The University of Texas at Austin
  • Rowling Family Gifts $25 Million to McCombs School of Business

    By Tracy Mueller, McCombs TODAY
    Published: March 21, 2013

    University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers and McCombs School Dean Tom Gilligan today announced a $25 million pledge from Dallas businessman Robert Rowling, BBA ’76, his wife Terry Hennersdorf Rowling, BBA ’76, and their family to fund the construction of a 458,000-square-foot graduate business building.

    Robert B. Rowling Hall will house McCombs School graduate programs, expand the teaching and meeting facilities of the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center and add 525 new parking spaces.

    “This building itself will embody many traits that are key to business success — flexibility, common areas for interaction and the ability to take advantage of evolving technology,” Powers said. “And we are proud to have Bob Rowling’s name on it.”

    William Powers, Red McCombs, Terry and Robert Rowling, Tom Gilligan

    Left-to-right: University President Bill Powers, Red McCombs, Terry and Robert Rowling, and McCombs Dean Tom Gilligan [Photo credit: Steve Moakley]

    Business and education have seen multiple revolutions since the 1950s, when the current McCombs building began construction. The new building will allow graduate business students to work in modern study environments, with flexible spaces for team preparation, student-professor meetings, recruiter visits, private study areas, and teleconferencing.

    “Robert B. Rowling Hall will be truly transformative, enhancing the quality and reputation of our already highly esteemed graduate programs,” said Gilligan after the announcement. The gift also begins a three-phase project to replace and renovate facilities used by the McCombs School of Business.

    The Rowling gift marks the launch of an effort to raise $58.25 million in donations, which along with other institutional funds, are needed to complete the new graduate building.

    Rowling Hall graphic

    Rowling Hall will stand on the northeast corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Guadalupe Street, immediately west of the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, and is scheduled to open in the summer of 2017. Ennead Architects, an award-winning firm with experience in large-scale, academic construction projects, will design the building.

    Rowling is the owner and chairman of TRT Holdings, Inc., which owns the luxury Omni Hotels & Resorts chain, Gold’s Gym International, Tana Exploration Company, and various other investment assets. He previously served on the University of Texas System Board of Regents and was also chairman of the University of Texas Investment Management Company. In 2005 he was inducted into the McCombs School of Business Hall of Fame.

    Robert and Terry Rowling, as well as their son Blake, earned undergraduate degrees from the school of business.

    “My family and I are passionate about the State of Texas, The University of Texas, and creating educational opportunities in our state,” said Robert Rowling. “Texas is the best place in the country to do business, and we hope this gift will encourage the best and the brightest to come to Austin to get their MBA and be part of the phenomenon that is Texas.”

    The Rowling Hall Blueprint

    Among the core priorities for the new facility, architects will be asked to design for:

    • Long Hours: Graduate students typically spend more than 60 hours per week at the school, and often use it for consulting initiatives and job interviews.
    • Collaborative Learning: Team preparation space is a constant need, and the new building will increase the number of team rooms four fold.
    • Student Engagement: Rowling Hall will double the amount of available community space, including gathering spaces, food service, and meeting areas.
    • Distance Learning: Improved classroom and conference technologies will bring far-flung classmates close together.
    • Faculty-Student Interaction: Improving access to faculty offices will make it easier for students to work one-on-one with professors.

    This story originally appeared on McCombs TODAY.

    Related Links:
    Rowling Family Pledges Gift of $25 Million for New Graduate Building at McCombs School of Business (UT Austin News Release)
    Regents Approve New Graduate Business Education Center (McCombs TODAY)

    • Quote 2
      Dean Vande Hey said on April 1, 2013 at 7:49 p.m.
      Deep appreciation goes to the Rowlings and other philanthropists and contributors to UT. Without their generosity, The University would NOT attract the quality faculty needed to educate our students from which we garner pioneers in business, science and government. Too many buildings some say? On-campus learning occcurs in quality facilities, not on the grass or under the trees.......what successful enterprise works in the latter environment? Thanks again to these outstanding individuals who, starting at an institution that changed the world, have in fact changed the world in their own right.
    • Quote 2
      Steve Baker said on April 1, 2013 at 4:15 p.m.
      Thank you, Terry and Robert Rowling. To keep pace with other world class universities we must have world class facilities. You are TRUE TEXAS EXES! You CHANGE THE WORLD! HOOK'EM
    • Quote 2
      John Watson said on March 30, 2013 at 8:41 p.m.
      Mars Bonfire's comment shows the sheer selfishness of some people. If the $25 million doesn't help his cause then it shouldn't happen... I don't see anybody out there criticizing the millions in research money that we do get? How about you be thankful that the Rowlings are helping to increase the value of a UT degree, indirectly for people like you and directly for those who will be using this great new facility. Thanks!
    • Quote 2
      Longhorn2013 said on March 30, 2013 at 3:37 p.m.
      So this is what's going to be the faith of Players Restaurant? I would appreciate that the original article quote that, including the fact that they tried in 2004 to annex the land via eminent domain. Real classy, Business School. Apparently, there was no where else on campus to build you Grad School, except on an Austin, UT landmark.
    • Quote 2
      Kerry Smith said on March 29, 2013 at 10:10 a.m.
      Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Rowling. I hihgly value the education I received at the McCombs School of Business. I love hearing about this significant investment and generosity. I am sure the students will do you proud.
    • Quote 2
      Kevin Moomaw said on March 28, 2013 at 9:52 p.m.
      Outstanding. Mr and Mrs Rowling we appreciate you making such a huge difference in the future of U.T.
    • Quote 2
      Michael Fleyzor said on March 28, 2013 at 9:24 p.m.
      WOW! A big Texas thank you to Robert and Terry Rowling. As a 1975 graduate of the BBA Accounting program, the above "blueprint" of the new Business Building is awesome! I only wish UT had that type of facility during the early 1970's. This gift will surely have an impact on many students for years to come. Thank you again.
    • Quote 2
      Brian Thomas said on March 28, 2013 at 12:14 p.m.
      I am very appreciative of the generosity of the Rowling family. Having attended both the undergraduate and graduate business school, and having worked closely with these institutions within the business community, I can say that this is a worthy investment that will pay dividends directly for the school's students and the University's broader academic standing. Occasionaly, individuals will weigh in critically on application of proceeds from private donations, but they are always welcome to contribute their own hard earned capital to whatever venture they feel best meets their priorities. I myself, am grateful that people like the Rowlings contribute at any level.
    • Quote 2
      Hannah Marsteller said on March 27, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.
      Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Rowling for your kind contribution to UT. I know that it will go a long way to positively impact the future of UT, and will most certainly help UT to continue to attract the best and the brightest. What starts here, really does change the world. Hook 'Em! -Texas Ex Life Member, UT Class of 2012
    • Quote 2
      Joseph said on March 26, 2013 at 4:36 p.m.
      Mr. and Mrs. Rowling, thank you for your investment in the young people of Texas. Your gift will improve the lives of generations of Texans, thank you.
    • Quote 2
      Mars Bonfire said on March 25, 2013 at 10:20 a.m.
      Really? Another building? Instead of rich people giving money to build a self-named masoleum, how about a $25M grant for research, or to recruit top teachers and researchers, or to fund an ethics in business program, or, or, or? The last thing UT needs is another building. Building space has increased by more than 70% since 1980, but enrollment has remained constant, and in fact UT would prefer to shrink enrollment. Since my time on campus in the early '70s, UT has been on a building binge like nothing else matters. Students are constantly detoured around giant construction projects and distracted by the noise of construction. How about a new UT slogan... "UT-what starts here changes the skyline." It's a welfare program for building contractors. Finally, I'll be shocked if this post is not censored- not because of any of the reasons listed below, but because it's simply critical of UT's priorities.
    • Quote 2
      Brian Watson said on March 21, 2013 at 6:59 p.m.
      Perhaps he who pays the piper will not demand the right to call the tune. Leave room for the rest of us, RBR.
    • Quote 2
      Shannon Vincent said on March 21, 2013 at 2:56 p.m.
      Thank You Mr. and Mrs. Rowling
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