Amid a shower of red and gold streamers, Jill and Frank Fertitta finally cut a ceremonial ribbon in front of the new USC academic building that bears their names. Though Fertitta Hall has been open for classes since mid-August, Wednesday's ceremony was an opportunity to acknowledge the donors who contributed to the buildings' construction and allow them to see the building filled with students and finally put to use.
Frank Fertitta and his brother Lorenzo grew wealthy after purchasing and reviving nearly-bankrupt businesses, according to Forbes. These include Zuffa LLC, which owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the world's largest mixed martial arts promotion company, and Station Casinos, which operates 10 casino hotel properties in Las Vegas. Fertitta attended USC for his undergraduate studies and now serves as a university trustee.
During the ceremony, USC President C. L. Max Nikias highlighted how the contribution of the casino billionaire allows the USC Marshall School of Business to resolve its pressing lack of space. In a press release, the university said that Fertitta Hall creates space for roughly 1,000 more students in a new building created with USC Marshall's project-based curriculum in mind, unlike the business school's older buildings.
The opening of the Fertitta Hall is just one of a number of changes that will impact USC Marshall's future. The Fertittas endowed the Chair of Business and the school has hired 48 new faculty members.
Dean James Ellis of the business school said in his speech, "In conversations with Jill and Frank Fertitta, we talked about Frank's experience as an undergrad. … What was most important to us was three things: community, collaboration and culture.
"We wanted students to come here not just to go to class and turn around and go back to the dorms or their houses, but to stay here and work with their groups on team projects, have something to eat then go to class again. Basically build the culture of the school," Ellis said. "If you go through here at any given time you'll see that's exactly what's happened."
Frank Fertitta echoed this sentiment when he said, "At the end of the day, it's not all about the building. What's important is what goes on inside the building."
Reach Staff Reporter Jordan Winters here.