New Schulze Hall welcomes first students today

Schulze Hall is located in the heart of St. Thomas' campus in downtown Minneapolis.

New Schulze Hall welcomes first students today

Classes begin today at the University of St. Thomas, and for several hundred entrepreneurship students, it’s a particularly special first day of school. They’ll be taking classes in brand-new, high-tech facilities, and they’ll look forward to a visit next month by someone considered one of the nation’s entrepreneurial “kings,” Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates.

The first students in the university’s new Schulze School of Entrepreneurship will attend classes in Schulze Hall, a $22 million, 86,000-square-foot building that just opened on St. Thomas’ downtown Minneapolis campus at 11th Street South and Harmon Place.

The school and its new home are named for St. Thomas trustee and longtime friend Richard Schulze. He founded and is chairman of Best Buy Co. Inc. and a nationally respected entrepreneur. With his late first wife, Sandra, in 2000, Schulze gave St. Thomas a $50 million gift; it served as primary funding for the project. The Schulzes’ donation remains the largest single gift ever reported by a Minnesota college or university.

The Schulze School brings together the university’s graduate and undergraduate degree programs in entrepreneurship as well as its centers and institutes that provide entrepreneurship-related educational programs and services. It is part of St. Thomas’ College of Business, which is headquartered in adjoining Terrence Murphy Hall.

A new skyway across 11th Street links Murphy and Schulze halls with St. Thomas’ School of Law building. Another skyway bridges 10th Street, linking Terrence Murphy Hall and Opus Hall, in which St. Thomas ’ School of Education is located. Students and staff can now traverse the entire downtown Minneapolis campus indoors.  

Built by Opus Northwest Corp. of Mankato- Kasota stone in the university’s signature Collegiate Gothic architectural style, Schulze Hall features a circular, two-story glass atrium spanning its first and second floors, a 330-seat auditorium that easily converts to a smaller, tiered classroom, and a third-floor student commons overlooking downtown Minneapolis.

In addition to numerous classrooms, offices, meeting and conference rooms for entrepreneurship students and new-business incubators, the building also will serve as a campuswide gathering place. Its second-floor, skyway-level dining and gathering area will be open to the public, as will a forthcoming Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame.

Technology resources in the new hall contributed to the Schulze School’s designation in July as the first Sun Microsystems Center of Excellence Business School. The new hall is St. Thomas’ first completely wireless classroom building and features advanced multimedia production and broadcasting capabilities. Among the technical highlights are Sun servers and workstations with VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) computer telephony.

Bill Gates to headline October dedication celebration
Schulze Hall’s dedication celebration begins Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 18, with a reception, guest speaker and tours designed for students, alumni and the general public. Entrepreneurship students will lead tours from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Pamela Sheehan Ryan ’89, founder of Designer Sports LLC,  will be a guest speaker for College of Business graduate students and alumni at 5:30 p.m. in Schulze Hall auditorium.

Faculty and staff are invited to tour the building from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19.

Father Dennis Dease, president of St. Thomas; Dr. Christopher Puto, dean of the College of Business, and Richard Schulze will welcome Microsoft Corp. founder and chairman Bill Gates as a special guest on Thursday, Oct. 20.

Gates and Schulze will address full-time MBA and entrepreneurship students in an afternoon forum about entrepreneurship. St. Thomas trustee and alumna Ann Winblad, CEO of Winblad Venture Capital, will moderate the session.

The dedication ceremony follows at 3:30 p.m. in the Schulze Hall auditorium.  Because of space limitations, the event is open only to invited guests. Archbishop Harry Flynn will bless the building, and Gates will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree. His remarks are expected to center on entrepreneurship and its role in the future of the economy.

The forum, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., will be simulcast to Schoenecker Arena on the St. Paul campus and to Thornton Auditorium in Terrence Murphy Hall and numerous locations on the Minneapolis campus. The dedication ceremony, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., will be simulcast to 3M Auditorium of Owens Science Hall on the St. Paul campus and to Thornton Auditorium and other Minneapolis campus locations.

For more information about Schulze Hall’s dedication celebration, watch Bulletin Today or call Constituent Relations, (651) 962-6969.