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New GSM building opens

By Clifton B. Parker on October 9, 2009 in University News

Applauding a symbol of the innovation and invention that has propelled California’s economy, prominent business leaders, faculty, students and alumni today celebrated the grand opening of Maurice J. Gallagher Jr. Hall, the new home of UC Davis’ Graduate School of Management.

Built to demanding environmental standards, the $16.2 million building is expected to raise the profile of the nationally ranked school while serving as an important new venue for business and academic conferences. It also becomes a highly visible addition to the campus’s emerging “front door” next to busy Interstate 80, which links Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The building is named in honor of Maurice J. Gallagher Jr., a Las Vegas airline executive who contributed $10 million toward the project and an endowment for the school. The contribution from Gallagher and his wife, Marcia, is the largest gift the campus has ever received from one of its graduates. Gallagher earned his undergraduate degree in history from UC Davis in 1971. He later received an MBA from UC Berkeley.

Adjoining Gallagher Hall is the new UC Davis Conference Center, which includes spacious meeting facilities and offices for University Relations. Soon, the complex also will include a Hyatt Place hotel that is under construction and scheduled to open in March.

“This is truly an historic moment for the Graduate School of Management,” said Steven C. Currall, who became dean of the school in July. “With the opening of Gallagher Hall, our community finally has a world-class, state-of-the-art building that reflects the school’s world-class academics and our national and international reputation.”

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi called Gallagher Hall “a cornerstone of the vision for the campus’s new front door, a dynamic hub that will better connect UC Davis’ world-class academic programs with the region, inviting the public to experience all the great work being done here.

“The Graduate School of Management’s business expertise, research excellence and can-do entrepreneurial spirit will help fuel our university’s engine of innovation and economic development in the region, the state, the nation and the world.”

‘Jump to that higher level’

When he announced his gift, Gallagher noted that the Graduate School of Management already is ranked among the best MBA programs in the nation.

“But to move to the next tier, you have to have a world-class facility,” Gallagher said. “I think the location, benefits and design of this new building, combined with the leadership of the faculty, will enable the school to jump up to that higher level.”

The new three-story building faces the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, which is located directly across Larry N. Vanderhoef Quad. The complex becomes part of a new campus gateway that also will include the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, a planned art museum, the UC Davis Conference Center, the Hyatt Place at UC Davis and the Walter A. Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center.

The quad and the encircling facilities are expected to become a central meeting point for business professionals, patrons of the arts, alumni and campus visitors.

“It’s exciting to see Gallagher Hall complete and to have it at the front door of the campus, so it’s visible for everybody who goes by UC Davis on a daily basis,” said Barbara Hayes, executive director of the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization.

Hayes said her six-county organization will use Gallagher Hall in its efforts to attract new businesses to the region.

“Work force is the single largest factor influencing corporate site locations,” Hayes said. “When you talk about work force, you’re talking about among other things our education infrastructure in the region.”

40,000 gross square feet

At 40,000 gross square feet, Gallagher Hall represents a substantial expansion from the 25,000 gross square feet of space the Graduate School of Management previously occupied in a two-story building on the campus’ eastern edge.

The stone, glass and stucco building includes technologically advanced classrooms designed for interactive learning, expanded space for extracurricular activities, an upgraded and centralized student affairs and career services center, and outdoor garden and courtyard for informal gatherings and special events.

“We have been a great program with great professors and great students in an old, cramped building,” said second-year MBA student Sam Wainer. “Now our outward appearance matches the substance of who we are.”

With its pioneering, green-building design, Currall said Gallagher Hall also represents “a physical statement of the ethos of sustainability and social responsibility to which the Graduate School of Management is committed.”

The eco-friendly structure will reduce storm water runoff by 25 percent, with rainwater captured and treated on site. A white roof and light-colored paving will keep the building and its immediate surroundings cooler.

The landscaping, which uses native, drought-tolerant plants is expected to cut potable water use by more than 50 percent from traditional landscaping. Other irrigation will rely on non-otable, “utility” water. Low-flow plumbing fixtures use 40 percent less water than the EPA baseline.

75 percent of construction waste recycled

The building also is 30 percent more energy efficient than a typical office building, with tall windows that maximize natural daylight and motion-sensitive lighting controls in every room. In addition, 30 percent of the materials used in the project had been recycled, and 75 percent of construction waste was recycled.

The commitment to environmental responsibility is expected to establish Gallagher Hall as the first building on the UC Davis campus and the first business school in California to qualify for gold standard certification by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) program.

Maurice Gallagher is majority owner, president and CEO of Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Co., the parent company of Allegiant Air. He served on the UC Davis Graduate School of Management’s advisory board in the early 1990s, has been a guest speaker in graduate business courses and was the school’s commencement keynote speaker in 2000.

Up to half of the $10 million gift from the Gallaghers is being used for enhancements, improvements, equipment and ongoing operational expenses for the new building. The balance established the Gallagher Fund for Excellence, an endowment to provide for the management school’s highest priorities, including faculty and student support, and program expansion.

More information on the Graduate School of Management’s new building is available at

Media contact(s)

Clifton B. Parker, Dateline, (530) 752-1932,