CO-FOUNDER OF CRATE AND BARREL PLAYED A KEY ROLE
Dean Blount didn’t do it alone, however. Blount found a kindred spirit in Gordon Segel, an alum and the co-founder of Crate & Barrel, who shared Blount’s eye for aesthetics, along with in-depth knowledge of the design and development process. A member of the entourage that flew to the West Coast to visit the high tech campuses as well as Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, Segal urged the group to study the way Jobs wanted food displayed in Pixar’s dining room (the food is tilted toward the consumer to get a better view of it).
No less crucial was the juxtaposition of wood, which warmed both the interior and exterior of a building largely constructed of polished steel and glass. That design feature is a significantly played note in the Global Hub, from the teak wooden floors on the outdoor terraces to the wooden steps that anchor the central plaza of the building from two sides.
Segal kept her focused on the big picture, emphasizing that the building was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that she wouldn’t get a second chance to get right. Siegel, chair of the educational properties committee for Northwestern’s Board of Trustees, was closely involved in even small details, urging the architects to widen the corridors in the building from nine to 11 feet.
‘MAN, THIS IS AMAZING!’
A prolific fund-raiser, Blount landed major gifts from Miles White, the long-time CEO of Abbott Laboratories, and his wife, Kimberly, as well as former Motorola CEO Christopher and his wife, Cynthia Galvin, both alums. But most of the money for the building was raised from a large segment of the alumni, without a big footed gift. Blount estimates that she has invested a third of her seven years as dean on the planning and fundraising for the Global Hub.
Over that time, she has also attracted new administrators and faculty members, refreshed the Kellogg brand, launched a major initiative in “growth and scaling,” and doubled down on the school’s reputation for team-based work and collaboration. “In many ways, the building is a capstone for us,” Blount points out. “It symbolizes physically what we have been doing over the past seven years.”
The early results are gratifying. This week, Blount received an email from a communications professor, who had run into a finance peer he normally wouldn’t encounter in the faculty summit, the two-story piazza piled on top of the larger central atrium. In the course of a conversation, the faculty member solved an issue for him and, in his words, “catapulted the course.” The building also has spiked the morale of an already-chipper faculty and student body. “Imagine working in this building everyday,” Blount asks. “Truly, you feel like you’re the luckiest person in the world. All the work on so many fronts is done that’s vital for generations to come. It’s like, ‘Man, this is amazing.’”
KELLOGG’S BOARD ASKS: ‘NOW WHAT?’
Don’t expect Blount to take a victory lap to celebrate her triumph. This year, her board asked her to pretend she was a new dean who had just walked into the new building.
Her challenge: What would she do next?
It is a way of thinking that Blount seems to relish, a new challenge set down even before one could fully celebrate a great accomplishment. Chances are, she will tap into the school’s roots, the form meets function spirit that forged the Global Hub, for the answer.
“We think bravely,” she says with a smile. “We act boldly. We take risks. We think about the world in a different way.”
DON’T MISS: KELLOGG’S $250 MILLION MARVEL ON THE LAKE or P&Q LIVE PODCAST: DEAN SALLY BLOUNT’S TOUR OF GALVIN DESIGN WING
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