Freeman receives $5 million gift to launch experiential learning center

blueprint image of new experiential learning center

Construction of the new Schwartz Family Center for Experiential Business Learning began in December 2023.

The A. B. Freeman School of Business has received a $5 million gift from Todd and Gina Schwartz to expand opportunities for students to “learn by doing.” The gift will fund programs and a renovation to create the Schwartz Family Center for Experiential Business Learning, which will develop additional pedagogies for teaching students. These experiential learning methods will facilitate new partnerships with local, regional, national and global corporations with whom students will work to perform market analysis, determine the feasibility of launching new products, pursue investment strategies and more.

Students will gain invaluable experience and connections, while companies will benefit from student efforts to enhance various aspects of their operations including devising solutions that improve earnings, cut costs, and gauge or mitigate risks. The center, which will be located on the ground floor of the Goldring/Woldenberg Business Complex, will host classes and interactive events that will feature the latest technology and enable undergraduate and graduate students to work on collaborative projects with industry.

“Experiential learning is crucial to business education,” Tulane President Michael A. Fitts said. “Todd and Gina Schwartz’s generosity will build on the Freeman School’s many initiatives in this proven approach and establish Tulane as a premier destination for acquiring hands-on, real-world business knowledge opportunities to help businesses innovate and prosper by applying lessons learned in the classroom and developing skills central to their future careers.”

Todd Schwartz, who graduated from Freeman with a bachelor’s degree in finance, is founder, CEO and executive chairman of the NYSE-listed OppFi and a managing principal at Schwartz Capital Group. As the head of OppFi, Schwartz oversees a leading mission-driven fintech platform that helps everyday Americans gain access to credit with digital specialty finance products. He is also a partner at Strand Equity Partners.

“It gives me great pleasure and excitement to be able to give back to Tulane and the A. B. Freeman School of Business,” Schwartz said “The Schwartz Family Center for Experiential Business Learning is not only a cutting-edge space within the Freeman School but also a new and dynamic program to pave the way for even more experiential learning at Tulane. The program and space will be designed to better prepare students for their careers after graduation by addressing real-world and tangible examples. The center will attract new students from around the country and the world and train the next generation of business leaders. This gift will help put Tulane at the forefront of multifaceted business education.”

Reflecting on his own educational journey and development, Schwartz added, “Experiential learning was highly influential in my professional development. The Schwartz Center is designed to provide students with transferable skills such as creativity, innovation, team collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking through various real-world experiences. I look forward to the Schwartz Family Center making these opportunities available to Tulane students.”

Commenting on the impact of the gift, Freeman School Dean Paulo Goes said, “The Schwartz Family Center for Experiential Business Learning is transformational for the school, our students and the larger community. Todd and Gina’s gift will touch the lives of every business student, enhancing their knowledge and preparedness for the business world, enabling them to onboard successfully after graduation and quickly become top performers. It will be our differentiator and put Tulane at the pinacle of business education.”

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