The University of North Georgia (UNG) officially opened the Cottrell Center for Business, Technology & Innovation with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 16. The Cottrell Center, a $35 million, state-of-the-art 86,483-square foot building, is the new home for the Mike Cottrell College of Business (MCCB).
Among the speakers at the ribbon cutting ceremony were UNG President Bonita Jacobs, University System of Georgia Chancellor Sonny Perdue, and state Sen. Steve Gooch. Lynn and Mike Cottrell joined the platform party and other dignitaries in cutting the ribbon.
"This facility and its advanced resources will provide our students with first-class educational opportunities to gain knowledge and skills in real-world situations," Jacobs said. "We are very grateful to our supporters and to our state leaders for providing the resources and this facility to enhance our students’ educational experience and their development as globally competitive business and technology leaders."
University System of Georgia Chancellor
Many of the spaces in the building are supported and named by regional businesses or individuals affiliated with the college and UNG. These spaces will support student and faculty professional development activities over the coming years.
"I am excited to be celebrating this wonderful event and how this facility will transform the delivery of academic programs within the Mike Cottrell College of Business," Gooch, a UNG alumnus, said. "This building is critically important in supporting the high-quality education that UNG provides its students enrolled in its business and cybersecurity programs, and I am proud to have supported state funding for this project."
Faculty, staff and students moved into the new building just in time for the fall semester to begin in August. They are already seeing the transformation this space provides for the college's business and technology programs.
"The technology available for application to UNG through these academic programs will help meet the demands of employers who are experiencing rapid innovation in their industries," state Rep. Will Wade said. "As a MCCB graduate, I am pleased to see this facility development support its fast-growing and high demand academic offerings."
The Syfan Logistics Lab, JT Stratford Finance & Analytics Lab, and Cyber Range are among the industry-focused spaces that mirror what students will experience in their internships and careers.
"This facility not only provides beautiful, spacious areas, but the functionality of this building will continue to make the University of North Georgia among the best not only in the state of Georgia, but in the United States," Perdue said.
Students, faculty, staff and industry advisory board members provided significant input for the center’s specialized labs, classrooms and collaborative spaces.
"We knew we would have a better outcome by including input from faculty, staff and students in the discussion of what was needed in the building. That process is why we have a building that is student-focused and learner-centric," Dr. Mary Gowan, the MCCB dean, said. "It features a wide array of spaces for students to come together and learn in an environment like what they will experience in their jobs upon graduation."
Students particularly like the many teamwork and study spaces in the building.
"You can get to know people here," Catherine Jordan, a senior from Suwanee, Georgia, pursuing a degree in marketing, said. "You don't come here for a class and leave. You hang out."
Other students are excited about the possibilities presented by the new spaces.
"My first impression of the building is that it is revolutionizing computer science and cybersecurity," Jacob Sapecky, a senior from Hoschton, Georgia, pursuing a degree in computer science, said. "The labs take computer science and cybersecurity to a new level."
Faculty have embraced the new learning and work spaces as well. Dr. Mohan Menon, department head of management and marketing, described the facility as "absolutely, positively fantastic."
"It makes sense to have the infrastructure to support programs that you offer," Menon said. "Not every student can get practical experience while they're taking a course, so having simulations and using software, such as the McLeod Software that professionals use, gives our logistics students a leg up on the competition for internships and employment."
The Mike Cottrell College of Business offers undergraduate programs in accounting, finance, information systems, marketing, management, cybersecurity and technology management. In addition, it offers graduate degrees in accountancy and business administration, as well several graduate-level certificate programs.
MCCB programs have garnered significant state and national recognition:
The facility was designed to elevate students' academic experience and create an environment that fosters collaboration, innovation and a global-thinking approach to business education — an outcome Gowan observes happily each day.
"Our students and programs are increasingly bringing top recognitions to the college and UNG. The Cottrell Center for Business, Technology & Innovation sets the bar even higher for us, and we are ready to reach it," she said. "We are eternally grateful to Lynn and Mike Cottrell for their vision for the Mike Cottrell College of Business that has inspired us to continue to make our programs among the best in the state."
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