Montana State University

MSU to hold groundbreaking ceremony May 3 for new Jabs Hall

April 18, 2013 -- MSU News Service

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A groundbreaking ceremony and celebration for the new, privately funded Jabs Hall at Montana State University will be held from 1:15-2:45 p.m. Friday, May 3, at the building site north of Montana Hall on the MSU campus.

Jabs Hall will be the new home of the MSU Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship, formerly known as the MSU College of Business. The building and college are named for Jake Jabs, a Montana State College alumnus whose $25 million gift will completely fund construction of the building and other programs. The building is scheduled to be completed in 2015.

"Jabs Hall is designed to foster interdisciplinary collaborations and will provide important spaces for advising, classrooms and one-on-one work with students," said MSU President Waded Cruzado. "Thanks to his generosity, Mr. Jabs' visionary gift will benefit generations of students to come."

The groundbreaking ceremony will include remarks from Jabs, Cruzado, MSU Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship Dean Kregg Aytes, Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh, Montana Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian, and Angela McLean, chairwoman of the Montana Board of Regents. Jabs, Walsh, Cruzado, Aytes and Christian will ceremonially break ground at the event along with Michael Stevenson, president of the MSU Alumni Foundation, and others.

"Jake has always been a loyal and generous champion of MSU," Stevenson said. "We look forward to joining the lieutenant governor and others in appreciating Jake and celebrating the impact that private donors have on our campus."

The groundbreaking event is free and open to the public. RSVPs may be made online at or by calling 800-457-1696.

In 2011, Jabs announced an unrestricted gift of $25 million to the MSU Alumni Foundation to support the MSU College of Business, $18 million of which was earmarked for the design and construction of Jabs Hall. The gift -- which is the largest private gift made in the history of the Montana higher education system -- will also fund scholarships and new academic programs.

In 2010, Jabs gave $3 million to the MSU College of Business for the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship, plus additional funds for scholarships for entrepreneurship students. 

"In addition to Jabs Hall, the scholarships and new academic programs that Jake Jabs has made possible will enable generations of MSU students to continue to develop their skills and talents," Aytes said. "All of this will contribute to important economic development in Montana."

Jabs grew up on a farm near Lodge Grass and received a degree in vocational agriculture from Montana State College in 1952. While at Montana State, he played music with the band, was on the rodeo team and joined the ROTC.

Jabs, 83, is now president and CEO of American Furniture Warehouse based in Denver. The company is one of the largest retail furniture companies in the U.S. and one of the largest privately held businesses in Colorado.

For more information about the Jabs Hall groundbreaking, contact Carlye Cook, director of special events at the MSU Alumni Foundation, at 994-2560 or

Contact: Carlye Cook, director of special events, MSU Alumni Foundation, (406) 994-2560 or