Yale SOM Celebrates Groundbreaking for New Campus
About 100 of the people who have made possible the construction of Edward P. Evans Hall, the new Yale School of Management campus, gathered at the site of the school's future home on Tuesday, April 26, for a groundbreaking ceremony. The day, warm with a cloudless sky, echoed the sense of optimism in the crowd.
Silver shovels and champagne marked the event, which as the day's three speakers noted, has been years, even decades in the making. After the speakers, a number of major contributors to the new campus came forward to shovel a scoop of dirt, symbolizing the fact that the project is well underway.
Yale SOM Dean Sharon M. Oster stood in front of the large pit that has already been cleared for the building's foundation, wearing her distinctive pink hardhat. "More than 30 years ago, the Yale Corporation voted to create a management school worthy of the Yale name, its deep intellectual roots, and sense of service," said Oster. "We've worked hard these past years to fulfill that promise. This new campus will help us do that."
Oster was joined by Yale President Richard C. Levin '74 PhD and William S. Beinecke YC '36 in speaking at the event, which was also attended by Edward A. Snyder, Yale SOM's dean designate, and alumni of both Yale SOM and Yale University. The 4.25-acre campus, under construction on Whitney Avenue, has been designed by Foster + Partners, the architectural firm chaired by Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate Lord Norman Foster MArch '62, and will be built by Gruzen Samton LLP, the architect of record. It will be a landmark at the northern gateway to the Yale campus, housing state-of-the-art classrooms, faculty offices, academic centers, and student and meeting spaces organized around a welcoming courtyard.
Yale President Richard C. Levin called the groundbreaking a "great day for Yale SOM," predicting that the new campus will be the "last ingredient in taking SOM to the very top of business schools in the U.S. and around the world." Until now, he said, the school's campus, a collection of renovated mansions joined to modern buildings, has constricted Yale SOM's growth. "The new campus is going to be first-class in every way," he said. "We will be able to move forward with tremendous energy and look forward to occupying the building as fast as we can build it."
Levin also took a moment to honor Edward P. (Ned) Evans YC '64, who donated $50 million for the construction of the campus shortly before his death in December. Members of the Evans family attended the groundbreaking.
William S. Beinecke, whose family has been deeply involved in Yale SOM since before its founding, spoke last, providing a look back at the school's 30-plus-year history. He told how he and William H. Donaldson, Yale SOM's founding dean, advocated for a business school. He expressed great pride in having been part of building a business school worthy of Yale and looked forward to the new campus with a sense of optimism, celebration, and thanksgiving. "When I view this, our future campus, I can't but marvel at how great a university we are a part of and how lucky we are," he said. "After nearly 50 years of close association, I stand here with all of you celebrating the creation of what will be an architectural gem, and a great help in aiding SOM to become one of the leading schools of its type in the USA."
After the conclusion of the official ceremony, people lingered at the site to snap pictures and appreciate the beautiful weather. Attendees left with a keepsake: a blue hardhat branded with the Yale School of Management logo.