Letter to the Editor

By Jack Brittain


I?m writing in response to the editorial ?The Chronicle?s View? printed on April 23, titled “U Could Use More of a Presence Downtown.” In that editorial, you spoke of the University of Utah?s proposal to use the former Hansen Planetarium building downtown for programs and community outreach.

In your desire to show the positive influence such a downtown presence would have in the future, you misrepresented the current relationship the David Eccles School of Business has with its downtown partners.

The editorial stated that “the U?s struggling business school would be able to develop a better relationship with businesses in the locale?”

Currently, the David Eccles School of Business fosters individual and corporate relationships with many business people and companies in the downtown Salt Lake area. Last week, we celebrated our second successful year of our SMART Start mentor program, which paired more than 120 local business leaders with 220 of our students for resum review, interview-skill help and networking. We have 45 dedicated alumni serving on our alumni board and 68 high-level business people on our working National Advisory Board.

All of this community involvement has manifested itself into wonderfully generous giving over the years, which confirms the community?s confidence in the business school.

For the Sesquicentennial Fund Raising Campaign that concluded last year, corporate gifts alone accounted for more than one-third of our total goal and brought in gifts of almost $6 million. Include in that figure foundation gifts?many at the local community level?and the percentage jumps to 78 percent, or $13.5 million.

Local business leaders? confidence in our programs and degree offerings is apparent in the fact that our Executive MBA incoming class will be almost 37 percent larger than the incoming class just two years ago. And of those incoming students, about 92 percent of students? employers are paying a portion or all of their tuition, which speaks volumes about the value local business leaders place on our programs.

The newly constructed C. Roland Christensen Center is the technologically sophisticated building that houses our executive programs. In addition to its offering MBA programs, the building has been used by local and national professional associations for meetings since its opening in April 2000.

Every other month, approximately 80 business people attend a faculty talk called ?Business at Breakfast.?

Each year, about 75 MBA students complete projects in 17 local businesses in our Field Study Project program.

Twice a year, incoming MBA students perform community service projects, sponsored by a local business, for Business Challenge.

Each year the business school alumni raise upwards of $40,000 for scholarships by organizing and running a golf tournament, which draws business people from around the Wasatch Front.

Four times during Spring Semester, local and national business leaders speak on campus as part of our UTec Entrepreneur Center Speaker Series, which brings business people and students together.

While the business school is very excited about the downtown opportunities that a presence in the Hansen Planetarium will bring, we are in no way “struggling” to make a business connection. The Salt Lake business community displays tremendous support of the David Eccles School of Business, both financially and with the contribution of human capital.

Jack Brittain

Dean, David Eccles School of Business