Dean Thomas Gilligan

A $25 million donation is going to give business graduate students another place to study and everyone else a new place to park.

Dallas businessman and UT alumnus Robert B. Rowling and his family donated $25 million to construct a graduate school building for the McCombs School of Business, UT President William Powers Jr. announced Thursday. The University is naming the building Rowling Hall and will build it at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Guadalupe Street.

“Texas is the best place in the country to do business, and we hope this gift will encourage the best and the brightest to come to Austin to get their MBAs and be part of the phenomenon that is Texas,” Rowling said in a statement.

Set to open in 2017, the 458,000-square-foot building will cost about $155 million to construct, of which $58.25 million will come from private gifts including Rowlings’ $25 million, which kicks off the fundraising campaign. 

Along with housing the business school’s graduate programs, the new building will also expand the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center’s ability to hosts conferences. 

Business school Dean Thomas Gilligan said Rowling Hall will help students by providing more space that is innovative and up-to-date.

“With respects to our peer groups, they all have buildings that are much newer than ours,” Gilligan said. “So it helps us compete for students.”

Gilligan said the current facilities UT has are nice, but they were built several decades ago. He said the spaces a university has to offer does play into applicants’ decision to choose one program over another.

“Graduate students spend a lot of time in these buildings,” Gilligan said. “They just don’t go to class and then go home.” 

The new building will also supply more parking at UT. Rowling Hall will come with a parking garage, expected to add 525 parking spaces. UT’s Parking and Transportation Services is paying the $15.5 million construction cost for the parking garage. 

Jeri Baker, assistant director of Parking and Transportation Services, said this is how parking garages at UT are normally paid for. Baker said the planning process is still early and many details are not available, but she said she is excited about the project.

“Any spaces that we can add to our inventory will definitely assist those that desire to come to campus,” Baker said.

UT acquired some of the land for the project from Players restaurant in April 2012 in a transaction through the McCombs School of Business Foundation. The foundation purchased the land for $3 million cash and a lease valued at $1 million and sold it to the University for about $2.5 million.

By law, the University cannot purchase property above the appraised value.

In addition to the $58.2 million from private donations, the building will be funded by tuition-backed bonds from the UT System, Parking and Transportation Services and the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, Gilligan said.

T. Boone Pickens, financier and chairman of BP Capital Management, spoke about his life and ambitions to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil at the Hogg Auditorium on Monday afternoon.

Photo Credit: Tamir Kalifa | Daily Texan Staff

Although Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens made his fortune in the oil industry, he pushed for the use of alternative energy sources at an on-campus lecture Monday.

More than 1,000 students and community members attended the semester’s final event of the McCombs VIP Distinguished Speakers Series.

The oil tycoon started Mesa Petroleum in 1956, which eventually grew into one of the largest independent production companies in the world. He currently works in the investment sector and founded BP Capital, an energy investment corporation.

Pickens has a net worth of $1.4 billion, and Forbes ranked him as the 880th richest person in world. He has been a major contributor to Texas politics by donating more than $5 million to political campaigns, most of which went to special interest groups.

McComb’s Dean Thomas Gilligan interviewed Pickens, who answered questions ranging from his childhood to the importance of domestic energy sources.

During the discussion, he revealed the best advice he ever received, courtesy of his grandmother.

“She once said ‘Sonny, someday everybody has to sit on their own bottom,’” Pickens said. “At first, I didn’t know what this meant. But this has come back very clearly for me. It means that nobody can do things for you, you have to do things for yourself.”

When asked what caused him to stand out among his peers, Pickens said his work ethic was vital in his success. His first job was a paper route, earning a cent for every paper he sold.

“Work ethic is number one,” Pickens said. “My work ethic, which came from my mother’s side, made the difference in my career.”

Pickens said he is passionate about improving the United State’s usage of energy resources and utilizing oil alternatives. He released “The Pickens Plan” in 2008, a proposal to update U.S. energy resource usage. The proposal encourages the U.S. to ween itself off its dependence on foreign oil. The U.S. imports 13 million barrels of oil every day, Pickens said.

“We have to use our own resources, that’s what I want to change,” he said.

Business freshman Ricky Quach was inspired by Pickens’ values and strength of character.

“I really enjoyed how he spoke about the importance of the values he learned when he was younger,” Quach said. “It’s amazing that what he learned from his parents and grandmother still affects him today.”

Michael Walsh, vice president of marketing and social media at AtticDr.com, an energy efficiency upgrade company located in Austin, was not as impressed by Pickens’ talk.

“I think his talk was kind of folksy,” Walsh said. “I was expecting a lot more substance, maybe charts and graphs. I was hoping for more specific information about renewable initiatives and energy efficiency as part of the equation.”

More than 1,000 students and community members attended the semester’s final event of the McCombs VIP Distinguished Speakers Series.

The oil tycoon started Mesa Petroleum in 1956, which eventually grew into one of the largest independent production companies in the world. He currently works in the investment sector and founded BP Capital, an energy investment corporation.

Pickens has a net worth of $1.4 billion, and Forbes ranked him as the 880th richest person in world. He has been a major contributor to Texas politics by donating more than $5 million to political campaigns, most of which went to special interest groups.

McComb’s Dean Thomas Gilligan interviewed Pickens, who answered questions ranging from his childhood to the importance of domestic energy sources.

During the discussion, he revealed the best advice he ever received, courtesy of his grandmother.

“She once said ‘Sonny, someday everybody has to sit on their own bottom,’” Pickens said. “At first, I didn’t know what this meant. But this has come back very clearly for me. It means that nobody can do things for you, you have to do things for yourself.”

When asked what caused him to stand out among his peers, Pickens said his work ethic was vital in his success. His first job was a paper route, earning a cent for every paper he sold.

“Work ethic is number one,” Pickens said. “My work ethic, which came from my mother’s side, made the difference in my career.”

Pickens said he is passionate about improving the United State’s usage of energy resources and utilizing oil alternatives. He released “The Pickens Plan” in 2008, a proposal to update U.S. energy resource usage. The proposal encourages the U.S. to ween itself off its dependence on foreign oil. The U.S. imports 13 million barrels of oil every day, Pickens said.

“We have to use our own resources, that’s what I want to change,” he said.

Business freshman Ricky Quach was inspired by Pickens’ values and strength of character.

“I really enjoyed how he spoke about the importance of the values he learned when he was younger,” Quach said. “It’s amazing that what he learned from his parents and grandmother still affects him today.”

Michael Walsh, vice president of marketing and social media at AtticDr.com, an energy efficiency upgrade company located in Austin, was not as impressed by Pickens’ talk.

“I think his talk was kind of folksy,” Walsh said. “I was expecting a lot more substance, maybe charts and graphs. I was hoping for more specific information about renewable initiatives and energy efficiency as part of the equation.”