The David Eccles School of Business on Oct. 5 dedicated the Robert H. and Katharine B. Garff Building, a 150,000-square-foot building that houses the school’s MBA, Professional MBA, Executive MBA and MBA Online programs. The building also supports an Executive Education Center, an expanded Maverik Business Career Services Center, the Marriner S. Eccles Institute for Economics and Quantitative Analysis and the Gregory J. Goff Strategic Leadership Center.
This new building came to fruition because of the generosity of more than 350 donors, led by a $12 million donation from the children of the philanthropic Garff family. The Garff children surprised their parents with the donation and name at a groundbreaking last year. This donation will become a permanent physical representation of the legacy of support for education the Garffs have provided over three generations at the University of Utah and throughout the community.
“We are proud to recognize the Garff family’s legacy of generous contributions on the business campus,” said Taylor Randall, dean of the David Eccles School of Business. “The Garff family members are proud graduates of the University of Utah and the David Eccles School of Business, and their entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen has forever changed the automotive industry here in Utah and throughout the nation.”
Robert H. and Katharine B. Garff also spoke at the dedication, touting the beauty of the building and plans for artwork from the best Utah artists to be featured in the building in the coming months. Katharine Garff said the building will serve students holistically, providing an exceptional learning space that also spurs creativity and allows students to pursue their creativity and generate innovative ideas.
“This building is symbolic of the appreciation the Garff family has for education, which has always been our focus in our family,” said Katharine Garff. “Our entire philanthropic efforts today center around education. For our educational programs, our tagline is ‘We want to change the world the best way we know how, through educating one child at a time.’ This building will represent for us the keystone for our love for education. As my husband says often, education is the great differentiator.”
The Garff family has donated to and volunteered at the David Eccles School of Business for more than 40 years, starting with Ken Garff serving on the school’s first advisory board. Additionally, the Kendall D. Garff Building supported business education for years. In addition, the Garff family donated $3 million for a classroom pavilion in the Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building. That legacy of philanthropy continues today.
“The Garffs’ dedication to education, to the University of Utah and to the David Eccles School of Business has made today possible,” said University of Utah President Ruth Watkins. “The Garffs’ lead gift of $12 million was essential for this amazing new building that so beautifully enhances the David Eccles School of Business campus and provides much needed classroom and learning spaces for Executive Education and our MBA programs and a first-class career services center.”
The Robert H. and Katharine B. Garff Building will dramatically expand and enhance the master’s-level business programs at the University of Utah. The newly enhanced Maverik Business Career Services Center will provide students with a multi-year professional development plan designed to provide year-over-year learning in the areas of professional conduct, appearance, career exploration, personal presentation and job acquisition success.
“The Robert H. and Katharine B. Garff Building is more than a beautiful, well-equipped, state-of-the-art building that houses amenities and community spaces for the executive programs at the U,” said current MBA student Lauren Beall. “The Garff Building is a physical promise to continue pursuing excellence and driving national recognition for the executive programs at the David Eccles School of Business. Cohorts of students will pass through these doors, but the true impact will be measured in the years to come and in the effect this commitment will have on past, present and future students.”