The FINANCIAL — London Business School (LBS) has begun a new chapter in its history, with the official opening on 26 September of the Sammy Ofer Centre, a state-of-the-art teaching hub housed within an iconic London building, the Old Marylebone Town Hall.
The Sammy Ofer Centre has been made possible by a significant fundraising campaign, which garnered more than £125 million, part of which was used to support the redevelopment of the Old Marylebone Town Hall site. The School’s fundraising programme was substantially supported with a £25 million donation from the Idan and Batia Ofer Family Foundation in 2013. The gift, the largest ever received by the School, was described at the time by the School’s then dean, Sir Andrew Likierman, as “being in a completely different league” from any previous donation to the school.
The new building has been named the Sammy Ofer Centre in honour of the late Sammy Ofer KBE, a celebrated entrepreneur and philanthropist. Designed by architects, Sheppard Robson, and with 37 seminar rooms, six new lecture theatres, a stunning new library and multiple breakout areas, the new centre will increase the teaching space at LBS by 70%. The famous Grade II-listed building successfully marries a 1920s structure designed in the classical manner, with the latest in architectural design and facilities, according to LBS.
LBS’s dean François Ortalo-Magné said: “The School’s London location puts us at the heart of the world’s financial and business community, and has shaped our character and success since the early 1960s. The Sammy Ofer Centre embodies the quality of the LBS brand and promotes an exciting future for the School.”
Idan Ofer, himself an MBA graduate from LBS, said: “Seeing the new centre with my own eyes has brought alive to me the tremendous spirit of this institution and why it deserves its reputation. LBS is rightly considered among the best in its class, renowned for nurturing the entrepreneurs and leaders of tomorrow, something which has always been close to my heart. I am confident that this wonderful new building will ensure the School is fully equipped to serve the next generation of students and to remain at the front rank of business education worldwide. My father, who left school when he was only 14, was a great believer in the value of education, and in the duty of each generation of leaders to educate the next. I am sure he would be very proud to have his name associated in this way with the future success of this great institution.”
François Ortalo-Magné, London Business School’s new dean, who assumed his tenure in August, was previously dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Business School, where he grew and strengthened the faculty and raised substantial funds. At the time of his appointment Dean Ortalo-Magné said that he was looking forward to building on the School’s momentum, while “embracing its academic excellence, London spirit and global mindset”.
“The opening of the Sammy Ofer Centre has created great momentum for the School and I am excited for the journey ahead,” said Dean Ortalo-Magné.
Gavin Robinson, Associate Partner at Sheppard Robson, said: “The combination of deft refurbishment and uncompromising modern design speaks of the ambition of LBS. The project creates a state-of-the-art learning environment that is rooted within London’s historic fabric, breathing new life into one of the capital’s iconic buildings.”
The Sammy Ofer Centre was officially opened on 26 September 2017, with the following people in attendance: Idan and Batia Ofer, The Hon Apurv Bagri, Chairman of LBS’s Governing Body and Managing Director of the Metdist Group of companies, François Ortalo-Magné, Dean of London Business School, and former Dean Sir Andrew Likierman.