Glass Hall Construction Breaks Ground, Name of New Wing Unveiled

Oct 15, 2015

Participants break ground on the East side of Glass Hall.
Credit Nataleigh Ross / KSMU

A momentous groundbreaking for an addition to a Missouri State University building offered over 100 attendees a history and future of David D. Glass Hall, where the College of Business is housed.

President Cliff Smart on Thursday revealed that the name of the expanded wing on the building’s east side will become the Robert Gourley Student Success Center.

“He would tell you his success started with the strong business education he received at this university. He would also tell you how important it is for him and his family to give back to the university so other students can have the same kind of success he has had,” Smart said.

Gourley is a 1960 graduate of the university’s business organization and management program. After working in sales and starting an entrepreneurial venture, Gourley later moved into ownership of several different businesses. His family’s significant gift helped make the 37,000 square foot addition a reality.

“We are very pleased and very proud to be a part of this and make this something that will really benefit those to come," says Gourley.

Robert Gourley spoke at the groundbreaking after the name of the expansion was announced as the Robert Gourley Student Success Center at David D. Glass Hall.
Credit Nataleigh Ross / KSMU

The Gourley’s were often anonymously involved in giving financially to projects like these, but it was his wife Marlese that decided she wanted to honor her husband and have his name added to the project.

In addition to the Gourley Family’s gift, 25 other significant donations for the Glass Hall renovation totaled more than $5.4 million, plus another major gift from David D. Glass himself.

Glass, the former CEO of Walmart, is another success story from Missouri State University. He could not attend the event today, but President Smart noted his contributions to the new addition as well as the construction of Glass Hall over 30 years ago.

Since Glass hall was built in 1985 marking the beginning of the major business program, the College of Business College has grown from 3,130 students to a record enrollment of 5,300 students this fall.

Smart cited increasing enrollment and reputation as the reasons behind the expansion.

“Over the past three years alone, enrollment has grown to over 700 hundred students. Such growth means we need additional space and teaching facilities indicative of the leading business school that we are.”

MSU College of Business graduate Lanae Flatness also was invited to speak. She advocated for the project and contributed to the planning.

“I think a critical outcome for the Glass Hall renovation is the additional touch points between students with each other, faculty and staff, as well as community members through all the events we will be able to have in the atrium and collaborative spaces as well," she says.

Flatness said from a student perspective, the holistic benefit is the most important and she can see where this will impact all students. Flatness believes this marks another example of the university investing in students’ cultivating their educational experience.

“This project is the next step in developing and sustaining the College of Business not just for the present students, but the past, future for many years to come that we’ll all benefit from.”

The facility will include state-of-the art finance and trading lab, entrepreneurship and sales labs, corporate interview rooms, a production studio, full-service café, and more.

Construction is expected to finish in fall of 2017.