Hundreds of people attended this month’s grand opening of The Paul Merage School of Business’ new building
Hundreds of people attended this month’s grand opening of The Paul Merage School of Business’ new building, designed to accommodate growth. Jocelyn Lee / UC Irvine

A project nearly a decade in the making has come to fruition at The Paul Merage School of Business during UC Irvine’s 50th anniversary year: a new home.

Hundreds of students, faculty, staff, donors and friends joined the Merage School this month for the grand opening of its five-story, 78,000-square-foot building adjacent to the original facility, erected in 1989. Retired campus architect Rebekah Gladson said the new structure was designed and situated to create an outdoor “living room” for the Merage School, nestled between its two buildings.

While the original Merage School facility is symbolic of UCI’s bright past, the new structure is the first physical manifestation of the university’s brilliant future during its 50th anniversary celebration, said Chancellor Howard Gillman.

Recently, the business school expanded its offerings to include undergraduate degrees in business administration and business information management, ranked among the top 50 such programs by U.S. News & World Report in its first year of eligibility. The Merage School also offers four unique MBA programs and one-year, specialized master’s programs in professional accountancy, biotechnology management and engineering management. It currently serves about 1,200 students.

“The new footprint for the Merage School really does position us for our ascendency among preeminent business schools in the world,” said Dean Eric Spangenberg.

Funded by the Building for the Future campaign, the facility features a 300-seat auditorium, a colloquia room, a 4,100-square-foot grand terrace, an eatery and a coffee shop, smart classrooms equipped with the latest technology, computer laboratories, faculty and staff offices, and conference rooms, many of which are named after those who contributed to the $50 million construction campaign.

“The donors made a big difference in this building,” said former Merage School Dean Andrew Policano, who led the push for the new structure. “Their generosity was the difference between just another campus building and the spectacular new facility that will serve our students, faculty and staff for decades to come.”

“The building is not just a physical structure,” added Policano, the Dean’s Leadership Circle Endowed Professor of economics/public policy. “It’s the visible outcome of the efforts of the many people who have come before us and the many people who will come in the future.”