Hundreds gathered this morning to dedicate the Anderson University Flagship Center, connected to the Flagship Enterprise Center. The facility houses the Falls School of Business residential MBA (RMBA) program.
Speaking at the ceremony were AU president, James Edwards; AU board chair, Lou Gerig; President and CEO of the Flagship Enterprise Center, Charles Staley; Purdue's College of Technology dean, Denis Depew; AU's Conference and Performance Events director, Cheryl Shank; AU School of Adult Learning dean, Aleza Beverly; Falls School of Business dean, Terry Truitt; and RMBA student, Anne Gunn. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, RMBA students gave tours of the building, and refreshments were served in the Professional Development Center.
"The Anderson University Flagship Center now completes a strategic plan that brings the best of this university to the major corridor of development and at the very doorway to our community,” said Edwards.
The 53,000-square-foot facility is divided into 3 floors of operational space. The new AU residential MBA program, the School of Adult Learning and new programming in entrepreneurial studies will have a presence in the new AU Flagship Center. Purdue University's College of Technology will relocate its operation from the AU campus to offer its programs at this new location. In addition, the facility will support a state-of-the-art Professional Development Center accommodating nearly 160 persons with conferencing amenities, breakout rooms for academic and corporate development sessions, and 19 efficiency apartments for RMBA students.
The new AU Flagship Center is one-of-a-kind. "The RMBA program is unique. We have searched and searched, but haven't found another like it anywhere in the U.S." said Frank Pianki, Director of Academics for the RMBA program.
RMBA student, Aaron "Opie" Smith said, "I was attracted by the prospect of getting my MBA in one year while also gaining experience in the professional work field. I was impressed with the facility, and the apartment exceeded my expectations. I am excited about working with my cohort. I have the opportunity to draw from their strengths and that provides great accountability."
"Anderson University students studying at the Flagship will continue to learn from their professors, but they will also be learning from hundreds of entrepreneurs and working professionals," said Truitt. "This is a dream come true: A state-of-the-art facility; strong, eager students; and seasoned faculty partnering with active, working professionals. This is good for the students and good for our region’s economic growth."
The RMBA program is an 11-month, full-time masters program. Students residing at the AU Flagship Center take courses and apply their studies as they work for various Indiana companies. "The MBA is experientially and practically oriented. By having to work on real assignments with real companies, students get that interaction," said Pianki. "We connect students with the major and growing companies in Indiana. I'm amazed at how responsive the industry has been." Students have applied for jobs in a broad range of sectors including healthcare, small entrepreneurship, manufacturing and insurance.
Beverly said, "The new, state-of-the-art Professional Development Center (PDC) located at AU’s Flagship Center gives the School of Adult Learning a unique opportunity to make a tremendous impact upon our regional economy. The PDC enables people from a widespread area easy accessibility to a centralized location. In addition, the facility’s high-tech options, such as satellite conferencing, make it possible for innovative training programs to reach businesses."
"Purdue's College of Technology and Anderson University have been educational partners for more than 20 years, and we are proud that the collaboration will continue – and indeed strengthen – with the opening of this modern learning space," said Depew. "Anderson and the east-central Indiana region have been faced with many economic challenges as the manufacturing sector has undergone significant changes in the last couple of decades. But with the opening of the Anderson University Flagship Center, we are revitalizing a partnership that will produce exciting, powerful results for students and the community."
In this, its first year, enrollment in the program doubled projections. The future looks bright as new opportunities are sure to unfold. "I would like to see an even stronger international component," said Pianki. "The curriculum includes an international trip next May, and travel expenses are included in the tuition. But I would love to see additional and more substantial international opportunities."
"Often, education is purely academic. This [facility] allows students to apply what they learn in the classroom to the real world," said Staley. "There is no private institution in the state with this portfolio of business opportunities."
The facility, connected to the southwest end of the Flagship Enterprise Center, is located at I-69 and Pendleton Avenue (exit 22) in Anderson.
For an online photo gallery, please visit the AU Flagship Center album.
–David Hynds is the Web Content Specialist for Anderson University.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.