Maurice J. Gallagher Jr., majority owner, president and CEO of the Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Company, has pledged $10 million to UC Davis, the largest gift ever made to the campus by a UC Davis graduate. Gallagher and his wife, Marcia, said they hope their gift will help further the entrepreneurial spirit at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, regarded today as one of the nation's best MBA programs.
The gift will support the Graduate School of Management's planned new building and establish an endowment for the school. The building will be named Maurice J. Gallagher Jr. Hall.
"Business schools today are in a highly competitive market to attract the best students," said Gallagher, who earned his undergraduate degree in history from UC Davis in 1971 and later received an MBA from UC Berkeley from what is now the Haas School of Business.
"The UC Davis Graduate School of Management already is ranked among the best MBA programs in the country. But to move into the elite tier, you have to have a world-class facility. I think the location, benefits and design of this new building, combined with the leadership of the faculty, will enable the school to jump up to that higher level over the next 10 to 15 years."
The new three-story, 40,000-square-foot Gallagher Hall will be located across from the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, and will be part of a new main entrance to campus that will eventually include a hotel, conference center and art museum.
Gallagher cited the Graduate School of Management's ingenuity and sense of community, together with his own "terrific memories" from his undergraduate years at UC Davis, as the main motivations for his gift. Gallagher served on the management school's advisory board in the early 1990s, has been a guest speaker in graduate business courses and was the school's commencement keynote speaker in 2000.
"Maury Gallagher is a savvy and experienced entrepreneur," said Nicole Woolsey Biggart, dean of the management school. "His investment, support and vision mean a great deal to the school and to UC Davis. It affirms that we are doing good things here, and gives us the means to do even more."
Up to half of the $10 million gift will be used for enhancements, improvements, equipment and ongoing operational expenses for the new building. The balance will establish the Gallagher Fund endowment to provide for the highest priorities of the school, including faculty and student support, and program expansion.
"This incredibly generous gift from the Gallaghers will have a lasting impact on the Graduate School of Management and, for that matter, on the campus," said UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef. "It is especially meaningful because it comes from an alum still committed to UC Davis' programs after all these years. This funding for our program in business management education sets a new benchmark for alumni giving. The Gallaghers have truly helped to ensure the school's excellence for decades and decades to come."
Groundbreaking on Gallagher Hall is scheduled for Dec. 7, with completion planned in fall 2009. The stone, glass and stucco building will feature: technologically advanced classrooms designed for interactive learning; expanded space for extracurricular activities; an upgraded and centralized student affairs and career services center for students to develop skills to advance their careers; and an outdoor garden and courtyard for informal gatherings and special events. The new building will more than double the management school's space; the school now occupies about 15,500 square feet in a two-story building on the east side of campus.
Gallagher Hall will be part of a new public entry to the campus, easily accessible from Interstate 80. When completed, it will join the Mondavi performing arts center; the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center; the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, now under construction; a planned conference center, restaurant and hotel complex; and a proposed art museum. This "neighborhood" is intended as a central meeting point for business professionals, patrons of the arts, alumni and campus visitors.
The University of California Regents in May approved $31.5-million in campus financing for the new UC Davis Graduate School of Management building and adjacent conference center complex. The gift from the Gallaghers will supplement university financing for the management school building, making possible a state-of-the-art facility.
Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Company is focused on linking travelers in small cities to world-class leisure destinations such as Las Vegas, Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Tampa/St. Petersburg. Through its subsidiary, Allegiant Air, the company operates a low-cost, all-jet passenger airline offering air travel, hotel rooms, rental cars and other travel-related services.
Established in 1981, the UC Davis Graduate School of Management provides management education to more than 400 MBA students in programs on the Davis campus, in Sacramento and in the San Francisco Bay Area. The school also offers a technology management minor degree program for undergraduates and a business development program to train science and engineering researchers on how to commercialize their research.
For 12 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked the UC Davis Graduate School of Management among the top 50 business schools in the nation. The school regularly places at the top of other rankings: The Financial Times in 2007 ranked it No. 1 in the world in the field of organizational behavior. Also this year, corporate recruiters surveyed by The Wall Street Journal ranked the school sixth in the nation for preparing graduates for technology, Internet and telecommunications careers, and one of the top 30 regional business schools. For more information, visit http://www.gsm.ucdavis.edu.