NGU News

The Donnan/COBE Project. Stepping into a New Era

A full front-view of the new Donnan Administration and COBE building with students walking in the courtyard.Tigerville, SC (June 14, 2022) North Greenville University (NGU) unveiled plans to transform a campus landmark and create a new home for its largest academic program on June 14 with the announcement of The Donnan/College of Business & Entrepreneurship Project. Construction on the project, which has been in the design phase since last fall when it was approved by the NGU Board of Trustees, and is supported by a recently launched $8.5 million capital campaign, is scheduled to begin this fall. The project centerpiece is the renovation of historic Donnan Administration Building to house the College of Business and Entrepreneurship (COBE) and a new office suite for NGU’s senior administration.

NGU President Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr., said nearly $3 million has already been given toward the major capital effort, with several significant gifts pending. NGU officials announced the project during a gathering of alumni and friends at a special event during the Southern Baptist Convention in Anaheim, CA.

“NGU’s College of Business and Entrepreneurship is positioned uniquely to equip students to see free enterprise as an overflow of a comprehensive biblical worldview. Because we are committed to human flourishing—seeing God’s providential love and plans for all of us—in the realm of work, we believe that our students will be able to serve both church and society by applying their calling in the marketplace,” said President Fant. “Work is a gift from God; learning not only how to work but how to provide work for others is a way to share God’s blessings with others.”

Situated at the highest point on NGU’s Tigerville campus, the Donnan Administration Building opened in 1955. It currently houses the president’s office suite, NGU’s business office, and six classrooms.  The Donnan/COBE Project, which has been designed by Greenville’s Equip Studio and is being managed by Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL), will provide five contemporary classrooms; student gathering and collaboration spaces; and COBE faculty offices. The project also will yield a 25-person conference room and a new office suite for senior administrators, bringing chief executive, operations, academic, and financial officers under one roof.

President Fant said this is a key time of growth for the College of Business & Entrepreneurship, which enrolled 490 students in the 2021-22 academic year, over 20% of NGU’s total enrollment.

“My strong desire is for our College of Business and Entrepreneurship to glorify God by transforming more and more students into innovative thinkers and entrepreneurial problem-solvers who will serve as agents of human flourishing throughout society,” said Dr. John Duncan, COBE’s dean. “We are excited and very grateful that Dr. Fant, NGU’s senior leadership team, and the NGU Board of Trustees have chosen to move forward with this project that will renovate the university’s most significant building to provide a new home for the College of Business and Entrepreneurship to better achieve this mission. This renovated facility will enhance faculty-to-student and student-to-student interactions and help us accelerate the creation of a thriving learning community for our business programs.”

The capital campaign, scheduled to conclude in May 2024, is coordinated with a 10-person campaign steering committee comprised of regional business leaders and NGU alumni. “I am passionate about this project,” said Steering Committee Chair Don Wilson, CEO of Engineered Systems, Inc., based in Duncan, SC. “If we want to reach people and influence people for Christ, then the best place to do so is through work. You work 40-plus hours a week, and your living sermon is on view to everyone with whom we interact. So, we can we train young people to be prepared and equipped to be excellent kingdom-minded workers who draw people to Christ.”

University leaders said a recurring benefit for North Greenville students throughout the institution’s 130-year history is the opportunity to develop lifelong friendships with classmates. The capital campaign will yield new spaces for students to gather before, between or after classes to visit and build a sense of community.

“I am so excited to see NGU focusing their efforts on how best to serve our students looking to be change-makers and innovation drivers in their professions and communities through the College of Business & Entrepreneurship,” said Brandy Amidon, a 2002 NGU graduate who is Co-President and CEO of Brains on Fire, Inc., and Mayor of Travelers Rest, SC. “This renovation project will give our students and staff dedicated space for collaboration to nurture our future business leaders.”

NGU trustees approved naming the executive suite in memory of former board chair Don Ward, who oversaw significant improvements to the university’s physical facilities while serving as an NGU trustee. His service as a board member spanned from 1997 to 2014.

“Don Ward’s vision was central to the advancement of the university, and his family includes at least three generations of NGU graduates,” said Dr. Fant. “We are so grateful for the opportunity to memorialize his leadership in this special way.”

“The Donnan/COBE Project includes a wide range of opportunities to name spaces,” said Marty O’Gwynn, NGU vice president for advancement and university engagement. “From the complete structure to individual offices, conference rooms, the student commons, garden areas and several suites, this project includes numerous options for celebrating legacies and providing examples to inspire others to invest in NGU’s distinctive Christ-first academic programs in business and entrepreneurship, or to tangibly demonstrate support for the institution.” Specific naming opportunities start at $15,000.

To learn more about the project and about naming opportunities, visit

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