Carnegie Mellon University

The Piper

CMU Community News

Piper Logo
November 17, 2015

Giant Steps

CMU Leaps Forward With Tepper Quad

By Bruce Gerson /

Carnegie Mellon is walking the walk, says David Tepper.

The largest expansion on campus since the university’s founding in 1900 officially got underway on Oct. 30, when the university broke ground for the David A. Tepper Quadrangle, a new centerpiece of campus that will bring the CMU community together, fostering its interdisciplinary culture and advancing research, education, entrepreneurship and campus life.

Tepper Quad Groundbreaking Presentation“This is a culmination of a vision that [President] Subra [Suresh] and I share of a new way of education,” said Tepper, a 1982 alumnus and investor whose charitable foundation provided a lead gift of $67 million for the project, the largest single gift to the school by an alumnus.

“This is not just a new building or a quad, but a vision of education. And that vision of education on the college and graduate school level is to bring all the schools together and have them interact.

“This is Carnegie Mellon not just talking the talk, we’re going to walk the walk,” said Tepper, who in 2004 donated $55 million to rename the business school.

President Subra Suresh called the groundbreaking a momentous occasion that begins one of the most important and inspiring chapters in CMU history, and one that will transform the university physically and metaphorically.

“The Tepper Quad will embody the distinctive academic vision of Carnegie Mellon, how different disciplines come together in new and unique ways … to create new intellectual domains and new disciplines,” Suresh said.

He said the Tepper Quad also will be the anchor point of the new Innovation Corridor and will become the geographic epicenter of the university.

The first structure to be built on the Tepper Quad, located in the old Morewood parking lot, will be a stunning five-story, 305,000 square foot structure that will house the Tepper School of Business, the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, and a technology-enhanced learning center that will be home to the Simon Initiative.

It also will include a 600-seat auditorium — the largest at the university — a welcome center for visitors, collaborative meeting spaces, state-of-the-art classrooms, dining areas, and fitness and recreation facilities. There will be underground parking for 135 vehicles.

The building is being designed by Moore Ruble Yudell Architects and Planners of Santa Monica, Calif. The exterior will consist of the traditional campus cream-colored brick and glass with porches and bays. Interior spaces will be flooded with natural light, warm fabric furnishings and wood to promote collaboration and interaction.

Watch the ceremony highlights.

Read more about the new home for the business school. 

In the photo above, President Subra Suresh presents David Tepper with a framed artist's sketch of the Tepper Quad during the groundbreaking ceremony. The sketch was signed by CMU's Board of Trustees. At right are Tepper master's degree student O'Brian Hunter and engineering freshman Sanchitha Balasubramanian.

Groundbreaking Puts CMU in National Spotlight


The Tepper Quad groundbreaking ceremony brought the financial news cable network CNBC to campus to interview several university leaders throughout the day.

From its remote studio in the Gates Center, CNBC anchor Kelly Evans interviewed David Tepper and CMU Chairman of the Board James Rohr during the network’s morning show “Squawk Box.” During “Power Lunch,” Evans interviewed Tepper School Dean Robert Dammon about CMU’s MBA program.

In the late afternoon “Closing Bell” program, Evans spoke with Trustee Ray Lane about CMU’s autonomous driving technology, and President Subra Suresh and School of Computer Science Dean Andrew Moore about academic-industry partnerships.

The CNBC broadcast also included taped segments with Professor Howie Choset and his snake robot and Professor Sanjiv Singh, who discussed the technology for drones being developed at the Robotics Institute.

Watch the CNBC video clips.

President Subra Suresh, School of Computer Science Dean Andrew Moore and Tepper School Dean Robert Dammon (above, l-r) were among university leaders who appeared on CNBC during its daylong coverage at CMU.