Photo of students in the Jabs hall forumA celebration of Montana State University’s newly constructed Jabs Hall will be held Thursday, May 7, in Jabs Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

The event includes a ribbon cutting at 1:30 p.m., followed by self-guided tours of the building from 2:30-4 p.m. Speakers at the ribbon cutting ceremony include the building’s donor, Jake Jabs, MSU President Waded Cruzado, Montana Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian, Kregg Aytes, dean of the MSU Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship, and MSU business student Holly Capp.

Jabs Hall will be the new home of the MSU Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship. The building was funded entirely by a $25 million private gift from Jabs, a Montana native and Montana State College alumnus, who announced the gift in 2011. The gift is also being used for new scholarships and new academic programs in entrepreneurship, professional skills development, and fostering cooperative work between business students and students in other disciplines.

The building, which has numerous spaces for both large and small groups of students to gather, was designed to encourage entrepreneurial thinking and multidisciplinary collaboration, according to Aytes.

"The building will shape our behavior, and we know our students and faculty will become more collaborative, more creative and more innovative because of it," Aytes said. “We’re very excited.”

Jabs Hall will also help the university begin to address a much-needed backlog of classroom space, Aytes said, and it will benefit generations of students to come.

"Mr. Jabs has been incredibly generous,” Aytes said. “We’re very appreciative of his investment in our students and university.”

Aytes added that Jabs’ gift has inspired other donors to give in support of the new building, as well.

Jabs, now 84, grew up on a farm near Lodge Grass in a home with no indoor plumbing, electricity or running water. Jabs credits his parents for providing him with a strong work ethic, and his father – who had no formal education beyond the second grade – for instilling a belief in the importance of education. Jabs received a degree in vocational agriculture from Montana State College in 1952.

Today, Jabs is president and CEO of American Furniture Warehouse based in Denver, one of the largest retail furniture companies in the United States and one of the largest privately held businesses in Colorado.

Of his decision to invest in education, Jabs said in a 2010 interview with MSU that "education gives you the confidence to take risks, and to be successful in life you have to have take risks."

The MSU Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship offers four undergraduate options of study - accounting, finance, management and marketing - as well as five minors - accounting, business administration, entrepreneurship and small business management, finance, and international business. It also offers a master of professional accountancy degree and a business certificate. Last fall, the college reported an enrollment of 1,327 students, which was a growth of 8 percent over the previous year.

More information about the college is available at For more information about the ribbon cutting and celebration, contact Audrey Capp, director of communications and public relations for the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship, at (406) 994-7026 or [email protected].

For more information about the Ribbon Cutting Events, click here.