March 20--A stock ticker stretching across the lobby of the R.J. Reynolds Building at Winston-Salem State University isn't there just to impress.
It's the gateway to a new trading room where students will be researching and monitoring stocks as they buy and sell on the market with real money. The doors officially opened Tuesday with a ribbon cutting.
The trading room at the School of Business and Economics has a 45-foot-long New York Stock Exchange ticker, along with a market wall with current information on stocks, bonds, commodities, foreign exchange rates and trading indexes from various world financial markets.
A financial data platform provided by Morningstar, a data firm headquartered in Chicago, will present information on the computer monitors at the room's 26 work stations. Additional displays on the wall show the local times in eight worldwide financial centers, and users will be able to watch financial news cable channels as they do their research.
School leaders said the trading room will give students a new way to get real trading experience.
"I know that the return on investment will include students better versed in business, finance and economics," said Donald Reeves, the chancellor of WSSU. Reeves said that while WSSU is not the only school with a trading room, "it is certainly not something you find every day on every campus."
Linwood Woodley, a senior at WSSU and the manager for the student investment fund, said the fund is starting out with $55,000 and said he hopes to eventually turn that into $100,000. The university received donations to set up the fund. Investment gains will be used to pay for scholarships.
Nick Daves, the director of the Center for Excellence in Financial Services at WSSU, said the trading room will help students and encourage people in the financial services industry to bring their talents to the university.
"We will be able to teach investment classes with current market data in the trading room, and it will be available to other parts of the university and to the Winston-Salem community," Daves said.