On November 17, Palm Beach Atlantic University announced the largest single gift in the university’s history along with a capital campaign and plans for construction of a stunning six-story Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Business Building.
Plans for the Future
The $26 million gift comes from John J. and Sheila Rinker ($20 million) and the Marshall & Vera Lea Rinker Foundation ($6 million), of which he is the president. University leaders announced the gift Thursday at The Breakers during the launch of a $75 million capital campaign.
Rinker’s father was the namesake of the business school and a key benefactor of Palm Beach Atlantic from the university’s beginning. John J. Rinker and his wife, Sheila, have built upon that legacy. They have volunteered for the university in significant ways and led major capital projects in music, literature, arts and athletics.
“PBA is generating students who have integrity, moral strength and the ability to live by such principles,” said John J. Rinker. “They are investing themselves in our community, and we are the better for it.”
The new structure is to rise immediately south of PBA’s Warren Library. A dramatic, two-story atrium will welcome visitors into the Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Business Building, which will have a stock trading room with professional terminals and stock ticker; a 314-seat tiered lecture hall; expanded space for the Titus Center for Franchising; and the LeMieux Center for Public Policy, among other features.
Part of the site for the new building is the former Quattlebaum funeral home property. The Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Foundation purchased that property in 2013 and donated it to the University in 2018.
Board of Trustees Chairman Timothy S. Sotos noted that the new Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Business Building is the first project in the development of PBA’s transformative campus master plan. “We are very grateful for the generous gifts from John and Sheila Rinker and other friends of the university,” he said.
“At this profound time of growth for our university and community, the beautiful new Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Business Building will ensure that Palm Beach Atlantic continues to produce well-trained, values-driven interns and employees for the companies moving to our area,” said Rinker School of Business Dean Dr. Brian Strow. “This spring, the Rinker School of Business will host the final site visit required to earn Association to Advance Collegiate Schools Business (AACSB) accreditation. AACSB accreditation is the highest level of business school accreditation and has been achieved by a mere 5 percent of global business schools.”
The University’s long-term God-Sized Dreams master plan also calls for a new health sciences complex; a performing arts center; and a student and alumni welcome center. The health sciences complex will expand PBA’s health science offerings. It will also enhance interprofessional training and partnerships with healthcare leaders to have clinics on campus.
“I’m so grateful that John and Sheila Rinker are visionaries and wonderfully dedicated supporters of PBA’s mission to equip students to grow in wisdom, lead with conviction and serve God boldly,” said President Dr. Debra A. Schwinn. “In the fall, we welcomed the largest incoming class in the university’s history, and more students from around the world are coming to PBA. It is time to expand Palm Beach Atlantic University, allowing PBA to contribute even more strongly to our local community and world.”
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