Grand Canyon University (GCU) opened its new Colangelo College of Business (CCOB) building this week.
“This is just another milestone in the blessings that Grand Canyon has received in the last ten years and they just continue,” GCU President, Brian Mueller said. “We are very, very happy that this building and this college is named [after Jerry Colangelo].”
According to the university, in 2009 GCU had less than 1,000 students and has grown that number to more than 19,000 as of 2018.
Jerry Colangelo, an Arizona legend and former owner of the Phoenix Suns and a number of local sports teams, is credited for a lot of the university’s recent success.
“So, how did this all come together?” Colangelo asked the crowd at the opening. “What happened is when Brian came to me [with his] vision about taking a university, taking a college that was about to die and to look forward five years, ten years and see what it might be. The key with me was he said he thought [basketball] could be what really opens the door, that was the kingpin. So, I jumped in, wanted to be involved but it was because of his enthusiasm, his vision and boy has it come to fruition.”
Since 2010 the university has created 10,490 jobs per year, produced a $1.1 billion annual impact and had $455 million in revenues over the decade.
“America is an economy where you’re paid for your productivity and a school that graduates this many people adds quality to lives. [Students] become more productive, they’ll do better in life and they’ll make the community, as a whole, a lot better,” Elliott Pollack, CEO of economic consulting firm Elliott D. Pollack and Company, said. “GCU is going to continue to grow, this area will continue to redevelop to the better and it’s going to have a huge impact on the students and essentially, like Jerry, it’s quite a story.”
Colangelo moved to Arizona from Illinois in 1968 when he was hired as the first general manager of the Phoenix Suns, becoming the youngest GM in professional sports.
Under his leadership, the Suns made one of the biggest turnarounds in NBA history and in 1994 Colangelo was a key player in the creation of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“It takes a lot more to be successful in business than just book smarts. There’s something about thrive and initiative, the ability to overcome obstacles, to not throw in the towel, to work with others, to build a team, nothing beats the experience that you get not only in the classroom and from the people you meet but the real world experience,” Governor Doug Ducey (R-AZ) said. “No one exemplifies that better than Jerry Colangelo.”
The CCOB is one of the largest business schools in the country with more than 16,000 on campus and online students, but according to Colangelo, the school is about Arizona’s future.
“This is about the university, this is about the business school, this is about what this building will represent going forward for many, many generations,” Colangelo said. “I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished.”