Watch party sees beam swing into place
Gray skies could not dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd gathered to watch the “topping out” ceremony, when the last beam is placed at the top of a building,for the new Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
With the addition of this building, the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City is hanging out a shingle inviting eager, imaginative people to a place where their ideas will find a home.
Chancellor Leo E. Morton welcomed the audience to watch the crossbeam, adorned with the signatures of UMKC administrators, the builders, students, Bloch School faculty and local visitors, being hoisted into place.
“This structure is a magnificent gift,” Morton said. “This is the equivalent of afterburners on a jet. It’s a booster rocket for UMKC.”
Morton said the building will give the Bloch School the opportunity to double its enrollment; and he applauded the roles that the building, the Bloch School and UMKC would play in helping the Greater Kansas City Chamber achieve one of its Big 5 ambitions – to make Kansas City an entrepreneurial megastar.
Next, it was Bill Dunn, Sr., and Henry W. Bloch’s turn to share some heartfelt and amusing memories. Bloch is the school’s patron and namesake; Dunn is patriarch of the Kansas City construction firm erecting the building. Standing together at the podium, they described how they went from construction project colleagues to lifelong friends.
“Henry insists on doing the right thing at the right time,” Dunn said. “He is one of the best friends I’ve ever had, and I treasure our friendship.”
Bloch countered with a reminiscence of Dunn working for his father.
“Bill’s father listed Bill’s job at a lower category so he wouldn’t have to pay him as much. What did he give you? A dollar a day?”
Dunn nodded yes.
“People ask why I did this,” Bloch said, gesturing at the construction site behind him. “I have three reasons. First, the Bloch School needs room for more students. Second, this helps my community by educating and encouraging successful people. Finally, students will come here and be transformed. This is a project with the best architect, the best faculty, the best builder, the best leaders, the best Chancellor, and the very best students.”
At the end of the program, in the shadow of the new structure, teachers, builders and benefactors watched as the next generation of Kansas City business leadership streamed in and out of classes in the existing Bloch Building.