April 20, 2007
L-R: Georgia State Vice President for Development Nancy Peterman, Carl Zwerner, Dean Steven Kaminshine and Robinson College of Business Dean Fenwick Huss
Carl R. Zwerner, entrepreneur and graduate of Georgia State University's J. Mack Robinson College of Business, has pledged $5 million to be used for the construction of an auditorium, which will be part of the proposed Georgia State University Professional Center.
The Professional Center will be located in a two-block area adjacent to Woodruff Park on a parcel of land the Georgia State University Foundation is in the process of purchasing from SunTrust Bank. The complex will have new facilities for the College of Business and the College of Law, a classroom building and the auditorium.
“Carl Zwerner is one of Georgia State's most loyal alumni,” said Georgia State President Carl Patton. “His commitment to the university has spanned half a century and his pledge in support of the new auditorium shows his commitment to creating a learning environment that will benefit the entire university community.”
Zwerner, commenting on his pledge, said Georgia State had a “special spirit” when he attended the university, and that spirit remains alive today.
“There was always a great camaraderie between students and professors,” Zwerner added. “My hope is that this new auditorium will not only provide a state-of-the-art resource for students, faculty and visitors, but that it will also enhance the spirit that has made Georgia State University so vibrant and so special as it continues to grow in the future.”
Zwerner began his career with Owens Illinois, a leading glass and plastics manufacturer. After attending the Robinson College part-time and receiving his BBA degree in 1955, he struck out on his own and founded Glass, Inc. After a merger with Russell Aluminum and a subsequent purchase by Anaconda, Zwerner bought back the glass division of the company and ran it for the next 17 years. Glass Incorporated became one of the nation's top specialty glass importing companies. In 1966, Zwerner's son, Joshua, took over as president and Zwerner continued spending much of his time, as he does today, investing in small businesses.
“In addition to serving the needs of the J. Mack Robinson College of Business and the College of Law, the auditorium will be a collaborating point for the best and the brightest—not just students, but alumni and leaders in business and law from around the nation and around the world,” Robinson College of Business Dean H. Fenwick Huss said. “Carl's enormous generosity will have an immeasurable and lasting impact on Georgia State University.”
College of Law Dean Steven Kaminshine noted that the new professional center will offer “unparalleled opportunities for collaborative initiatives between the two colleges and the law and business communities.”
“Mr. Zwerner's extraordinary pledge will help the center set new standards for interdisciplinary education among the nation's law and business schools,” Dean Kaminshine explained.
Zwerner's contributions to Georgia State University, even before today, are substantial. In 1987, he endowed the Carl R. Zwerner Chair in Family Owned Business. At that time, it was the largest gift given by an individual to Georgia State University.
Zwerner, who resides in Coral Gables, Florida, also has given countless hours of service as a member of the Robinson College Board of Advisors.