The University's executive education programs, housed in the College of Business, have received a $2 million contribution from Office Depot. The gift, eligible for a $2 million match from the state of Florida, will provide the University with $4 million to construct a new 13,000-square-foot, two-story Executive Education Center adjacent to the College of Business on the Boca Raton campus.
The gift was announced earlier this month by President Brogan (above, right) and Steve Odland (above, left), chairman and chief executive officer of Office Depot. It is a component of Office Depot’s new $4.5 million Education and Diversity Partnership Program involving FAU, Florida International University and the University of Miami, as well as the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and the United Negro College Fund. Including state matching funds, the full impact of the program totals $7.5 million.
“On behalf of Florida Atlantic University, I am honored to accept this gift from Office Depot, which has been a strong business partner of this University throughout the company’s 19-year history,” said President Brogan. “We are delighted by the confidence that Office Depot has expressed in our ability to serve the needs of the academic and business communities in South Florida and beyond.”
Added Odland, “We are very pleased to be able to enhance our existing relationship with FAU, which we consider to be our ‘neighborhood university.’ FAU has been an important partner of our company for many years. With the construction of the Center and the other synergies we are establishing, our two organizations will be drawn even closer together – benefiting both of us as well as the South Florida community in innumerable ways.”
FAU will name the new facility the Office Depot Center for Executive Education in recognition of the company’s support. In addition, to further strengthen the relationship between the company and the University, Daisy Vanderlinde, Office Depot’s executive vice president of human resources, has been invited to join the College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council, while Patricia McKay, Office Depot’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, has been asked to join the School of Accounting Advisory Board. In 2002, the company established the Office Depot Eminent Scholar Chair in Small Business Research at FAU. Last year, the University joined with the Journal of Small Business Management to present the inaugural Office Depot Small Business Research Forum.
The new Office Depot Center for Executive Education will become a focal point for the University’s broad spectrum of programs for the business community, including executive graduate programs, executive continuing education, extension programs and corporate training programs.
"This facility will enable us to advance our efforts to a new level of excellence,” said J. Dennis Coates, dean of the College of Business. “We look forward to Office Depot’s participation as we refine our plans for the new facility and move ahead with construction.”
The facility is expected to feature:
- meeting rooms fully equipped with state-of-the-art instructional equipment (i.e., whiteboards with printing/faxing capability and virtual classroom connectivity);
- flexible space to accommodate large and small groups, formal and informal meetings and a variety of delivery methods from lectures to highly interactive formats;
- fully functional kitchen and catering staging areas, as well as a covered patio area for dining and breaks.; and
- administration and faculty offices located on one floor, with the second floor containing a variety of classrooms, breakout rooms and computer labs.
According to Odland, the Executive Education Center will become an important part of Office Depot’s own professional development initiatives. FAU will make an array of classroom, laboratory and meeting space available to facilitate Office Depot training programs for associates at its corporate headquarters and around the nation.