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Business is booming at the U

New business school buildings in Duluth and the Twin Cities make more room for undergrads

By Deane Morrison

from M summer 2007

A business school that's rolling in green? Sounds ordinary, until you realize the "green" is an environmental stamp of approval-for the UMD's Labovitz School of Business and Economics. Its new building, due to open next January, is the first University of Minnesota building to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. "We don't see ourselves as the typical corporate business school," says Kjell Knudsen, dean of the Labovitz School. "We are very much concerned with having a business school oriented toward sustainability and wise use of resources." With a fall 2006 undergraduate enrollment of nearly 1,900, the school, which opened in 1974, is about 50 percent over the current building's capacity. The new three-story, 65,000-square-foot building will house classrooms, specialized academic teaching laboratories, a large lecture hall, and student gathering and study space, as well as offices. Built with efficient plumbing, heating, and cooling and recycled materials, the building is surrounded by landscaping sculpted to slow rain runoff into two local creeks. The Labovitz School has M.B.A. programs in Duluth and Rochester, but its prime focus is on undergraduates. "We're very proud of that," says Knudsen. "It is possible to give undergraduates an education that companies are in the market for." Many undergraduate schools like Labovitz are getting to where they can compete with MBA-focused schools, he says. And to top it off, about 85 percent of its graduates stay in Minnesota. AT UMTC, the Carlson School of Management has also been having growing pains. But thanks to a new building on the horizon, Herbert M. Hanson Hall, the school is expanding its undergraduate student body by almost 50 percent. The Carlson School has been admitting about 300 freshmen a year, but this fall that number will reach its maximum-about 450. With numbers of transfer students also increasing, the school will eventually have an undergraduate population of about 2,400, up nearly 50 percent from the fall 2003 enrollment of 1,653. Carlson has always been one of the smallest business schools in the Big 10, but, says Mary Maus Kosir, assistant dean of the undergraduate program, the new building will help bring it closer to average size-approximately 3,000. And none too soon. "We've seen double-digit increases in numbers of applicants since 1996, and also a big increase in student quality," says Kosir. "We had just under 4,000 applicants for the freshman class of 450. "A lot of students who apply here also apply to other Big 10 schools. We will lose them to those schools if we don't accept them." The 124,000-square-foot, half two-story, half three-story building will be connected to the current Carlson School, which occupies a corner of the West Bank campus. It will be home to classrooms, interview rooms, an undergraduate lounge, and collaborative space where students can plug in their laptops and project their work on a screen. It will also house the College of Liberal Arts' department of economics. A virtual tour of Hanson Hall is available on the school Web site, www.carlsonschool.umn.edu.