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Hankamer planning to open investment center on homecoming

Aug. 23, 2004

Course fund grows

to $5.2 million

By CHASE SKINNER, contributor

The Hankamer School of Business will be focused on the opening of the Southwest Securities Capital Markets Investment Center this homecoming.

A stock ticker running around the perimeter of the classroom will bring a Wall Street feel to the students. The facility's location will be on the ground floor of the Cashion Academic Center.

Large New York Stock Exchange-inspired columns will frame the entrance to the classroom. There also will be computers at every desk, plasma screen televisions throughout the room, the stock ticker, tote boards and video-conferencing capabilities.

This new facility is slated for the use of "graduate and select undergraduate students primarily focusing on finance and accounting," said Dr. William Reichenstein, professor of finance and the Pat and Thomas R. Powers Chairman in Investment Management.

Reichenstein's course, Investment Management, will be taught in the center.

Although the investment class has been offered on campus since the spring of 2001, teaching the course in the planned Investment Center will create a fresh and innovative setting.

"The class provides opportunities in investment banking for students," Reichenstein said, and this emphasis on investment is reflected in the center's design.

"Our goal is to create a sophisticated, corporate space that creates an immediate impact on the viewer," Jennifer Burggraaf said, a lecturer in the family and consumer science department and interior designer for the Investment Center. "Considering that the donors gave quite a bit of money for this project, nothing less than a one-of-a-kind design will suffice."

In 2001, Baylor alumnus Phil Door donated $250,000 to start an investment fund for Baylor students.

The Baylor Business School then raised an additional $250,000, bringing the total to $500,000. The underlying idea was to teach Baylor graduate students how to make investment decisions by actually investing real money into the stock market.

Each semester, students in the course, using the seed money plus earned returns, manage the fund and try to bring in the best returns possible. All earnings go back into the fund for the next class.

In the three years since the fund's inception, the initial $500,000 investment fund has expanded to $5.2 million.

The business students have been advised by Reichenstein and Brian Bruce, an active portfolio manager for PangorA and instructor for the course.

The impetus for creation of the center on campus came from a generous contribution from Southwest Securities and the family of John Graham Jones who attended Baylor in the early 1940s.

Southwest Securities CEO Don Buchholz served on the Hankamer School of Business advisory board from 1990 to 1996, while his wife Ruth is a 1949 Baylor graduate. Together they have donated millions to multiple university programs.

"The facility will set a fundamental tone from an educational standpoint," said Dr. Terry Maness, dean of the Hankamer School of Business.

Three years after the founding of its investment fund, Maness said Baylor will finally have a facility with top-of-the-line technology and resources that will allow the course to "provide students with the tools, techniques, and atmosphere that they will find in the workplace."

Among the handful of similar courses being taught throughout the state.

Only the University of Texas at Austin offers a facility comparable to Baylor's. UT started with an initial investment fund of $1.6 million in 1994 and its fund has since grown to $9.9 million in 2003. With the initial investment subtracted from final worth, UT's fund has earned an average of slightly more than $1 million in profit per year.