Thanks to the efforts of a unique partnership involving Eastern Illinois University, the EIU School of Business Advisory Board and various alumni and friends, business students have a new lab that will provide them a realistic environment to practice the theory taught in most traditional finance classrooms.
A grand opening being held to celebrate the EIU Securities Analysis Center will begin at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 30, in the Lumpkin Hall Atrium. The public is invited to attend.
"This room is beneficial to our students in the finance program as they learn to analyze and explore financial markets," said Jane Wayland, chair of EIU's School of Business. "Dr. James Jordan-Wagner, a faculty member and advisor to the Student Investment Society, leads a portfolio management class that finds this environment extremely helpful to the learning process.
"Other faculty are exploring ways to incorporate the center's capabilities into their classes, as well," she added.
Students utilizing the center use real money to explore the markets, thanks to EIU alumnus Paul Ruedi and the EIU Foundation. In 1993, Ruedi and others from Strategic Capital Management, Inc., created an endowment with the specific intent of allowing students to manage the fund. Earnings from the endowment provide for a student scholarship in finance.
In 2003, the EIU Foundation Board of Directors approved a measure that allows the students to manage $100,000 of the EIU Foundation portfolio. The students in Jordan-Wagner's class are held to the same performance standards and foundation policies that other fund managers are, and are monitored closely. Grades are based upon a combination of participation, research and performance.
"The students often comment on the impact that using real money has on the learning process," said Jordan-Wagner. "Having a real' environment has made that impact more significant."
The School of Business Advisory Board, led by Chairman Tom McDaniel, focused on providing funding for the renovation of existing space. Other alumni and friends have provided funding for other important aspects of the project, including the data boards and other technologies, and an endowment to support the data subscriptions and maintenance of the center.
"We appreciate the business advisory board's vision in creating this center," said Diane Hoadley, dean of the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences. "They have given generously of their time, talents over the years and now resources that have provided an important lab for our program. Our students will be better prepared to enter the workforce, thanks to their vision and generosity."