Kent State Alumnus Bob Archer Offers $1 Million Challenge Gift for New College of Business Administration Building

Kent State University has resumed focus on the new College of Business Administration building, a key component in the university’s master plan to transform the Kent Campus and improve facilities. The concept of the new, state-of-the-art collaborative building has motivated an alumnus to issue a challenge gift to inspire other alumni and friends to help move the project forward within this calendar year.

Bob Archer, who received his Master of Business Administration from Kent State in 1961

Bob Archer, who received his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Kent State in 1961, is a longtime supporter of the university and has already made a $1 million gift to the new building. He recently approached Kent State with an exciting new challenge: raise $7 million more by the end of 2021. If Kent State meets the proposed challenge, that will take the total raised to $19 million. In accordance with the challenge, Archer will provide the final $1 million needed for the university to begin construction on the new building. 

“At Kent State University, we strive to offer our students the absolute best quality educational experience,” Kent State President Todd Diacon said. “This starts with providing the resources our students need in order to learn in an atmosphere that is reflective of their future career fields. The new business building is an exemplar of that mission. Partners such as Mr. Archer are helping us lay the foundation for continued excellence not only in the College of Business Administration but also at Kent State University as a whole. We are very grateful for his support.” 

The proposed new College of Business Administration building will create a home on the university’s Front Campus for business majors and thousands of other students who take business classes, bringing all business students together under one roof for the first time in decades. The structure will be designed to encourage active, immersive learning with flexible room configurations and movable furniture to facilitate collaboration. The building will include the Global Forum with seating in the round for 400 as well as state-of-the-art technology and dedicated space for a business analytics lab, sales lab, trading lab, behavioral research center, entrepreneurship lab and more.  

Archer is the board chairman and owner of Kent Watersports and its branded companies O’Brien International, Connelly Skis, HO Sports Co., Liquid Force, Absolute Outdoor, Barefoot International, Nash/Hydroslide, Arbor Snowboards and Aqua Sports (Houjie, China). He serves on the Ashland YMCA Board of Trustees, the Huntington Bank Regional Advisory Board and the Ashland University Board of Trustees. Last fall, he joined the Kent State College of Business Administration’s National Advisory Board. 

“I’m a businessman, and businesses need the kind of education Dean (Deborah) Spake and her team are offering,” Archer said. “This space will allow our students to become tomorrow’s leading business graduates. Kent State has raised $12 million to date, and we need to accelerate our progress and get this building done sooner rather than later. Together, we can help make a bright future possible for our Kent State business students.”

Additional information about this challenge can be found at

About Kent State University’s College of Business Administration 

Kent State University’s College of Business Administration holds dual accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and is one of only 185 business schools worldwide to achieve accreditation in both business and accounting. The college offers undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, including highly ranked executive, online and full-time MBA programs. Kent State’s Online MBA program with a concentration in business analytics was ranked No. 25 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, and the Online MBA program was ranked No. 26 by The Princeton Review in 2021. 

For more information about Kent State’s College of Business Administration, visit

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Media Contacts:
Eric Mansfield,, 330-672-2797
Leigh Greenfelder,, 330-672-7108

POSTED: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 - 2:28pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 - 2:31pm