Foundation in place for new CBA building thanks to transformational gifts
By Matt Markey ’76
Before the first whiteboards can be installed or the infrastructure for video streaming can be put in place, and even before the flexible classroom and study areas can be outfitted with the best in learning technology, there needs to be a foundation.
The new College of Business Administration needs financial building blocks of significant size in order to advance from the sketches and models to a living, functioning learning laboratory of the future, and for the future.
Several generous and committed donors who are passionate about keeping Bowling Green at the forefront in business education have provided major financial support for the new structure, which will be known as the Robert W. and Patricia A. Maurer Center.
.The Maurers have made a substantial gift for the new CBA, and their philanthropy has been joined and enhanced by other prominent members of the greater BGSU family.
Michael ’80 and Mary Lee ’80 McGranaghan, Peggy L. Schmeltz ’50, ’70, and Paul J. ’75 and N. Margo ’74 Hooker regard this dramatic update to the BGSU campus as a priority.
“What is required to be successful in a college of business is bright and fully engaged students, outstanding teachers utilizing the latest educational techniques, and a world-class facility that promotes learning and dynamic interactions,” Mike McGranaghan said. “If one of those three things is out of sync with the others, then this ecosystem will not work.”
The McGranaghans know well the importance of that optimal incubator of learning – they are both products of a BGSU business education. They have a collective determination to make the “exceptional education” they received available to Falcon business students of the future.
“Bowling Green finds itself in an extremely competitive environment,” Mike McGranaghan said, “and if you are going to be a highly successful and vibrant university, this growth is essential.”
The McGranaghans have provided a gift to create the Dean’s Suite in honor of the current dean, Raymond W. Braun. The suite will be centrally located in the building and house the administrative offices for the college.
Mary Lee McGranaghan stressed the importance of having an excellent facility, and then showcasing it to prospective students and the business world.
“It will bring the top students there, which is very important,” she said. “I was able to land a very nice job after I left BGSU, and we want to see that happen for all of our students.”The Robert W. and Patricia A. Maurer Center will also feature a unique student-centric aspect that honors an educator and humanitarian with close ties to BGSU graduates Paul and Margo Hooker. The Hookers have pledged to fund the “Sister Noreen Gray Student Success Hub,” naming the vital hub after Paul’s aunt who passed away two years ago following a long career in education and charitable work that stretched from northwest Ohio to an orphanage in Jamaica.
“We immediately thought that Aunt Noreen’s name would be much more fitting than ours to don this space,” Paul Hooker said. “Any accomplishments I may have had in my life pale next to those of my aunt.”
Following graduation, the Hookers concentrated on raising their family and building a company. They reconnected with the University in recent years, and that association reminded them of the outstanding experience they had as BGSU students.
“I find myself thinking often of lessons that I learned as an undergraduate,” Paul said. “The University offered me so many avenues to grow and mature . . . and I want to do what I can to help others attain a college degree from my beloved alma mater.”
Paul Hooker has mentored BGSU students through his work with “The Hatch” program, and has also lectured on campus on entrepreneurial opportunities. He has seen the potential in that pool of enthusiastic business students.
“Many of my touch points with the University have been the students themselves,” Paul Hooker said. “When I was at BGSU, the current College of Business Administration building was new, but teaching methods have changed and the building is antiquated. To draw the top business students, we need a state-of-the-art facility.”
The association Peggy and the late William Schmeltz have had with the University and the CBA stretches back more than 70 years, when Bill first enrolled as a student in 1944. He later taught finance and was both an educator and a mentor to several generations of BGSU business students.
Building on that lengthy and deep relationship, which included the time Bill spent as dean of the College of Business Administration, Peggy decided to honor her late husband’s legacy by lending the family’s support to the new CBA building.
“Bill always had the interests of the students in mind,” she said. “He wanted to make their education as much like learning to run a business as possible, and this new facility will continue that type of approach.”
A prominent part of the new building will be the William F. and Peggy L. Schmeltz Atrium. It is Peggy’s desire that the area serve as a place where the business graduates that Bill helped to train and educate will gather during their visits to campus and share memories of his days with them in the classroom.
“He followed many of his students after they left Bowling Green. It was a real source of pride for Bill,” she said. “I want the new students to know about him, and the alums to remember him. If he were alive today, he’d be so proud of the direction the University is taking, and proud of them building this new facility.”