Bill Gates and Richard M. Schulze, two visionary entrepreneurs, will be on the Minneapolis campus to help celebrate the opening of Schulze Hall, the technologically advanced building for the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship.
The opening celebration will last three days and will culminate with an Oct. 20 invitation-only event where Gates and Schulze will discuss with entrepreneurship and graduate business students their experiences as entrepreneurs. Other opening events include a reception and building tour for College of Business students and alumni from 4:30-7 p.m on Tuesday, Oct. 18, and an open house for St. Thomas faculty and staff on Oct. 19. (Hours for the open house are posted at www.stthomas.edu/cob).
Gates is the founder, chairman and chief software architect at Microsoft Corp. Under his leadership, Microsoft generated revenues of $36.85 billion for its fiscal year ending June 2004, and employs more than 55,000 people in 85 countries and regions. He is the author of bestsellers The Road Ahead and Business @ the Speed of Thought. In addition to founding Microsoft, Gates also is the founder of Corbis, one of the world’s largest resources of visual information. He is a member of theboard of directors of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
Gates and his wife, Melinda, have endowed a foundation to support philanthropic initiatives in the areas of global health and learning. The foundation has committed more than $3.2 billion to organizations working in global health; more than $2 billion to improve learning opportunities, including the Gates Library Initiative to bring computers, Internet access and training to public libraries in low-income communities in the United States and Canada; more than $477 million to community projects in the Pacific Northwest; and more than $488 million to special projects and annual giving campaigns.
Schulze, whose $50 million donation to the university in 2000 helped to finance the new building that bears his name, has devoted more than half his life to the consumer electronics industry. The company he founded, Best Buy Inc., currently has revenues approaching $20 billion, and is the nation’s No. 1 retailer of consumer electronics, personal computers and entertainment software.
A native of the Twin Cities, Schulze gained practical secondary and technical electronics training in the U.S. Air Force with the Minnesota Air National Guard. Following his discharge, he worked as an independent manufacturer’s representative, selling national name-brand consumer electronics components. This experience led Schulze to found Sound of Music in 1966. This chain of six stereo component retail stores served as the forerunner to the current Best Buy Co. Inc., formed in 1983.
Schulze is a member of the minnesota Business partnership, a group of chief executives from the state’s 85 largest corporation who work with legislators in developing public policy. He serves on several boards, including the University of St. Thomas, and is chairman of the board for the Best Buy Children’s Foundation. For more information about the opening celebration see the College of Business Web site at www.stthomas.edu/cob.