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Austin E. Cofrin

School of Business

Willie D. Davis Finance & Investment Laboratory

Student Managed Investment Funds and Financial Trading and Investment Laboratories are central to the delivery of a modern business education built around high impact student experiences. By providing ready access to financial data and real-time financial market activity, the Willie D. Davis Finance & Investment Laboratory (Suite 87) will be a focal point for building community among students, faculty, and professionals, facilitating learning both inside and outside the formal classroom.

Trading Room by ImproViz on Sketchfab

In combination with its student managed investment fund, Suite 87 will accelerate the professional development of our students by challenging them to meet the real-world expectations and pressures of managing of real money in real time. Students will benefit from the mentorship opportunities afforded by their interactions with the Suite 87 Advisory Board, and a partnership focused around financial literacy with the emerging Personal Financial Planning Program will drive community impact and foster a commitment to social responsibility. These initiatives support the Cofrin School of Business’ stand-alone Finance major and Personal Financial Planning minor designed for CFP® certification.

The Green Bay Packers are honoring the late Packers great and Pro Football Hall of Famer Willie Davis with a $250,000 impact grant toward the establishment of the Willie D. Davis Finance & Investment Laboratory within the University's rapidly growing Cofrin School of Business.

Once realized, Suite 87 will create strong, lasting memories among students, faculty, and staff in the Cofrin School of Business. While finance laboratories vary in size, orientation, and purpose, they all have one common goal: to enhance experiential learning for business students. Importantly, these high impact experiences have well-documented benefits for student academic success, a critically important outcome for the Cofrin School of Business' first generation-rich student body. The success of this approach is apparent in the steady, national growth of these facilities over the past decades.


What is the total cost of the project and when will it be ready for occupancy?
There are multiple layers to this onion. The physical construction of the space itself is estimated at $650,000. In an increasingly digital world, subscriptions are reality, and student programing, general operating costs, and licensing fees for Bloomberg terminals, several stock market simulation platforms, and related analytical programs will run around $150,000 annually. Ultimately, we seek an endowment in the neighborhood of $4 million dollars to endow faculty positions and provide a truly impactful student experience. A spring 2022 opening is expected.

Can alumni, corporations, and friends of the University make gifts supporting the Willie D. Davis Financial Investment Laboratory and the Student Managed Investment Fund?
Absolutely. We are excited to recognize gifts to the project through high visibility donor relations in the space. The Willie D. Davis Finance & Investment Laboratory will be a 1,137 sq. ft. facility located in the main corridor and near the only elevator in Wood Hall on the Green Bay campus. Wood Hall is one of the campus’ core academic buildings and adjacent to one of the main campus parking lots for students, employees, and campus visitors. Put simply, the location is on prime campus real estate, and we will work diligently to assure supporters gain the recognition they deserve.

Will an Advisory Board for the Student Managed Investment Fund be created to offer program guidance and serve as a resource for students?
Yes, in fact one of the key benefits of a space like the Willie D. Davis Finance & Investment Laboratory is that it creates a sustained and action-aligned setting for our current students and faculty to work with interested community supporters and accomplished alumni. We have great alumni and the Willie D. Davis Lab provides a clear means by which we can engage the broader UW-Green Bay community in a sustainable manner. Clearly, there are numerous technical reasons why the advisory board is critical to the success of the Willie D. Davis Lab and associated student managed investment fund.

Are financial planning and financial literacy programs on the way?
Absolutely, this has been a very exciting development for the Cofrin School of Business. During the 2019-2020 academic year we re-organized the College under the leadership of a new faculty hire, Dr. Preston Cherry, who possesses expertise in personal financial planning.  In the short time that Dr. Cherry has been with us he already has a minor in Personal Financial Planning moving through the approval process and it is on schedule to go live for fall 2022. The program is aligned with Certified Financial Planning (CFP®) Certification, and we are working with the CFP® Board to have our program approved in time for its fall launch. This is an area in which the community made clear that we needed to do more, and I’m proud to say our faculty have responded.
Financial literacy is another exciting area for us, particularly with regard to how we can better give back to the community we were established to serve.  Our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program run through the Accounting program has been benefiting the community for years. The details are yet to emerge on the next step in our efforts around improving financial literacy, but its clear that there is already so much activity surrounding this topic in the community that it really must be built around partnership and support of existing community programs, not something new or done alone. The Willie D. Davis Finance & Investment Laboratory will give us the platform we need to contribute to ongoing efforts and to improve regional financial literacy in a meaningful way.