New Center for Business Education coming to USD with $50M Knauss donation


SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The University of San Diego Friday announced it received a $50 million donation from USD Board Chairman Donald Knauss and his wife, Ellie, to build the Knauss Center for Business Education and name The Knauss School of Business.

The donation from the former CEO of Clorox is one of the largest in USD’s history.

“This is our investment in educating ethical and compassionate business leaders — leaders who enable a free enterprise system that creates wealth on a fair and equitable playing field,” said Knauss. “Without the creation of wealth, no society can take care of its most vulnerable, lift the standards of living of its citizens or make the investments needed to preserve this planet for future generations.”

The Knauss Center for Business Education is scheduled to open in Fall 2022. The new 120,000-square-foot building — together with the renovated Olin Hall — will “create an amazing complex that will more than triple the size of The Knauss School of Business,” a statement from the university read.

Planned facets of the building include the Free Enterprise Suite to help seed student startups, the Student Success Center, a production studio, “finance lab” and theatre.

“We believe that ethical and compassionate leadership in business or other fields is arguably the most powerful force in society,” said USD President James T. Harris III. “At USD, we believe a values-driven education, coupled with a commitment to free enterprise, gives us the means to deliver on our vision to care for and protect society for future generations.”

Don and Ellie Knauss are parents of four children, including a 2011 USD graduate.

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