Fundraising campaign for $1 million launched for proposed Eagle Financial Investments Center

A fundraising campaign kicked off recently for a proposed financial investments trading lab that could make Tennessee Tech University’s College of Business look a little bit more like a Wall Street stock market.

The $1 million campaign for the Eagle Financial Investments Center was officially launched with the presentation of a $75,000 donation from State Farm Insurance Cos., which has designated TTU as a ‘priority’ institution.

“With the quality of students it turns out, TTU’s College of Business creates a great product, and State Farm knows that a significant part of their excellent work ethic is instilled on campus,” said Ron Nichols, vice president of operations for State Farm of Tennessee.

“That’s one reason we’re delighted to be able to provide an investment that will benefit those students, who will one day — with luck on our side — be our employees,” he said.

Local State Farm agent Carolyn Morrison agreed, saying, “State Farm is a full financial service company, including mutual funds and bank products, and this donation will help to provide quality employees for our company, as well as informed customers.”

The project has also received donations for $25,000 each from SunTrust Banks’ customer contact center in Cookeville and the Heidtke and Co. Inc. investment securities firm.

Bob Niebuhr, dean of TTU’s College of Business, said, “The Eagle Financial Investments Center will be the focal point of our financial investment curriculum, providing students with the opportunity to learn how technology can be used in portfolio management, capital budgeting and hedging exchange risk for multinational corporations.”

Students will have access to some of the most up-to-date and sophisticated computing hardware and software available, including online data feeds and industry adopted valuation programs, Niebuhr said.

Planned for an area on the second floor of Johnson Hall currently being used as a computer lab, the Eagle Financial Investments Center will feature a real-time stock market trading board to give students hands-on experience for maximizing returns on investments totaling more than $600,000 in three different student-managed funds.

“By helping our students learn how to access and analyze financial information in a real-time, interactive setting, the new facility will be instrumental in ensuring that they have the skills necessary to compete in the financial services industry,” Niebuhr said.

“It’s as essential to getting a complete education in financial services as science labs are to learning chemistry,” he continued.

Establishing the Eagle Financial Investments Center will also help TTU’s College of Business increase the number and intensity of its experiential courses and attract more of the best and brightest students from across the region, as well as the nation, Niebuhr said.

A total of $300,000 is needed for the site build-out and equipment, and the College of Business needs an additional $750,000 for an endowment that would provide the lab’s $40,000 estimated annual operating cost.

Any donor who commits $25,000 or more to the project will be named an “Exchange Member,” and those donors will be recognized at the entrance to the new lab.

“We’re very pleased to have already raised $125,000. That just illustrates how important a project like this is,” said Pat Quillen, development director for TTU’s College of Business.

For more information about the fundraising campaign for the Eagle Financial Investments Center, call Quillen at 931/372-3649.

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