Ongoing Rogers Challenge supports student trading room experience

As an undergraduate in the Smeal College of Business, Mike Long, a 2012 graduate in finance, spent many hours working, studying, and talking finance issues with his classmates in the Rogers Family Trading Room. Today he is putting that experience to work as an investment banking analyst in Mergers & Acquisitions at Citigroup in New York City. According to Long, the Rogers Family Trading Room brought together students who shared a passion for finance and helped him start his career.

“The culture of the trading room is a huge factor,” Long said. “You have a large group of people in there every night bouncing ideas off of each other. It is a great way to learn outside the classroom because you are spending time with other students who are passionate about the subject.”

This is exactly the type of outcome David and Patricia Rogers were hoping for when they agreed to provide the funding to establish this facility in 2001 with a $1 million gift. In the 12 years since their original commitment, thousands of students have taken classes, researched market sectors, conducted valuation analyses and bonded with their classmates in the Rogers Family Trading Room. Like Mike Long, many have gone on to careers on Wall Street where Smeal graduates are represented at nearly every major bank and investment company.

"The Rogers Family Trading Room is a deeply impactful resource. It is important we continue to support and develop it, and that requires investment.”

In 2012, David and Tricia Rogers made another gift to ensure the long-term vitality of this unique lab and classroom that has become a defining feature of the Business Building. They issued the Rogers Trading Room Challenge with the goal of matching up to $1 million in gifts to support the Smeal College Trading Room Endowment. The annual earnings from this endowed fund support technology upgrades, data subscriptions, staff support and other features essential to the Rogers Family Trading Room experience.

“Tricia and I have seen so many students land exciting jobs and advance quickly early in their careers thanks in part to their experience in the trading room, and we want that to continue," said David Rogers, chief executive officer of J.D. Capital Management, a private investment firm located in Greenwich, Conn. "We hope to encourage alumni who have benefited from their experiences in the Trading Room over the past ten years, and all alumni who know they would have benefited from this type of hands-on learning, to support the Trading Room for the next generation of Smeal students."

“[The Trading Room] is a great way to learn outside the classroom because you are spending time with other students who are passionate about the subject.”

In addition to its role as a classroom and laboratory, the Rogers Family Trading Room is home to the Nittany Lion Fund, a $5.6 million student-managed stock portfolio. Unlike most student-managed investment funds around the country, which are backed by university endowments, the Nittany Lion Fund relies on investments from individuals, with the number of investors totaling 77 as of July. Since its inception in 2005, more than 110 student fund managers have secured full-time employment at leading investment firms including Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, BlackRock, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo.

David Marcinek, a 1993 finance alumnus, graduated from Smeal before the Rogers Family Trading Room was created, but he understands its value for today’s and future students. The Goldman Sachs partner is an advocate for students seeking internships in the field, and he was the first to accept the Rogers Challenge by making a gift in 2011. He feels strongly that the Rogers Family Trading Room experience sets Smeal students apart from their peers in the job market.

“The Rogers Family Trading Room is a deeply impactful resource. It is important we continue to support and develop it, and that requires investment,” Marcinek said.

To accept the Rogers Challenge, make a online gift today or contact Todd Sloan in the Smeal College Development Office at 814-865-7830 or toddsloan@psu.edu. All gifts to the Smeal College Trading Room Endowment, regardless of amount, will earn the matching dollars from the challenge—and strengthen the Rogers Family Trading Room experience for future business students.

All gifts in support of the Rogers Trading Room Challenge count toward the Smeal College goal in For the Future: the Campaign for Penn State Students. This University-wide effort is directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America. The For the Future campaign is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State's history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.

Contacts: 

Todd Sloan

Work Phone: 
814-865-7830

Todd Sloan is the director of development for the Smeal College of Business

Last Updated September 10, 2013