Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

There’s room at the top at the Huntsman School of Business but not enough

There’s a room in the George S. Eccles Business Building that is not often used as a classroom, yet it is where some of the most educational events of the year take place. Most of our VIP visitors end up there and some of our student clubs do their best planning there.

Ken Snyder
I’m talking about the O.C. Tanner Lounge on the ninth floor, a meeting room that offers the best view in Cache Valley and serves as a place where the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business hosts some of its most important visitors. It was originally slated to become a mechanical room and the windows to the east and west were bricked over. But Obert C. Tanner saw its potential and donated funds to make it much more than that.

One of the problems they had back then was they didn’t know how to put the 10-foot, by 8-foot windows in. They wouldn’t fit in the elevators or stairways. So Mr. Tanner solved the problem by bringing a helicopter up from Salt Lake City. The helicopter lifted the windows to the ninth floor.

That was in 1970. In 1989 Mr. Tanner paid to have the room renovated. When he first saw it after the renovation, he reportedly said, “This is the most beautiful room in Utah!”

I think others agree because the ninth floor is often double booked, meaning that if someone cancelled their plans there would be another group ready to jump in and use the space. The room is used, on average, by four different groups a day, nearly year round. The school hosts more than 50 executive visitors a year and nearly all of them make it to the ninth floor before they leave.

For example, just this past year the list of people who were hosted on the ninth floor includes Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, who has become an ambassador from the new nation of South Sudan; Mark James, the senior vice president of human resources and communications for Honeywell; Edward C. Prescott, Nobel Prize winner; Elder Stephen Snow and Elder Yoon Hwan Choi, both general authorities for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Andrew Chern, the founder and chairman of the Panda Restaurant Group; Scott Davis, the president and CEO of Mountain West Small Business; and Dell Loy and Lynnette Hansen, of Wasatch Property Management.

The type of meetings held on the ninth floor often give students a chance to meet and network with some remarkable people. Visiting professors give lectures there, as do many of the business leaders the clubs bring in to speak.

So, it’s no wonder that when we met recently with groups who are helping us plan what to include in our new building, they all agreed that we need more space like we have now on the ninth floor. We could use a place that could serve as a board room for important meetings like those held by our National Advisory Board. And a room that would be big enough to host larger events that would not fit in a room the size of the O.C. Tanner Lounge would prove valuable.

The O.C. Tanner Lounge has a great view of the valley. I’m looking forward to the day when that view will include our new Huntsman Hall.

- Ken Snyder

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