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UNG business college holds groundbreaking for new Cottrell Center

November 10, 2020

The University of North Georgia (UNG) celebrated a game-changer in its efforts to provide well-prepared graduates in business and computer science with the Nov. 9 groundbreaking ceremony for the Cottrell Center for Business, Technology & Innovation on UNG's Dahlonega Campus.

"This building and its state-of-the-art resources will enhance the innovative education we provide our students," UNG President Bonita Jacobs said. "Thanks to the generosity of Mike and Lynn Cottrell, we will continue to provide a world-class education that prepares our graduates to be globally competitive business and technology leaders."

Scheduled to open for classes in fall 2022, the new 86,483-square-foot home for the Mike Cottrell College of Business (MCCB) will serve as the hub for business and computer science programs with specialized labs, student engagement spaces, and high technology classrooms, all designed to enhance student learning.

"This new home for the MCCB will signal to students that we are providing them with a state-of-the-art learning experience that prepares them for success in the workplace," said Dr. Mary Gowan, dean of the MCCB. "The Cottrell Center design is competitive with the design of the best business school facilities in the state."

A $10 million gift from Mike Cottrell, the college's namesake benefactor, and wife Lynn Cottrell, along with $21.8 million in state funds for design and construction, paved the way for the new building. Mike Cottrell is excited by the momentum facilitated by the new building.

"Lynn and I are very excited that this project is underway. The Cottrell Center for Business, Technology & Innovation will really put our college on the map. When we gave the naming gift in 2006, we saw the potential for having a first-rate business school in north Georgia," he said. "This new home for the college will be transformative as it provides the right space for the college to continue to build its reputation as the best place to study business in Georgia."

Gowan expressed gratitude for the Cottrells' vision for the college.

"We can't begin to say thank you enough to the Cottrells," Gowan said. "Mike and Lynn's generosity enables us to move forward much more quickly than we otherwise would have been able to do."

A cybersecurity range, computer science lab, professional sales lab, and a logistics/trading lab will provide spaces for students to apply the knowledge and skills they are learning in their classes.

"Teaching and learning are changing because the students and the business world are changing. Traditional students have been replaced by those who want to learn by doing and applying their knowledge to real-world situations. In this regard, what we have now are lifelong learners and doers," said Dr. Mohan Menon, department head of management and marketing at UNG. "They need experiential learning in addition to resource-based learning."

Menon said the new building's labs will provide spaces that bring together students with faculty and industry professionals in an environment that invites networking and feedback opportunities from the executives for the students. He also appreciates the way classrooms will be designed.

"The classrooms will be focused on active learning and teamwork," Menon said. "It becomes more of an engaged learning space."

Dr. Ash Mady, department head of computer science and information systems, looks forward to the well-organized layout.

"This new facility will offer spaces tailored to each program we offer with advanced technology and well-designed learning environments," Mady said. "The building promises a cutting-edge ecosystem of the learning environment we aspire to have."

Gowan looks forward to when the MCCB has access to the new facility.

"It's going to truly be a game-changer in our delivery of business and computer science education," she said.

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