Campus Life

UWF hosts grand opening of new College of Business Education Center

The University of West Florida (UWF) celebrated the grand opening of the state-of-the-art College of Business Education Center on Thursday, Oct. 4 with a ribbon-cutting dedication and reception.

Throughout the week, UWF hosted a series of events to provide an opportunity for students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends to reconnect with one another and to celebrate the new opportunities provided by the state-of-the-art facility. Featured events included a marketing and management career expo, ribbon cutting dedication, grand opening reception and an alumni, faculty, staff and student luncheon with a special lecture from current College of Business faculty member Bob Kimball.

The grand opening of the Education Center marks a special moment in UWF’s history, President Judy Bense said.

“This is important to the university because it is symbolic of our growth and progress,” Bense said. “Buildings are more than just a place to teach, do research and interact; they send a message. This building is progressive, modern and corporate. That’s the message we want to send to our students, to the community, and to the university. We are proud of this building, and it shows.”

The grand opening not only celebrated new opportunities for current and future students; it was also a time to highlight the accomplishments and success of graduates. College of Business alumni in Northwest Florida and around the world are using the skills they learned at UWF to shape their communities.

Graduates have enjoyed successful careers as CEOs, CFOs, managing partners and executives from Florida to California to New York, Paris and beyond. Across the many success stories is one resounding constant – alumni attributing who they are, what they do and what they are accomplishing to the education they received at UWF.

Caroline Hartnett, Senior Credit Officer and Senior Vice President of Beach Community Bank, said choosing UWF “was the best personal decision” she has ever made. She graduated with a finance degree in 1993. “The extensive College of Business curriculum prepares students to not just meet expectations required within a real world professional environment, but to exceed those expectations,” Hartnett said.

Many alumni point to dedicated faculty and personalized attention as the most notable characteristics of their time at UWF.

“The professors in the College of Business taught me how to be prepared and required the discipline necessary for achieving success in the professional world,” said Charlie Switzer, College of Business graduate and donor. “The one-on-one attention and high expectations positively enhanced my experience at the university. In fact, as a result, my wife, two sons and brother all attended UWF.”

The opening of the Education Center enables the college to fully carry out the vision of the legendary founding chair of the Accounting and Finance department, Dr. Tom Committe. In an interview earlier this year, Committe shared his firm belief that the most important business the college could possibly be in is the “business of changing lives.” Committe’s attitude, which he adopted soon after the college’s formation, set the bar high and continues to act as a driving force on the success of today’s alumni.

“College of Business graduates are advancing their careers, growing businesses, raising families and volunteering. Through them, we are shaping the destiny of the communities they serve,” said College of Business Dean Ed Ranelli. “One of the reasons why our graduates are successful is because of the background, experience and commitment of our faculty.”

The College of Business Education Center, which opened its doors for classes this fall, is designed to enhance student learning and facilitate interactions among students, faculty and the business community.

The high-tech classrooms create an interactive, innovative learning environment. The three-story atrium provides a venue for students to gather, study and interact while watching stock market action on the electronic ticker tape or catching up on the latest business news on the large flat screen TVs. Students have access to a one-stop advising center, computer lab and trading center, career counseling and interview rooms, offices for student professional organizations, and group project rooms. The center also features a café with ample seating and a large exterior courtyard and plaza.

For additional information about the College of Business Education Center, visit