Anderson, Indiana

Wall Street atmosphere alive at AU

Mon, 2012-02-13 09:21 -- univcomm
February 13, 2012

Surrounded by a stock market ticker and several television screens showing the latest stock prices and world financial news, 22-year-old Federico Boscaini purchased 230 shares of Chevron stock for more than $24,000.

And he did this Friday morning in a financial stock trading room at Anderson University — and with university funds.

star-hbThe university dedicated its new STAR Trading Room inside the Falls School of Business on Friday morning. [Photo on left: Anderson University senior finance major Federico Boscaini talks with university president Dr. James Edwards and Gary Erskine, STAR Financial Bank president, in the new Falls School of Business STAR Trading Room Friday after its dedication.]

The 1,000-square-foot room is a live and up-to-date trading room and laboratory classroom that has 20 trading stations, each with a computer and dual screens. It simulates a Wall Street environment and brings the very real financial world to students.

“I just spent $25,000 in a click,” said Boscaini, a senior majoring in finance and computer science. “For a college student, that’s not normal. It teaches you the value of money. It’s not a game.”

Construction of the $225,000 room, one of only a few in the state, began in the summer of 2011. It was funded by a $125,000 contribution from STAR Financial Bank, and the rest came from donations made through the university’s fundraising campaign that brought in more than $113 million, said university spokesman Chris Williams.

Students have already been working with the stock market by using the Raven Investment Fund for about three years, said Terry Truitt, the dean of Falls School of Business.

The fund was created about four years ago and started with $10,000, he said. After initial successes with that fund, the board of directors felt comfortable enough to throw in $100,000 and then, year after year, added more to the fund so students could work with more money. The total money contributed to the student-run portfolio is $510,000.

“Students have invested our funds — talk about trust!” Truitt joked. “We have a portion of the university endowment that students make decisions on. The president has veto power, but as of today there have been no vetoes yet.”

Through trades performed by students, that fund has grown to about $600,000.

Boscaini’s stock purchase was the first one made in the new trading room. Prior to that, students learned about the stock market and made trades in various regular classrooms and offices.

“To actually go in there and make a trade, (it shows) that part of the world is not that far from central Indiana,” said AU President James Edwards. “I’m grateful for the opportunity STAR has given us to bring the real world right into the classroom and teaching experience.”

Truitt, who conceived the idea, said having a joint trading room and classroom will help finance, marketing and economics students have a better hands-on understanding and experience about the economy before pursuing real jobs.

Boscaini said working with the Raven Investment Fund and using the trading room will help him and other students once they graduate.

“It’s going to attract a lot of students to AU,” said the Italian student. “It’s going to put AU a notch above other schools around here, and it will help our finance program.”

—Melanie D. Hayes is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin. Photo credit: John P. Cleary. Story republished with permission.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.