This past weekend was my 15th B-School reunion at Chicago Booth. Only when I went there it was Chicago GSB. It became Chicago Booth last November when a well to do alum donated $300 million to the school. Hey, for $300 million I’d change my name too.
Change is so often uncomfortable. Even when it relates to hallmarks of our pasts that have very little to do with our current experience. My friends varied in their reactions to the name change and to the beautiful and modern Charles M. Harper Center (that itself was named the Hyde Park Center until May 2007) that became the home of the GSB…err…Booth in 2004. At least two refused to call the school Booth. One waved in victory the lone GSB t-shirt she found on the clearance racks at the book store. Still others picked out some new gear proudly emblazoned with Chicago Booth. Many of us were wide-eyed and perhaps just the littlest bit awestruck as we toured the sleek hallways, the majestic and light-filled winter garden, the spacious student lounge and amenity-rich center. We laughingly recalled walking barefoot in the snow, five miles to and from school each day. Uphill. In both directions. I must have told the story a dozen times of my last visit to campus during which I spied with envy the wonderful upgrade I found there then: an ATM in Stuart Hall. Clearly others had dreamed far bigger than I had.