Farewell to Whitt Evokes Memories, Anticipation for COBE
A sunny spring day was the backdrop Friday as the College of Business and Economics (COBE) said goodbye to Whitt Hall, its home for three decades. COBE will move to its new building in August.
"Whitt Hall has always had an enthusiastic atmosphere with students and faculty of different ages and backgrounds teaching, meeting and greeting in the corridors," said Abhay Kaushik, assistant professor of finance. "It has been a memorable and inspirational place."
More than 350 students, alumni, faculty and staff gathered on Whitt Lawn to eat lunch, listen to music and play games. Alumni shared their memories, and graduating seniors gave their advice for incoming COBE students. Highlights of the event, dubbed "Farewell to Whitt," were a class picture of COBE's 230-member graduating class, the last to call Whitt home, and a 25-team cornhole tournament sponsored by Delta Sigma Pi, the coed professional business fraternity.
"Whitt Hall has been the cornerstone of my undergraduate experience, and all my memories of COBE will be of it," said Beau Proctor, a senior accounting major from Fairfax and chair of the COBE Student Advisory Council, which hosted the event.
Prahlad Kasturi, chair of the Department of Economics, reflected on the historic faculty vote that took place in Whitt 108 almost 30 years ago to seek accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. That action launched what was then the Department of Business and Economics on a path of growth and transformation.
Kasturi also noted that the building over the years hosted many distinguished visitors, including Nobel Laureates, Fulbright Scholars and noted economists and authors like Lester Thurow, George Gilder and Michael Evans. "COBE has made great progress, and it began in this modest building," he said.
James Lollar, chair of the Department of Marketing, laughingly recalled a class he was teaching that was interrupted by mysterious traffic—a well-dressed professional woman with a clipboard, followed a while later by a burly repairman with a heavily laden tool belt—through a door at the side of the room that he had thought was a closet. The door turned out to be an entrance to the steam tunnels that run underneath campus. Lollar said the pair were an inspector and a worker who had come from another part of campus.
Finance Professor Clarence Rose, one of Whitt Hall's longest-tenured residents, said, "Whitt Hall seemed new when it was renovated, and it seems old now. I am looking forward to the new building as a very nice place to work and teach."