One of the largest business schools in the country now has a new home on Grand Canyon University’s burgeoning campus. The Colangelo College of Business, home to more than 16,000 traditional and online students, officially opened a new 150,000-square-foot facility with 81 offices and 61 classrooms today on the east side of the GCU campus. The building is the latest in an unprecedented construction boom on campus in which $1.2 billion has been invested since 2009 in academic infrastructure and technology, including:
• More than 1 million square feet of classroom and laboratory space.
• 20 multi-story, suite-style residence halls (with 3 more set to open next year) housing nearly 12,000 students living on campus
• 24 retail dining options
• 4 parking garages
• 11 athletic facilities
• Major renovations of GCU Golf Course and GCU Hotel
“We sometimes take for granted how blessed we are to open this many new buildings every year, but this one is special,” Brian Mueller, GCU’s president, said of the CCOB building. “Jerry Colangelo represents the best of what it means to be a Christian university, conducting business with strong character, integrity and servant leadership. We instill those same characteristics in every one of our students and set an expectation with employers that, when they hire a GCU graduate, they know what they’re getting.”
The Colangelo College of Business is among the largest business schools in the country, with approximately 4,100 students pursuing degrees at the Phoenix campus and more than 12,000 attending classes online. In 2010, those numbers were approximately 300 and 7,000, respectively.
That business college growth mirrors the enrollment spike as a whole at GCU, which has grown from less than 1,000 traditional students in 2008 to 20,500 today on its 260-acre Phoenix campus. That’s in addition to more than 75,000 students studying online.
“Those numbers demonstrate that there is a huge demand for families seeking private Christian education that is affordable,” Mueller said. “What’s more important is that, as we’ve raised our admissions standards, we are also growing with high-quality students. The average incoming GPA for new students has been above 3.5 for four straight years, and our Honors College now has 2,000 students with an average incoming GPA of 4.1.”
GCU’s business college was named after Colangelo in 2014 in honor of an icon who has been among the most influential people in Arizona since 1968, when he joined the Phoenix Suns as the youngest general manager in professional sports at age 28. Colangelo later led the ownership groups of both the Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks, becoming one of the most prominent businessmen in the NBA and MLB; helped bring hockey to the Phoenix area when the Coyotes moved here from Winnipeg; and has been director of USA Basketball since 2005, helping Team USA re-establish its dominance in international men’s basketball. He also shaped the Phoenix skyline, transforming the downtown corridor into a vibrant business community.
Colangelo has been involved with GCU since 2009 as a board member, advisor, the namesake for the Colangelo School of Sports Business, and for the past four years as the namesake for the entire Colangelo College of Business. He has worked alongside the university to create a business program rooted in academic excellence and real-world relevance, with a focus on servant leadership designed to hone students’ business skills and prepare them to become values-driven leaders.
CCOB Dean Dr. Randy Gibb said Colangelo serves as a consultant for faculty and staff in helping evolve the college while also leading a CCOB Advisory Board comprised of 53 Phoenix valley business leaders. He also makes a point to engage with students, drawing upon his personal values and extensive background to enhance the learning experience.
“Having Jerry Colangelo at the helm of our business college is a blessing,” Gibb said. “He encourages, motivates and inspires our students with messages of faith, family, community and business. Above all, he emphasizes the importance of relationships in business and life.”
Colangelo is well-known for his work to improve lives in the community, another trait he shares with the university. GCU’s five-point plan to transform the inner city in which it resides has seen remarkable results in the areas of K-12 education, neighborhood safety, home values and job creation both on and off campus. It is also seen in the economic impact of the university. A 2015 study performed by Elliott Pollack & Company found that GCU provides an annual economic impact of $1.1 billion to the Phoenix area while being responsible for more than 10,000 jobs with wages totaling $487.7 million and generating an estimated $450 million in city, county and state tax revenue per year.
“It’s an honor for me to be associated with a university that reflects these values and ethics,” Colangelo said, “not only in the quality of graduates it is producing but also the incredible work it is doing in the community. There is something to be said for succeeding by doing things the right way.”