Harvard Business School leaders held a breaking-ground ceremony on Friday to honor Indian tycoon Ratan N. Tata and officially begin the construction of Tata Hall, a new building that will house classrooms and living accommodations for students in the executive education program.
The building will be funded, in part, by a $50 million gift from philanthropic subsidiaries of the Indian conglomerate Tata Group, the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, and the Tata Education and Development Trust.
“A moment like this is very special for Harvard Business School,” HBS Dean Nitin Nohria said. “The experience that students have living here is as vital a part of their HBS education as their experience in the classroom.”
According to Nohria, more than one half of the program’s students hail from across the world. The program strives to teach current executives management skills to improve their leadership.
“The executive education program represents a special opportunity for us to welcome remarkable leaders to the school,” Nohria added.
Tata is head of one of India’s largest conglomerate companies—which counts Tetley Tea and Jaguar in its portfolio—and is himself a graduate of HBS’s executive education program.
“I am so proud to give back to an institute that has done so much for me and so many other people,” Tata said.
Former HBS Dean Jay O. Light highlighted that Tata’s experience as a graduate of the executive education allowed him a closer perspective of the program.
“Mr. Tata is someone who really understood what the residential experience is all about,” said Light, under whose administration the project was initiated.
In recognizing other attributes of Tata’s that were integral in the school’s decision to work with him on the project, Light cited Tata’s position on the Dean’s Board of Advisors and the leadership that he has displayed as chairman of the Tata Group.
“Mr. Tata is an amazing leader with vision and focus, and through his generosity Tata Hall will make an incredible contribution to the Business School,” Light said.
The new space will consist of seven floors, two of which will have walls made of glass to provide views of the Charles River. The building will also include two executive education classrooms and enough beds for an additional 179 students.
Tata Hall is scheduled to open in late 2013 and is expected to cost $100 million to construct.
—Staff writer Matthew M. Beck can be reached at email@example.com.