Portrait of Steve Holmes
Photo: Emily Paine
Bucknell’s newest building, Holmes Hall, is named for Steve Holmes ’79, P’06, P’08, P’12.
New Building is a Testament to Interdisciplinary Learning
When Steve Holmes ’79, P’06, P’08, P’12 landed his first job as a CPA for what is now Deloitte in New York City, expectations were high and the pace often frantic, and Holmes found himself needing to draw on his dual academic interests. At Bucknell, he’d majored in accounting but took nearly enough art & art history courses to earn a minor.

“I was fresh out of college, and I was thrust into dealing with CFOs and controllers of big companies like Mitsubishi and Dean Witter,” Holmes says. “My background in art history allowed me to talk with people who were at a different level.

“I’m talking to CFOs who are 55 or 60 years old; I’m 25 years old, and yet because I knew about art, it gave me that instant kind of maturity and credibility that I would never have had if I had just gone down a path of one subject,” he adds.

A Bucknell trustee since 2007, Holmes believes in strengthening opportunities for students to explore interests across different majors and colleges, and knows from his own college experience how the intersection of broad, diverse liberal arts and professional programs prepares students to succeed in fields where you always need to do more than just one thing.

The new academic building nearing completion at Bucknell, which will provide a new home for the Freeman College of Management and the Department of Art & Art History, is a tangible affirmation of Holmes’ belief in the power of interdisciplinary learning. It is also one that will bear his name.

At its April meeting, the University’s Board of Trustees announced that the building, which opens fall semester, will be called Holmes Hall. The name recognizes significant commitments by Holmes and his wife, Bonnie Bencsko Holmes ’79, P’06, P’08, P’12.

The 79,500-square-foot facility will enhance experiential learning opportunities in state-of-the-art analytics and investment labs, art and design studios, and other immersive teaching spaces. Each year more than 1,000 students will use the building to explore courses in seven majors from the Freeman College of Management and two majors from the College of Arts & Sciences.

Holmes is most excited about how the facility will spark connections and collaborations among students with diverse academic paths — offering fresh opportunities for students to uncover new interests, much as he discovered his lifelong passion for the arts at Bucknell.

While he came to Bucknell planning to pursue a career in business, Holmes says it was his art history courses and a Jan Plan study abroad in Europe that sparked his interest in real estate and architecture, a major area of focus throughout his more than 30-year career in the hotel and resort vacation industries. He is currently the nonexecutive chairman for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts as well as Travel + Leisure, leaders in the travel industry.

The spirit of discovery Holmes embraced at Bucknell also led him to the most meaningful relationship of his life. On a whim, Holmes and a buddy decided to sign up for a ballroom dancing class to fulfill a physical education requirement. In that class Steve and Bonnie Holmes first met.

He reflects on that happy outcome: “It was the ability to try different things that opened horizons for me.” — Matt Hughes