Vero Beach Business Leader Commits $5M for New Facility
R. William Becker '65
Florida Southern College to name state-of-the-art building in honor of Bill Becker
LAKELAND, Fla. (Feb. 25, 2011) -- Florida Southern College President Anne Kerr announced Friday that a transformational, five million dollar gift has been secured to fund a new, state-of-the-art facility for a new School of Business and Economics at the College. The announcement was made to students, alumni, and faculty during FSC’s annual Founders Day Convocation.
This exceptional gift was made by Florida Southern College alumnus R. William “Bill” Becker and his wife, Mary Ann, of Vero Beach, Florida. Mr. Becker owns Peace River Citrus Products and was inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame this year. He previously served as the chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission for five terms. Mr. Becker majored in business and graduated from FSC in 1965.
Internationally renowned New York architect and Frank Lloyd Wright scholar Robert A.M. Stern will design the revolutionary new building, which will cost $15 to 25 million.
President Anne Kerr noted that Business is the largest major at Florida Southern College, and that the new facility is needed to ensure FSC business students receive the “highest caliber” education possible.
“This new building will be a one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art facility. It will provide our students access to the latest in technology and will move our plans forward as the School of Business and Economics becomes one of the best in the country,” said Kerr.
Among other amenities, the new facility will allow for a mock trading floor and video conferencing center. Kerr also noted that a graduate school facility will eventually be added to complement this building project. Both buildings are slated for construction along the shore of the spectacular Lake Hollingsworth.
The new R. William and Mary Ann Becker School of Business and Economics building is in its earliest phase of planning. The structure is being designed by world-renowned architect Robert A.M. Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture. This will be the fourth Stern-designed structure at Florida Southern and will be stylistically integrated with Frank Lloyd Wright’s campus, the largest collection of the legendary architect’s work in the world.
“The College will be eternally grateful for this most generous and transformational gift offered by Bill and Mary Ann Becker,” said Kerr. “Through their vision and commitment to Florida Southern College’s School of Business and Economics, our business students remain ‘On the Move!’ It is truly a pleasure to announce this exceptional facility and give our business students the very best tools available to them as they pursue their education.”
More about Robert A.M. Stern: Robert A.M. Stern, founder and senior partner of Robert A.M. Stern Architects, is the dean of the Yale School of Architecture. A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Stern has received both the AIA New York Chapter’s Medal of Honor and its President’s Award. In addition to his reputation as one of the leading architects in the world, he is highly respected as an architectural historian. He has written several books on historical and contemporary topics in architecture and has lectured extensively in the United States and abroad. Twelve books on Stern’s work have been published and his work has been exhibited at numerous galleries and universities, including the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Deutsches Architekturmuseum, the Denver Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago. He has been selected four times to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale and hosted an eight-part documentary television series on American architecture aired on PBS. He served on the Board of Directors of The Walt Disney Company and designed many of their buildings. Stern is a graduate of Columbia University (B.A., 1960) and Yale University (M. Architecture, 1965).