Renovated space for School of Business

Ribbon-cutting ceremony marks opening of transformed Bowers Hall

More than 500 people attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand reopening of Bowers Hall, home of the Walla Walla University School of Business, on Dec. 7.

A year-long renovation project on Bowers Hall added more than 3,000 square feet to the existing building and reorganized classroom and office space. The transformed facility includes an innovation classroom/laboratory, technologies that enhance digital learning, efficient group study spaces, and multifunctional meeting spaces.

Among the most historical buildings on the WWU campus, initial construction on Bowers Hall, which was home to WWU science programs, was completed in 1924. In 1955 it was named in honor of George Bowers, chair of the chemistry department and later the 13th WWU president. Perhaps best known as the chemistry building, over the years Bowers Hall has also housed the Department of History and Philosophy, an archeology laboratory, and the School of Theology. The WWU School of Business moved into Bowers Hall in 2009.

“It is no haphazard choice to renovate and expand Bowers Hall,” said John McVay, WWU president. “This building signals our intentions to further strengthen Walla Walla University by growing our School of Business.”

Madilyn Malott, junior business major and president of the WWU Business Club, said, “For me, the new building means a new space for collaborative learning. It also serves as an important reminder that the donors of the project believe in both me and my potential, and are willing to invest so that I will have a better learning experience.”

In 2017, WWU senior business majors scored in the 97th percentile on the Major Field Test in business, and in 2015 and 2016 seniors scored in the 96th percentile. The School of Business curriculum includes project-based learning and internships, with students often assisting local businesses in the Walla Walla Valley with market research and analysis, business planning, and other projects.

The ribbon-cutting event, which took place on the WWU 125th anniversary, was the culmination of work by many Walla Walla-area businesses, including Opp & Seibold General Contractor Inc., Walla Walla Electric, Alden Plumbing/Advanced Plumbing, Grassi Refrigeration, Modern Masonry, Narum Concrete, Conner’s Flooring & Design, A-Sharpe Painting, Perfection/Yale Glass, Gillespie Roofing, Smith Brothers Landscaping, AKey Excavating, Systematic Wood Design, Colfield Framing, and Smith Insulation.

Bruce Toews, professor of business and interim chair of the School of Business, said, “There are a number of reasons we’ll enjoy the new Bowers Hall. Students will enjoy a bounty of quality study spaces near their professors’ offices. The intentional layout and cutting-edge technology in our classrooms will facilitate project-based learning and teamwork. And group members will be able to work on common documents that can further be shared by the professor with the rest of the class.”

To learn more about the WWU School of Business, visit or call (509) 527-2951.

Posted Dec. 19, 2017

Students crowd into the newly finished Bowers Hall lobby to enjoy some refreshments.
More than 500 people attended a reception following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was held Dec. 7 during the WWU 125th anniversary celebration.
Faculty and staff gather to help President John McVay to cut the ribbon at the opeing ceremony for Bowers Hall.
Ribbon-cutting participants included Ken Seibold, superintendent at Opp & Seibold-Chervenell; George Bennett, WWU director of Facility Services; Madilyn Malott, WWU business student and Business Club president; Larnie Opp, project manager at Opp & Seibold-Chervenell; Paul Rhynard, executive vice president at Joshua Green Corporation and co-chair of the campaign committee; John McVay, WWU president; Dawn and Kevin Rolling, CREDO; Bruce Toews, interim dean of the School of Business; Jodi Wagner, WWU vice president for University Relations and Advancement; and Wendell White, founder and owner of Generations LLC.
President John McVay stands behind the uncut orange ribbon, giving a speech at the ribbon cutting for Bower's Hall.
John McVay, WWU president, expressed appreciation to all who made the revitalization project possible.