E. Claiborne Robins School of Business
Backstory and Context
The E. Claiborne Robins School of Business is often one of the first buildings seen upon entering campus at the University of Richmond. The building, constructed of red brick and limestone, has been transformed over the years from a simple structure into a technologically advanced hub where students learn, study, and collaborate.
Several significant financial gifts helped the Robins School of Business grow from its humble beginnings into a prestigious institute of higher learning. In 1952, L.U. Nolan donated $250,000 as a startup for a potential business school at the University of Richmond. Nolan’s donation was a large portion of the $600,000 needed to build the business school, though it was not constructed until 1961.
Students took classes in the make-shift military barracks that remained after World War II, named after the V-12 program that trained over 800 potential officers at the University before they went off to World War II.
Construction of the business school began on October 15, 1960, and was completed on November 4, 1961. The University of Richmond finally had a centralized location where students studying business could meet and collaborate. The original building included a large auditorium, classrooms, faculty offices, lecture rooms, and audio visual facilities.
Despite its ambitions, the University of Richmond fell on hard times in the 1960s, which threatened the school’s existence. That all changed in 1969 when E. Claiborne Robins made a $50 million donation that saved the University from financial ruin. As a result of his generosity, the school decided to name the business school after Robins. The name was officially changed on September 5, 1979.
Renovations in 1984 led students temporarily to take business classes in buildings scattered around campus. The $3 million renovations of that year added 15,000 square feet to the original Robins School, and inclueded 13 new offices, three new classrooms, and a student computer room. Once the renovations were completed, students returned to the Robins School and began to feel a renewed sense of unity. The renovations further improved the prestige of the Robins School and provided students with new opportunities to enhance their business education.
In order to keep up with the changing times the University of Richmond decided to renovate the Robins School again in 1998-99. Before those renovations, a committee from the University traveled to twelve of the top business schools in the United States in order to obtain ideas about how to further improve the school. The committee visited Stanford, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Chicago. Compared to these schools, the Robins School was new and ambitious. The renovations upgraded technology, allowing students to access computers. Classrooms were also furnished with multi-media instructors stations.
In 2011 a $6-million-dollar donation was provided by Paul B. Queally and Anne-Marie Flynn Queally. The donation financed the construction of 33,000 square feet of new space to the business school named Queally Hall. New finance and trading rooms were built, creating three new courses in asset management, asset allocation models, and hedge fund management. The courses aimed to give the University of Richmond students real-world experience and better prepare them for occupations in new fields of study. The Queally donation also added a café and large auditorium as a place for business school students to mingle and collaborate between classes. The café allows for business school students to stay in the business school and creates a sense of community within the school.
One of the most noticeable additions from the Queally donation is Robbins Tower. Named after the late dean David Robbins, the Robbins tower spirals upwards into the sky and is topped off by a spider weather vane. The Robbins Tower draws attention of all who pass by.
The Robins School of Business currently enrolls around 650 undergraduates. An interesting program at the Robins School is called Q-Camp. Q-Camp allows for students to refine their career goals, attend networking events, and create resumes for internships. Additionally, the Robins School provides many opportunities for students to be successful after college. Today companies such as AT&T, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America are some of the top employers of Robins School students. "
The last fifty years have brought enormous changes to the physical appearance of the Robins School. As a liberal arts school, the University of Richmond encourages all students to take part in business school classes and provides them opportunities to be taught by business school professors in their first year seminars. Paul Queally talked about the Richmond learning experience by saying, “No other university will have this kind of intensive learning experience... and that’s fantastic."4
1. DeHaan, Caroline. "$6M Donation to Help Fund New Building at B-School." The Collegian, December 6, 2007. http://collegian.richmond.edu/cgi-bin/richmond?a=d&d=COL20071206.2.13&srpos=5&e=-------en-20--1--txt-txIN-Queally------#
2. "University History." History of the University of Richmond: Architecture. http://urhistory.richmond.edu/architecture/index.html.
3. Freudenheim, Milt. "E. Claiborne Robins, 84, Dies; Executive and Philanthropist." The New York Times. 1995. http://www.nytimes.com/1995/07/07/obituaries/e-claiborne-robins-84-dies-executive-and-philanthropist.html.
4. "About Us." About the Robins School of Business. http://robins.richmond.edu/about/index.html.
5. "Majors." Undergraduate Business. http://robins.richmond.edu/undergraduate/.
6. By 1839, It Totaled 14 Acres and Had an Appraised Value of $20,000. "University History." History of the University of Richmond: Milestones. http://urhistory.richmond.edu/milestones/index.html.
7. Pictures Provided by the Virginia Historical Baptist Society
8. Cover Photo Provided by: http://business-schools.startclass.com/l/224/University-of-Richmond-Robins-VA