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The Wharton School's New Academic Center Combines Best of Technology, Traditional Classroom Instruction, Team Learning


Jon M. Huntsman Hall “Raises the Bar” in the Delivery of Management Education

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 3, 2002 – After a decade of planning, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania will begin classes today in Jon M. Huntsman Hall, the School’s new, technology-packed academic center that integrates the best attributes of technology-enhanced learning, traditional classroom instruction, and team-based learning.

By sheer size – 324,000 square feet, 48 classrooms, 57 group study rooms, lecture halls, auditoriums and conference rooms – the hall is one of the most sophisticated large-scale instructional center of any educational institution in the world. But, according to faculty and students, it's the center's design and new technology, tailored by advances in the curriculum emphasizing teamwork, interdisciplinary study and globalization that will make a tangible difference in the lives of everyone in the Wharton community.

"Huntsman Hall brings to fruition an important part of our strategy to attract the best faculty and best students. We now have a state-of-the art facility that will revolutionize how we deliver a Wharton education," said Wharton's Dean Patrick Harker.

The new center will transform the learning process through the scale and scope of its pervasive and transparent technology, enhancing student and faculty interaction. All classrooms are wired for multimedia and broadband audio and video conferencing, which links classroom to classroom, Wharton's main campus in Philadelphia with Wharton West in San Francisco, and to classes and executive education programs at its allied institution INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France and Singapore.

Other technology advances include digital and video recording and archiving of sessions in each classroom over the Wharton Video Network, which allows students, faculty and alumni to view class materials on demand over the Internet; connectivity between group work stations and internet access; and a custom instructor’s lectern is featured in each of the classrooms and incorporates a computer keyboard, laptop ports, a microphone, and a master control system which adjusts audiovisual equipment, lights and room settings.

The $139.9-million academic center has been funded entirely by gifts from alumni, corporations and friends. Huntsman Hall was designed by the architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, PC, New York and will serve as a multi-functional academic center for 2,400 undergraduates, 1,600 MBA students, 200 Executive MBA students, and 200 PhD candidates. The design is based on years of planning and more than 100 focus groups with students, faculty and staff.

The Wharton School is recognized around the world for its academic strengths across every major discipline and at every level of business education. Founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school in the nation, Wharton is dedicated to creating the highest value and impact on the practice of business and management through intellectual leadership and innovation in teaching, research, publishing and service.