Business college’s building upgrades bolster innovation

Carlos Ortiz

MBA student Ekua Quagraine works in the renovated Lowenthal Hall, home to Saunders College of Business. The upgrades have made her college experience more fulfilling, she says.

While admittedly not always a fan of group projects in the past, Ekua Quagraine is finding the multifunctional spaces encouraging collaborative learning inside the newly renovated Saunders College of Business stimulating and positive.

“These changes show the school’s continuing focus on group and interactive learning,” said Quagraine, a native of Kansas City, Mo., currently pursuing her MBA after earning her bachelor’s degree from RIT in international business in 2023. “Professors have taken the new learning spaces into consideration when leading class, so we are doing more impromptu group activities and collaborating a lot more often.”

Saunders College of Business students receive a unique education integrating business with technology and design thinking. The renovation of existing classrooms completed last summer, and the expansion of Max Lowenthal Hall to nearly double the business college’s size, which will be completed this spring, will help to drive creativity and innovation among the next generation of business leaders.

“I’m interacting with my classmates a lot more than before,” said Quagraine, who is planning for a career in supply chain management. “I like that I feel more comfortable and connected with my peers. I am not always a fan of group projects, but I’ve become closer with my classmates with these new classrooms, which makes collaborative group work more appealing.”

Molly McGowan, a senior lecturer in the management department and director of the Leadership Academy @ Saunders College, said the renovation and expansion will allow for the Leadership Academy to have its own space, where students can plan their programs and peers can drop in for information and meet with program leaders.

“We will also be able to run some of our leadership programs in the new, larger spaces, and thus be able to accept more students into the program,” said McGowan of the academy that fosters innovative leadership development opportunities that bridge business and technology for high school, undergraduate and graduate students; alumni; and employers.

In addition to working more closely with the university’s K-12 programs, McGowan noted that the expansion will enable the academy to host high school and leadership programs and its annual summer camp on-site at Saunders College since “there will be more room for active learning and team activities.”

“Many of our leadership programs are offered to the entire campus—open to students across all colleges and majors—so larger, collaborative spaces allow us to bring in more students from across campus to work collaboratively on leadership skills.”

Quagraine said the business college’s new modern spaces “make me glad to know people are thinking of how to make our experiences better and more enriching” at RIT.

“I am passionate about business because it shapes our lives in every way,” she said. “Innovation is one of the major values within Saunders, and the college’s exciting changes are enabling me to be innovative in each of my classes through project-based learning.”


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