average salaries, and Forbes magazine named it 10th on its list of 25 “Best Value Colleges” in the nation. Over the past seven years, the university has raised record amounts for student scholarships, facilities and programs.
The groundbreaking ceremony kicked off a weekend of campus events. A record number of students – nearly 3,500 – will graduate during UMass Lowell Commencement exercises tomorrow.
In addition to Pulichino and Meehan, speakers at the event included state Sen. Eileen Donoghue; state Rep. Thomas Golden; Lowell Mayor Rodney Elliott; Carole Cornelison, commissioner of the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance; and Kathryn Carter, dean of UMass Lowell’s Manning School of Business.
“The state-of-the-art Pulichino Tong Business Building will offer a vital new center for business education on our campus and enhance the high-quality education our faculty provides students to prepare them for success in the ever-changing global economy. This new home will also present opportunities for research and collaboration with industry and entrepreneurs,” Carter said.
State legislators praised UMass Lowell for its commitment to advancing high-quality education and making it accessible and affordable to students.
“This university – and especially, I’m proud to say the Manning School of Business – is making sure that its graduates have all the tools necessary so that they are going to be champions, they are going to be leaders in whatever field they pursue,” said Golden, a UMass Lowell alumnus.
“This project is part of the Patrick Administration’s commitment to building opportunity through world-class education buildings,” said Cornelison. “The Commonwealth’s investment and DCAMM’s partnership with the University of Massachusetts Lowell will provide students and faculty the resources, through state-of-the-art infrastructure and technology, to succeed in a global economy and secure a brighter future.”
Pulichino is the chief executive officer of Group III International Ltd., an industry leader in travel gear products. Group III was founded by Tong, an award-winning designer who is the company’s president and creative director. The couple established the Pulichino Tong Family Foundation scholarship fund for UMass Lowell business students and they have provided leadership on several university committees. In 2012, Pulichino received the Distinguished Alumni Award and tomorrow, during UMass Lowell’s Commencement exercises, both he and Tong will be presented with honorary degrees.
“While it will be gratifying to one day see our names on this building, the real reward for us is to help deserving UMass Lowell students with their education. Joy and I are excited to play a role in the university’s unprecedented growth and are proud to be members of the dynamic UMassLowell community,” Pulichino said.
UMass Lowell’s business school is named for Robert J. Manning ’84, chairman and CEO of MFS Investment Management and, like Pulichino, is one of the university’s most successful business graduates.
“Today we not only mark the start of construction on a building expressly designed to promote a sense of community and collaboration, we celebrate the coming generations of students who will learn and work here alongside faculty mentors and researchers, honing the skills that will help them fashion the economy of the future in ways we can only imagine,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan.
Located at the corner of University Avenue and Riverside Street, the Pulichino Tong Business Building will sit adjacent to UMass Lowell’s Mark and Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center, as well as Alumni Hall and the Lydon Library. The area, combined with the academic and laboratory complex across University Avenue, will become known as the North Campus Innovation District, marrying the strengths of UMass Lowell’s engineering and science programs with its top-notch business school.