It was a fitting opening for the Business School, since the 11-month MBA program, when it started in 1998, was one of the first accelerated MBA programs in the nation. The first two floors of the building on Lawrence Street open with the spring semester, while the remainder of the building -- a $14 million renovation -- is scheduled to open in August 2012.
Business School Dean Sueann Ambron spoke briefly to the students in Associate Professor Gary Colbert's accounting class.
"This is a phenomenal building," Ambron said. "It feels like you're in the center of business in downtown Denver."
Colbert said the CU Denver 11-month MBA program is modeled after programs in Europe, where a cohort of full-time students practically live together for the entire time. They complete a two-year course in just 11 months.
"They're here all day," said Colbert, director of the program. "They do a lot of team-based work together."
At the end of this eight-week term -- there are five, eight-week terms in the program -- the cohort will travel to Europe to study international business for two weeks.
Ambron said the state-of-the-art new building is all about giving students the best-possible learning environment and creating a place to engage the business community.
"It's like the first day of school," she said. "We have a new building, new desks, new chairs. It's an environment built to support learning. It's all right here."
The 11-month MBA program is housed on the second floor of the new building. Previously, it was located at the Bard Center for Entrepreneurship at 16th and Welton streets in Denver. The Bard Center for Entrepreneurship will now also be housed in the new Business School.
Students in the class were each given a CU Denver pin to commemorate the historic occasion.
"It is an amazing class," Ambron said of the 11-month MBA program, "and we look forward to welcoming all of our students to the new building when we open to all classes in fall 2012."