$5M Eller Professional Development Center Open for Business

Aug. 22, 2016

Eller Dean Paulo Goes with students in the new Eller Professional Development Center

Eller students started the new school year with a new hub for career development: the 13,000 square-foot Karl and Stevie Eller Professional Development Center. The $5 million project is the first significant capital project the College has undertaken in 24 years.

“The digital economy is demanding a new breed of leaders and entrepreneurs. The next generation of leaders needs an opportunity to learn and grow in a responsive, high-tech environment that is designed to support their learning style,” said Eller Dean Paulo Goes. “Our new Professional Development Center is not just a place where students come to explore job opportunities—it’s a full-service facility that will be an integral part of each student’s career planning from the moment they set foot on our campus.”

In 2013, students approved a differential tuition fee to help fund the PDC staff who serve them. Previously, the fee was only levied on juniors and seniors who have been professionally admitted to Eller, but now freshmen and sophomores pay the fee if they declare business as their major. The fee gives them access to career coaches and two one-credit classes that help them understand the landscape of business and their own place within it.

Fundraising for the 100 percent-donor funded PDC began in 2014, with several long-time Eller advocates contributing more than $250,000 to the project. Leadership gifts came from UA alumni Karl and Stevie Eller, the Norm McClelland family, the Don Diamond family, Phil and Susan Hagenah, Peter and Nancy Salter, Olden Lee, and Tammy and Jon Underwood.

“When we shared our vision with our donors, they realized how important the PDC will be in the creation of future leaders,” Goes said. “We’re very grateful for their support.”

Goes also praised general contractor Lloyd Construction, designers GLHN and GouldEvans, and UA’s Planning Design & Construction team. “The success of any building project is dependent on collaboration and teamwork,” he said. “We were fortunate to work with excellent partners.”

The groundbreaking took place in December 2015, and since then, faculty, staff and students have watched as the PDC took form as a modern addition to the existing building, complete with glass and metal finishes that honor the vision of McClelland Hall architect Arthur Erickson. Striking architectural elements include a metal scrim on the south face of the building and glass-clad offices on both the north and south sides of the addition that project out from the building’s footprint. The open collaboration hub on the addition’s second floor is open to the third floor, creating a light, airy space that mirrors that of the building’s main entry atrium.

Pam Perry, Eller College associate dean for undergraduate programs, said a key emphasis of the new PDC is interaction.

“The incoming generation of students does best in an experiential environment. With the input of students, staff and recruiters, we planned much more than a building—it’s an interactive hub that empowers students to succeed,” Perry said.