MIAMI GARDENS, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--“How much would it cost to name the whole building?” This question, posed by legendary South Florida entrepreneur and Ford dealership owner Gus Machado in late-2018 to St. Thomas University (STU) President Emeritus Reverend Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale, turned a conversation about supporting a classroom into a major investment in the university, its students, and its future.
Thanks to a generous $5 million gift from Machado and his wife Lilliam, construction began in January 2019 on the two-building Gus Machado College of Business complex. The Machado donation inspired STU alumnus and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, John J. Dooner, Jr., to contribute $1.6 million to the project, and several other board members, including Vice-Chair Jorge Rico, Victor Mendelson, Mario Murgado, and the Frank E. Murphy Trust, made million-dollar commitments as well. Mendelson’s donation established The Lisa & Victor Mendelson Institute for Data Science & Analytics, and Murgado’s contribution created the Murgado School of Accounting. The George and Evelyn Goldbloom Foundation and STU Trustee, Gary Goldbloom, also gave a multi-million-dollar gift to establish the Gary Goldbloom Distinguished Chair in Cyber Security Management. The university is still actively fundraising to support various other programs, Institutes, and Endowed Professorships that are tied to the Gus Machado College of Business.
When asked what led him to make such a large gift to the university, Gus Machado answered that his Catholic faith had always compelled him to give to others. But, the "unique, character-centered" focus of STU's business programs gave him confidence that his investment would pay dividends in the form of generations of successful, ethical STU graduates. Notably, Machado's grandson is a freshman pursuing a degree in the university's renowned Sports Administration program that is housed in the Gus Machado College of Business.
STU will unveil the new Gus Machado College of Business buildings on its Miami Gardens campus to the public on Friday, October 16th following a Mass and formal dedication ceremony. The 46,521 square foot, twenty-first century complex reflects the modern workplace and has an open architectural style, which utilizes multi-purpose spaces and combines a robust technology infrastructure with the functionalities needed to learn real-world business practices. The academic building in the complex includes 20 new classrooms, a Global Conference Auditorium, a Student Innovation Incubator, a video telecast room, and a sky bridge. The second structure in the complex includes faculty offices and a large boardroom. Globally recognized architectural firm Bermello Ajamil & Partners (B&A) created the award-winning complex design. The total cost of the project is $21.5 million.
STU President David A. Armstrong, J.D., contends that the university’s vision for creating a College of Business that graduated ethical leaders became a reality because of donors like Machado and others—many of whom are STU alumni—who saw the value of that focus for the global community. Armstrong also noted that the new Gus Machado College of Business complex was an essential response to both student and workforce demand, as well as to accommodating the university’s tremendous growth. STU has set records for total enrollment and undergraduate enrollment in each of the past two years. Much of that enrollment growth has occurred in STU’s expanding Gus Machado College of Business.
“We have had tremendous enrollment growth in the past two years and have set a goal of doubling the number of students in the Gus Machado College of Business from 800 to 1600,” Armstrong said. “Students today expect universities to have state of the art facilities, and this new complex was necessary to accommodate our current enrollment and attract future students. I can honestly say that STU now has a facility that, from an aesthetic, functional, and technological perspective, rivals the facilities on college campuses across the country.”
The Gus Machado College of Business offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in 11 industry fields, including accounting, finance, marketing, sports administration, ethical leadership, data analytics, and cyber and information security. This semester, the Gus Machado College of Business began offering fashion merchandising courses and is currently seeking accreditation of a fashion merchandising program.
On October 16th, The Most Reverend Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski will celebrate Mass on STU’s campus in the Chapel of St. Anthony at 9am prior to the 10am formal blessing and dedication ceremony. Guests will be invited to a reception in the new faculty building immediately after the ceremony. Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver G. Gilbert III will be on hand to present Gus Machado with a Proclamation that celebrates Machado’s professional leadership and philanthropic contributions to the community. The day’s events will be livestreamed.
About St. Thomas University
St. Thomas is a Catholic University with rich cultural and international diversity committed to the academic and professional success of its students who become ethical leaders in our global community. The only Catholic Archdiocesan-sponsored university in Florida, STU is a private, non-profit university that offers 39 undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate degrees at its 144-acre campus in Miami Gardens, Fla., and through distance learning, including one of the oldest (and highly ranked) undergraduate programs in Sports Administration in the country. STU has been ranked #1 by U.S. News & World Report in Social Mobility for regional universities in the South, which means it takes students from the lowest financial strata and catapults them to much higher financial strata in only 10 years. In the last year, STU also recruited the largest incoming undergraduate class and raised the most money in the university’s history.