BGSU trustees announce private gifts, approve naming of new College of Business Administration building

Private gifts were announced at the BGSU Board of Trustees meeting Feb. 17 that will reshape the Bowling Green campus as well as the student experience in years to come. The board also took action on room and meal plan rates, changes to the academic calendar and new campus facilities.

“This is an exciting time in the history of Bowling Green State University,” said President Mary Ellen Mazey. “Our enrollment is increasing and the tremendous support we are receiving from alumni and friends is helping us continue to build our strength and offer students a memorable education that prepares them well for their careers after college.”

The College of Business Administration will have a new building. With a $5 million leadership gift from Robert and Patricia Maurer of Bowling Green, the college will move from its present location into Hanna Hall. The building will be extensively renovated to include high concept, high tech learning facilities and amenities appropriate to a world-class business school.

The trustees approved the renaming of the building as the Robert W. and Patricia A. Maurer Center in honor of the longtime supporters of the University. Robert Maurer is a 1965 graduate in accounting.

The board also authorized the first $5.7 million of the projected $49 million total cost for design and pre-construction costs to begin the project, which is scheduled for completion in June 2020.

Eight other alumni families are contributing to the renovation of the building, and the board approved the naming of classrooms, public spaces, lounges, offices and other spaces in recognition of their support. They include the William F. and Peggy L. Schmeltz Atrium, the Sister Mary Noreen Gray, R.S.M. Student Services Hub (a gift of Paul and Margo Hooker), the Michael R. and Mary Lee McGranaghan Dean’s Suite, the Daniel R. and Laura C. Keller Lounge, the David and Shirley Levey Classroom, the David and Lisa M. O’Brien Dean’s Conference Room, the Bruce E. and Kathleen M. Nyberg Conference Room and the R. Max Williamson Conference Room.

In a major step toward enhancing students’ opportunities for learning, the board approved the addition of a three-week J-session, or Intersession, during the first three weeks of January, and shortening the fall and spring semesters by one week each to 15 weeks. The new academic schedule will go into effect in fall 2018, with the first winter session in January 2019.

The measure has been studied by administrative teams and was met with wide approval by campus groups during the exploratory process. The 15-week semester is much more aligned with the academic schedule of the majority of other public universities, noted Dr. Rodney Rogers, provost and senior vice president. The winter session, technically part of spring semester, offers students the chance to take short-term courses similar to summer session, do a brief study abroad, service-learning, research or other experiential learning class, catch up on degree requirements and stay on track to graduate in a timely manner.

“We are confident this will be very helpful to students to enhance their academic experience and provides a way to either get ahead or catch up so they may complete their degrees and begin their careers,” Rogers said.

Also in academic affairs, the board voted to reunite the General Studies Writing (GSW) Program and the Department of English, which had been separate since 2002. The unification will allow faculty from English to teach GSW courses and expand the writing curriculum, further strengthening an important skill for all students.

In other business, the trustees set room and meal plan rates for fiscal year 2018.

The board approved a modest average increase of 2.1 percent for room rates, continuing its practice of utilizing differentiated rate increases for the three categories of room types and amenities. The cost of a Standard Double Room reported annually to the Ohio Board of Regents for comparative purposes will be $2,790 a semester, a 2.4 percent increase, or $65 more than last year.

Meal plan rate increases of an average 3 percent, or $3.06 per week, were also approved. The standard Bronze plan, which is the plan used for comparison by the Ohio Board of Regents, will increase by 3 percent, from $1,620 to $1,669 per semester, a $49 increase.

The University was the only public university in Ohio that did not raise meal plan rates from 2012-2015, but increasing labor, benefits and operational costs necessitated an increase this year, said CFO Sheri Stoll.

The new room and meal plan rates, combined with tuition and general fees for total cost per year, place BGSU fifth among all Ohio public universities but substantially lower than the other three of the “four corner schools,” Kent State University, Ohio University and Miami University. The overall increase is 1.18 percent.

“We have historically tried our hardest to keep the total cost of education affordable for our students,” Stoll said. “Over a student’s four-year academic career, the savings we have been able to achieve are really meaningful.”

The board also approved revisions to the schedule of special course fees for fall semester 2018 to the extent permitted by Ohio law. These fees are generally charged for materials, special equipment and supplies in hands-on learning courses.

In addition, the board approved refinancing the debt for Centennial Hall and Falcon Heights residence halls by issuing general receipts bonds. Thanks to favorable market conditions, BGSU students will be able realize substantial future savings by this action, Stoll said.