My, oh my, how quickly they grow up.
It seems like only yesterday that we celebrated the birth of Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business. It was one year ago, on June 21, 2013, the College of Business became the Harbert College of Business with the announcement of Raymond and Kathryn Harbert’s historic $40 million gift.
The gift is already going to work for the college. The new Ph.D. program in Finance will welcome its first set of students this fall, and faculty member Brian Gibson is working toward launching a supply chain research center early next year. And, we interviewed several good eminent scholar candidates earlier this year; we hope to hire three eminent scholars this year. We are hiring faculty for our new business analytics program. All of these things have been enabled by the Harberts’ gift.
Financially, we will start seeing a difference in our budget as the endowment earnings from the initial portion of the Harbert gift roll in early 2015. In the near term, the excitement of the gift and the matching portion of the gift have generated unprecedented giving to the college. We are almost 60 percent of the way to meeting “the challenge” portion of the Harbert gift, in which Mr. Harbert promised to match new endowment gifts dollar-for-dollar up to $15 million.
Among the commitments we have received for the Harbert challenge match are gifts to create additional eminent scholar chairs, an endowment to support internships, and a gift to infuse enterprise resource planning (ERP) into our curriculum (just as a few examples). For the fiscal year, the college will set a record in fundraising (even if the Harbert gift is not included). So far, in this capital campaign, the college has raised more than $75 million toward its goal of $100 million. Keep in mind that during the last campaign for the college that ended in 2008, the goal was $25 million.
During the Harbert College’s first year, we worked on rebranding from the “College of Business” to the “Raymond J. Harbert College of Business.” We knew it would take some time for people to get used to the new name. However, we were surprised at how quickly the new name caught on. Case in point: during Camp War Eagle, a time when we welcome new students to university and college, I often overheard parents and incoming freshmen refer to the “Harbert College” – very cool! To further our brand, the college sells t-shirts, sweat shirts, coffee mugs, coasters, koozies, etc., with the Harbert College of Business logo. It is neat to see so many students, faculty, alumni, and parents using Harbert College logoed merchandise. And, in case you didn’t notice, we rebranded our bi-annual magazine to the newly named Harbert Magazine. The magazine, by the way, has been a huge hit.
Overall, it has been a magical first year for the Harbert College. I can’t wait to see it grow and mature in the coming years.