Ground Broken for State-of-the-Art Becker Business Building
From left, Carol ’79 and Barney ’65 Barnett join FSC President Anne Kerr and Bill Becker ’65 and his wife, Mary Ann, as they ceremonially break ground for the Bill and Mary Ann Becker Business Building at FSC. The building will be the home of the Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise. For more photos, visit the FSC Mocs photostream »
LAKELAND (Feb. 14, 2013) – Gray skies and drizzles did not dampen the enthusiasm of Florida Southern staff, faculty, and supporters, as ground was broken for the Bill and Mary Ann Becker Business Building, future home of the Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise.
More than 120 people, including dozens of dignitaries, gathered for the ceremony at the site of the new building facing Lake Hollingsworth. FSC President Anne Kerr said the building would be “a model facility for other business schools” and would help the College attain its goal of becoming one of the top 25 business schools in the country.
Dr. Kerr noted that among the most successful graduates of FSC’s business school is Bill Becker ’65, who with his wife, Mary Ann, gave the generous naming gift for the building. She described him as “an exemplar of the highest business ethics, entrepreneurial success, and transformational leadership that have contributed to a better quality of life in our society.”
“He is a powerful advocate for the citrus industry in Washington and is respected nationally for leading the charge for major industry progress,” she said.
Becker is owner of Peace River Citrus Products and a former chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission. In April 2011, the College conferred upon him the honorary degree Doctor of Business in recognition of his successful career, civic leadership, and philanthropic support of many organizations.
In his remarks, Becker said he quickly realized after graduating from Florida Southern and assuming a leadership role in his family’s citrus business the importance of the business classes he took. He said it is his hope the Becker Business Building will aid future generations of students to be successful.
“We could not be more delighted to be here and to see this project come to fruition,” he said.
The three-story, 40,000-square-foot Becker Business Building is being designed by renowned architect Robert A.M. Stern of New York, Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, who previously designed the Nicholas and Wesley Barnett Residence Halls and the Dr. Marcene H. and Robert E. Christoverson Humanities Building at Florida Southern. Mr. Stern’s designs complement the College’s Frank Lloyd Wright collection of buildings, which have been designated a National Historic Landmark. Mr. Stern has designed buildings for some of America’s most prestigious colleges, including Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, and the University of Virginia.
The Becker Building will be a state-of-the-art business education facility. High-tech classrooms will include the latest in educational technology, and the building will feature a simulated trading floor, a laboratory in which students can learn firsthand about investment analysis and trading strategies. The building will also house a computer lab, a career and placement center, small group meeting rooms, faculty offices, and the Passport Café, which will feature food from around the world.