In early December 2023, the Busch School of Business celebrated its tenth anniversary with a special dinner that reflected on how far it has come and where it will go in the future.
Launched in January 2013, it opened in the middle of an academic year, a decision that a dean of another Catholic business school questioned at the time. Busch School Dean Andrew Abela said the answer came down to one thing: “Because we were ready,” he said.
“Shortly before we started the school, with the very small group of faculty we had at the time, we were at a faculty meeting, and someone pointed out that we had recently developed a five-year plan, and we had just completed that five-year plan…in two years. That’s pretty good,” he said, pausing for applause. “Then came the University's strategic plan. The wording in the strategic plan was, ‘Consider the launch of a business school.’ Well, I think we did a little bit more than consider it.”
Abela recounted how, at the school’s first board of visitors meeting, Tim Busch, who with his wife, Steph, made the generous gift to name the school, said – “Tim knows I’ll never let him forget this,” Abela said, smiling – “we’re not going to need a building for at least ten years.”
It only took three years, however, for the school to begin the renovation process of Maloney Hall, the University’s former Chemistry Building that was shuttered at the time, which reopened to Busch School students in the spring of 2019.
“The reason that we got so much done in such a short time was because this was a powerful community effort, particularly of the people in this room,” Abela continued. “So many people who have done so much for the business school. I would have liked to name each and every one of you.”
Two videos played during the evening, one that showed where the school had been, and the other showing where the school hopes to go in the future.
Abela went on to highlight the generosity of several donors who were “absolutely pivotal” to helping the Busch School come to fruition. From an $8,000 gift from the Charles Koch Foundation for research on virtue and business, a gift from Steve and Mariann Means to pay for the design plans for the Maloney renovation, to gifts in the hundreds of thousands or into the millions that established programs and paid for labs, outdoor spaces, the St. Michael Chapel, and expanded programs and institutes. None of it would have been possible, however, without the Busch family, Abela said. “Tim and Steph Busch brought so many people together in support of our school.”
With gifts to support the renovation of Maloney, the construction of the St. Michael Chapel, and others to fund scholarships and programs, Abela said that it was possible that the school didn’t set its sights high enough. His goal is “for the Busch School to become the number-one choice for faithful Catholic business education.”
President Peter Kilpatrick echoed that statement during his remarks later in the evening.
“You heard Tim Busch talk about how ‘mission matters,’” he said, referencing a toast Tim Busch gave to open the evening. “What is our mission? Pope Leo gave us that mission. He told us, you need to advance the dialog between faith and reason. Having faith in the Lord helps you ask deeper questions that you wouldn’t ask otherwise if you didn’t have that faith.
“It’s amazing that it took an entire village to help build the Busch School over 10 years, and it’s going to take two villages, or many villages, to build it over the next 10 years. But we’re very committed to that. The Busch School is the fastest-growing school in our University.”
President Kilpatrick also said the Busch School is helping to pave the way toward growing the University’s overall enrollment to 10k students, and for its students and faculty to live impactful lives of virtue. Donors and friends of the school are also key.
“Your leadership and continued involvement in our school are critical for the Busch School to meet her goals and the University to meet our goals,” Kilpatrick said, encouraging them to continue to spread the word about the school and all it is doing.
The event, which took place in Heritage Hall in Father O’Connell Hall, was emceed by Busch School student Lauren White, a senior accounting major in the Class of 2024, who also told the gathering about how the school was her home and that a recent internship at Deloitte helped her discover her vocation. “If I had gone to a large state school, would I have ever had an opportunity to meet with the Dean of the Business school? Would I have ever overcome the fear of feeling insignificant and being a number? At Catholic I discovered I was a human person with dignity and worth.”
Published on: Monday, January 29, 2024