Batten Hall became part of the HBS campus in 2011. The building was once home to public broadcasting’s WGBH television and radio studios (1963-2007), where, among many milestones, educational TV’s first star, chef Julia Child, launched her career. The upper two levels of Batten Hall include 10 curved, modular learning classrooms known as “hives,” developed for small-group exercises and team-based learning, particularly to support the field-method courses of the MBA curriculum. On the first floor is the Harvard Innovation Lab (i-lab), designed to foster entrepreneurial activities and deepen interactions among students, faculty, and entrepreneurs across the University and the Greater Boston area. The i-lab hosts public lectures, panel discussions, and presentations, as well as networking events for student teams, local businesses, and nonprofits.
Batten Hall was named for media pioneer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Frank Batten (MBA 1952). Batten (1927-2009) was a visionary executive who earned a reputation for spotting media trends. In his long and distinguished career, he achieved entrepreneurial success in three fields: newspapers, television, and cable broadcasting. As chairman of Norfolk, Virginia-based Landmark Communications Inc., he built the company into a multimedia enterprise consisting of dozens of newspapers and specialty publications, several television stations, and, most notably, The Weather Channel. See the April 2002 Working Knowledge story or hear Frank Batten in an interview on the “HBS Entrepreneurs” website.
In 1998, Harvard Business School presented Batten with its highest honor, the Alumni Achievement Award, recognizing him for reaching the “pinnacle of your profession,” and citing his life as “a landmark to admirers of courage and conviction.”
In 2003, Batten made a gift to support the ongoing renewal and enhancement of the HBS residential campus. With a lifelong commitment to education, support of the School’s entrepreneurial efforts, and given his passion for media, the building was named in his honor in 2011. Frank Batten’s generosity has ensured the continuation of one of the School’s most distinctive features: living, classroom, office, and gathering spaces coming together to create a powerful community.
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Harvard Business School
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