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Cook Gift Will Create Investment Trading Lab in Fogelman College

Contact: Gabrielle Maxey

Michael CookMay 27, 2014 - Michael Cook, founder and CEO of SouthernSun Asset Management, has committed $1 million toward establishing a state-of-the-art finance trading lab in the University of Memphis’ Fogelman College of Business & Economics. Included in the agreement is a $500,000 matching pledge, which will bring the total endowment to $1.5 million.

The Cook Trading Lab will be housed on the first floor of the Fogelman College. Construction is scheduled to start in June, with classes beginning in the 2014-15 academic year.

“Michael Cook’s remarkable generosity will have profound and enduring impact on the lives of our students and the broader Memphis community,” said U of M President M. David Rudd. “It’s a gift that provides a solid foundation for an innovative, cutting-edge educational experience that will help prepare our students and develop the skills necessary for a highly competitive job market. It’s another example of the tremendous support from the Memphis community for our great University.”  

The Cook Trading Lab will offer innovative tools to help supplement traditional classroom teaching and provide resources to help business students and faculty stay on the cusp of an ever-growing industry. The leading-edge technology and data center will allow students to experience pragmatic, hands-on learning in an academic environment. The goal is to prepare students to become competent and confident finance professionals.

The Lab will mimic a Wall Street trading firm. It will be equipped with glass walls, real-time tickers and 12 Bloomberg terminals. These analytical terminals provide accurate, real-time financial data and are heavily utilized in most professional financial firms. FCBE students will be able to run simulations with actual data and observe how their decisions could actually impact the market. 

“Our goal at the Fogelman College is to reduce the gap between what is taught in the classroom and what actually happens in a professional environment,” said Dr. Rajiv Grover, the College’s dean. “The Cook Trading Lab will help us achieve this goal by allowing students to work real-world scenarios with timely and accurate market data. It will be an outstanding resource for the College and the community.”

Stock Portfolio Management and Financial Modeling are two of the courses slated to be taught in the Cook Trading Lab. Courses in different majors such as accounting, supply chain management, economics and international business also will have access to the Lab and will benefit from the resources provided.

“Memphis has a world-class business industry and we are striving to continue this legacy,” said Cook. “But we can’t just talk about being the best; we have to act upon our words. Through this Lab, our hope is to sharpen talented young minds so that they will be equipped to steer our community toward a more positive and profitable future.” 

SouthernSun Asset Management, established in 1989, is a research-driven investment management firm implementing SMID Cap, Small Cap and Global Equity investment strategies.

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Last Updated: 4/15/15