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The Heckmann Center -- an enterprising endeavor

A Palm Desert couple pledge to build a center for entrepeneurial management studies.

by: Heather Goggans   (June 2000)

One of the world’s foremost business entrepreneurs is leading an initiative to create a multi-million dollar international center for the teaching and study of entrepreneurial management with the A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCR.

Richard Heckmann, founder of US Filter and chairman of the board of Vivendi Water, and his wife, Mary, will provide the funding to build the Richard J. Heckmann International Center for Entrepreneurial Management. The center will be located on a 20-acre campus adjacent to the new Palm Desert education center of California State University, San Bernardino and could cost more than $15 million.

Construction should begin this summer on land donated by the city of Palm Desert.

The center will offer advanced degrees in entrepreneurial management.

The facilities will also support programs developed by other UCR academic units. The Heckmanns have also pledged to help UCR raise further funds for an operating endowment and endowed faculty chairs.

“This truly is a transforming moment for the University of California, Riverside, and tonight there is great cause for celebration,” said Chancellor Raymond L. Orbach to a crowd of 400 people at the Chancellor’s Associates Gala event in March. “The Heckmann Center will have major impact on entrepreneurial management at a world-class level; it will resonate in the economic development and quality of education in the Coachella Valley.”

California Gov. Gray Davis, Congresswoman Mary Bono, Palm Desert Mayor Buford Crites and Albert Karnig, president of California State University, San Bernardino attended the event.

The center is a partnership between UCR, CSU San Bernardino and the College of the Desert.

AGSM Dean Donald Dye is working with CSUSB, the College of the Desert and several European universities to offer international conferences, executive education and certificate programs, workshops and seminars that target the business community.

Dye said that the new center represents the entrepreneurial spirit that has made the Coachella Valley one of the great gathering spots for the world’s entrepreneurs.

“With its sand, wind, water and clear skies, the Coachella Valley has seduced the CEOs of Fortune 1000 companies; political leaders; entertainers and ordinary citizens,” he said. “It is fitting that Richard Heckmann took this unique place as his home, built the internationally recognized US Filter company here, and then decided to create an educational legacy to help others find good fortune.”

The center should be completed during the 2001-02 academic year.

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