Ballard Family donates building for FSU’s new school

Courtesy of FSU

Brian Ballard, CEO of Ballard Partners, and Kathryn Ballard, a Florida State University alumna and member of the FSU Board of Trustees, donated a building valued at $1.1 million in downtown Tallahassee that will serve as the home of the Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship.

The three-story, 19,000-square foot building, located at 111 S. Monroe St. is the former Guaranty National Bank.

“This incredibly generous gift is a remarkable demonstration of Brian and Kathryn Ballard’s support for Florida State University,” FSU President John Thrasher said. “It will enable us to quickly follow through on making the Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship a reality.”

The building will be ready for occupancy next summer after undergoing an interior and exterior renovation. The location of the building will place FSU faculty and students close to the state capitol and within a short walking distance to the new FSU College of Business.

“The culmination of these two gifts will give rise to the Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship, the first interdisciplinary entrepreneurship school of its kind in the nation, allowing us to give our students a world-class education in entrepreneurship and innovation,” Sally McRorie, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, said.

The Ballard’s gift follows a landmark $100 million gift to the university in December by Jan Moran and The Jim Moran Foundation; that gift was the largest in FSU’s history.

The school’s faculty will remain in the offices of their current colleges and departments on Florida State’s main campus. The building donated by the Ballard’s will house the school’s staff and its founding director, Susan Fiorito.

“We are grateful and honored to receive these gifts that fund the school and the building, both of which will ensure a world-class education focusing on entrepreneurship for all interested FSU students,” Fiorito said.

Fiorito is an FSU business professor and entrepreneur-in-residence who serves as president of the university’s Faculty Senate and is a university trustee. She said FSU will strive to reflect the generosity the Ballards have displayed.

“We will strive to reflect in all that we do the goodwill and unselfishness that the Ballard’s have shown with their contributions,” Fiorito said.

The Ballard’s wanted to do more than simply offer funding. Instead, they wanted to contribute to the academic mission of the university.

“We are so excited and proud to support the Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship,” Kathryn Ballard, who has served as a trustee since 2013, said. “This will be a special place for FSU students, faculty and alumni for generations to come.”

The Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship is scheduled to officially launch in August 2018.