January 23, 2007
Their generous gift of $150,000, plus the Lilly Endowment's match of $1.25 per dollar contributed ($187,500), brings the total value of the Minas endowment to $337,500. The fund will support the operations of ISU's investment and financial education programs, the development of an electronic trading lab and provide numerous opportunities for learning and personal growth for students and faculty. It also will continue to strengthen an already successful investment and financial education program at Indiana State.
"ISU has been an important part of our lives and in our daughter, Dawn's," said Randall Minas, a senior vice president at Merrill Lynch in Merrillville. "Establishing this fund allows us to give back to the university and to impact the lives of students and faculty in the future in a unique way. I've always had an interest in finance and my experiences at ISU increased that desire and were instrumental in expanding that knowledge and setting my career in motion."
As part of the gift, Randy and Nancy Minas are committed to further expanding hands-on learning opportunities for ISU students. As a result, they have asked that the university's award-winning student investment club be directly involved in decisions regarding the administration and growth of this endowment, under the direction of finance faculty within the College of Business and in conjunction with the ISU Foundation.
"You can only learn so much through a textbook, and the College of Business has continuously drilled into us the value of experiential learning, especially when it comes to investing and finance," said Jonathan Clark, a senior finance major from Indianapolis and current president of the student investment club. "Day in and day out, we work with real dollars, real stocks and real investments. The classroom prepares you for that, but it cannot replace that real-world knowledge."
Clark said managing the Minas endowment will be a valuable experience for students involved in the investment club at ISU, and he's sure it's one experience that will pay great dividends.
"There are lots of things we'd like to see happen, and we've hoped for the funding necessary to develop the program and make it bigger," Clark said. "To be able to have this donation to grow the program and to grow the resources available to our students and faculty is incredible. It's really amazing from a student perspective."
As proof of their real-world knowledge, ISU's Investment Club earned first-place honors in 2005 out of 17 university teams participating in the Oak Associates Investment Contest (Akron, Ohio). The club, which returned more than 32 percent on its investment, earned a $5,000 award for its achievement. In 2001, it placed first in competition and received an award of $20,000. This success was followed by fifth- and sixth-place rankings in 2002 and 2003, respectively, and an additional award of $5,000.
ISU's club has won a total of $30,000 since 2002, and its portfolio is quickly reaching the $100,000 mark. In addition, the club has distributed nearly $20,000 in student scholarships since its inception in 2001.
"We use much of our own personal experience in the classroom," said Tarek Zaher, professor and program coordinator of finance at ISU. "I let students bring in everyday bits of information about the real markets and investment issues and work on real portfolios. So much is gained through practical experience and experiential learning. Because of this, students have shown great interest in the club and its activities."
Earnings from the Minas endowment fund will be used to support the Center and its programs and initiatives, including:
* Providing data feeds, technology and equipment as part of the electronic trading lab, which will be housed in the College of Business at its current location and later in its future home, the former Federal Building in downtown Terre Haute (Seventh and Cherry streets);
* Providing ongoing faculty training and development;
* Enhancing students' future career activities through special workshops, seminars or training events;
* Securing guest speakers; and
* Increasing recruitment efforts and attracting new students to the program and the College of Business as a whole.
"This is a major gift for Indiana State," said ISU President Lloyd W. Benjamin III, "and I applaud those who've been involved in bringing it about. It's a demonstration of the Minas' interest in seeing Indiana State be able to produce high-quality graduates who are prepared to go into the real world. This gift goes beyond the trading floor environment, and provides a home for leading financial services speakers and programs, bringing added value to the hands-on experience for our students. This is what makes this center so unique."
Ron Green, dean of ISU's College of Business, said some of the activities that can be expected to happen at the center as a result of this gift from the Minas family include special programs in investment strategy, opportunities for high school students to participate in investment competitions, and presentations by industry experts and speakers who will promote the mission of the center and its activities.
"We have been making plans for an electronic trading lab for many months, and we will make it a reality by late summer," Green said. "Many activities will make the trading lab experience more useful, and the creation and growth of a center that will support its functions is a critical part of that plan.?
Randall Minas earned his ISU degree in management with a minor in accounting. He had a desire to get a degree in finance, but it was not offered at that time. Randy and his wife, Nancy, have three children: Melissa, Dawn (a 2003 ISU graduate in business administration and psychology and owner/operator of the Culver Coffee Company), and Randy. Randall and Nancy reside in Crown Point.
"Our hope is that this will broaden students' knowledge in the financial markets beyond what other colleges and universities are doing," Minas added. "This fund will allow ISU to be one of a very few colleges offering a real-time experience in a real-world environment that very much mirrors the industry."
Formal approval of the naming of the center will go to the Board of Trustees at its February meeting.
Dawn, Nancy and Randy Minas in what soon will be the Minas Center for Investment and Financial Education
The Randall and Nancy Minas Center for Investment and Financial Education
CONTACTS: Ron Green, dean and professor of management,College of Business, Indiana State University, (812) 237-2000 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or John Heintz, director of development, College of Business, Indiana State University, (812) 237-8514 or email@example.com.
WRITER: Maria Greninger, associate director, Communications & Marketing, Indiana State University, (812) 237-4357 or 237-7972 (Tues/Thurs) or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Randall and Nancy Minas Center for Investment and Financial Education will become a reality at Indiana State University, thanks to a gift from the Minas Foundation to establish an endowed fund in support of students, programs and faculty within the College of Business.